SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION'S EXPANDED EAST COAST PLAN
PLEASE NOTE: The following transcript is a portion of the official hearing record of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. Additional material pertinent to this transcript may be found on the web site of the Committee at [http://www.house.gov/transportation]. Complete hearing records are available for review at the Committee offices and also may be purchased at the U.S. Government Printing Office.
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TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED FOURTH CONGRESS
NOVEMBER 9, 1995
Printed for the use of the
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE
BUD SHUSTER, Pennsylvania, Chairman
DON YOUNG, Alaska
WILLIAM F. CLINGER, Jr., Pennsylvania
THOMAS E. PETRI, Wisconsin
SHERWOOD L. BOEHLERT, New York
HERBERT H. BATEMAN, Virginia
BILL EMERSON, Missouri
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCHOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
JOHN J. DUNCAN, Jr., Tennessee
SUSAN MOLINARI, New York
WILLIAM H. ZELIFF, Jr., New Hampshire
THOMAS W. EWING, Illinois
WAYNE T. GILCHREST, Maryland
Y. TIM HUTCHINSON, Arkansas
BILL BAKER, California
JAY KIM, California
STEPHEN HORN, California
BOB FRANKS, New Jersey
PETER I. BLUTE, Massachusetts
JOHN L. MICA, Florida
JACK QUINN, New York
TILLIE K. FOWLER, Florida
VERNON J. EHLERS, Michigan
SPENCER T. BACHUS, Alabama
JERRY WELLER, Illinois
ZACH WAMP, Tennessee
TOM LATHAM, Iowa
STEVEN C. LaTOURETTE, Ohio
ANDREA SEASTRAND, California
RANDY TATE, Washington
SUE KELLY, New York
RAY LaHOOD, Illinois
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCBILL MARTINI, New Jersey
DAN FRISA, New York
TODD TIAHRT, Kansas
RICHARD H. BAKER, Louisiana
JAMES L. OBERSTAR, Minnesota
NICK J. RAHALL II, West Virginia
ROBERT A. BORSKI, Pennsylvania
WILLIAM O. LIPINSKI, Illinois
ROBERT E. WISE, Jr., West Virginia
JAMES A. TRAFICANT, Jr., Ohio
PETER A. DeFAZIO, Oregon
BOB CLEMENT, Tennessee
JERRY F. COSTELLO, Illinois
PETE GEREN, Texas
GLENN POSHARD, Illinois
BUD CRAMER, Alabama
BARBARA-ROSE COLLINS, Michigan
ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON, District of Columbia
JERROLD NADLER, New York
PAT DANNER, Missouri
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey
JAMES E. CLYBURN, South Carolina
CORRINE BROWN, Florida
JAMES A. BARCIA, Michigan
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCBOB FILNER, California
EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON, Texas
BILL K. BREWSTER, Oklahoma
KAREN McCARTHY, Missouri
FRANK MASCARA, Pennsylvania
THOMAS C. SAWYER, Ohio
GENE TAYLOR, Mississippi
JUANITA MILLENDER-McDONALD, California
ELIJAH E. CUMMINGS, Maryland
SUBCOMMITTEE ON AVIATION
JOHN J. DUNCAN, Jr., Tennessee, Chairman
JERRY WELLER, Illinois, Vice-Chairman
WILLIAM F. CLINGER, Jr., Pennsylvania
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
WILLIAM H. ZELIFF, Jr., New Hampshire
THOMAS W. EWING, Illinois
Y. TIM HUTCHINSON, Arkansas
JAY KIM, California
VERNON J. EHLERS, Michigan
SPENCER T. BACHUS, Alabama
ANDREA SEASTRAND, California
RANDY TATE, Washington
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSUE KELLY, New York
RAY LaHOOD, Illinois
BILL MARTINI, New Jersey
BUD SHUSTER, Pennsylvania
WILLIAM O. LIPINSKI, Illinois
JERRY F. COSTELLO, Illinois
JAMES A. TRAFICANT, Jr., Ohio
PETER A. DeFAZIO, Oregon
BUD CRAMER, Alabama
BARBARA-ROSE COLLINS, Michigan
JERROLD NADLER, New York
PAT DANNER, Missouri
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey
JAMES E. CLYBURN, South Carolina
CORRINE BROWN, Florida
PETE GEREN, Texas
JAMES L. OBERSTAR, Minnesota
Dmytryszyn, Nicholas, Environmental Engineer, on behalf of Guy V. Molinari, Borough President, Staten Island
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Franks, Hon. Bob, a Representative in Congress from New Jersey
Frawley, Barbara, Member, Board of Directors, New Jersey Coalition Against Aircraft Noise (NJCAAN), accompanied by Glenn Bales, Consultant, New Jersey Citizens for Environmental Research
Frelinghuysen, Hon. Rodney P., a Representative in Congress from New Jersey
Gibson, Joan, Treasurer, New Jersey Coalition Against Aircraft Noise
Graser, Alfred J., General Manager, Aviation Technical Services Division, Aviation Department, the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey, accompanied by Thomas Bosco, Supervisor of Aeronautical Services
Hardie, E. Dennis, Chairman, Central Jersey EWR Runway 22 Coalition
Hinson, Hon. David, Administrator, Federal Aviation Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, accompanied by Louise Maillett, Deputy Assistant Administrator, Policy, Planning and International Aviation, James Washington, Deputy Director, Air Traffic Services, and Arlene Feldman, Eastern Region Administrator
Lowey, Hon. Nita M., a Representative in Congress from New York
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC McKeon, David J., Supervising Planner, County of Ocean, New Jersey on behalf of James F. Lacey, Deputy Director, Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders
Molinari, Hon. Susan, a Representative in Congress New York
Pallone, Hon. Frank, Jr., a Representative in Congress from New Jersey
Payne, Hon. Donald M., a Representative in Congress from New Jersey
Saxton, Hon. Jim, a Representative in Congress from New Jersey
Torricelli, Hon. Robert G., a Representative in Congress from New Jersey
Zimmer, Hon. Dick, a Representative in Congress from New Jersey
PREPARED STATEMENTS SUBMITTED BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
Frelinghuysen, Hon. Rodney P., of New Jersey
Payne, Hon. Donald M., of New Jersey
PREPARED STATEMENTS SUBMITTED BY WITNESSES
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Gibson, Joan
Graser, Alfred J
Hardie, E. Dennis
Hinson, Hon. David
Lacey, James F., (submitted by David J. McKeon)
Molinari, Guy V., (submitted by Nicholas Dmytryszyn)
SUBMISSIONS FOR THE RECORD
Frawley, Barbara, Member, Board of Directors, New Jersey Coalition Against Aircraft Noise (NJCAAN):
Summary Chronology of FAA and Citizen Responses Since the Enactment of the Aviation Safety and Capacity Act of 1990
The Port Authority's Review of the New Jersey Citizens' Aircraft Noise Routing Mitigation Proposal: The Evolution of a Public Controversy
Hinson, Hon. David, Administrator, Federal Aviation Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation:
Responses to post hearing questions from Rep. Oberstar
Responses to post hearing questions from Rep. Franks
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCResponses to post hearing questions from Rep. Menendez
Peterson, Hon. John A., Mayor, Borough of Seaside Park, Ocean County, NJ, statement submitted by Rep. Saxton
ADDITIONS TO THE RECORD
Costello, Hon. Jerry F., a Representative in Congress from Illinois
Goldenberg, Robert E. and Katherine S. Milne, statement
Hesselson, David and Suzanne Passavant, letter, November 6, 1995
Jurgensen, A.P., statement
McLean, C.D., Senior Vice President for Operations, Continental Airlines, statement
Roukema, Hon. Marge, a Representative in Congress from New Jersey
Ruth, Rodney, President, Citizens Air Rights, letter November 8, 1995
Letters submitted by Rep. Franks
THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION'S EXPANDED EAST COAST PLAN
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 1995
U.S. House of Representatives,
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure,
Subcommittee on Aviation,
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The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 9:01 a.m. in room 2167, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. John J. Duncan, Jr., (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Mr. DUNCAN. We're going to go ahead and call the subcommittee to order.
I want to welcome everybody here this morning. I'm told by the staff that this is our 18th hearing this year, and so the Subcommittee on Aviation has had a very active and busy year, and I'm pleased to say that we've had very good attendance at most of our hearings, but thisI'm not sure how many we'll have here today, because this seems to be primarily concentrated on issues of great concern to local areas, primarily New Jersey and New York. But at least we're holding this hearing at the request of several Members of Congress, particularly Mr. Franks.
The issue of aircraft noise is one that is of great interest and often a very controversial and difficult issue throughout the country.
More specifically, we will hear testimony today on the Federal Aviation Administration's Expanded East Coast Plan, which was implemented on February 12, 1987.
