Letter to the Editor: Why Was the Forum on Hanscom Impact Changed?

Submitted by Sue Swanson

It was with some dismay that I read about the change in venue for the recent forum on the environmental impact of the proposed expansion of hangars at Hanscom Field (“Forum on Hangar Impact Report Now Virtual Only,” The Bedford Citizen, May 29, 2024).  I had planned to attend in person, arriving early with others from Bedford and surrounding towns to peacefully demonstrate our opposition to the proposal. 

I was particularly distressed by a reason given for the change: safety concerns “associated with protesters that have been disruptive in the past.” In addition to a peaceful demonstration before the first public forum at Middlesex Community College, the Coalition to Stop Private Jet Expansion at Hanscom or Anywhere has held similarly peaceful demonstrations along The Great Road for a year now. Additional demonstrations have been held in surrounding towns and even on public land outside Hanscom Airfield itself. None of these have been disruptive.

Presumably, the developers were referring not to these events, all organized by the Coalition, but to an actual act of civil disobedience organized by Extinction Rebellion at Hanscom Airfield last month. Even there, the demonstrators fully cooperated with the police and there was no physical violence or destruction of property.  

It is ironic that protestors of all kinds are labeled disruptive when the real disruption will be the violent changes to our climate caused by increased carbon emissions such as those produced by the private jets this project plans to accommodate. An independent study by Industrial Economics, Inc reports that at least 150,000 additional tons of CO2e will be emitted annually by these luxury private jets, negating much of what Bedford and Massachusetts are doing to reduce emissions.  

Peaceful demonstrations to stop private jet expansion at Hanscom are not disruptive. The inevitable effects upon our climate caused by emissions from the private luxury jets and other carbon emitters most certainly will be.  

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The opinions expressed in Letters to the Editor are those of the writer, not The Bedford Citizen.

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Anne Herbert
June 11, 2024 12:41 pm

Excellent Letter regarding the change of venue for the public Forum on Hanscom hangar expansion. I strongly agree that the impact of the expansion on our climate, historical environment and wildlife will most assuredly be catastrophic if private jet expansion is not controlled. The Bedford community and our sister towns have consistently sought to share the information needed to fight against private jet expansion. I hope that more and more citizens will become involved in this important campaign.

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