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Congresswoman Grace Meng

Representing the 6th District of New York

Meng and Israel Urge Head of FAA: Listen to Community Feedback About Increased Airplane Noise Over Queens

Feb 11, 2013
Press Release
U.S. Reps. Grace Meng (D-Queens) and Steve Israel (D-Queens/L.I.) announced today that they have sent a joint letter to the head of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) urging him to take into account vital community feedback when evaluating the effects of new flight patterns that significantly increase airplane noise over Queens.
 
The new flight patterns, which redirect many departures from LaGuardia Airport over residential neighborhoods in northeast Queens, were implemented in February 2012 on a six month trial basis. This past December, the FAA announced that it would make the new routes permanent.
 
The substantial rise in airplane noise has negatively impacted the quality of life in northeast Queens, and has sparked protests from area residents who have noticed a marked increase in the frequency of flights.
 
“While we acknowledge that there is no perfect solution to airspace congestion, we believe that our constituents have been unfairly and unexpectedly burdened,” Meng and Israel wrote in their correspondence to FAA Administrator Michel Huerta. “The new routes were implemented without the consultation of local elected officials and constituents, an oversight that Carmine Gallo, the FAA Regional Administrator, acknowledged at a FAA briefing for local officials on January 18, 2013. We hope that the FAA is able to produce a more balanced plan that would alleviate the noise pollution for our constituents and restore the quality of life in our neighborhoods.”
 
Meng and Israel’s letter notes that the FAA’s environmental review of the new routes analyzed noise pollution by simulation only rather than actual noise testing on the ground.
 
"I want to thank Congresswoman Meng and Congressman Israel for urging the FAA to take measures to provide our constituents with relief from the constant barrage of plane noise, which has destroyed the quality of life of the residents of Northeast Queens,” said New York Assemblyman Edward Braunstein (D-Bayside) “I look forward to working with both of them to ensure that our constituents are given an opportunity by the FAA to voice their concerns regarding the new flight pattern."
 
“I would like to thank both Congressman Israel and Congresswoman Meng for requesting a meeting with FAA Administrator Huerta and for joining Assembly Member Braunstein and I in an effort to resolve this situation which has resulted in extreme increases in noise pollution in northeast Queens” said New York State Senator Tony Avella (D-Bayside).
 
 
The text of the letter is below.
 
 
Michael P. Huerta
Administrator
Federal Aviation Administration
800 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20591
 
Dear Administrator Huerta:
 
We write with great concern about the substantial increase in airplane noise in Queens since last summer due to altered departure routes from LaGuardia Airport. We request that the FAA reevaluate its decision that made the redesigned flight route permanent and negatively impacted our constituents’ quality of life.
 
On February 13, 2012, the FAA instituted a six-month trial period of new flight routes, which redirected many departures over residential neighborhoods in Queens, including Bayside, Whitestone, and Flushing. We understand that this effort originated as an attempt to reduce air-traffic congestion around John F. Kennedy International Airport, and would allow increased departures and arrivals at JFK. Since the route changes were officially put into effect last year, our constituents have noticed a marked increase in the frequency of flights from LaGuardia and the level of noise pollution in the area.
 
The new routes were implemented without the consultation of local elected officials and constituents, an oversight that Carmine Gallo, the FAA Regional Administrator, acknowledged at a FAA briefing for local officials on January 18, 2013. While we recognize the value of increased flights from JFK, we urge you to review the newly-instituted flight plans to help provide our constituents relief from the increased noise pollution. An engaging dialogue is overdue between the FAA, our local elected officials in Queens, and our constituents, whose lives have been affected. While we acknowledge that there is no perfect solution to airspace congestion, we believe that our constituents have been unfairly and unexpectedly burdened.
 
Although the FAA performed an environmental review of the new routes during the trial period from February through August, we believe that in-field noise testing would help clarify our constituents’ experience. We understand that your noise-pollution testing is done by simulation, and believe the residents of our communities would be better informed if they had concrete data provided by the FAA.
 
We hope that the FAA is able to produce a more balanced plan that would alleviate the noise pollution for our constituents and restore the quality of life in our neighborhoods.
 
Thank you for your attention to this matter. We look forward to your reply.
 
Sincerely,
 
Grace Meng                                                                  Steve Israel
Member of Congress                                                     Member of Congress
 
 
 
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