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Pols Clamor For Noise Study

Federal survey “first step” in

addressing aircraft noise

Airplane doors falling near the Nassau County Legislature in Mineola in 2010 wasn’t enough and planes whizzing by minutes apart in New Hyde Park didn’t prompt action either. But if one New York bill spawns a sibling in New Jersey, air traffic noise victims will have hard data to fall back on--as well as the ears of top air traffic offiicials.

In the 11th hour of the 2013 legislative session, New York State passed a bill that requires the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey (PA) to conduct a study examining land use compatibility with the rise in aircraft noise over Long Island. On Wednesday, June 26, Assemblyman Ed Ra held a press conference outside New Hyde Park’s Village Hall calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo to sign the bill into law. The media event provided a demonstration, with deafening aircraft drowning out speakers every five minutes.

Ra, along with Assemblyman Edward Braunstein and Senators Jack Martins and Kemp Hannon, sponsored the bill. It passed in the senate on May 20.

The New Jersey Legislature would need to sign a similar bill into law in order for the study, part of the federal “Part 150” program for evaluating airports nationwide, to move forward. It has been introduced in the New Jersey senate.

Federal airport improvement grants would fund the study, which would include JFK, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty International airports. The bill would also provide for annual hearings with PA commissioners for residents affected by airplane noise. According to Ra, the Federal Aviation Adminstration (FAA) has spent more than $5 billion on Part 150 since its inception.

“[The study] would allow us to study noise concerns that are becoming far too common in our local communities,” Ra. “Hopefully it will move use toward broader conversations in addressing aircraft noise.”

Ra called New Jersey’s timeline on getting the bill through both houses “difficult to predict.”  

Martins said in a statement that, “this bill protects our families impacted by airplane noise by requiring the Port Authority to conduct studies and hold public hearings and then take steps to fix the problem.”

Braunstein felt this is the first step to addressing noise reduction efforts. “We’re confident that if we get this Part 150 study done,” he said. “It will prove that there is a significant impact on our communities, and the FAA and the Port Authority will be required to find measures to remediate this problem.”

Runway patterns are influenced by wind, weather, noise-abatement procedures and construction projects, according to officials.

Seeking less aircraft noise, residents and activists have advocated a range of fixes: whether it be flight distribution during runway approaches, a ban on low-flying planes or fewer flights between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.

“While safety is of course paramount, federal aviation regulations do provide a mechanism for considering the issue of aircraft noise and developing a plan to address noise issues that impact the surrounding neighborhoods,” Hannon said in a statement.

Kendall Lampkin, 17-year executive director of the Town Village Aircraft Safety Noise Abatement Committee, feels three things need to be addressed by the FAA. He also serves as executive assistant to Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray.

“First is safety,” he said. “Another significant issue the FAA knows all too well is operational efficiency. A third issue is environmental concerns and noise. It is a bipartisan issue that transcends the political parties and geographical boundaries.”