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Nassau officials fear increased JFK Airport noise

Residents and elected officials in Nassau County and Queens worry that a new satellite-based air traffic control operation will increase aircraft noise in communities near Kennedy and LaGuardia.

Noise reduction advocates are asking the Federal Aviation Administration to exempt the two airports from a proposed rule that would allow the agency to change flight procedures without conducting environmental impact studies. New procedures from the NextGen air traffic control system could mean increased noise from landings and takeoffs, and from more aircraft flying at lower altitudes, those advocates said.

"A citizen's movement . . . is really necessary to express our will to let Congress know and the FAA know that we would like to have an environmental review of these NextGen procedures," Janet McEneaney, president of the Queens Quiet Skies group, said at the Town-Village Aircraft Safety Noise Abatement Committee meeting Monday night in Stewart Manor.

The FAA wants the exclusions, granted through the FAA Modernization Act of 2012, to manage all changes related to NextGen without going through the EIS process. NextGen will switch from decades-old radar-based air traffic control to a satellite-based global positioning system that allows for more precise flight paths.

The comment period on the exemption ends Monday

"The FAA will respond formally to all the comments it receives," agency spokesman Jim Peters said.

Committee members said aviation noise from JFK has increased. "There's been a dramatic increase of what we're hearing over our heads," Assemb. Ed Ra (R-Franklin Square) said.

The extra noise comes from heavy use of Runway 22L, committee members said.

From May to August, 42.3 percent of the 74,957 arrivals at Kennedy were on 22L, one of eight approaches, according to Ray Gaudio, East Williston's committee representative, who reviewed Port Authority statistics. "It was bad before, but now it is to the point of abuse," Gaudio said.

Ra called on Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to sign legislation requiring the Port Authority to conduct a noise and land-use compatibility survey. Ra co-sponsored the legislation.

The bill, approved by the State Senate in May and the Assembly in June, would also require the Port Authority to hold hearings to gather public comment about aviation noise.

"The legislation is currently not on the governor's desk and the legislation is under review," Cuomo spokesman Richard Azzopardi said Tuesday.

A spokesman for the Port Authority said it is installing a new airport noise and operations management system around Kennedy and LaGuardia to provide data to FAA. The system will gather information about flight tracks of every plan and decibel levels as it flies over monitors, the spokesman said, adding the agency also is considering installing more noise monitors.


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