This plan, which is commonly referred to as the EECP, was a comprehensive revision of air traffic routes and air traffic procedures that affected tens of thousands of square miles of airspace over 19 States and the District of Columbia. We will discuss the impact of the EECP on two of the most affected States, New York and New Jersey.
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Obviously, this is a very important issue to New Jersey and New York. I think this is one of the largest, if not the largest, panel of Members of Congress to testify before this subcommittee. I think we have ten Members who have requested an opportunity to make a statement.
I think I can speak for every member of this subcommittee. We are all concerned and are all sensitive to the issue of aircraft noise. In fact, last week the full committee unanimously approved this subcommittee's bipartisan FAA reform legislation, H.R. 2276, which, among other things, would establish an aircraft noise ombudsman within the FAA.
Our colleague from New Jersey, Mr. Franks, offered this amendment and spoke strongly in favor of creating this very needed position.
Although we may hear some contrary testimony today from some, the fact is that, Nationwide, aircraft noise has been declining because of a law that we passed through this subcommittee in 1990 requiring that older, noisier stage two aircraft be replaced by quieter stage three aircraft. By the end of 1994, 66 percent of the U.S. aircraft fleet was stage three, or were modified to stage three levels, and by the year 2000 every U.S. aircraft should meet stage three requirements.
However, with the close proximity of New York's JFK and LaGuardia Airports, as well as New Jersey's Newark Airport, we have the most congested airspace in the Nation, which makes this a particularly difficult problem.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So, developing solutions to accommodate the citizens of New Jersey and those in neighboring New York, we must carefully review the FAA's proposal and its impact on these citizens.
We look forward to hearing today's testimony from our colleagues, the FAA, and those who have traveled from New York and New Jersey to share with us the impact that this Expanded East Coast Plan has had on their communities.
The Chair now recognizes the very fine ranking member of the subcommittee, Mr. Lipinski.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman, today's hearing on the FAA's Expanded East Coast Plan is, more than anything else, about aircraft and airport-related noise. Every member of the subcommittee who represents an airport faces problems similar to those raised in the case of New York and New Jersey. While the specific circumstances may be different, the feelings on each side of the conflict are always quite strong.
Representing the area around Chicago's Midway Airport, and living eight blocks away, myself, I am quite familiar with aircraft noise. At the same time, though, my neighbors and I recognize the importance of Midway Airport in creating jobs and providing other economic benefits to our area.
The positive impact of the resurgence of Midway Airport since Midway Airlines went under in 1991 is something that I cannot overlook.
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In the case of New York and New Jersey, there are a number of issues that will be raised today which relate to the process by which the Expanded East Coast Plan has been implemented and the role of the FAA in preparing the environmental impact statement.
As a Chicagoan, I was not as concerned as the Members who will testify this morning in the development of this plan; nevertheless, I look forward to hearing the testimony of today's witnesses and learning more about the situation in New Jersey and New York.
Questions about the process by which the FAA developed the EIS and responded to citizens' concerns have repercussions far beyond the geographical area at issue here today.
I look forward to hearing from my good friend, Administrator Hinson, this morning and to hearing his response to these concerns.
We have a full slate of witnesses before us this morning, so at this time, Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Lipinski.
Now I'm sure that I know that all the Members are extremely busy and all are in a hurry, but I'm sure that somebody is in a real bind for time, and so I'm going to let you choose the order in which you proceed, so whoever wants to can go first.
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Mr. FRANKS. Mr. Chairman, thank you very much for convening the hearing this morning.
Before I begin my statement, Mr. Chairman, I would ask that a small sampling of the letters I have received from constituents in more than 20 communities, some 33 letters that represent just a small percentage of the communication I received concerning this issue, be made a part of the record.
Mr. DUNCAN. They will be made a part of the record.
Mr. FRANKS. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate your holding this hearing that I requested on this important issue of aircraft noise over New Jersey and New York. This is the first Congressional hearing ever held in Washington on this matter since it became in issue over 8 years ago, and I believe a review of the FAA's handling of this debacle is long overdue.
Like tens of thousands of New Jersians, I was rudely introduced to this issue one morning back in 1987 when I began noticing a dramatic increase in noise from large jets streaming overhead. Soon afterwards, citizen groups sprang up all over New Jersey, with hopes of quickly restoring peace over our neighborhood skies.
Nearly a decade later and one disappointment after another, citizen groups are still working diligently on this issue.
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In retrospect, it has been a truly extraordinary effort, considering the amount of money and time that these citizen groups have spent battling their own Government.
Most impressive of all is New Jersey CAAN's attempt to develop an alternative air routing scheme that emphasizes flying planes over the ocean. I look forward to hearing this plan discussed later in the hearing.
Unfortunately, despite these valiant efforts by citizens' groups, the FAA has dragged its feet and consistently stonewalled or dismissed the people of New Jersey at every turn.
Less than a fortnight ago, the FAA again showed their contempt for the people of New Jersey by approving the long-awaited final environmental impact statement. After 5 years and a record cost of $6 million, the FEIS turned out to be hardly worth the wait.
It is simply appalling that, after all of this time, and the seemingly infinite resources at the FAA's disposal, this meager plan was the best the agency could put forward.
In total, the FAA's plan would deny relief from aircraft noise for most of New Jersey. While there is relief for the beleaguered 18,000 residents in Scotch Plains and Fanwood, there is little else. Nowhere in the FEIS is there relief for Westfield, Clark, Colonia, Cranford, Linden, or any other New Jersey community.
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In my view, the FEIS amounts to a cynical attempt by the FAA to pursue a ''divide and conquer'' strategy by pitting New Jersey against New York, Union County against Middlesex County, and Fanwood against Warren Township.
I'm gratified that the New Jersey Delegation has remained unified and did not endorse this inadequate FAA divisive plan.
Mr. Chairman, the FAA deftly touts that under the FEIS no one would get an increase in noise, but, in a twist of logic worthy of George Orwell, the FAA has actually redefined what an increase in noise is by boldly stating that any increase in noise of less than 5 decibels is not an increase at all. Therefore, a New Jersey homeowner who would suffer an increase of noise of 4.99 decibels would be considered by the FAA to have suffered no increase at all.
This is absurd. An increase is an increase.
I understand that Scotch Plains and Fanwood have been the brunt of the EECP and that these citizens have been patiently waiting for relief for a long time. When the FEIS is implemented, I, of course, will take solace that at least two communities that I represent are getting some relief. But, considering the amount of money, time, and anxiety that went into the FEIS, in its totality it is nothing more than a milquetoast solution designed to appease the FAA's most vocal critics. As this hearing will attest, Mr. Chairman, the FEIS even fails on that count.
If there is something that everyone involved on this issue agrees on, it is that this is a difficult problem. On the one hand, Newark International Airport is a major economic engine in New Jersey. It provides jobs for nearly 100,000 people and pumps over $10 billion into our local economy. Shutting down or limiting commerce into the airport would be a recipe for higher unemployment and economic stagnation.
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Conversely, however, every day that passes without a meaningful solution to the aircraft noise problem is another day that the quality of life in New Jersey is slightly diminished.
With all the tens of millions of dollars that have been spent in the aggregate on this problem, and with all the technical expertise available, I believe a better plan can be formulated that will reduce the noise but will not add to the delays at Newark nor compromise safety.
The FAA now claims that they are willing to work on a regional solution to the problem, but, considering their past performance, the people of New Jersey anxiously await deeds, not more words, from the FAA.
On a related note, Mr. Chairman, I want my constituents who have traveled from New Jersey today to know that our State has a great friend in Chairman Duncan.
Last week, when the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee was marking up the FAA Revitalization Act of 1995, it was you, Mr. Chairman, who helped shepherd through the amendment that will establish the position of aircraft noise ombudsmen in the FAA.
The committee's adoption of this amendment will ensure that the American people have an advocate inside the FAA bureaucracy who will finally represent the concerns of residents affected by airline flight patterns. Moreover, my amendment will give citizens throughout the country someone to turn to should they have a comment, complaint, or suggestion dealing with aircraft noise.
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This amendment is important because, although the FAA claims that they listen to the people, their actions indicate that they rarely ever hear the people. The FAA is masterful at holding scores of hearings and compiling thousands of public comments and then totally disregarding the public's concerns.
My amendment ensures that at the new FAA someone will be a champion for those affected by outrageous aircraft noise.
Mr. Chairman, I thank you for your leadership on this issue and particularly for holding this hearing this morning.
Mr. DUNCAN. Well, thank you very much, Bob. You certainly have become an outstanding Member of this Body and this committee, and thank you for being here.
Who wants to go next? Mr. Saxton?
TESTIMONY OF HON. JIM SAXTON, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM NEW JERSEY
Mr. SAXTON. Mr. Chairman, let me just take this opportunity to, like Mr. Franks did, thank you very much for the opportunity for us to be here this morning to discuss these issues with you and to discuss the FAA's implementation plan for new flight patterns over our State and obviously the State of our colleagues from New York.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Let me say at the outset, Mr. Chairman, I find myself in strong agreement with much of what my colleague from Union County has said in his testimony.
