(Editor's Note: The following letter is in response to the Tuesday, Nov. 25 Oyster Bay Town Board Meeting regarding an application to construct senior housing at the Twin County Asphalt Plant in Hicksville.)
One of my concerns is air quality or lack of it. I have seen reports on how machines are testing to see if the emissions fall within the allowable guidelines. If it passes the machine test, the polluting emissions are considered safe, non-irritating and non-offensive.
The human body cannot be compared to a machine. A machine does not suffer from respiratory problems - shortness of breath, asthma and other forms of breathing problems, pain or tightness in the chest, the feeling of its throat closing or a number of other ill effects. Problems that could be brought on by those emissions would be considered safe guidelines by a machine. A machine does not have its quality of life interfered with. It does not have to keep windows closed. It's not forced to stay indoors on beautiful summer days, ruining any plans to enjoy outdoor activities.
Unless a person has personally experienced any of the above problems, he or she does not understand how frightening they can be. As an adult, it is terrifying to feel your throat close up and experience the feeling of not being able to breathe. For a child to be subjected to that is horrifying. It would be equally horrifying for an elderly person who may live in the senior housing if it is put in place.
Another concern is truck emissions. Will the emissions from every truck be tested on a regular basis? Do they fall within the safe, allowable guidelines? If they are waiting on line to pick up their load and are running, wouldn't the combination of a number of trucks push them well over the safe guidelines?
I am not stating that everyone who has suffered from these problems, I have mentioned are adverse effects of the emissions. The fact is there has not been enough research or study on this matter. There also hasn't been any explanation why those that do come in contact with these emissions do have adverse reactions.
The proposed plans have been submitted. It is extremely important that these considerations are taken seriously. The Burns Avenue Elementary School is only a couple of block away from Engel Street. If senior housing is put in place, it will be almost next door to this plant. Unless studies are done and completed which explain why those who are affected are affected, risks should not be taken to subject anyone else to what is being endured by those living with it now.