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By Bob Harris

It has fallen on the shoulders of eight lawmakers to fight the airplane noise and pollution caused by jet airplanes in Queens. U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Congresswoman Grace Meng; state Sens. Toby Stavisky, Tony Avella and Joe Addabbo Jr.,; state Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz; and City Councilman Peter Koo make up the eight. While other legislators may be involved in the battle, I have not seen their names in the papers recently, so pardon any omissions.

The struggle is supposed to be led by roundtables associated with our local airports consisting of representatives from the FAA, Port Authority of NY and NJ, community leaders, local legislators, and aviation industry members, but the roundtables are not functioning in New York City, so our legislators have taken up the fight.

For years roundtables have been operating at airports around the United States and this is what is supposed to be happening here in the New York Metropolitan Area. Regretfully, some borough leaders either want one roundtable for the whole New York area or one roundtable for each of the three airports and are preventing the formation of any roundtables as well as anything from happening. There are enough Queens civic leaders who can provide solutions if they can only cooperate.

About 50 sound monitors provide what the noise levels are like in each community in our metropolitan area. A new one in Fresh Meadows, in my own backyard, monitors the noise level of the Whitestone Climb when planes taking off from La Guardia Airport every minute or so belly up and soar into the sky. With all this information, the FAA in conjunction with lawmakers and Queens civic leaders should be able to work out a noise abatement program.

The issue of pollutants from aviation fuel is now being discussed with the plan of having the Environmental Protection Agency regulate the problem of noise and pollutants, too.. Do you know that airplanes coming in for a landing release excess fuel to eliminate a fire danger as they land yet the fuel floats down on our houses and lawns and into our lungs continuously?

The FAA permits the day-night sound average to be 65 decibels. Our legislators want it lowered to 55 decibels. There have been studies of the effect of airplane noise on our ability to exercise and maintain our health. It is time the government actually did things to maintain our health. Oh, helicopter noise is a noise which is under consideration as a problem to our health.

There are lots of statistics and several community activists on community boards and in groups such as Quiet Skies, which have been fighting for years to solve the problems. This is a nationwide issue so members of Congress from all over the country should be able to cooperate to limit the noise.

GOOD AND BAD
NEWS OF THE WEEK:

While charities and political parties are worthy of a contribution, the requests have gotten out of hand. We give to what we consider to be a few worthy charities. We do this in January or February so we know that during the rest of the year any further request for money is redundant. It is August and yet groups are still asking for money for different reasons. New groups make you feel that you gave in the past. Old groups have a different angle. After the four or fifth request it gets a little annoying.

Regretfully, our federal government gives subsidies of about $4 billion to the oil and gas companies so they can drill for polluting fossil fuels. These companies make billions of dollars in profit so they don’t need our subsidies. I have the nagging feeling that we are still giving subsidies to the tobacco industry. Could we be so stupid to do such a thing?

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