AReCO in the News
Journal & Topics Newspapers
Date: September 8, 2004
Copyright © 2004, Journal & Topics Newspapers
Mothers Organize To Stamp Out Air Pollution At O'Hare
A new organization, Mothers Against Airport Pollution (MAAP), was founded last week in Arlington Hts. Its mission will be to educate the public about air and water pollution caused by large airports such as O'Hare International, and to recruit grass-roots help for the cause.
MAAP was established at the Thursday, Sept. 2 board meeting of the Alliance of Residents Concerning O'Hare (AReCO). The mothers' organization will serve as an offshoot of AReCO, headed by chairman
Denise Heppel of Rolling Meadows.
In recent years, AReCO has focused on investigating the negative effects of large airports such as O'Hare so that legal action can be taken. For example, O'Hare was sued in 1996 for 160 alleged violations of the Clean Water Act and other infractions, when the airport reportedly discharged deicing fluids into the nearby watershed. AReCO officials said they provided supporting evidence in that case, and O'Hare settled
out of court for nearly $1 billion.
Jack Saporito, executive director of AReCO, said the organization has shined in the legal realm. "We've worked behind the scenes a lot," he explained.
In fact, the problem for the Northwest Suburban-based organization may be that it is hidden behind the scenes a little too well. "We've got really solid evidence ensconced in real documents, but sadly we're not being heard," Saporito said. "We're just not well-known here. We're trying to change that."
MAAP hopes to put the group and its cause on the map, and get grass-roots support from local residents who are concerned about O'Hare. "We've been getting a lot of calls from concerned mothers who want to prevent O'Hare from expansion because it doesn't make sense, and they want to protect their children," Saporito said.
The director mentioned a survey where 92% of women polled in Elk Grove Village were against airport expansion. "The main reason was the health of the children," he explained. "No one wants to live next to a power plant; [O'Hare] has a power plant. Nobody wants to live next to an incinerator; it has an incinerator ... plus [thousands] of buses and taxis. And that's daily.
"It's a polluter. And pollution leads to health problems."
The new organization's mission can best be summarized by one of the statements on its charter: "MAAP, in few words, is for the protection of 'Clean and Safe Living and Protection from Airport Poisoning' for
MAAP is a relatively new organization and is in the process of recruiting members and forming a board of directors. Residents can contact MAAP through mail at P.O. Box 1702, Arlington Hts., 60006 or by
phone at 630-415-3370.
Though MAAP has not organized any forums yet, the next AReCO board meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 7 at Heritage Park, 506 Victoria Ln. in Arlington Hts.