Governor Healey Faces Opposition to Hanscom Field Expansion

Governor Maura Healey faces opposition to a proposed expansion of private luxury jet facilities at Hanscom Field airport in Massachusetts. Independent research debunks developers' claims, finding the expansion would increase flights and emissions, sparking opposition from policymakers and residents.

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Geeta Pillai
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Governor Healey Faces Opposition to Hanscom Field Expansion

Governor Healey Faces Opposition to Hanscom Field Expansion

Governor Maura Healey is facing growing opposition to a proposed expansion of private luxury jet facilities at Hanscom Field airport in Massachusetts. The expansion, put forward by private developers, would double hangar space for private jets, which the developers claim will reduce flights and carbon emissions. However, independent research has debunked this assertion, finding that the expansion will actually increase flights and emissions.

Why this matters: The expansion of private luxury jet facilities at Hanscom Field has significant implications for the environment, as it would lead to increased carbon emissions and contribute to climate change. Moreover, it highlights the need for policymakers to prioritize environmental concerns over the interests of wealthy individuals and corporations.

Hanscom Field is already New England's second-busiest airport, with an estimated 38,000 annual jet operations. The proposed expansion would make it the largest private jet airport in the region. Private jet travel is the most carbon-intensive form of travel, emitting 10-20 times more pollution per passenger than commercial flights.

In a Draft Environmental Impact statement submitted in March, the developers claimed the expansion would eliminate 3,543 ferry flights per year. However, an independent report by Industrial Economics, Inc. identified only 132 reductions in ferry flights, which would be offset by adding 6,000 flights per year, creating an additional 150,000 tonnes of emissions. The report concludes that "the emissions associated with full utilization of the planned capacity far outweigh the emission savings... by a factor of 950 to 3,900."

The proposal has sparked opposition from policymakers and residents. State Senator Mike Barrett spoke out against the project, stating, "I know the destruction you plan to cause in Massachusetts and I hate it. Please don't make up these false environmental reasons for something that has nothing to do with alleviating the climate crisis we face. Just be honest about it. It's about becoming a little richer yourself by helping people who are even richer than you."

The area surrounding Hanscom Field is of great historical significance, home to sites such as Minute Man National Historical Park, Walden Pond, and the preserved homesteads of famous authors and environmentalists. The National Trust for Historic Preservation has included the area in its 2024 list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places, highlighting the need for preservation and protection.

The private jet lobby represents some of the wealthiest and most powerful people in the world, with the average net worth of a private jet owner estimated at $190 million, according to WealthX. As statewide opposition to the Hanscom Field expansion grows, it remains to be seen whether Governor Healey will stop the project from moving forward in order to protect the historic area and combat the negative environmental impacts of increased private jet traffic.

Key Takeaways

  • Gov. Maura Healey faces opposition to expanding private luxury jet facilities at Hanscom Field airport in MA.
  • Expansion would increase flights and emissions, contradicting developers' claims of reduced carbon footprint.
  • Hanscom Field is already New England's 2nd-busiest airport, with 38,000 annual jet operations.
  • Private jet travel emits 10-20 times more pollution per passenger than commercial flights.
  • Area surrounding Hanscom Field is of great historical significance, including Minute Man National Historical Park.