My testimony will differ somewhat, as I think you'll find other members of this panel will differ, as well, in that we want a solution, but we don't want the solutionand this is really the crux of my testimonywe don't want the solution to be one of transferring a problem in the northern part of the State to people who are not currently adversely affected on Staten Island or in the 3rd Congressional District, which happens to be in the southern part of the State, or in Ms. Lowey's District, which is equally concerned about this issue.
So, Mr. Chairman, at this time I would like to ask unanimous consent that I be allowed to enter into the record testimony of a constituent of mine who happens to be the mayor of Seaside Park, New Jersey, John A. Peterson, who would have liked to have been here with us today, who is quite concerned about this matter, as well.
[The statement of Mayor Peterson follows:]
Mr. SAXTON. So, while I understand the serious nature of the audible impact of air traffic as it continues to have adverse impacts on the northern portions of New Jersey, these excessive audible problems of the northern part of New Jersey, as I mentioned a minute ago, should not be solved simply by shifting air patterns over other parts of the northeast until it can be proven that the citizens of those other areasand in my case, of course, particularly the southern half of New Jerseywill not be jeopardized in any way because of shifts in air traffic.
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The 3rd Congressional District, which I represent, is comprised of portions of Ocean, Burlington, and Camden Counties. Ocean County is a key tourist center, attracting millions of visitors per year, and it also acts as a preferred retirement location for many senior citizens.
Combined, these two attributes serve as valuable sources of revenue for New Jersey's economy, helping our State continue to meet our policy objectives without further burdening the citizens with higher taxes.
Increased air traffic over this shoreline area would, in my opinion, have a devastating effect on the aesthetic surroundings that attract so many tourists and so many senior citizens.
Mr. Chairman and the ranking Member also probably know that southern New Jersey is the home of the Air Force east coast air mobility wing at McGuire Air Force Base. This is not a new subject to any of us. McGuire is our Nation's military and human relief link to Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.
In 1993, McGuire Air Force Base was recommended for closure by the Secretary of Defense. This recommendation was based, in large part, on an erroneous but widely-held belief that McGuire lacked the airspace to host a major air transportation wing.
After months of persistent lobbying by many members of this panel, the community of southern New Jersey was able to correct that misperception, impressing upon the members of the Defense Base Closure Commission McGuire's importance to our national security.
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A decision by the FAA to reroute flights over southern New Jersey may render true an argument which was blatantly false in 1993.
Last Friday, after much deliberation, the Department of Defense announced its decision to buy 120 C17 aircraft transport planes. Because of its strategic location, McGuire is a prime candidate for basing two or more squadrons of C17s. If airspace around McGuire becomes overcrowded, the Air Force may be forced to select another less-desirable base. Such a decision would be good neither for the country nor for New Jersey.
The safety of our national security cannot be jeopardized by commercial flight aircraft traffic flying through McGuire's aircraft patterns.
Mr. Chairman, as we discuss today this problem being experienced by northern portions of New Jersey, just please let us keep in mind these concerns that have impacted upon our economy and on the countryside of the southern part of the State.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman, once again, and I would just like to state for the record and I would like to welcome David McKeon, who is the supervising planner of the county of Ocean, who is here today to join later as part of one of the subsequent panels.
Thank you very much.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Saxton.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Let me say that I have another subcommittee meeting that is going on in another committee, and I know that almost everybody is in that situation, and so, after you make your statements, if you wish to leave, certainly no one would consider that rude. I know that some of you are in that situation.
Mr. Martini, who is a very fine member of our subcommittee, is in that situation. In fact, he has some witnesses that he needs to question at another hearing right now, and so we're going to let him go ahead and present his statement, and then we'll move back to the panel.
Mr. MARTINI. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and I thank the panelists for allowing me to interrupt during their testimony to present my opening remarks, but I do also want to thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding this hearing today.
As we know, aircraft noise impacts Northern New Jersey perhaps more than any other area in this country, and I appreciate your calling a hearing that affects my constituents so much.
In the event that I'm not here in the next few moments, I would like to also take this opportunity to introduce a constituent of mine who will be testifying before us today.
Joan Gibson is the Treasurer of the New Jersey Citizens Against Aircraft Noise and a resident of South Orange. I know that Ms. Gibson brings a great deal of familiarity with the specifics of this issue to our hearing, and I very much look forward to hearing her testimony this morning.
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At this time, I would also like to ask unanimous consent that I be allowed to submit for the record the statements of four constituents and their experiences regarding this issue.
What has happened in Northern New Jersey over the last 5 to 8 years regarding the issue of aircraft noise has been disheartening, to say the least. We have seen the Federal Aviation Administration, a Federal bureaucracy seemingly so set in its ways as to be almost totally unresponsive to the people they are supposed to serve. Now that the environmental impact statement process is almost complete and the Solberg mitigation proposal is due to go into effect, today I hope we get a better understanding of what went wrong in New Jersey and how we can avoid such massive citizen dissatisfaction again.
I would be the last to argue that Newark Airport and the American aviation community, as a whole, were being well-served by the massive delays and the over-used airspace above Newark in the early 1980s. A remedy certainly was necessary, and one was found. But the Expanded East Coast Plan, although good for efficiency and safety, has not been good for the quality of life for the residents of Northern New Jersey.
The Expanded East Coast Plan has thrust upon my area, the most densely-populated State in the Union, the burdens of the most densely-used and complex airspace in the world. The results have been less than acceptable.
Aircraft noise has risen to unsafe and inhumane levels for many residents, and their pleas to find a comprehensive solution have gone unheeded. One of the most amazing things that strikes me about this whole caseand Mr. Bales will attest to thisis that the FAA never even considered the effects of increased aircraft noise when developing the EECP. It wrote its plan, implemented its plan, and then, only after being forced statutorily by Congress, did it study the environmental impact of its plan.
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Yes, the FAA drafted the environmental impact study; it took 3 years of citizen testimony after numerous public hearings. But their actions indicate to me, at least, that they do not genuinely seek a solution to this problem.
They have never seriously considered the ocean routing plan advocated by the New Jersey Coalition Against Aircraft Noise and developed, ironically, by the same man who wrote the EECP, Glenn Bales.
What they have offered as an analysis of his alternative can be quickly discredited by Mr. Bales, and I look forward to his addressing the FAA's criticisms of ocean routing in his testimony.
On every point, from safety to efficiency to aircraft noise, the FAA must find more satisfactory answers to Mr. Bale's concerns than they have so far been able to come up with.
Would the Department of Defense actually bar the use of airspace off the coast of New Jersey? Has the FAA even asked them? If ocean routing takes planes too far out of their way to be efficient, then how far out of their way does the Solberg mitigation proposal take these planes? And if conflict points are a genuine concern, how many conflict points currently exist in the Northern Jersey skies and across the country right now?
The FAA's answers to all these questions and more lead me to believe that they are somewhat less than open to a full and fair consideration of New Jersey's Coalition Against Aircraft Noise's proposed solution.
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In the end, we all want a solution to this problem.
My colleagues in the New Jersey Delegation are not looking to pass the burdens we bear onto other citizens of other States. The alternative would not even cause significant increases in discomfort for residents in other Districts. What we have is a plan that we think can achieve a very good and very reasonable solution, and I urge the FAA and everyone involved to stand up and take notice.
I yield back the balance of my time.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much. Unless there is objection, we will place all of the statements from other citizens in the recordstatements that Members have brought with them.
Mr. DUNCAN. Now we will proceed with whoever wishes to go next.
TESTIMONY OF HON. SUSAN MOLINARI, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS NEW YORK
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. MOLINARI. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I'd like to say that it disheartens me to see Mr. Lipinski serving as your ranking member today, because that means it is official he is no longer my ranking member on the Railroad Subcommittee, but I wish you both well.
Let me thank both of you for calling this hearing regarding the extraordinarily serious airplane noise problem, and I want to thank my colleagues from New Jersey, and particularly Mr. Franks, for bringing us here together.
After nearly 5 years of sustained and vocal outcry from my perspective by Staten Island residents seeking relief from Newark Airport jet noise, I'm gratified that we've begun finally to address the regional concerns of New York and New Jersey.
By way of backgroundand you hear the valid frustration of the people of New Jersey, but if you come from New York, as Congresswoman Lowey and I do, our frustrations have been compounded in that our concerns have, by virtue of Congressional mandate, been allowed to have been ignored during this time.
