Borough wants Schumer to help fight plane noise

By Kelsey Durham

Residents fighting for quieter skies across Queens have called on U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) to do more to help alleviate the effects of increased airplane noise on New Yorkers.

Dozens of advocates from across the metropolitan area recently wrote letters and petitions addressed to Schumer asking him to schedule a public meeting to discuss the action he has taken to help his constituents combat the increase in jet noise that residents say has partially resulted from the federal government providing the Federal Aviation Administration “political cover.”

A group of about 10 people planned to personally deliver the letters to the senator’s Manhattan office, on Third Avenue near East 49th Street, this week.

The group also planned to take a petition to Schumer’s office that had already been sent to the FAA containing 470 signatures protesting the FAA’s new flight plans in and out of LaGuardia Airport. Residents say the new traffic pattern has led to more planes flying over their northeast Queens neighborhoods at more frequent intervals.

Janet McEneaney, president of Queens Quiet Skies, was one of the dozens of advocates who addressed a letter to Schumer asking him for eight specific actions to help with their battle, including lowering national noise levels from 65 day-night sound level — or DNL — to 55, requiring environmental assessment of the FAA’s new flight procedures and creating a federal committee to oversee aviation policy with equal representation from the community.

“I think the senator has always been interested in this issue and he was active last year when we needed his help, and we got it, to change the Port Authority’s procedures,” McEneaney said. “But now the senator has to be equally as proactive in working with us to change some of our national aviation policies and procedures so they are more friendly to the public.”

Schumer’s office said they planned to have an aide available to meet the group of advocates when the letters were handed over, and one of his representatives said the senator was looking forward to hearing about how he can continue to help his constituents affected by plane noise.

“As we have before, we are eager to learn about the noise issues impacting these residents and to do all we can to help them press their case with the Port Authority and the FAA, as we have in the past via pushing for more community participation and more noise monitors and abatement,” said Marisa Kaufman, a spokeswoman for Schumer.

The petitions set to be delivered to Schumer’s office come just days before the next aviation roundtables are schedule to take place with the Port Authority, FAA and members of advocacy groups across the city and Long Island.

The LaGuardia meeting was scheduled for Aug. 19 and the JFK airport roundtable was scheduled for the following night.

Reach reporter Kelsey Durham at 718-260-4573 or by e-mail at [email protected].