Proposed landfill expansion near ABIA draws concern over bird-strikes

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Environmental advocates aren’t happy that a Travis County landfill near Austin-Bergstrom International Airport could expand.

The expansion is requested by The Texas Regional Landfill Company, who owns the property. The expansion will reportedly go further south and east.

BACKGROUND: 161 birds have hit planes at ABIA so far this year

But advocates are concerned a larger landfill could draw more birds to the area, impacting public safety around Austin’s airport.

A total of 161 bird-strikes have occurred at ABIA this year, above the 155 total strikes from all of 2018.

Advocates are concerned that during an increased period of bird-strikes at ABIA, any landfill expansion could exacerbate a growing problem.

Jeffrey Jacoby with the Texas Campaign for the Environment says that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality usually sides with the industry when it comes to issues like this.

“We’re here to make sure the voice of the public is heard,” said Jacoby.

Several people attended a meeting with the TCEQ to voice their disapproval.

Both the FAA and the city’s aviation department have written letters saying they have no objection, stating that the company’s possible expansion changes are in compliance.

As far as the increased bird presence, Jacoby acknowledges that it’s hard to pinpoint an exact cause. “We obviously aren’t going to be able to connect one to one… However, we do know that pilots have had incidents with birds directly above this facility.”

Representatives were present at the TCEQ meeting earlier this evening, but declined to comment per a “company policy” preventing them from doing so.

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