In 1990, as you may know, the FAA instituted departure procedures for Newark Airport runway 22. This new procedure allowed planes to further fly south over Staten Island before turning to the right to go back over New Jersey. This major decision was made without an environmental assessment and was instituted without regard to the concerns of others in the region.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC That same year, Congress mandated that the FAA perform an EIS on the Expanded East Coast Plan only over the State of New Jersey and only impacting those communities where planes were flying at an altitude over 3,000 feet. You would think we would be more focusing on the concerns of air noise under 3,000 feet.
But the very concept of such a study is outrageous, since any result would have never taken into account any adjacent New York communities.
Now, stop and think for a moment about the area in which we all live. Within a very small airspace you have Newark Airport, LaGuardia Airport, and Kennedy Airport and impact that anything that happens in New Jersey is going to have on Staten Island and across the city of New York.
As a result of FAA's strict interpretation of the Congressional mandate, Staten Island was forced to wait and suffer for 5 years. And, again, while the residents of Staten Island and nearby areas of New York cried out for relief from the noise, we were told nothing could be done and no working solutions could ever be considered until the New Jersey EIS was completed.
The New Jersey EIS was scheduled by Congressional mandate to take 180 days. It was closed at the end of 5 years.
You'll excuse me if, unlike my fellow colleagues from New Jersey, I'm positively ecstatic over the mere prospect that this EIS is finally over. Thank goodness and good riddance.
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Unfortunately, my colleagues, Staten Island's problems still remain. Aircraft which originates in New Jersey veers off, crosses the State boundary, and creates intolerable decibel levels over Staten Island.
Because of the changes that were taking place, it is estimated that Staten Islanders are now subject to over 300 plane departures a day at peak departure times, which is often at every 30 seconds.
Given those factors, I sincerely hope that the members of this committee will agree with me that it is now time that the FAA look at regional solutions which do not exclude Staten Island and other areas of New York.
Now, you're going to hear a lot about New Jersey's proposal for over-the-ocean plan, and that does, in fact, solve a lot of problems for the citizens of New Jersey; however, it creates an unreasonable solution for those of us who live in New York.
I know Ms. Lowey may comment on the impact that has on moving planes over her neighborhoods because of the impact that it has on LaGuardia, but on Staten Island it meant an additional 800 planes coming over a community of Staten Island that, thus far, has remained unaffected by airplane noise.
In closing, over the past 30 years we have heard some of the old, tired strategies which provided only relief for parts of New Jersey's problems. We are all now seeking original regional solutionssolutions which assess the fact that communities below 3,000 feet are, indeed, the most heavily-impacted communities and probably should deserve attention first.
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Mr. Chairman, it is not that we don't want to solve New Jersey's air problems. We want to solve New Jersey's air problems, New York's air problems, and the entire region's air noise problems. And if the final solution, once again, does not take into account Staten Island's air noise concerns, then there simply cannot be a bi-State, bipartisan solution.
I thank you for your time.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Susan.
Who wants to go next? Ms. Lowey?
TESTIMONY OF HON. NITA M. LOWEY, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM NEW YORK
Ms. LOWEY. Thank you. I appreciate your holding this hearing, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate the members of the committee taking the time to listen to our concerns. And I want to particularly thank Mr. Saxton of New Jersey for emphasizing, as my colleague from New York did, the regional approach. To have a study from one State and not the other State, not look at the whole region, just doesn't make sense. Now perhaps we can move forward on a regional approach.
I do appreciate this opportunity to testify, because, not surprisingly, this is an issue of critical importance for millions of New Yorkers and for hundreds of thousands of my constituents who live in Westchester County, the Bronx, and Queens.
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I receive numerous callswhich is the understatement of the yearand letters every week from people in my District complaining about the obnoxious effect of low-flying airplanes on their daily lives. For too many New Yorkers, noise is a constant source of torment. New Yorkers are not alone in this predicament, however. I am very sympathetic to the concerns of my colleagues from New Jersey, but reopening the public comment period on the Expanded East Coast Plan is definitely not the answer.
The FAA's environmental impact statement is the product of nearly 5 years of study, 500 days of public comment, 30 public hearings, and testimony from nearly 1,200 Federal, State, and local elected and appointed officials and citizens.
The duration of the EIS was more than twice as long as typical aviation EIS's and, in addition, the EIS cost taxpayers more than $6 millionfour times the cost of any typical aviation EIS.
By any objective measure, that is more than ample opportunity for a thorough examination of the issues involved.
There has been a lot of talk this Congress about the virtues of cost/benefit analysis. Many of my colleagues have stated that such analyses need to play a more prominent role in determining Federal agencies' regulatory actions. Well, everyone should be aware that the FAA's recommendation in the EIS will benefit nearly 1.5 million New Jersey residents, while only adversely impacting 45,000. That's a benefit ratio of 32 to 1. That's a tremendous achievement.
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What is really at issue here, however, has little to do with objective analysis. It is about shifting aircraft noise from New Jersey to New York and the unwillingness of some New Jersey residents to admit that the facts just aren't on their side.
During preparation of the EIS, an attempt was made by a New Jersey citizens' group to amend the east coast plan and to reroute flights from Newark Airport away from New Jersey and over the New York metropolitan area.
For several years I have worked with my good friend and colleague, Susan Molinari, in fighting the over-the-ocean proposal. After thorough consideration, the FAA agreed that the over-the-ocean plan was fundamentally flawed and that it would have substantial adverse safety and operational impacts. It also would increase aircraft noise for the residents of New York and Connecticut.
It is terribly ironic that some of my colleagues who have stood on the House floor complaining that the bureaucracy moves too slowly and at too much expense to taxpayers are now asking for even more delay and even more money. I must say to my friends, ''The fat lady has sung. Stop trying to send more airplanes over New York. It is time for the battle between New Jersey and New York to end.''
Despite the expenditure of 5 years and $6 million, this EIS did not examine aircraft noise impacts in New York. This is a regional problem, again, and we need a regional approach to mitigation options. Only then can the impact of airplane routing on our quality of life be given proper consideration.
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I'm very pleased that the FAA has indicated that it wants to initiate a comprehensive study on reducing aircraft noise and congestion in impacted areas throughout the New York metropolitan region. I know I speak for New Yorkers in saying that we look forward to working with New Jersey on such a project. All of our constituents deserve peace and quiet in their neighborhoods.
I want to thank you, again, Mr. Chairman, for asking us to be here.
Mr. DUNCAN. Well, thank you, Congresswoman Lowey.
Who wants to go next now? Mr. Zimmer?
TESTIMONY OF HON. DICK ZIMMER, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM NEW JERSEY
Mr. ZIMMER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I, too, would like to thank the committee for allowing us to testify today on the Federal Aviation Administration's Expanded East Coast Plan.
While I very much welcome this opportunity and I appreciate the efforts of Congressman Franks in making it possible, I'm troubled that, as we sit here today, almost 9 years after the implementation of the Expanded East Coast Plan, the FAA has yet to develop a proposal that resolves New Jersey's severe aircraft noise problem.
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Since 1987, the FAA has shown an unwillingness to work with the public in order to rectify New Jersey's aviation noise situation. Constituents have repeatedly been shut out of the process. Community groups have come forward with innovative plans and ideas, only to be shunned and disregarded.
Instead of working with the public toward a mutually-acceptable solution, the FAA has alienated thousands of New Jersey citizens, the most recent slap in the face taking place when the FAA decided to close the public comment period with the knowledge that this morning's hearing was to take place just 2 weeks later.
The FAA has consistently hidden behind regulations and bureaucracy to keep from ever really working with the communities involved. There is simply no excuse for the FAA's lack of responsiveness to the concerns of the taxpayers who employ them.
Citizens' groups have invited FAA representatives to meetings in order to discuss their concerns. Unfortunately, they were often disappointed with last-minute cancellations and bureaucratic double-talk.
When many constituents attempted to call the FAA in order to voice their opinions, they were greeted with busy signals or an answering machine.
My constituents deserve better than busy signals and answering machines. They need results that are fair.
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I believe the FAA has never properly evaluated any of the numerous possible alternatives or improvements which could be incorporated into the Expanded East Coast Plan.
The FAA's inadequate attempt to provide Congress with an environmental impact statement was a waste of time and money. I would agree with my colleagues from New York on that.
The FAA's inability to meet prescribed deadlines, despite a multi-million dollar budget target, is a perfect example of all that is wrong with today's bloated Federal bureaucracy. Unfortunately, the negative effects of this bureaucratic nightmare are not buried in a file cabinet in some Federal building; they are experienced daily by my constituents.
I believe that the techniques used by the FAA to measure the level of aircraft noise included in the environmental impact study are seriously flawed.
I have introduced the Aviation Noise Limitation Act in past Congresses and have re-introduced it in this Congress, which I believe would correct this faulty analysis. My bill would require the FAA to measure aviation noise on the basis of its actual impact on real people. It calls for the FAA to take into account population density and background noise and to treat residential areas differently from industrial areas when planning air routes.
