By Madina Toure
The Congressional Quiet Skies Caucus is backing a bill that calls for a study of the effects airplane noise has on people’s health.
The legislation, introduced by U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), is known as the Airplane Impacts Mitigation (AIM) Act of 2016. It will look at what happens when people have prolonged exposure to airplane noise.
The bill will exmaine the effects of that noise on communities such as Queens and Nassau County, which are under busy flight paths. The information gathered would be communicated to the Federal Aviation Administration as the agency formulates policies and make decisions. “This will ensure Congress has the evidence it needs to work with the FAA to improve Federal Aviation Administration policies and decision-making going forward,” U.S. Rep. Steve Israel (D-Melville/Queens), an original cosponsor of the bill, said.
The AIM Act requires the FAA administrator to enter into an agreement with a public health school to conduct a study of the health effects of airplane noise and air pollution levels on residents. Those effects include sleep disturbance, stress, elevated blood pressure and asthma exacerbation.
The study will concentrate on residents living partially or completely within the land area underneath the flight paths used most frequently by aircraft including during takeoff or landing, at altitudes lower than 10,000 feet.
In addition to Israel, the act has 15 other original co-sponsors, including U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) and U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing).
The Congressional Quiet Skies Caucus, co-founded by Israel and Meng, aims to bring more attention and awareness to the effects of airplane noise, hold the FAA accountable to residents’ concerns and come up with substantive legislative and administration solutions to mitigate the noise. Its members come from throughout the country.
“I have spearheaded and supported numerous initiatives to combat this problem and I’m pleased to back Congressman Lynch’s legislation as well,” Meng said. “Examining the health impacts of flight paths is an important component in our fight to reduce noise and hold the FAA accountable.”
Crowley said the borough’s airports “will never be perfect neighbors, but we can help make them better ones.”
“This legislation will go a long way in giving us the information we need to help people whose lives are disrupted by the roar of airplanes,” he said. “I’m proud to join Congressman Lynch and my colleagues in this effort.”
Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour