House passes FAA bill with no airplane noise provision

By Gina Martinez

After advocating for regulations to control airplane noise in Queens, U.S Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing) has taken issue with the passage of the FAA Reauthorization Act. The measure, which passed the House Monday in a 90-4 vote, featured many reforms but notably absent were any provisions to mitigate airplane noise.

Meng is the founder and co-chair of the Congressional Quiet Skies Caucus. The group of representatives from all over the country seeks reform to reduce airplane noise, claiming it disrupts homes and businesses. They also believe it lowers the overall quality of life for citizens subjected to the sounds of passing aircraft each day. The caucus advocates for changing flight paths and more research on the possible long-term effects of being exposed to excessive aviation noise.

Airplane noise is a major issue in Queens, particularly in the northeast neighborhoods of the borough around LaGuardia Airport and around Kennedy Airport.

A previous version of the FAA Reauthorization bill included noise-related provisions, but it was not voted on.

“The absence of any measures to combat the problem of excessive aircraft noise is a huge disappointment,” Meng said. “I have consistently called for this important legislation to include provisions to mitigate airplane noise. This bill would have allowed for an opportunity to directly address the issue and the previous version of this legislation included ways to deal with it.”

She was also frustrated with how the legislation was brought to the House floor. She said members of the House were not allowed to offer input or raise concerns.

“It is also very unfortunate that this bill was rushed through while keeping House members out of the process,” she said “Queens and other affected communities continue to be bombarded by the roaring sounds of aircraft noise that constantly disrupt the quality of life in our neighborhoods. A solution must be reached and I will keep up the fight until we achieve one.”

The legislation expires in September 2017, meaning it will be over a year until any new proposals or amendments can be heard.