A great deal of time and money has been spent accumulating information on aircraft noise over New Jersey as a result of the Expanded East Coast Plan. Despite the disruption of many thousands of lives, the FAA has consistently taken a cavalier approach to the noise problem, which is evident by its completely ignoring the volumes of testimony given at numerous hearings held over the years.
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Like aircraft noise, itself, the FAA and its Expanded East Coast Plan have been a headache for my constituents. I urge the FAA to go back and consider real-life, practical alternatives to the Expanded East Coast Plan and come up with a solution that's fair to New Jersey and to the entire metropolitan area.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Dick.
Let me say to the Members who have given their statementsand certainly all of you are welcome to stay for the entire hearing, if you wishMr. Lipinski and I have agreed that, in order to get to the other witnesses more quickly, and because we will have opportunities any time we wish to ask questions of the Members, we will not be asking questions of the Members at the close of these statements today, so you do not have to stay for any period of questions.
Who wants to go next? Mr. Torricelli?
TESTIMONY OF HON. ROBERT G. TORRICELLI, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM NEW JERSEY
Mr. TORRICELLI. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee.
Fascinated though I know you all are on the issues of air noise over New Jersey and New York, I recognize you have heard of this issue now in some considerable detail. I will not, therefore, repeat much of what has been said.
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I'd simply add on a personal note how regrettable it is that New York and New Jersey, with all of our common interests and problems, find ourselves in this position now of rancor and some discord.
We live in the same environment in such close proximity that it is impossible to believe that the FAA could not have found the means of addressing some common interests. But, indeed, through, in my judgment, some extraordinary arrogance and a refusal to adequately engage the problem, the FAA has simultaneously succeeded in not dealing with New Jersey's problems and creating us in an adversarial position with our neighbors from New York.
This is, in my judgment, Mr. Chairman, an example of a Federal bureaucracy that is not accountable and never really seriously sought an answer to the problem.
It is certainly not a new problem. The FAA, in 1987, imposed upon our citizens its Expanded East Coast Plan without even the benefit of adequate analysis. Everything that followed was entirely predictable.
We have spent 8 years simply seeking what should have been provided immediately: a fair and equitable hearing on the matter to lead to a fair resolution.
The recent decision by the FAA to move forward its own mitigation proposal once again denies us an opportunity to adequately address our concerns. This plan will provide 18,000 residents, or about 40 percent of those affected by the east coast plan. Some may see this as an improvement, but it is by no means an acceptable solution.
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A great deal of the State, including my own District in Bergen and Hudson Counties, were simply ignored by this plan. For them their will be no benefit at all.
I want, therefore, to express my great disappointment, but not simply with the details of the plan, the manner in which the FAA has proceeded, the cavalier nature in which we have been treated.
This may, in the first instance, appear to be entirely a problem for the citizens of New Jersey. I would caution the FAA that, in the longer term, it is not our problem alone. Confidence has been lost in their ability to deal with both Members of this Congress and citizens fairly. Our confidence in their ability to imaginatively review and construct solutions to noise pollution problems has also been compromised.
In the near term, our citizens will have their quality of life compromised; in the longer term, the FAA will find that, increasingly, Members of this Congress will judge that they no longer have the ability to deal with these serious problems.
Finally, to my friends from New York, I simply want to say that through the years we have found the common means of dealing successfully with water pollution problems on the Hudson River, we have found common solutions to the pollution problems of our beaches and the Atlantic Ocean, we deal constantly with common solutions to our transportation difficulties. Rather than casting blame at each other, I hope and I trust that, in a constructive fashion, we can work together. This is a problem that will not end soon.
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Fortunately, Mr. Chairman, one thing I think we can agree upon with our colleagues from New York is that, in this committee, we can find a fair representative to arbitrate this problem between the States. That's why we're very fortunate Mr. Menendez is on the committee. I would personally nominate him for that role.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much.
Mr. TORRICELLI. And I thank you, Mr. Chairman, for the time, and the members of the committee for their attention.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much.
TESTIMONY OF HON. RODNEY P. FRELINGHUYSEN, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM NEW JERSEY
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I would ask unanimous consent that Congresswoman Marge Roukema's statement appear in the record along with mine and others.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, for having this hearing. I'm pleased you've taken time to listen to Members of Congress, but I'm most appreciative that you've given, within this hearing, an opportunity for citizens who have been living with this problem to be able to speak to the committee about their concerns and what they've been living with.
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I'd also like, Mr. Chairman, to invite the FAA administrator to stay for the entire hearing so that he can hear first-hand the comments of the taxpayers and citizens who hear this aircraft noise problem.
To date, every plan and every potential solution to mitigate noise, Mr. Chairman, has come from outside the FAA, literally, and the FAA continues to shoot holes in potential solutions without ever offering their own proposals.
It is as if citizen complaints do not matter, and that the status quo is preferred.
Well, Mr. Chairman, the status quo is not preferred by my constituents in Northern New Jersey, and I think the whole Delegation certainly has made it clear that what we're looking for is a regional solution, not a solution which essentially moves noise from one area to another area, whether from New York to New Jersey or over other parts of New Jersey. Moving noise around is not the answer. We need a workable regional solution now and not later.
Hiding behind the guise of the regulatory process, the FAA has successfully dodged the pressing questions. Why can't the FAA roll up their sleeves, meet with the affected parties, and come up with solutions? The FAA's answer is: we can't because it will undermine the National Environmental Protection Act, which only allows us to listen and not to participate.
We do find that when there are problems the FAA finds it in their best interest to modify the process, but when citizens bring up concerns, it appears that the process cannot be modified.
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In closing, Mr. Chairman, let me say that, in terms of recommendations, I would suggest that a Federal agency whose sole responsibility and mission it is to promote and enhance aviation, should not also be setting environmental air noise standards validated only by themselves.
Mr. Chairman, I urge you to enact legislation that will prevent this type of situation from happening again. The FAA needs to sit down with all parties, citizens, and the airline industry with an impartial mediator and hammer out a solution. Whether we call it binding arbitration or whatever, we need something to come forward with a regional solution. Without this guarantee, this type of disgraceful solution will continue to impact both New York and New Jersey.
I want to thank you, Mr. Chairman, once again, for allowing me to testify.
Mr. DUNCAN. Rod, thank you very much.
Mr. Payne, I can give you about 3 minutes now or come back and give you the full time, whichever you want.
Mr. PAYNE. Well, let me try it now. If I don't finish it in three I'll come back and take the other two.
Mr. DUNCAN. Okay.
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TESTIMONY OF HON. DONALD M. PAYNE, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM NEW JERSEY
Mr. PAYNE. Mr. Chairman, let me thank you for calling this meeting. I certainly join my colleagues here. You've done something that our Delegation leader has been unable to do, and that's to bring all New Jersey Congresspeople together.
Because I represent the 10th Congressional District of New Jersey, which borders on the Newark International Airport, and my residence is 5 minutes away, I've been concerned about the effect of aircraft noise on our local community for many, many years. As a matter of fact, I was a member of the county governing body, and also a local elected official, and so this question of the disruption of noise to our citizens, to our schoolchildren, to our businesspeople, to our seniors, has been something that we've been living with for many, many years.
I am very concerned, though, over the environmental impact statement.
I'll finish in about 2 or 3 minutes.
I am very concerned over the environmental impact statement that was designed to predict airport noise exposure. How can you have an EIS that does not take into account, as indicated by my colleague from Staten Island, any aircraft noise that flies under 3,000 feet?
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As Mr. Franks said, if it is 4.9 decibels increase, it's an increase. An increase is an increase. Noise is noise, whether it is above 3,000 feet or below 3,000 feet. As a matter of fact, noise under 3,000 feet is really noise noise.
So the omission from the EIS totally discounts the level of noise presented in my District, as well as Mr. Menendez' District. I cannot understand how that could be omitted. Both Districts are exposed to aircraft noise at 3,000 feet or less and experience far more airport noise than the EIS report would indicate.
I sincerely hope that this study was not rigged to ensure that air noise alleviation for suburban counties would be decreased and the increase, of course, would be in our urban counties.
The FAA wants to implement a measure that will significantly reduce air noise for Scotch Plains and Fanwood areas of Union County. I do have some concerns, because the new proposal will increase the noise over Essex and the part of Union where I live.
I would just like to conclude byand I'll submit all of my remarks, but we have a responsibility. There are 109,000 jobs at Newark Airport, over $3.3 billion in revenue. I think that's important to New Jersey.
I would also like to indicate that the elimination of stage two aircraft will certainly have an impact on this problem. I'd like to note that 67 percent of the operation of Continental Airlines is at three stage, and it was increased by 16 percent this year, so there has been a $3 billion capital expenditure to convert the fleet. I think that would help also, and they intend, by 1999, to convert the total fleet. Also, Federal Express and UPS are almost at total stage three aircraft.
