Governmental leaders from all over Nassau County gathered to announce a joint petition against the (FAA). (Photo courtesy of Hempstead Supervisor Don Clavin)

Town Of North Hempstead Leads Petition

North Hempstead joins state leaders to combat low-flying planes, deafening air traffic noise, air pollution, and more

From the left: State Senator Jack Martins and Town Councilman Edward Scott joined North Hempstead Town Supervisor Jennifer DeSena. (Photo courtesy of the Office of Supervisor DeSena)

Standing in front of a residential Floral Park home, alongside governmental leaders from all over Nassau County, North Hempstead Town Supervisor Jennifer DeSena joined Town of Hempstead Supervisor Don Clavin to announce a joint petition against the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on behalf of residents living near airports who are contending with low-flying planes, deafening air traffic noise, air pollution, and other aeronautical disturbances. 

The petition urges the FAA to study and explore alternative air routes. If the FAA does not respond to the petition within 90 days, an official lawsuit will be filed against the government agency.

“Many neighbors ask me when we’re finally going to do something about the inescapable nuisance of airplane noise,” she said. “I’m happy to report that the time is now. We are fed up with our outdoor gatherings with family and friends being ruined. This summer should be the last in which we keep looking up and shouting over each other. It’s time to hold the FAA accountable for their negligence.”

Planes flew overhead as the petition was announced, emphasizing the goals of the Officials. (Photo courtesy of Supervisor Clavin)

“I stand firm in our demand for action from the Federal Aviation Administration,” said Assemblyman Ari Brown on a recent Facebook Post. “Our Long Island families deserve better than the constant noise and air pollution caused by airplane traffic, and it’s time the FAA stops ignoring their responsibilities.”

The weeks surrounding the 4th of July holiday are considered the busiest travel time of the year, with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) estimating that a record-breaking 38 million people will be taking flights across the United States.

Indeed, area residents will experience a dramatic increase in overhead flights, expecting an average of 1 plane every 90 seconds on Flight Path 22 L/R, the common flight path taken to JFK Airport.

Planes traveling along this flight path fly below 3,000 feet from Roslyn to JFK Airport, eventually dropping below 2,000 feet over these neighborhoods. This creates deafening noise and hazardous air pollution over an area that is home to more than a million residents.

The officials noted this area is long overdue for an environmental review, as the last one was conducted in 2017 and there has been a 50 percent increase in flights over the area since that time.

“Despite numerous requests, the FAA has failed to conduct a comprehensive environmental review of the impacts on our residents,” said Assemblyman Brown. “If the FAA continues to neglect the well-being of our communities, we are ready to take legal action to safeguard our quality of life. Enough is enough.”

According to the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, the FAA is required to conduct an environmental review or secure a categorical exclusion to continue utilizing the flight path. The officials outlined that neither action has taken place, and the FAA’s negligence to area homeowners has reached a boiling point.

Given the unchecked increase in flights with no regard to their noise and environmental pollution, Supervisor DeSena has joined other local leaders in jointly submitting a petition to the FAA to study these impacts. Further, the officials implored the FAA to study alternative flight paths to reduce the negative impact on area residents.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that aircrafts traveling lower than 3,000 feet can cause air pollution. This pollution includes potentially dangerous toxins such as carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, sulfur dioxides, and other trace compounds – especially during take-off and landing.

Studies have shown that communities in and around this flight path – including Valley Stream, Hempstead, Inwood, and West Hempstead – have a higher-than-normal rate of asthma, stomach cancer, and prostate cancer, all linked to exposure to aircraft emissions. Reiterated by the officials, these sentiments have been expressed numerous times throughout the years by the Town-Village Aircraft Safety & Noise Abatement Committee (TVASNEC), an integral committee that identifies and relays aeronautical issues.

“I’ve been fighting this fight for nearly 15 years and it’s only getting worse,” said State Senator Jack Martins. “I can tell you that the FAA has a long history of ignoring our community’s pleas for assistance. They don’t want to study the issue because they’re afraid of the consequences. They’d rather keep our families at risk and willfully close their eyes to the problem than pursue meaningful solutions.”

“Our town’s residents deserve better,” said Supervisor DeSena. “The FAA has a responsibility to seriously explore a fairer distribution of flight paths. We can no longer absorb the brunt of this.”

Information provided by the Town of North Hempstead. 

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