Airplane Noise Study In Appropriations Bill

BY NATHAN DUKE

Queens’ Congress members announced that they have secured a provision in the omnibus appropriations bill that would direct the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to examine new methods of measuring aircraft noise to alleviate the excessive airplane noise over parts of the borough.

Warren Schreiber and Barbara Brown, co-chairs of NY Community Aviation Roudtable, flank U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi. Photo Courtesy of Susan Carroll

Warren Schreiber and Barbara Brown, co-chairs of NY Community Aviation Roudtable, flank U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi. Photo Courtesy of Susan Carroll

The provision directs the FAA to continue evaluating alternative metrics to the Day-Night Average Sound Level (DNL) 65, which is the current national standard at which the agency determines acceptable levels of aircraft noise. Additionally, the agency would be directed to consider other methods of addressing community airplane-noise concerns. Currently, the measuring of noise relies on modeling and simulations to determine the annoyance level of aircraft noise over neighborhoods, and rarely takes into account noise on the ground.

“The metric of 65 DNL has long been outdated and does not adequately measure the true impact of aircraft noise,” U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing) said. “That is why it’s time for the FAA to reevaluate it. The blistering sounds of airplane noise in Queens continues to negatively impact the quality of life of borough residents, and looking at a more accurate measurement of noise effects would go a long way towards creating quieter skies over our communities.”

Meng is a founding member of the Quiet Skies Caucus, which deals with the issue of excessive airplane noise, a longtime issue in her district. Residents in various Queens communities—especially northeast Queens—have long complained of the excessive noise caused by the flight paths of airplanes from LaGuardia Airport.
“Queens and Long Island residents deserve to live in peace and quiet,” said U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Little Neck), the co-chairman of the caucus. “This provision will require the FAA to take important steps in addressing noise reduction, so people are not bombarded at all hours of the day and night.”

U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights), who is the chairman of the caucus, said that he has long been concerned about the long-term impact of noise pollution on the health and well-being of residents in his district.

“Our communities have been burdened with a barrage of noise from airplanes and helicopters because of our proximity to two major airports, and this provision will help us better understand and curb the impact of noise pollution,” Crowley said. “It is important that the FAA realize the serious effects that noise pollution has on our communities and take further steps to reduce these inconveniences.”

The caucus had introduced a bill to require more research on the health impacts of airplane flights on U.S. residents in early 2017. The provision to examine airplane noise was included in the omnibus appropriations bill, which was signed into law on March 23.

“The science on this topic is clear—the 65 DNL threshold is not a sufficient measure to protect Americans,” said U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica). But it doesn’t take a scientist to understand that current noise levels are simply too high in communities around our airports.”

Reach editor-in-chief Nathan Duke via email at queenstribune@gmail.com or by phone at (718) 357-7400, ext. 122.

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