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Lawmakers seek LI aircraft noise study

A helicopter lands at East Hampton Airport on

A helicopter lands at East Hampton Airport on Aug. 22, 2012. Photo Credit: John Roca

Local lawmakers Wednesday urged Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to sign a bill requiring the Port Authority to study aircraft noise over Long Island.

At a news conference outside New Hyde Park's Village Hall, officials also pressed New Jersey leaders to enact similar legislation. The New York State Senate and Assembly recently passed bills requiring the authority to conduct a noise and land-use compatibility survey, called a Part 150 study and outlined in Federal Aviation Administration regulations.

Assemb. Ed Ra (R-Franklin Square), a co-sponsor of the bill that would use federal airport improvement funds, said increased airplane traffic has brought more noise concerns to western Nassau County -- "far too common in our local communities," he said. He added he was hopeful the bill's passage would provoke a "broader conversation" about noise abatement and bring long-term solutions.

Lawmakers were responding to a volley of noise complaints in recent years that experts and residents have said are the result of low-flying planes and, according to the bill, more flights into and out of three major nearby airports: JFK, Newark Liberty International and LaGuardia.

Those advocating for noise abatement have cited an increase in overnight arrivals on Kennedy's Runway 22L.

FAA officials have said runway decisions are influenced by wind direction, weather conditions, noise-abatement procedures and construction projects.

Seeking less aircraft noise, residents and activists have advocated a range of fixes: a more equitable distribution of flights onto Kennedy runway approaches; a ban on low-flying planes; and fewer late-night flights.

State Sen. Jack Martins (R-Mineola), a sponsor of the bill, said if the study shows adverse impacts, other solutions are to alter the trajectory of the planes -- from over Nassau communities to above Long Island Sound -- and forcing planes to fly higher.

The bill also requires the Port Authority to hold biennial hearings where the public can comment on aircraft noise.

Lawmakers said the study is a key step toward realizing noise-mitigation efforts. "We're confident that if we get this Part 150 study done, it will prove that there is a significant impact on our communities, and the FAA and the Port Authority will be required to find measures to remediate this problem," said Assemb. Edward Braunstein (D-Bayside).


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