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So I would just like to conclude by saying that, as we look at this problem, let's be sure that we are really comparing apples with apples, 3,000 feet below and above tested at the same level.
Once again, I thank you for calling this very important hearing.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you, Don, for that very fine statement. Your full statement will be placed in the record and we'll recess for this vote.
Mr. DUNCAN. I would call the committee back to order at this time.
Mr. Pallone, thank you very much for being kind and gracious enough to delay your statement until after the vote, and you may proceed with what I know will be an outstanding statement. Go right ahead.
TESTIMONY OF HON. FRANK PALLONE, JR., A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM NEW JERSEY
Mr. PALLONE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to thank both you and the gentleman from Illinois for having this hearing and listening to us. I'm sure at this point you've heard a lot of repetition, so I'll try to cut back my statement a little bit, if I could.
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I wanted to basically express my strong opposition to the Federal Aviation Administration's final decision to implement this Solberg mitigation proposal as a solution to New Jersey's aircraft noise problem, and, again, my great frustration with the manner in which that decision was reached.
The FAA has long been aware of the reason behind our opposition, as the New Jersey Delegation opposition to this proposal, but I will reiterate it yet again.
The proposal simply shifts the burden of noise from one area of New Jersey to another and provides no relief for the majority of New Jersians assaulted by aircraft noise on a daily basis.
In my District, for example, residents of the Raritan River area of Middlesex County will be victimized by increased amounts of aircraft noise, even as people in other areas experience noise reductions with the Solberg plan.
Though I am pleased that the plan rejects the proposal advanced by the New Jersey Coalition Against Aircraft Noise, New Jersey CAAN, which is the so-called ocean rerouting plan that would result in a substantial increase in air traffic over Oceanfront and Bayshore communities, but at the same time I'm extremely disappointed that it makes no changes in flight paths over Monmouth County.
Departing flights from Newark Airport will continue to fly over Monmouth County's northwest region, and flights from Kennedy Airport will still fly over the eastern Bayshore and Monmouth County shoreline.
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This past summer the New Jersey Delegation wasted no time in uniformly denouncing the FAA's final EIS on the Expanded East Coast Plan which, as most of us know here, basically recommended but didn't finalize the Solberg plan.
It became quite clear, following the release of the EIS, that the FAA was intent on rubber-stamping its in-house solution to this complicated local problem.
At the time I invited the FAA administrator, David Hinson, to meet with myself and representatives Frelinghuysen, Franks, Zimmer, and Marge Roukema so that we'd have the opportunity to discuss some lingering concerns all of us had with the direction in which the FAA was moving. That meeting took place in September.
At the meeting we once again voiced our opposition to the Solberg plan. We also conveyed to Mr. Hinson our strong desire to see the comment period on the EIS reopened in order to first transcribe this hearing for inclusion in the official record and, second, to provide New Jersey residents, including several activist organizations, with an opportunity to respond to the EIS.
I should stress, I don't think anyone is suggesting, Mr. Chairman, that there wasn't some opportunity to respond to the EIS, but there clearly were activist groups who felt that they had more to say on the matter.
I think you know that these requests were formally made in September, and we sent a letter signed by all of us who attended this meeting, and the FAA's responsebasically, Mr. Hinson said there would be no reopening of the comment period and, of course, that's one of the reasons we have this hearing today.
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I just want to stress that we are responding to the clearly-stated desires of our constituents that the comment period be reopened for a brief period, and there was, I guess, a lot of feeling that we were being snubbed by the FAA and that wasn't the proper way for the FAA to proceed.
I also sent a letter to the FAA administrator in which I requested that the Monmouth Organization Against Aircraft Noise be included in any additional public hearings, and that FAA headquarters in Washington look into nighttime ocean routing plans for planes departing from JFK Airport.
The first pointon that, if I could just say, we're trying to secure some relief for the Bayshore area of Monmouth County through a nighttime ocean routing plan. Basically, again, the administrator explained that people in my area would have to wait, that ocean routing is outside of the scope of the EIS and can't really be considered right now.
In summary, what I'd like to point out, Mr. Chairman and members of the panel, is I understand that this isn't an easy problem to solve, and I have been very supportive of the ongoing conversion to quieter jet engines and also the FAA's stated plan to conduct a follow-on regional study to this problem. I think those are two things that obviously will help.
And I have said many times before that I would support a rerouting away from landin other words, over the oceanas long as it doesn't have any increased impact on residential areas along the shore that I represent.
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But, again, my main reason for being here today is to express my concern over the FAA's lack of responsiveness, and I really hope that this hearing will sort of send a message to the agency that they should try to better serve the people of New Jersey.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Pallone.
We have two outstanding Members from New Jersey who serve on this subcommittee. Mr. Menendez has waited patiently to give his statement. Mr. Menendez, you may proceed at this time.
Mr. MENENDEZ. They, Mr. Chairman.
I want to thank you for holding the hearing, along with our ranking Member.
Let me start off by saying, as a member of the subcommittee, that there is total agreement that we want to reduce noise, but I'vespeaking for myself, and I think Mr. Payne in his testimonywe are not in total agreement.
If one group of New Jersians is benefitted to the detriment of another group of New Jersians, we have to seek to have a common solution and not simply to shift the noise from one group to another.
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I think the one issue that we can certainly agree upon is that Newark International Airport is a major economic engine in New Jersey. It pumps over $10 billion into the economy. It has employed over 100,000 people. So how do we deal with those economic realities and also understand that we want to improve the noise for all New Jersians, not just a certain group of New Jersians.
To that effect, Mr. Chairman, I would ask unanimous consent that my full statement be entered into the record, as well as the comments that we submitted on the draft EIS Expanded East Coast Plan.
Mr. DUNCAN. Without objection, so ordered.
Mr. MENENDEZ. I'd just like to briefly summarize my comments for the committee, Mr. Chairman.
I'd like to quote from a letter forwarded to me by one of my constituents from Bayonne. ''Over the past 2 years, the air traffic was becoming intolerable. This noise is non-stop, starting in the early evening hours.
''Today I'm home from work and have noticed it non-stop all this morning. This noise is louder than I have ever heard it before. Even with my windows closed, the noise is still unbearable.''
He goes on to talk about the rest of his experience with this problem of noise pollution.
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But I think one of the fundamental flaws in considering the sufficiency of the EIS is predicted noise exposure that does not include any contribution from aircraft while they are operating below 3,000 feet.
Now, this greatly under-represents the level of noise that is present in the 13th District, which I am privileged to represent, and Mr. Payne's 10th District, because it is only computed values for day/night levels. Actual measured noise DNLs are not taken.
The FAA has stated that it takes approximately 5 miles for a flight departing Newark Airport to reach 3,000 feet. This means areas of roughly 10 square miles from either end of the runways are subject to noise levels which are represented with very low DNL factors.
Since the 13th District is a very densely-populated and very compact District, this ten square mile swath skews the noise exposure levels in favor of low noise values for the majority of the area.
Let me give you an example of what that all means.
For example, in a certain census tract in Hudson, census tract 105 to 116, that tract has 42,000 people in it. The EIS has noise levels which range between 30 and 45 decibels for this area. The final environmental impact statement runway 11 ILS at Newark International Airport shows, in February of last year, at least 11,487 individuals in Newark living with noise levels of 65 to 75 DNL. My understanding is that levels above 65 are dangerous to human health.
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In the other runway direction, 25,674 individuals in the city of Elizabeth live with DNLs of 65 to 75 decibels. Nearly 40,000 people in these two areas, or 7 percent of the 13th District, are living in areas whose noise levels are misrepresented by 35 to 45 decibels. The noise level is understated by 1,000 to 10,000 times.
The critical flaw, I believe, in the EIS is the hole in the data which fails to assess accurately the impact of routing changes and consolidations on the residents in the State most grievously affected by aircraft noise.
The 13th District has a large population of Americans of Hispanic descent, African Americans. It is one of the largest concentrations of poor and disadvantaged people on the east coast, with 12 percent unemployment. My constituents do not like the noise any more than their fellow New Jersians from the suburbs, but they also know the airport is an important source of jobs in the area, and it is a balancing usenoise and jobs that must be done fairly and in the essence of environmental justice, and remembering that safety is always paramount.
Now, it might be said that the EIS is rigged to understate the impactand I don't say ''rigged'' in a purposeful way, but I will say that the impactit understates the impacts of noise on the area excluded from the study.
Genuine noise relief, obviously, is ultimately only provided by the rapid introduction of new and quieter type three aircraft, but I'm concerned that some mitigation proposals merely shift noise among populations. And without knowing precisely the noise modeling under 3,000 feet, mitigation proposals can increase those DNLs by lengthening exposure through concentrating even more air traffic areas like mine, which already have levels beyond the threshold of discomfort and risk the health of those individuals.
