For years, Queens residents living near LaGuardia and JFK airports have been subjected to excessive airplane noise. But recently, Congresswoman Grace Meng introduced legislation to continue the effort to reduce noise levels in these areas.
Meng’s legislation would aid residential areas by requiring that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) lower the standard in which it determines acceptable noise levels, also known as Day-Night Average Sound Level (DNL).
DNL is the average noise level over a 24-hour period with an applied penalty of 10 decibels when measuring noise level between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. Currently, the DNL is 65 and the law would require the FAA to bring it down to 60 and develop a plan to bring it down to 55 within 10 years.
The DNL standard has been at the same level since 1970s when the country had a lower air traffic volume than it does today. The measuring system was the result of a transportation noise survey, after which the FAA established a DNL of 65.
Lowering the DNL would mitigate excessive airplane noise that has plagued Queens and other communities around the country. The law would also allow more residents to qualify for federal sound insulation programs, which would reduce noise pollution in their homes.
“Queens residents need relief from the blistering sounds of airplane noise over our borough, and lowering the DNL would help combat the problem,” said Meng, a founder and former co-chair of the Congressional Quiet Skies Caucus. “It is unacceptable that excessive noise continues to affect quality of life in our communities. I urge all of my colleagues to support this legislation so that we can alleviate the impact that aircraft noise has on my constituents, and those impacted in other parts of the country. We deserve relief!”
The FAA is currently working to evaluate alternative sound measuring metrics to the DNL following a provision that Meng helped pass into law. Her measure would require the agency to inform affected communities of these alternative methods once its study is complete.