Tag Archives: Silent Skies Act

Op-ed: Making Silent Skies a reality


| oped@queenscourier.com

CONGRESSMEMBER JOSEPH CROWLEY

Anyone who lives here in Queens can tell you just how loud and disruptive the noise of airplanes can be. Millions of Americans throughout the country, including those who live in the communities surrounding LaGuardia and JFK Airports are impacted by constant, thunderous engine noise all day long. The sound isn’t merely a nuisance – it disrupts sleep, distracts students in our community’s schools and drowns out the joys of daily life.

The problem of excessive noise from airplanes flying over our communities has always been a hard nut to crack. Planes usually have a limited number of options for approaching and departing from runways. These flight paths can change based on many varying conditions in weather, winds and congestion. Especially in the crowded skies over our densely-populated city, there are precious few places airplanes can fly where they won’t be heard by some community.

But there’s one way to resolve this problem to the benefit of all our communities: make airplanes quieter.

In 2006, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued regulations requiring all new aircraft designs to meet Stage 4 noise standards, which is a considerably lower decibel level than those currently in use. While these new rules were a significant step toward improving the quality of life for those who live near airports, they did not go far enough. The FAA did nothing to make sure airlines would begin to phase out older, louder airplanes or retrofit them with quieter engines.

Last week, I introduced legislation to fix that.

My bill, the Silent Skies Act, will require airlines to begin stocking their fleets with newer, quieter aircraft. In order to introduce quieter planes into the market, the bill mandates that the FAA issue regulations by the end of 2015 forcing airlines to begin updating their fleets to meet Stage 4 noise standards. Fleets will have to be updated at a rate of 25 percent every five years, so that all commercial airplanes meet these quieter standards by no later than 2035.

But, we can’t stop there. We can’t just phase out today’s noisy planes and call it quits. We must push the envelope and try to develop technologies that make airplanes even quieter.

That’s why the Silent Skies Act will also create a fund to encourage research and development into these technologies. It will allow the FAA issue up to $10 million in grants for developing better ways to help meet or exceed Stage 4 noise standards. In return, companies that benefit from the program will be asked to pay the money back, using the profits they made on their new engines.

When talking with my constituents about aircraft noise pollution in our communities, I always say our airports will never be perfect neighbors, but we can certainly make them better ones. The truth is our airports are only getting busier. New York will continue to be a destination for more and more people. And that’s a good thing for our local economy. But, that doesn’t mean our communities need to sacrifice their quality of life.

The Silent Skies Act is just the kind of approach we can take to make life better not just for the residents of Queens, but also for so many other communities near airports around the country.

Crowley represents New York’s 14th Congressional District, stretching from Pelham Bay to Elmhurst.

 

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Pols introduce bill in Congress to alleviate airplane noise


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

The skies over Queens and the rest of the country may soon be quieter.

Congressmember Joe Crowley gathered with state and local elected officials, advocates and community members Friday to announce the introduction of the Silent Skies Act bill that will work to alleviate airplane noise pollution in neighborhoods surrounding LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy International airports.

The new legislation will require the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to implement regulations by the end of 2015 demanding commercial aircrafts to go from Stage 3 noise standards to Stage 4 noise standards, reducing the sound by 10 decibels.

“Airports can never be perfect neighbors, but we can take steps to make them better neighbors,” said Crowley. “While commercial aircraft can never be truly silent, we can make sure they are less disruptive to the families who live nearby and improve the quality of life in our communities, not just here in Queens but throughout the country.”

Advocates for the reduction of airplane noise say the loud engines disrupt sleep, distract students and drown out the noise of everyday life.

Although the FAA issued regulations that required all new commercial aircraft designs to meet these new noise standards, the new introduced legislation would also have the FAA phase out older and louder aircraft.

The Silent Skies Act will now require the FAA to bring in quieter engines at a rate of 25 percent of an airline’s planes every five years, with all commercial airlines meeting the new noise standards by 2035.

“Recent changes in flight procedures have caused constant, intolerable noise in wide area of our New York/New Jersey metro area,” said Janet McEneaney, president of Queens Quiet Skies. “For too long, the interests of residents here were not considered when aviation procedures were planned.”

The new bill, if passed, would also encourage the research and development of quieter engine technologies through authorizing a new grant program.

“It’s time for our needs to be considered,” said McEneaney. “We remind you the skies belong to all of us, not just some of us.”

Hundreds of residents in northeast Queens have pushed for noise control after the FAA approved a new flight pattern last December that brought on a large amount of low-flying planes over their neighborhoods.

“Silent skies should not just be for first class passengers,” said Crowley.

The FAA said it does not comment on proposed legislation.

The number of people in the United States who are open to significant aircraft noise has dropped by 90 percent since 1975, according to the FAA. This decrease is due to mainly reductions in aircraft noise and phase-outs of older, noisier aircraft.

 

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