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To close, Mr. Chairman, we seek a common goal, but I would hope that the proposals that are offered do not return the 13th District or Mr. Payne's 10th District to unacceptable levels. It will be impossible if we're based on this study, because I have pointed out what I believe is the fundamental design flaw of the study.
I certainly favor reducing noise levels, but the people in my District and the people in Mr. Payne's District clearly should not have their health placed in risk, and that, to some extent, by some proposals, is what I fear is what is at stake.
It is not a question of discomfort; it is a question of, in fact, people's health.
So we look forward to hearing the testimony today that maybe will bring us into that harmonious balance, Mr. Chairman, for New Jersians, certainly, hopefully with our neighboring State of New York, but certainly not disproportionately on the people who already have an unbearable level and whose health would be affected by some of the proposals.
We look forward to hearing the testimony. We thank you for your indulgence.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Menendez.
We're always very honored and pleased to have with us the former chairman of this subcommittee and the ranking Member of the full committee, Mr. Oberstar.
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Mr. OBERSTAR. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I appreciate the step you and Mr. Lipinski have taken forward into unchartered waters of tackling this very controversial and difficult subject of the east coast plan, and now the Expanded East Coast Plan. This is, at best, a painful, almost no-win situation. What results from these approach plans is a redistribution of noise rather than a mitigation of noise.
The issue is not new. It has been with us since 1986 when the FAA made changes in air traffic routings up and down the east coast to attempt to deal with the recurrent problem of delays in traffic. Delays were the bane of travelers' existence up and down the east coast. At that time I was chairing the Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee, Mr. Gingrich and I, and then later Mr. Clinger and I, and met with people. We did not hold a committee hearing on the subject at the time, but we had numerous meetings with noise group representatives.
We recognized that whatever changes are made, they aren't going to eliminate the planes. A change is going to redistribute them some place, so we should be very careful about what we do. FAA was not very careful in those days. FAA was not very responsive to people. They did not do the kind of work that needs to be done to let citizens tell them what their concerns were.
There are many things that can be done, and certainly noise-impacted residents deserve the tranquility of their back yard, of their bedroom to get a good night's rest, of their breakfast area to have a morning conversation.
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Noise is the bane of urban living. In Minneapolis several years ago when we put up noise barriers to highways, I asked the commissioner of transportation in Minnesota, as the first set of barriers went past his homejust by accident''Ray, how is that working now?'' He said, ''You know, it has cut the highway traffic noise on the interstate down so much that now you can hear the planes coming in for a landing.''
Mr. OBERSTAR. Well, then we had to deal with the planes.
During that period of the late 1980s, the FAA very clearly, as we heard from our colleagues this morning, talked to each other. They didn't talk to the citizens. They didn't talk to the airlines very much. They didn't talk to the State agency people. They made technical changes and then one day they announced it. Nobody knew that it was coming.
The number of homes that are getting noise impact Nationwide is going to be reduced to less than a million by the end of this decade as a result of legislation we enacted in 1990 to deal with Nationwide noise problems. It requires the phasing out of stage two aircraft from 2,350 such aircraft in 1990 to less than 600 in 1999 and zero in the year 2000. That work in retrofitting aircraft and reducing the noise impact is well underway with all of the carriers. That will be a very big benefit for people.
There will be a 50 percent reduction. There already is a 50 percent reduction in noise today and, as I said, it will be down to fewer than one million homes Nationwide with incompatible, unacceptable noise contour levels. That's still not going to be good enough for many people, partly because that noise reduction is going to come incrementally, and by the time stage three aircraft are entirely in place, people will be now accustomed to a lower level, but still a noticeable level of aircraft noise. And then the pressure in the year 2000 will be on to move to what the European Community has chosenstage four, the quietest aircraft that haven't been invented yet, the engines that haven't yet been created.
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Today what we need to do is what you are so courageously attemptingto develop on a bipartisan basis the database, the information, the areas that are impacted, how we can shift those contours without creating safety problems and delay problems.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Oberstar.
Mr. LAHOOD. I have nothing, thank you.
Mr. DUNCAN. All right. At this time we are pleased to have with us Mr. David Hinson, the administrator of the FAA. He has been here many times before, but, Mr. Hinson, welcome back. Thank you for being with us today.
Mr. Hinson is accompanied by Ms. Louise Maillett, who is the deputy assistant administrator for policy and international affairs at the Federal Aviation Administration; also, Mr. James Washington, who is deputy associate administrator for air traffic services; and Ms. Arlene Feldman, who is the regional administrator for the eastern region of the FAA.
Welcome to all of you. Mr. Hinson, you may proceed with your testimony.
TESTIMONY OF HON. DAVID HINSON, ADMINISTRATOR, FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, ACCOMPANIED BY LOUISE MAILLETT, DEPUTY ASSISTANT ADMINISTRATOR, POLICY, PLANNING AND INTERNATIONAL AVIATION, JAMES WASHINGTON, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, AIR TRAFFIC SERVICES, AND ARLENE FELDMAN, EASTERN REGION ADMINISTRATOR
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Mr. HINSON. Good morning, Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee. I thank you for the opportunity to come and discuss the veryI was about to say ''sensitive issue of noise.'' That's probably too much of a pun. Let me just say the very serious issue of noise.
Before I start, I would like to read my statement, Mr. Chairman, but I want to say something first.
I think the committee should know that this Administration, and, in particular, the Vice President and the Secretary, are very sensitive to the environmental issues as they relate to the discipline that we deal with at the FAA, which is aviation. And they have made it clear to me, in no uncertain terms, that the FAA is to aggressively address the environmental issues of not only noise but others where the FAA has oversight responsibility and operational concerns with respect to various communities in the United States.
Obviously, noise is a universal problem. All airplanes make noise. All airports are noisy. There are no exceptions. The challenge for us is to learn how to deal with that, as Congressman Menendez said, in a fair and balanced way, trading off the obvious economic advantages of large community airports against the environmentally unfriendly noise aspects, and perhaps some others, consistent with operating in a safe fashion.
I just want you to know, Mr. Chairman, that we arethis Administration is very serious about our concerns with the environment.
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Let me begin, Mr. Chairman, by providing some background on the Expanded East Coast Plan.
In the early 1980s, the FAA saw that it would be impossible for the existing air traffic routes over the east coast to handle the growing demand. This increase came about, in part, due to changes from deregulation. The biggest bottleneck in the east coast system was the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area, or the New York metroplex.
The limits on traffic coming into and out of New York were so serious that the ripple effect caused one-fourth, or 25 percent, of the national delays. This was clearly unacceptable, and we knew that it would only get worse if left unchecked.
We also expected that similar problems would soon start to build in the Washington area, leading to even more delays across the country.
As the members of this committee know well, delays are not just a source of annoyance; they result in significant dollar losses to the economy.
When the FAA began working on the Expanded East Coast Plan, our goal was to give as much relief as possible to the air carriers and their passengers over the entire east coast. We had to change the aircraft routes and air traffic procedures in a way that would let each New York area airport safely handle more traffic to meet the demand, and also help air traffic controllers do their jobs as productively as possible.
Another goal was to help airlines conserve fuel and to reduce the amount of time in holding and taxiing.
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This was one of the most ambitious and far-reaching changes we had ever made in the air traffic control system. It covered tens of thousands of square miles of airspace above 3,000 feet over 19 States and the District of Columbia.
After about 5 years of work, FAA put phase one into place in 1987. This covered the airspace above New York and New Jersey. A second step the following year was even more ambitious. It restructured airspace between Boston and Miami, and even went as far west as Dallas and Denver.
The benefits of this plan were dramatic. As expected, we did not just reduce delays in New York; delays were initially down by 42 percent Nationwide. The airlines were able to use their airplanes more efficiently, leading to significant fuel savings. And controllers found that the changes in air traffic procedures let them handle more traffic with no loss in safety.
The plan enabled Kennedy, LaGuardia, and Newark to add 11 new departure routes, bringing the total from 17 to 28. The number of arrival routes at those airports also went up from 9 to 12.
That was complicated enough, but we also had to safely route the traffic at 17 smaller airports in Northern New Jersey, with an active schedule of arrivals and departures.
We have a chart that sort of showsa radar composite chart, Mr. Chairman, that shows an average day of all of the air traffic in this area, and it is the most congested airspace in the United States. I think I want to make that point again: it is the most congested airspace in the United States. New York metroplex area is the single busiest commercial aviation market in the world.
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Don't confuse it with the busyness of O'Hare as the number one airport, but the greater New York market is the busiest commercial market in the world and will continue to be so. There is substantial demand for increasing air services for the whole New York/New England/northeast area, which makes our problem rather difficult.
It was unavoidable that some of these new routes took aircraft over parts of New Jersey, mostly in the northern and central parts that were not accustomed to aircraft noise. We did not prepare an environmental impact statement, or EIS, before implementing the east coast plan because that had never been required, at that time, for changes above 3,000 feet. I think that may answer some questions mentioned earlier.
