Opinion

(Editor's note: The following was sent to Supervisor Kaiman and is printed here at the writer's request.)

Thank you for your ongoing support in addressing the pervasive problem of helicopter traffic in communities throughout Long Island. As you know, this is a significant issue for communities such as North Hempstead. I hope that by working together with committed officials such as yourself we can alleviate this burden for our constituents.

For too long, Long Islanders have been forced to deal with excessively loud and disruptive helicopter noise. Due to lax regulations, helicopters often fly at extraordinarily low altitudes over densely populated areas. In 2000, the NRDC calculated that more than 140,000 helicopters flew over the New York area annually. In the last several years, the problem has worsened, and I frequently hear from constituents from western Nassau communities, such as Floral Park, to Eastern Suffolk communities, such as Mattituck. I understand, too, that your office received a high volume of complaints in recent months, particularly from the Port Washington and Great Neck areas.

As you know, I have pressed the FAA to take such sorely needed action as mandating minimum altitude floors and delineating specific helicopter corridors. However, the FAA has failed to adequately address these concerns.

Because of this inaction, I have recently introduced new legislation requiring the FAA to immediately conduct a comprehensive study of helicopter traffic over Long Island, to catalogue its effect on residential communities, including potential safety hazards, and to report back to Congress within 90 days with recommendations about ways to abate the terrible noise and divert helicopters away from homes. It will also require the FAA to study the possibility of requiring helicopter lanes over Long Island and whether or not to impose an altitude floor.

I appreciate your support and promise to continue to work to solve this problem.

Charles E. Schumer

United States Senator


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