State seeks study of airplane noise

Bill passes Assembly on June 18


Local Assembly members have successfully fought for a bill that would require the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey to study flight noise generated by planes at LaGuardia, John F. Kennedy and Newark Liberty airports.

The bill passed in the Assembly on Tuesday, during the final week of the legislative session. Among its co-sponsors were Ed Ra (R-Franklin Square) and Brian Curran (R-Lynbrook), who represent several communities that deal with aircraft noise.

The State Senate passed the bill on May 20. “More airplanes are flying over our areas, making the noise problem worse,” Sen. Dean Skelos said in a statement. “With this bill, we could ensure that this concern is subject to a study, public comment, and taken into consideration by the airlines.”

Because the Port Authority is a dual-state entity, however, the bill must also pass in New Jersey, where it is currently making its way through the Legislature.

“I am extremely pleased that the airplane bill passed the Assembly and the Senate,” Curran said. “We now have to work hard on making sure the New Jersey legislature passes the same bill. This is the beginning of providing some small relief to the residents of Valley Stream, Lynbrook, Malverne, East Rockaway and Rockville Centre from the aircraft noise emanating from JFK.”

“Communities throughout Western Long Island have dealt with a drastic increase in airplane traffic over our communities,” added Ra, “and the resulting noise has affected our quality of life.”

According to Ra, similar studies have been conducted at more than 400 airports, including Niagara, Buffalo and Albany. “We’re not asking for anything special to be done for us,” he said. “We’re really just asking for a study to be done pursuant to federal law and these federal regulations so we can address this problem.”

Valley Stream Trustee Virginia Clavin-Higgins is the village’s liaison to the Town-Village Aircraft Safety and Noise Abatement Committee. She said that passing the bill would make it clear to the Port Authority and the Federal Aviation Administration that residents are not satisfied with the noise levels from airplanes. “We’re not saying, ‘Oh, we live by the airport, too bad,’” she said. “We are going to try to keep them honest and keep them addressing it as much as we can.”

Clavin-Higgins said she has been in touch with Valley Stream’s representatives in the Assembly and hopes something positive comes from the bill, especially for the summer, when people spend more time outside.

Planes arriving on runway 22L at JFK fly over the western edge of the village before landing.

Both Ra and Curran said they had received a large number of complaints from their constituents about airplane noise and wanted to do something about it. Curran said that a noise study would lead to a constructive conversation with the Port Authority about what the problems are and how they can be fixed.

“It elevates the conversation, and hopefully the FAA and Port Authority are paying attention to it when deciding the use of runways and flight patterns,” Ra said. “Once the study has been done … it opens up federal funding for mitigation measures.”