PLANE PAIN!

Residents living near JFK and LaGuardia airports are concerned that the constant noise from planes flying over their homes is having potentially damaging effects on their health.  Tonight, meet the Long Island legislator who’s seeking out answers and options.

Aired on June 17, 2019 and August 22, 2019.

TRANSCRIPT

GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M RAFAEL PI RAMON.

RESIDENTS HAVE HAD ENOUGH FROM THE LOUD NOISE OF PLANES CONSTANTLY FLYING OVER THEIR HOMES.

THAT ACCORDING TO A PAIR OF STATE LAWMAKERS WHO SAY THEIR OFFICES HAVE BEEN FLOODED WITH COMPLAINTS ABOUT THE NOISE AND HAVE INTRODUCED A BILL IN THE STATE LEGISLATOR TO ADDRESS THE ISSUE.

JOINING US NOW IS ONE OF THE COAUTHORS OF THAT BILL, ASSEMBLY WOMAN JUDY GRIFFIN WHOSE LONG ISLAND DISTRICT IS IMPACTED BY THE AIR TRAFFIC.

ASSEMBLY WOMAN GRIFFIN, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US TODAY.

MY PLEASURE.

SO, ASSEMBLY WOMAN, YOU HAVE SAID THAT THIS EXCESSIVE DAILY NOISE OF AIR TRAFFIC IS, QUOTE, A NUISANCE THAT HAS CONTINUED UNABATED FOR DECADES.

SO IF IT HAS LASTED FOR DECADES, WHY THIS LEGISLATION NOW?

WHAT HAS TRIGGERED IT?

WELL, I THINK JUDGING FROM THE AMOUNT OF COMPLAINTS THAT WE GET ON A REGULAR BASIS, IT'S PEOPLE HAVE LIVED IN THIS AREA.

A LOT OF -- YOU LIVE CLOSE TO AN AIRPORT, YOU CAN EXPECT SOME NOISE.

SURE.

BUT THE PROBLEM IS THERE ARE PEOPLE THAT HAVE LIVED THERE FOR 30 YEARS, 20 YEARS, AND ONLY MAYBE IN THE LAST FIVE TO TEN YEARS HAVE THERE BEEN HIGHER FREQUENCY, HAVE THERE BEEN MORE PLANES.

MAYBE SOME OF IT IS LOW-FLYING CARGO PLANES THAT CREATE MORE NOISE AS WELL.

SO IT'S A PROBLEM THAT HAS REALLY GOTTEN OUT OF HAND NOW AND THERE IS A CERTAIN DECIBEL LEVEL THAT AIRPLANE NOISE SHOULD BE UNDER.

AND WHAT WE DO KNOW IS IT DEFINITELY ARE PERIODS OF THE DAY IT IS HIGHER, AND WE HAVE CONSTITUENTS -- THERE WAS ONE MAN LIVING IN LYNN BROOK WHERE HIS WHOLE HOUSE SHAKES FROM THE VIBRATION.

AND THERE ARE PEOPLE, YOU KNOW, THEY CANNOT SLEEP, SO THEY'RE SLEEP DEPRIVED.

YOU KNOW, PEOPLE FEELING SICK, LIKE THERE'S ALL KINDS OF -- SUCH A BIG IMPACT THAT THIS DOES MAKE.

AND SO WHY WE WANT THIS LEGISLATION IS WE WANT AN ACCURATE STUDY DONE THAT REALLY REFLECTS THE ACCURATE LEVEL OF NOISE.

SO WHAT WE'VE HAD SO FAR IS THEY AVERAGE THE NOISE.

SO IF A PLANE EXCEEDS THE DECIBEL LEVEL, LET'S SAY IN THE MORNING, THEN MAYBE AT 2:00 THERE IS A PLANE THAT DOESN'T EXCEED IT.

SO THEY PUT THAT ALL IN AND THEN THEY HAVE AN AVERAGE FOR THE DAY AND CONVENIENTLY THEY CAN SAY, OH, YOU KNOW, THIS MEETS THE STANDARD.

IT'S NOT GOING ABOVE THE DECIBEL NOISE.

