US Senate sends FAA reauthorization bill to the House

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The U.S. Senate passed a long-term Federal Aviation Administration bill Tuesday that may require the Port Authority and the FAA to re-examine LaGuardia Airport’s flight paths and the NextGen satellite navigation system.

The bill, which the Senate passed by a vote of 95-3, requires the FAA to review certain decisions to exclude an environmental impact study for Next Generation flight procedures and to get advice from the airports where the procedures will be implemented.

The bill, which now goes to the House of Representatives for debate, reauthorizes FAA programs through the end of fiscal year 2017.

U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Jackson Heights), a member of the Queens Quiet Skies Caucus, said the House needs to act now that the Senate has passed the bill.

“Ultimately, we need a bill that gives the FAA a firmer ground on which to stand and that protects the flying public as well as addresses the burdensome, excessive aircraft noise pollution that is plaguing our communities,” Crowley said.

An FAA spokesman said the agency does not comment on proposed legislation.

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing), another member of the Queens Quiet Skies Caucus, said she has repeatedly called on the FAA to combat aircraft noise over Queens and to further involve the community in the process, saying residents need relief.

“I will continue to support and advocate for legislation that accomplishes these goals, and I look forward to reviewing this particular provision when it comes before the House,” Meng said.

The bill includes an amendment introduced by Arizona Republican Sens. Jeff Flake and John McCain requiring the FAA to establish an airspace management advisory committee to review and report to Congress on the agency’s process for developing proposals that affect airspace changes.

The committee would examine how the FAA coordinates both internally within the agency and externally with stakeholders on the proposals.

City Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing) said the bill is “a step in the right direction” in that it at least seems to require the FAA to consider the impact of low-flying airplanes over downtown Flushing, but it will not stop it.

“It remains to be seen whether this (advisory) committee, which notably lacks community representation in favor of airline, airport and aviation officials, will actually take our best interests into considerat­ion,” Koo said.

Susan Carroll, a Flushing community advocate, said she is disappointed that the bill has no provision for lowering the noise metric from a day-night average sound level of 65 decibels—established by the FAA in 1981 as the level at which federal funding could be provided for noise mitigation strategies—to 55 DNL, the standard most countries use.

But she praised McCain and Flake for getting their amendment into the bill, saying that New York’s two Democratic senators, Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer, have not done enough work to advocate against airplane noise.

She said she hopes the bill will at least lead to an evaluation of the TNNIS Climb, a departure path that stretches over northeast Queens, and NextGen.

Carroll also expressed concerns that without a reduction in the noise metric, the FAA could review the flight paths again and say that there is not a significant effect.

“I would hope that there is political pressure put on the Port Authority to request that review, “ Carroll said. “That’s the very least that can be done at this point.”

Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at or by phone at (718) 260–4566.

Updated 12:32 am, July 10, 2018
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Reader feedback

Len Schaier from Port Washington, NY says:
Susan hit the issues right on the head.

Without a change to the DNL threshold noise level ( the level at which the PANYNJ and the FAA will consider mitigation) nothing will change.

Our senator seems to think that if the threshold is changes airlines will not able to fly into NY.

That's nonsense. All a change would mean in that if the new number is exceeded, the PANYNJ and FAA are obligated to look at mitigation that will reduce the impact of noise on residents.

Its time that the congress and faa realized that they must consider the welfare of the people on the ground. Changes can no longer be based on efficiency and safety alone ; health of people on the ground must also be considered.

The NOISE CONTROL ACT of 1972 states:
"The Congress declares that it is the policy of the United States to promote an environment for ALL Americans free from noise that jeopardizes their health or welfare.

Notice, the law says ALL Americans, not some American, or most Americans; IT SAYS ALL!

Len Schaier
April 22, 2016, 11:50 am
Hector Strauss from Washington DC says:
The FAA is in the pocket of the airlines. We are facing horrible impacts here in the nation's capital based flight path changes at DCA. No public accountability. No interest in public welfare for noise impact. Our communities are being screwed by a Congress and FAA that allows this!!!
April 22, 2016, 1:17 pm
move from queens says:
Seems like time for you whiners to move
April 22, 2016, 5:27 pm
Bill Brown from Alexandria, Va. says:
The resulting air traffic and noise is nightmarish here in Virginia. A constant thunder of throttling engines permeates the air. In the case of South of DCA there is the Potomac River which the FAA refuses to fly over for out bound flights. Instead they route planes low and loud over countless homes in a once peaceful community. The economic impact of the FAA's actions will lead to dead zones in communities as people walk away from their homes. For sale signs are popping up here now like flowers. And I would be willing to bet it not just because of Spring.

This madness has to stop.
April 22, 2016, 6:34 pm
Maria Becce from Broadway-Flushing says:
For thirty-five years, we learned to tolerate planes flying above our homes. All this changed three and a half years ago, when residents of Flushing were literally blasted out of bed with no warning to anyone, including elected officials, and with no environmental studies. Overnight, ordinary citizens became experts in excessive airplane noise and how/why this was allowed to happen. Seems the FAA implemented NextGen technology flight patterns from LGA and JFK. It all sounds so wonderful on paper - more planes in the air, less congestion, less fuel. However, the FAA forgot something - that people actually live under this constant barrage of excessive noise and pollution. While some people see a reduction in excessive airplane noise, if you happen to live under the new flight patterns, you have to deal with hugely increased excessive airplane noise and pollution. Our local elected officials (Tony Avella, Ed Braunstein,Toby Ann Stavisky, Paul Vallone, Peter Koo, Ron Kim) have all been superb in bringing attention to this terrible problem, and Representative Grace Meng has consistently been the only voice and advocate that Flushing residents have in Washington. While other US Senators have taken direct action, i.e., John McCain, Jeff Flake, Dianne Feinstetin, Barbara Boxer, where are NY Senators Schumer and Gilibrand? The promise of NextGen will never materialize as long as the current implementation at New York area airports continues to torture people living under NextGen flight patterns. As Senator McCain says: "It didn't have to be this way"......
April 25, 2016, 1:28 pm

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