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Request to Stop NC FedEx Hub Construction Rejected

Wed May 12, 2004 - National Edition

HIGH POINT, NC (AP) An administrative-law judge has rejected an argument by critics of a proposed FedEx cargo hub, ruling that opponents failed to prove that the project was being improperly undertaken.

However, Judge Beecher Gray questioned whether the authority’s storm-water management systems were sufficient.

After a day-long hearing on May 10, Gray ruled against a motion filed by hub critics that argued that the authority should not have been issued a state water-quality permit from the North Carolina Division of Water Quality. The permit could lead to flooding of nearby properties and contaminate Greensboro’s watershed, said James Tanner, an attorney representing the hub opponents.

Tanner, along with Greensboro attorney David Clark, said that although the authority has a water-quality permit, it does not have an additional permit to control runoff from the airport’s operations. Without the additional permit, “I think that indicates the lack of consideration, at least from the perspective of the” local residents, Tanner said.

Clark said the airport has deliberately not applied for the pollution runoff permit because it would have to disclose the extent to which the waters are polluted.

George House, an attorney with Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard, the law firm representing the airport authority, said that the airport had applied for the permit about eight years ago, along with airports in Charlotte and Raleigh, NC.

He said that the airport was taking steps to ensure the safety of the water runoff. Gray asked both sides to file motions by June 7 explaining the airport authority’s plans to ensure water runoff safety.

If Gray rejects the opponents’ motion in June, Clark said that he would probably appeal.

The hub, which could provide about 1,500 full- and part-time jobs when it is up and running in 2009 as expected, has been assailed by critics since its inception. Area residents have argued that the plan will cause excessive air traffic and noise pollution, and contaminate the environment.