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by Arline L. Bronzaft, Ph.D., Board of Directors, GrowNYC, and Co-founder, The Quiet Coalition

On December 31, 2020, Congresswoman Eleanor Norton Holmes (D-DC), co-chair of the Quiet Skies Caucus, and Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-CA) wrote to then President-Elect Biden, copying then Secretary of Transportation nominee Pete Buttigieg, stressing the need for the president to appoint officials to the Federal Aviation Agency who will develop ways to solve aircraft noise impacts. Congresswoman Norton has been in the forefront in advocating for reduced aircraft and helicopter noise, recognizing that such noise is detrimental to health and well-being. The literature to support her statements that aviation noise disrupts sleep, exacerbates high blood pressure and impedes learning in schools continues to grow. Yet, as Congresswoman Norton notes, the FAA has not yet committed itself to explore inventive ways to reduce noise impacts.

Millions of Americans around the country have had their lives intruded upon by overhead aircraft noise but still the FAA continues to downplay the adverse effects of noise on their health. Congresswoman Norton recognizes that members of Congress fly and says they appreciate the efforts of the FAA to maintain a safe and efficient airspace but goes on to say that the FAA could still work towards a quieter airspace. Our airspace should be safe, efficient and quieter!

Congresswoman Norton’s letter was signed by a number of Congresspersons but for this letter to send a strong message to President Biden, we need more members of congress to speak out and to join the anti-aircraft noise groups nationwide that are becoming even more vocal about reducing aircraft noise.

I also urge readers of this site to reach out to their own representatives and ask them to learn more about the detrimental effects of noise so that they, too, can become part of the worldwide movement to lessen the “din in our environment.”