Local elected officials have heard the stories of unrelenting airplane noise from low-flying planes from constituents for over two years.
On Sunday, approximately 200 people gathered in Cunningham Park calling for action on the Port Authority (PANYNJ) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to address the noise and reconsider the lack of environmental review of new flight patterns known as NextGen.
The vent was hosted by the advocacy group Queens Quiet Skies, and was attended by numerous local, state and federal elected officials in attendance, well over 100 residents gathered at Cunningham Park.
Although Bayside Assemblyman Edward Braunstein noted some success addressing the issue at the state level, including the promise of a Part 150 noise study of the neighborhoods impacted by the changes, he accused the PANYNJ of bypassing Governor Andrew Cuomo's directive by creating a watered-down roundtable without any real input from the participants.
“We want more,” Braunstein said. “We want a roundtable with teeth and real decision-making authority, not just another advisory panel, which is what they’re trying to do.”
PANYNJ is pushing to split the new roundtable into three individual groups, one each for LaGuardia, JFK and Newark airports.
The PANYNJ has not yet responded to request for comment on the matter.
Congresswoman Grace Meng, whose district is just east of LaGuardia Airport, said plane noise and pollution has been a main focus since first taking office in January 2013.
She said that in response to the FAA’s attempts at “dividing the country” by producing “piecemeal solutions” to the problem, she and 25 other members of Congress from across the country recently sent a “first of its kind” letter to request a day-night average sound level (DNL) reduction from 65 to 55 dB.
“This change would provide relief to many people in our communities and across the nation,” Meng announced to the crowd on Sunday afternoon.
She added that the change could potentially provide residents to become eligible for subsidized noise mitigation solutions in their homes.
“I want the FAA to do what’s best for our communities and for the American public, and put people before profits,” she added.
Queens Quiet Skies president Janet McEneany said she is happy to see the focus placed on the noise level reduction, however adding that there is still much more to do.
“The airlines had record profits last year, and we shouldn’t have to pay for their profits,” McEneany said. “It’s time for them to take some of those record profits and put them into technology towards making things better.”
Now just over two years into their advocacy for noise and pollution reduction, McEneany added that she never thought that Queens Quiet Skies would have such far-reaching implications.
“We are beginning a nationwide movement, and an international movement, because this is not just our problem, these problems are occurring everywhere NextGen flight procedures are being rolled out,” she said.