Members of Congressional Quiet Skies Caucus – Including NY Reps. Meng, Israel, Crowley and Rice – Call for Airplane Noise Mitigation to be Part of FAA Reauthorization Act

Jul 17, 2015
Press Release

Today, Members of the Quiet Skies Caucus – including Reps. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens), Steve Israel (D-Queens/L.I.), Joe Crowley (D-Queens) and Kathleen Rice (D-L.I.) – sent a letter to House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Rep. Bill Shuster and Ranking Member Rep. Peter DeFazio with recommendations for the 2015 Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act that would help address the harmful impacts of aircraft noise over Queens and Long Island, and communities across the country.

The letter makes the following recommendations:

  1. Mandate a robust community engagement process, including pre-decisional public hearings, for new flight paths or procedures or changes to existing flight paths and procedures.

  2. Require FAA to use supplemental noise metrics when considering the impact of aviation noise on affected communities and lower the acceptable noise threshold for affected homes and businesses.

  3. Clarify that airport operators are legally allowed to implement—and should strongly consider—noise mitigation options in communities experiencing aircraft noise levels below the current noise threshold.

  4. Reform Section 213(c)(2) of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, which allows FAA to short-circuit the environmental review process when implementing new flight paths.

  5. Mandate independent research on the health impacts of aviation noise.

The full letter can be viewed here.

“My district in Queens – and many other communities across the country – continue to suffer from the blistering sounds of airplanes, and that excessive noise is negatively impacting the quality of life in the neighborhoods we represent,” said Meng. “Many of the recommendations we outline in our request are measures that I ‘ve pushed for since I was elected to Congress, and incorporating our suggestions into this broad FAA bill would be the most effective legislative vehicle to address the problem of aircraft noise. Relief can’t come soon enough for those affected by the barrage of airplanes. I respectfully ask the committee to include our recommendations in the bill.”

“Long Islanders and Queens residents know all too well the effects of airplane noise thundering above their homes and businesses,” said Israel. “As they go through the process of reauthorizing the FAA, I urge Chairman Shuster and Ranking Member DeFazio to work towards finding solutions for communities who are affected by airplane noise, and I believe implementing the recommendations in our letter would represent a substantive step forward towards improving the quality of life for our citizens.”

“For too long, the deafening roar of aircraft noise has burdened the communities that surround our airports - posing health risks, disrupting student learning, and deteriorating their quality of life,” said Crowley. “Our airports can never be perfect neighbors, but we can take steps to make them better ones. Engaging our community, adequately studying the impact of aircraft noise, and implementing mitigation measures for affected residents are key steps in this process, and I’m proud to join my fellow caucus members in calling for these recommendations as part of the FAA Reauthorization Act.”

Excessive airplane noise is an issue that affects people’s lives every single day, and not in a positive way,” said Rice. “Many residents and small business owners in my district have been fighting for years to get relief from the noise disturbances, but their voices have too often been drowned out. The recommendations in our letter would help provide that relief, improve their quality of life, ensure their voices are heard, and ensure that they have a seat at the table. I urge the Chairman and Ranking Member to include these provisions in the FAA reauthorization bill.

Others members of the Quiet Skies Caucus – from districts outside of New York – who signed the letter include: Reps. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Mike Quigley (D-IL), Katherine Clark (D-MA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Sam Farr (D-CA), Stephen Lynch (D-MA), Alan Grayson (D-FL) and Maxine Waters (D-CA).

The Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act is the bill that funds the FAA.