Aviation serves people, while also providing corporations with a chance to make profits. So far this year, U.S. airlines have made more than $22 Billion in profits, and even with one quarter left to go, this is the most profitable year in industry history. During this same timeframe, people in communities across the nation – from Boston to Charlotte to Chicago to Phoenix and San Francisco and Seattle – have endured new NextGen routes that are lower and louder, all of which FAA insists are not significantly impactful.
Some of these impacted citizens have tried to protect their homes and quality of life. They go to the airport authority or to FAA seeking corrective actions, and they routinely get nothing but a run-around. When these people have gone to their elected officials for constituent support, they have mostly just gotten ‘hope’ that FAA will be reined in to do its job, a job which critically includes balancing air commerce with environmental impacts. So far, these concerned citizens are getting no relief; the NextGen noise impacts are continuing and getting worse.
We depend on federal regulators, in this case FAA, to provide safety and environmental oversight of industries, in this case the airline industry. So, what happens when the regulator is in fact no longer regulating, but instead is a ‘captured agency’ serving as a partner to aid the industry? The balance is lost, and the nation is no longer served. With NextGen, we have FAA enabling the airlines to abandon decades-old noise abatement procedures. Controllers are now directing airline pilots to turn lower and closer to runways, just to add a mere fraction to the airline profit sheet … and indifferent to the destruction they are causing over entire neighborhoods. This includes neighborhoods in the New York City area.
Aviation Noise Activism in the New York City Area
There are many people in Queens and western Long Island acting on their concerns about aviation noise. One of these people, Len Schaier (with quietskies.net), recently shared this letter:
This pop-out view is scrollable, and the PDF copy may be downloaded.
Another good example of activism in the NYC area is Aircraft Noise over Nassau County, an online discussion thread going back to December 2008. The thread includes opinions on both sides (yeah, the insensitive ‘I love noise!’ types chime in too, to offer their hostile comments), and helps people to share insights into problems as well as solutions.
There are now many noise activist groups in the NYC area, including:
- PlaneSense4LI – Long Island
- StoptheChopNYNJ.org – Manhattan
- quietskies.net – Port Washington
- ProspectParkQuietSkies.org – Prospect Park
- Queens Quiet Skies – Queens
- East Queens Alliance – a civic group in Queens
These groups (and the online forum) are a good start. They empower people against a very frustrating problem. They facilitate coordination needed to address the problems FAA is imposing with NextGen. They showcase the resourcefulness of good people who act responsibly, taking care to protect their homes, their families, and their investments. They help us to work together – to learn, and to solve problems.
But, this activism is just a start. It appears that the airline industry and their lobbyists have fully captured FAA, and that this ‘collaborative team’ is working feverishly to remove all environmental restrictions that might interfere with the industry’s all-time record profits. And, based on the news reports in the past few weeks, it looks like the ‘collaborative team’ is pushing to get Congress to hurriedly pass the Reauthorization, perhaps even months ahead of the March 2016 target. This would be a grave mistake. We need help from Congress; not just in the NYC area, but across the entire nation.
Please do YOUR Part: Speak Up for Local Control, to Protect Peace & Quiet in YOUR Community
At every community, we need to somehow engage our elected officials to do their job, which in this example includes pressing FAA to serve the nation, not just the airlines. We can easily follow the example being shown around western Long Island.
Make sure your elected officials are aware of your concerns. Contact them. Tell them what they need to do, to help you, your family, your neighbors. And demand they hold FAA accountable.
Here’s a website where you can get phone numbers and online contact forms for each Senator and Representative elected to serve your community:
For any state: http://www.contactingthecongress.org/
- NextGenNoise.org – An excellent collection of links to videos across the U.S., related to NextGen, FAA Arrogance, and other problems.