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Queens Chronicle

Meng concerned about FAA flight plan

Rep vows to oppose initiative if it increases airplane noise for Queens

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Posted: Thursday, June 16, 2016 10:30 am

Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing) will oppose a Federal Aviation Administration initiative that would include a plan for Newark Airport to use another runway for incoming flights if it results in more airplane noise for Queens, she announced last Thursday.

“I am dismayed at the possibility of more aircraft noise over Queens,” the congresswoman said in a prepared statement. “In 2012, new flight patterns over Queens slapped increased airplane noise over our borough, a move that continues to ruin quality of life for Queens residents.”

Meng wrote a letter about her stance to the FAA. It was signed by Reps. Joe Crowley (D-Bronx, Queens), Steve Israel (D-Suffolk, Nassau, Queens), Gregory Meeks (D-Queens, Nassau) and Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn, Queens). All of them are members of the Quiet Skies Caucus in Congress.

According to a study by the Harvard School of Public Health, airplane noise exposure can result in an increased risk for being hospitalized due to cardiovascular disease for older people.

“We will not accept any new noise and we’ll do everything in our power — legislative and otherwise — to fight this plan should it negatively impact our borough,” Meng added. “The FAA must immediately clarify whether this new plan for Newark Airport will cause any new aircraft noise over Queens.”

Warren Schreiber, vice chairman for the New York Community Aviation Roundtable’s coordinating committee, also expressed worry about the possibility of the borough receiving an even higher burden of airplane noise.

“We should not be impacted by flights that are going to Newark Airport,” said Schreiber.

JFK and LaGuardia airports, he added, are already burden enough for residents of Queens. “I applaud Representative Meng,” the Bay Terrace activist said.

The plan will not directly impact Queens; it will not make more planes fly over it. But according to Susan Carroll, a Flushing resident who advocates for quieter skies, it could result indirectly in an increase in noise for borough residents.

“It poses a potential airspace conflict with a popular landing route into LaGuardia,” Carroll said, adding that it could “potentially increase” the use of a plane route into LaGuardia over Queens at low altitudes.

When asked by the Chronicle if the flight plan would increase airplane noise for Queens, FAA spokesman Jim Peters did not answer the question, saying “We’ll respond directly to the congressional representatives.”

However, according to Meng, the agency has been less than forthcoming.

“My office has been in contact with the FAA about this plan but they had no clear answer on whether or not it would create any new aircraft noise over Queens,” the congresswoman said in an emailed statement. “That is why we initiated the letter — to get clarification and answers, and to make it clear that we oppose this initiative should it negatively impact our borough.”

According to Queens Quiet Skies President Janet McEneaney, the issue highlights the need for an airport roundtable that includes Newark Airport because the facility’s flight paths affect JFK and LaGuardia.

“Nothing will change unless we have one roundtable,” McEneaney said.

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