JACKSON HEIGHTS — A lawmaker wants a federal environmental agency to take over efforts to fight airplane noise because the current overseer is "doing virtually nothing" to deal with it.
U.S. Rep. Grace Meng first introduced legislation in July that calls for the Environmental Protection Agency to take over work being done to mitigate noise in neighborhoods close to airports.
She's been vocal about the EPA stepping up its monitoring of noise for months, but now wants it to take over the whole process, currently handled by the Federal Aviation Administration.
"The FAA has failed the residents of Queens," she said, adding that the EPA is "better suited to handle the problem."
Her bill, the Quiet Communities Act of 2015, would bring back the EPA's Office of Noise Abatement and Control — which monitored noise issues until President Ronald Reagan defunded it in 1981, Meng said.
Airplane noise in Queens isn't new, the congresswoman pointed out.
But it's gotten worse since 2012, when the FAA implemented new flight paths.
These new routes, which are for airplanes departing LaGuardia, have increased the frequency of flights over residential neighborhoods in Queens and the substantial rise in aircraft noise has negatively impacted the quality of life for borough residents," she said.
The FAA and the Port Authority monitor noise complaints and are compiling data for upcoming studies on the impact to communities.
A DNAinfo analysis of months of complaints found Jackson Heights residents logged them the most, tallying thousands of gripes since 2014.
The FAA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.