Illinois Green Party News Release: Eminent Domain for Peotone Airport Must be Halted

Emailed to contact.ipr@gmail.com:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 19, 2010

George Ochsenfeld
President of STAND
Green candidate for State Rep, 79th district
708 534-7319
Patrick Kelly
IL Green Party Media Coordinator
773-203-9631

EMINENT DOMAIN FOR PEOTONE AIRPORT MUST BE HALTED

* State spending on 500 acres lacks justification, jobs won’t materialize, say S.T.A.N.D. and Green Party

Despite a $13 billion fiscal crisis, the State of Illinois has begun a $105 million program to condemn family farms and acquire land at the site of the proposed Peotone airport in the far southern reaches of the Chicago Metropolitan Area. There are currently two eminent domain cases pending, involving a 300-acre parcel and a 200-acre parcel. The cases will be heard in Will County.

“The state does not have financing to build the airport or for necessary surrounding infrastructure,” said George Ochsenfeld, president of Shut This Airport Nightmare Down (STAND) and Green Party candidate for State Representative, 79th district. “Not only that, the airline industry is against the project, O’Hare is being expanded, the Gary airport is being expanded, the airlines are in disaster mode, with O’Hare having the lowest number of flights in 15 years.”

“We have more than 30 resolutions and referendums from surrounding villages, townships, other units of government, and from citizens’ groups against the project,” Ochsenfeld said.

SUSTAINABILITY AN ISSUE
The State of Illinois plans to acquire a total of 22,000 acres (34 square miles) of mostly prime farmland, much of which is owned by 4th and 5th generation local farmers. “This is a crime against future generations, who will need productive soil,” said Bob Mueller, a Will County native and candidate for State Representative, 47th district.

“Rural Will County is rapidly disappearing, and with it will go not just a way-of-life, but the self-sustainability of the region. Yet for many politicians involved, it may take a major food or energy crisis before they realize the folly in paving over highly productive farmland.”

Gubernatorial candidate Rich Whitney, a long-time opponent of the Peotone airport project, said: “We as a society need to be moving toward more energy-efficient and less-polluting and potentially non-polluting modes of transportation, like high-speed rail, not promoting more of the same wasteful modes of transportation that have created the crisis. The Peotone Airport is a horribly misguided investment of public capital, that may enrich a few speculators and politicians but will likely end up being a white elephant — with taxpayers left to cover the inevitable losses and all of us paying for the consequences of unsustainable modes of transportation.”

Ochsenfeld noted that Gov. Pat Quinn’s land purchases are going forward despite the fact that the FAA is at least two years from making a decision to approve or disapprove the project, and spending millions to purchase land at this time is a gamble. According to SouthSuburbanAirport.com, the state recently spent $2.2 million to purchase a 160-acre property for the proposed airport, and the 500 acre purchases will likely cost the state millions more.

“Buying the land now may bring political benefits for the airport’s sponsors, and there may be some short-term financial benefits for contractors and developers,” said Ochsenfeld, “but this airport is going to be a hard sell for travelers, and it has already done significant damage to long-time residents of the region.”

JOBS OUTLOOK QUESTIONABLE

“The airport plan has been marketed by its proponents as a jobs program, but it’s doubtful that the jobs will ever come,” says Scott Summers, Green Party candidate for Illinois Treasurer. “Today, the State of Illinois is spending $3 for every $2 it takes in. We’re basically broke, and yet the governor is gambling on a project that does not have local support, federal approval or any commitments from the industry that is supposedly going to be using it.

“Illinois has many examples of unnecessary and under-utilized infrastructure, from the MidAmerica Airport near St. Louis to the Thomson prison. We ought to know by now that building unnecessary infrastructure means the jobs may never materialize as promised,” continued Summers. “This airport promises to be yet another long-term financial burden on the taxpayers.”

STAND contends that eminent domain should be halted until five criteria are met:

(1) the FAA issues a final record of decision for airport construction

(2) funding (either private, public, or some combination of the two) is secured for the project and is made public

(3) funding for necessary surrounding infrastructure is secured

(4) a panel of independent transportation experts is convened to determine whether there is a need for the project

(5) a major airline has committed to using the facility

MSNBC “FLEECING OF AMERICA” REPORT ON MIDAMERICA AIRPORT, JAN 2010
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3032619/

SHUT THIS AIRPORT NIGHTMARE DOWN
www.nothirdairport.org

RICH WHITNEY FOR GOVERNOR
www.whitneyforgovernor.org

SCOTT SUMMERS FOR TREASURER
www.summersfortreasurer.org

BOB MUELLER FOR STATE REPRESENTATIVE, 47TH DISTRICT
www.votemueller.org

GEORGE OCHSENFELD FOR STATE REPRESENTATIVE, 79TH DISTRICT
www.georgeochsenfeld.com

ILLINOIS GREEN PARTY
www.ilgp.org

One thought on “Illinois Green Party News Release: Eminent Domain for Peotone Airport Must be Halted

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *