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Lowey aims to lower airplane noise at LGA

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U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey (D-Rego Park) plans to reintroduce legislation to deal with the increased noise from what federal officials predict will be a massive surge in air traffic at LaGuardia Airport in the next five years.

The Quiet Communities Act would set aside $20 million a year to fight noise pollution by coordinating federal noise abatement activities, providing technical help to local communities and promoting research and education on the impact of noise.

The legislation would also reopen the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Noise Abatement and Control, which was shut down in 1998.

“Residents of Queens and the Bronx are fighting to be heard above the din,” Lowey said. “Noise pollution — just like air and water pollution — is a public health threat. My bill will bring the EPA and local communities together to combat noise pollution.”

Lowey’s legislation was introduced in 1999 but failed in a congressional vote. She said she hoped her co-sponsors of the legislation then would also join her this time. They included U.S. Reps. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights), Eliot Engel (D-Bronx), Maurice Hinchey (D-Saugerties), Sue Kelly (R-Westchester County), Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan), Anthony Weiner (D-Forest Hills), Charles Rangel (D-Harlem) and Jose Serrano (D-Bronx).

LaGuardia, already the nation’s most congested airport, accounted for nearly a quarter of all departure delays in the United States late last year and the Federal Aviation Administration released statistics last week projecting flight traffic at LaGuardia would rise by 14 percent by the year 2005.

Delays and congestion at LaGuardia worsened rapidly last summer following congressional passage of legislation known as Air-21. The measure allows unlimited regional flights using airliners carrying 70 or fewer passengers to underserved airports, where lack of competition had long resulted in exorbitant fares.

Delays lessened following the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey''s moratorium on new flights last fall and an FAA lottery in December that brought a reduction in regional flights.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 136.

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