SO WHY WE WANT THE LEGISLATION, I HAVE INTRODUCED IT IN THE ASSEMBLY, JIM GORAN HAS INTRODUCED IT IN THE SENATE.

WHY WE WANT THIS LEGISLATION, WHY WE FEEL IT IS IMPORTANT, WE WANT A STUDY THAT ACCURATELY MEASURES THE NOISE LEVEL AND THEN THAT WAY WE HAVE SOMETHING TO GO WITH.

IT'S A STARTING POINT FOR THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO MAYBE MAKE CHANGES.

SO THE LEGISLATION -- LET ME GET THIS RIGHT.

THE LEGISLATION IS SIMPLY ASKING FOR A STUDY OF THE NOISE LEVELS, CORRECT?

YES.

SO FAR THERE IS A LOT OF SUPPORT FOR IT.

THERE'S A LOT OF NEIGHBORING DISTRICTS, I'M IN ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 21, WHICH RUNS FROM FREEPORT TO THE EDGE OF MALVERN -- I'M SORRY, VALLEY STRIEM.

IT INCLUDES PART OF VALLEY STREAM, PART OF LYNN BROOK.

BUT ALL OF THAT IS VERY MUCH AFFECTED BY THE NOISE.

AND SO -- BUT THEN THERE'S NEIGHBORING DISTRICTS THAT ARE ALSO HAVE THE NOISE.

THESE HIGH NOISE LEVELS.

AND A LOT OF THOSE ASSEMBLY MEMBERS AND STATE SENATORS WILL ALSO BE ON THESE TWO BILLS IN BOTH THE ASSEMBLY AND THE SENATE.

SO THERE IS A LOT OF INTEREST.

THERE'S A LOT OF BIPARTISAN INTEREST.

SO, I MEAN, I'M HOPEFUL THAT IT CAN ADVANCE AND, YOU KNOW, I KNOW IN MY DISTRICT WHERE I REPRESENT ALL OF MALVERN, ALL OF LYNN BROOK, THOSE AREAS, DEPENDING WHERE YOU LIVE, ARE REALLY IMPACTED BY THE NOISE LEVEL.

AND ALTHOUGH I REPRESENT PART OF VALLEY STREAM, VALLEY STREAM IS HIT VERY HARD BY THE NOISE LEVEL.

I ONLY REPRESENT A SMALL PART OF HUGH LET, BUT THE FIVE TOWNS, OF COURSE, IS AFFECTED.

THERE ARE OTHER AREAS ON LONG ISLAND THAT ARE AFFECTED BY THE NOISE LEVEL AS WELL.

JIM GORAN IS UP ON THE NORTH SHORE, BUT THERE IS -- HIS AREA IS ALSO IMPACTED BECAUSE OF THE WAY THEY REROUTE PLANES AND SUCH THAT THERE ARE VARIOUS AREAS ON LONG ISLAND THAT MAY NOT BE CLOSE TO AN AIRPORT, BUT THEY'RE STILL GETTING THE NOISE.

IF YOU LIVE IN NEW YORK, CHANCES ARE YOU'RE GOING TO BE LIVING NEAR AN AIRPORT.

THE AIRPORTS THAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT SPECIFICALLY ARE LAGUARDIA, JFK, RIGHT?

YES.

IT SEEMS LIKE AROUND THE SOUTHWESTERN SHORE OF NASSAU COUNTY, IT SEEMS LIKE WE HAVE MUCH MORE OF THE PLANES LEAVING JFK THAT IS PRESENTING THE ISSUES.

SO ASSEMBLY WOMAN, WE KEEP REFERRING TO THIS AS A NUISANCE.

BUT YOU HOLD, YOU BELIEVE IT IS MORE THAN A NUISANCE.

IT'S A HEALTH HAZARD.

WHAT KIND OF HEALTH HAZARD ARE WE TALKING S?

WELL, IF THE DECIBEL LEVEL IS OVER WHAT -- THERE IS A DECIBEL LEVEL THEY CONSIDER TO BE -- IT CAN'T PASS THAT LEVEL.

SO ONCE THE NOISE LEVEL IS BEING PASSED, YOU'RE DISTURBING BABIES, YOU'RE DISTURBING ELDERLY, YOU'RE DISTURBING ANYONE.

