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Plan to create commercial airport prompts concerns about noise, pollution, harm to fish

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DALLAS, Georgia — Plans to create what would be metro Atlanta's second commercial airport have prompted concerns ranging from noise at a National Park to potential harm to rare fish in nearby streams.

The concerns are outlined as part of an environmental assessment for Silver Comet Field northwest of Atlanta. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (http://on-ajc.com/1rRxaz5) obtained dozens of comments submitted to the Federal Aviation Administration through an open records request.

The National Park Service wrote of its concern about potential sound at Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, the site of key battles in the American Civil War and one of the area's biggest tourist attractions.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service asked for the assessment to address impacts to the Cherokee darter fish.

The Coosa River Basin Initiative, American Rivers and Georgia River Network expressed concerns about Bluffy, Pumpkinvine and Raccoon creeks. The group said the Cherokee and Etowah darters are found in the upper Coosa River basin and nowhere else in the world.

Other letters came from residents, some of whom were supportive of bringing commercial flights to Silver Comet Field at Paulding Northwest Atlanta Airport.

Paulding County resident Mike Farmer wrote that "this expansion gives the county great opportunities."

Others, such as Kim and Glenn Cooper, raised concerns about possible environmental impacts.

"We do not want fuel fumes, run off, de-icer material, noise pollution," the Coopers wrote.

The city of Atlanta also added input. The plan "has the potential to dramatically impact the environmental, airspace, noise and commercial landscapes in the Atlanta metropolitan area, without any demonstrated need or benefit," according to a letter from Atlanta's Chief Operating Officer Michael Geisler. Atlanta, which owns Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, has strongly opposed the plan from the start.

Paulding Northwest Atlanta Airport Director Blake Swafford said he expects the environmental study to take at least nine months — stretching hopes for airline service into 2015, more than a year later than initially planned.

The FAA said it has reviewed the comments and a contractor will do the study.


Information from: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, http://www.ajc.com

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