N.J. landfill’s invisible methane flame is burning birds

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NORTH ARLINGTON, N.J. — An invisible flame from burning waste at a landfill in the Meadowlands is seriously injuring birds that fly through it, raising concern from environmental activists in New Jersey.


The Kingsland Landfill in North Arlington’s close proximity to trees and grasslands draws many birds of prey and smaller species. Birds burned by the flames cannot fly and often die if they aren’t rescued, The Record reported.   

A member of the Bergen County Audubon Society, or BCAS, photographed a red-tailed hawk that could not fly after its feathers were singed.


 The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, or NJSEA, maintains the property and burns off methane gas produced by waste there.





The agency has been talking with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to try to address the problem, but so far they’ve been thwarted, partly because there isn’t a national standard for how best to protect birds from such flames.

“It’s just sad. It frustrates the heck out of me,” said Don Torino, president of the BCAS. “Nobody is giving the sports authority answers.”

Torino said the problem is nationwide and should be addressed at the national level.

“Letting the authority fend for itself to solve this is crazy,” he said.




The problem only worsens during migration season, the society said.

Last fall, the sports authority removed trees near the flame to make it less attractive to birds.

Meagan Racey, a spokeswoman for the federal agency, said many other options involve changing the continuous flames so they’re intermittent.

The sports authority has been told it could try reducing the size of the exposed flame, said spokesman Brian Aberback. It could also install equipment to prevent birds from landing on the flame stack.





















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