YOU KNOW, IF YOU'RE WAKING PEOPLE UP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT AND THEY CAN'T GET BACK TO SLEEP, THAT'S AN ISSUE.

NOT GETTING ENOUGH SLEEP IS A MAJOR HEALTH ISSUE.

MANY OF -- MUCH ILLNESS IS CAUSED JUST SIMPLY BY NOT GETTING ENOUGH SLEEP.

AND THE AGGRAVATION, FEELING NERVOUS, ALL OF THAT IS INCLUDED.

BUT IN ADDITION TO THAT, IF THE PLANES ARE FLYING AT LOWER LEVELS, THERE IS ALSO AN IMPACT ON YOUR AIRWAYS.

SO THERE'S A LOT OF CHILDREN -- THERE'S A MEASURE DONE WHERE CHILDREN HAVE HIGHER LEVELS OF ASTHMA IN AREAS WHERE THERE IS A LOT OF LOW-LYING PLANES AND ALL.

SO THERE IS AN ISSUE FOR THAT.

BUT JUST DEALING WITH THE NOISE ALONE, IT IS CREATED A GREAT DEAL OF ANXIETY FOR MANY OF THESE HOMES WHERE PEOPLE LIVE WITH THIS CHRONIC NOISE ONGOING EVERY DAY.

AND SO FOR THAT, THAT IS -- THAT DOES BECOME A HEALTH ISSUE, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT'S ABOVE THE LEVEL.

YEAH, IT'S A NUISANCE IF IT'S JUST NOISY, BUT THEN WHEN IT'S ABOVE THE ACCEPTED LEVEL, THEN IT'S EVEN WORSE, AND THEN THAT REALLY IS GOING TO SERIOUSLY IMPACT YOUR HEALTH.

AND EVEN TO ANIMALS AS WELL.

SO, ASSEMBLY WOMAN, AS YOU MENTION AIR TRAFFIC IS UNDER FEDERAL JURISDICTION.

SO EVEN IF YOUR BILL PASSES AND THE STUDY IS CONDUCTED, WHAT CAN IT REALLY DO TO CHANGE THINGS?

WELL, I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT IF WE HAD A STUDY THAT SHOWS THERE IS A SIGNIFICANT ISSUE HERE.

AND IF THERE IS A SIGNIFICANT ISSUE THAT CAN BE PROVEN WITH THE STUDY, THEN WE CAN, WE CAN ASK FOR THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO COME IN AND MAKE SOME ADJUSTMENTS AND MAKE SOME CHANGES.

WITHOUT -- WITH THE EXISTING STUDY, BECAUSE THERE HAVE BEEN STUDIES DONE, BUT IT'S JUST THE AVERAGE.

SO NOW NO ONE HAS TO DO ANYTHING BECAUSE THEY CAN SAY, OH, IT DOESN'T EXCEED THE DECIBEL LEVEL.

SO IT'S JUST GOING TO BE A STARTING POINT IF WE CAN ACTUALLY WHOLEHEARTEDLY HAVE A STUDY THAT PROVES WHAT WE ALL KNOW TO BE TRUE.

WHAT'S THE TIME LINE WE'RE LOOKING AT HERE?

WHEN COULD THIS BILL BECOME A LAW?

WELL, IF THIS BILL BECOMES A LAW THIS SESSION, THEN WE WOULD LOOK TO DO THE STUDY -- AND I THINK IT WOULD BE PROBABLY THE STUDY WOULD TAKE PLACE IN 2020.

YOU KNOW, SOMEWHERE IN THAT TIME FRAME.

SO I HOPE THAT WE CAN HAVE THE BILL ADVANCE THIS SESSION.

AND THEN IF IT DIDN'T ADVANCE THIS SESSION, WE WOULD INTRODUCE IT NEXT SESSION.

SO HOPEFULLY IT WOULD ADVANCE THE SESSION.

WE COULD DO THE STUDY, AND THEN AT LEAST HAVE THAT INFORMATION READY.

ALL RIGHT.

WELL, ASSEMBLY WOMAN GRIFFIN, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US TODAY TO TALK ABOUT THIS.

YOU'RE WELCOME.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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