Elected officials representing northeast Queens at the state and federal level gathered in Bayside Tuesday to call on the Federal Aviation Administration to conduct environmental reviews when making changes to flight patterns.
U.S. Reps. Grace Meng, D-Flushing, and Steve Israel, D-Great Neck, joined State Sen. Tony Avella, D-Bayside, and state Assemblyman Edward Braunstein at Little Bay Park to insist that the FAA exempt LaGuardia and Kennedy Airports from a new rule that would allow the agency to change flight patterns without conducting reviews to determine how the procedures would affect local communities.
"It's bad for our quality of life and bad for our environment," Israel said. "New York City is the most congested airspace in the United States. This is not the time to say environmental reviews are unnecessary. We expect the FAA to be a good neighbor."
Northeast Queens residents have been complaining for more than a year about constant airplane noise over their communities after a new flight pattern was put into place at LaGuardia.
The FAA is currently taking comments from the public on its proposal to change flight patterns without environmental reviews. The deadline to submit a comment is Sept. 30.
"The agency has the chutzpah to broaden its policy on categorical exclusion, which would exempt it from environmental studies," Meng said. "It's a slap in the face to the people of Queens. Our borough does not deserve to be steamrolled by the FAA."
Drop by Patch later this afternoon to view a video of Meng and Israel discussing airplane noise in Queens.