QUIETER SKIES ON THE HORIZON FOR NEW YORKERS-- REP. MALONEY'S MEASURE TO TARGET HELICOPTER NOISE PASSES IN THE HOUSE
Maloney's language urges the Secretary of Transportation to conduct a study "on the effects of nonmilitary helicopter noise on individuals in densely populated areas" in the U.S. and to "develop recommendations for the reduction of the effects of nonmilitary helicopter noise." The language is part of the Aviation spending bill, which has now passed in final form in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate, and will be signed into law by the President with in ten days.
Maloney said of today's victory, "New Yorkers are bombarded by noise every day. Hundreds of thousands of helicopters fly over the city each year. We can no longer afford this helicopter flight free-for-all. Helicopter noise has increased 23% over Manhattan since 1991. Today's legislative win will protect New Yorkers' quality of life and health."
New York City's heliports currently report more than 150,000 takeoffs and landings each year. More than half of those flights originate at the 30th Street heliport, slated to close in mid 2001, and the displaced traffic is expected to move to heliports in lower Manhattan. Also, a significant number of helicopter flights originate outside New York City and remain uncounted. Maloney stated, "We need to move beyond anecdotal evidence and start to develop statistics that reflect the true volume of helicopter traffic and the degree of noise that New Yorkers live with on a daily basis."
Maloney took legislative action after a federal judge struck down a New York City ordinance that restricted flights from heliports, ruling that the federal government has sole power to regulate air traffic. The FAA has always declined to address New York's noise concerns, maintaining that Congress had not given it the authority to regulate helicopter traffic for any reason other than safety. Maloney's legislation provides the impetus for the effective regulation of helicopter noise.
In addition, New Yorker's had another legislative victory in today's FAA authorization bill. Maloney, and her colleagues in the Queens Congressional delegation, were successful in including language in the Aviation spending bill which extends the High Density Rule (HDR) for New York, limiting the number of airplanes taking-off and landing (also known as "slots"), at LaGuardia and Kennedy Airports.
The Maloney language included in H.R. 1000:
SEC. 747. NONMILITARY HELICOPTER NOISE. (a) In General.--The Secretary shall conduct a study--
(1) on the effects of nonmilitary helicopter noise on individuals in densely populated areas in the continental United States; and
(2) to develop recommendations for the reduction of the effects of nonmilitary helicopter noise.
(b) Focus.--In conducting the study, the Secretary shall focus on air traffic control procedures to address helicopter noise problems and shall take into account the needs of law enforcement. (c) Consideration of Views.--In conducting the study, the Secretary shall consider the views of representatives of the helicopter industry and organizations with an interest in reducing nonmilitary helicopter noise.
(d) Report.--Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall transmit to Congress a report on the results of the study conducted under this section.