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New York quiet skies caucus members secure provision in Omnibus bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Reps. Grace Meng (D-Queens), Tom Suozzi (D-L.I./Queens), Joe Crowley (D-Queens/Bronx), Greg Meeks (D-Queens), Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn/Queens) and Kathleen Rice (D-L.I.), members of the Congressional Quiet Skies Caucus, announced today that they have secured a provision in the newly enacted omnibus appropriations bill which directs the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to examine new methods of measuring aircraft noise in order to reduce the impact of excessive airplane noise over their districts.

The provision directs the FAA to continue evaluating alternative metrics to the Day-Night Average Sound Level (DNL) 65, the current national standard at which the agency determines acceptable levels of aircraft noise. Additionally, the provision directs the FAA to evaluate other methods to address community airplane noise concerns, and encourages the FAA to make these recommendations based on actual noise levels. Presently, measuring the impact of noise relies heavily on modeling and simulations to determine “annoyance” levels of aircraft noise over communities, and rarely takes into account actual noise on the ground.

“The metric of 65 DNL has long been outdated and does not adequately measure the true impact of aircraft noise,” said Rep. Meng. “That is why it’s time to for the FAA reevaluate it. The blistering sounds of airplane noise in Queens continues to negatively impact the quality of life of borough residents, and looking at a more accurate measurement of noise effects would go a long way towards creating quieter skies over our communities. I look forward to seeing what other metrics the FAA proposes.”

“Queens and Long Island residents deserve to live in peace and quiet,” said Rep. Suozzi. “This provision will require the FAA to take important steps in addressing noise reduction so people are not bombarded at all hours of the day and night. As co-chair of the Quiet Skies Caucus, I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure the FAA is doing its part to tackle this issue and make a concerted effort to reduce airplane and helicopter noise across the country.”

“I’m deeply concerned about the long-term impact noise pollution has on the health and well-being of my neighbors in Queens and the Bronx,” said Rep. Crowley, Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. “Our communities have been burdened with a barrage of noise from airplanes and helicopters because of our proximity to two major airports, and this provision will help us better understand and curb the impact of noise pollution. It is important that the FAA realize the serious effects that noise pollution has our communities and take further steps to reduce these inconveniences.”

“The science on this topic is clear: the 65 DNL threshold is not a sufficient measure to protect Americans,” said Rep. Meeks. “But it doesn’t take a scientist to understand that current noise levels are simply too high in communities around our airports. I eagerly await the FAA’s findings on alternative metrics, and I know many of my constituents do, as well. It is long past time for the FAA to route flight paths more thoughtfully.”

“Deafening airplane noise that incessantly pollutes many neighborhoods in New York City is an unacceptable scourge that must be corrected,” said Rep. Jeffries. “We have committed ourselves to taking up that fight. The FAA must find an effective solution to this problem. This appears to be a step in the right direction.”

“It’s clear that the current metric to determine acceptable levels of airplane noise is flawed,” said Rep. Rice. “Long Islanders have long endured disruptive airplane noise and I am hopeful that the FAA’s reevaluation will lead to quieter skies for all.”

The omnibus appropriations bill was signed into law on March 23.

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