I'm not arguing about whether or not we should look below 3,000 feet, but sort of setting the basis for the study.
But, due to the level of public concern, Congress, in 1990, took the unusual step of directing the FAA to complete an EIS for the changes that had already been made. That statute directed us to prepare an EIS on the effects of changes in aircraft flight patterns caused by implementation of the plan over the State of New Jersey only.
Also, the FAA limited the scope of the EIS to operations above 3,000 feet, since that was the scope of the Expanded East Coast Plan.
The FAA held the first of many public hearings in March of 1991. While it took longer to prepare the EIS and the record of decisions than I would have liked or we would have liked, a good part of the delay was to give the public time to express their views on the EIS documents.
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The FAA extended or reopened the comment period eight times. Several of those extensions were at the request of elected officials who wanted to give people more time to review and comment on our documents.
We could not have conducted this process in a more fair or open manner. We held over 30 hearings and meetings and provided more than 500 days for public comment periods. The FAA received and analyzed over 2,800 comments and heard testimony from over 400 individuals.
This EIS took two to three times as long to complete as our usual EIS, and it cost $6 million, approximatelymore than four times the average cost of our recent EIS projects.
During the comment period, some people asked about a roll-back or return to pre-expanded east coast operations. To evaluate this option, we had to reconstruct 1986 routes and procedures and project how the 1991 traffic volume would have been flown on these routes. This part of the EIS was complex and unique and contributed to the time required to complete this study.
We found that implementing the EECPthe Expanded East Coast Planas compared to the roll-back reduced noise by 5 decibels for nearly 1.5 million people, while increasing noise by that amount for only about 45,000 people. In other words, we implemented the Expanded East Coast Plan to reduce delays, but it had the added benefit of reducing noise overall, as well.
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The study clearly showed that there was no benefit of noise reduction in the roll-back proposal.
The final action on the EIS, the record of decision, was issued on October 31st of this year. In preparing the EIS we looked carefully at all the alternatives, especially the ones advanced by community and citizen groups. We had to consider not only noise, but also how each proposal would affect safety, airspace capacity, and controller and pilot work load.
This analysis showed us, for example, that the ocean routing proposal supported by the New Jersey Coalition Against Aircraft Noise, would have substantial adverse operational and safety impacts. It would have complicated air traffic controller work load, especially as compared to the EECP, by requiring that traffic be routed east toward the ocean, crossing existing traffic routes, and then back through those routes again to head west and south. This posed a significant safety concern.
The proposal would cause an average departure delay of 35 minutes per aircraft between 7:30 in the morning and 9:00 in the evening in order to provide enough separation for aircraft departing Newark. That delay is clearly unacceptable, and we estimate that it would have cost the airlines about half a million dollars a day in overall operating cost.
The Solberg mitigation proposal, similar to a plan submitted by the Scotch Plains/Fanwood Citizens Against Aircraft Noise, would reduce aircraft noise by 5 decibels or more for about 18,500 residents of New Jersey without increasing comparable noise level for any other residents.
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We found that continuation of current Expanded East Coast Plan procedures with the Solberg mitigation proposal would be the best way to mitigate aircraft noise while keeping the highest levels of air safety and traffic efficiency.
The FAA will continue to work with elected officials and the public through our eastern region office, which Arlene heads, to identify and explore further strategic initiatives and strategies to mitigate aircraft noise.
I have asked our Eastern Regional Administrator, Arlene Feldman, to appear with me today so she could hear first-hand the testimony presented and can also provide answers to questions about follow-on studies.
Now, Mr. Chairman, this experience has heightened the FAA sensitivity and responsiveness to local noise concerns. A fundamental change that has resulted is an increased sense of responsibility among our own FAA line operating officials, who may take actions with environmental consequences to better address and account for environmental concerns in their decisions.
Just let me insert parenthetically, Mr. Chairman, one of the reasons that I wanted to bring this EIS to a conclusion, among many reasons, was so we could get on with what is in front of us.
We recently updated our policy on community involvement and committed the agency to giving the public early opportunities for involvement when we consider actions that may affect them.
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Our goals are to include the public in developing and evaluating alternatives and to respond to the communities' concerns when we formulate plans that are necessary for safe, effective, and environmentally responsible management of our Nation's airspace.
Mr. Chairman, that concludes my prepared statement. My colleagues and I are prepared to answer your questions.
Mr. FRANKS [assuming Chair]. Mr. Hinson, thank you very much for being with us this morning. I can tell you personally that I feel there is a great weight on my shoulders and a significant opportunity that I now enjoy, and it is one that I suspect perhaps more of my constituents would share in their desire to meet and talk to you and hear from you first-hand your reaction to their expressed concerns.
You may be the most sought-after Federal official in the entire Government. I suspect that in parts of my District more people would want the opportunity to have a conversation with you than any official, either elected or appointed. So I'm delighted that today you've come here to discuss a matter of vital concern to the residents of New Jersey and New York.
I'd be remiss if I didn't use the opportunity to ask, if I may, a couple of questions.
Mr. HINSON. Yes, sir.
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Mr. FRANKS. First a more parochial question, because I have been hearing some complaints from areas that traditionally have not been subjected to significant aircraft noise problems. This really began about the month of April of 1995.
Since that time, there has been a 200 percent increase in complaints coming from Warren township, Watchung Borough, areas of eastern Somerset County, and I just want to put on the record whether or not there have been minor adjustments made since that date that might have had the result of increasing noise over those patterns.
Mr. HINSON. I don't know the answer to that question. Let me ask Mr. Washington, who is here as our senior air traffic expert. And if he doesn't know, we'll get you an answer. I don't know the answer to that.
Mr. WASHINGTON. I will be glad to provide the specifics about any changes or modifications for the record, but what we have done, in preparation for accomplishing early actions as a result of the record of decision, is to identify the specific flight tracks, consistent with the Solberg mitigation proposal, and so essentially aircraft that would be traversing the routes that are represented by that proposal have been proceeding along those routes that are represented by the chart that we can also show you later in this hearing for your benefit.
But, to answer your specific question, I'd be glad to provide the information definitively for you for the record.
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FRANKS. Mr. Washington, if I may follow up, if, in fact, some of those minor adjustments have been made in preparation for the adoption of the Solberg plan, were local officialseither elected officials or the community, at largegiven notice of the intent of the agency to make those changes prior to the implementation?
Mr. WASHINGTON. Like I say, I don't know that there have been specific changes made to the tracks that aircraft are proceeding along, but, again, I am sure that, had specific changes been made, that we would have carried on those discussions with local officials.
Mr. FRANKS. Which, in fact, though, answers the question. There have not been changes.
Mr. HINSON. We don't know. That's what we're saying, I guess, because I don't know.
Mr. FRANKS. No. What I heard Mr. Washington say was that, if they would have been implemented, there would have been prior conversation.
Mr. WASHINGTON. Absolutely.
Mr. FRANKS. And the elected officials in the affected communities tell me there has, in fact, been no conversation; therefore, I assume the agency has not changed the routing.
Page 66 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. WASHINGTON. That's correct.
Mr. FRANKS. Mr. Hinson, could you
Mr. HINSON. Yes, sir. I think that's what I said. Yes, sir.
Mr. FRANKS. You think that's right. Okay. Thank you.
Mr. Hinson, I've got a series of questions. I'm not going to belabor the committee and the good patience of Members on both sides who want to ask their own questions. I'm going to ask three questions. I have a total of 15. Would you agree to answer the remaining questions in writing so we can share them with the committee?
Mr. HINSON. Yes, sir.
Mr. FRANKS. Would a 30-day window be adequate, in your judgment, to answer those questions?
Mr. HINSON. We'll try to beat that.
Mr. FRANKS. That would be wonderful. I appreciate that.
[The questions and answers thereto follow:]
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Mr. FRANKS. Mr. Hinson, the FEIS states that there will be a 17- to 19-decibel increase in noise along the New Jersey shore under the ocean routing proposal. I'm wondering what is the base level from which that measurement was determined, and what impact that increase would have on people.
Mr. HINSON. Let me ask Louise Maillett to answer that. I've got my technical experts along. This is an area that I am not that much of an expert on.
Ms. MAILLETT. Thank you. When we did the modeling for all of the alternatives in the EIS, we used a model that we're able to find the differences in impact from the various alternatives. So when we modeled the New Jersey CAAN proposal, the one that you're referring to, we identified that with the changes of that proposal. It would be that level of increase at those locations.
Now, the impact is obviously that those people would notice. Our belief is that, once you have an increase in DNL above 5 Db, you're going to have people recognizing there has been a change in their noise environment and you're going to have reaction from some of those people, so the numbers that you are saying are very large numbers of change in the DNL for those communities.
Mr. FRANKS. Okay. A second question: the FAA further claims that the ocean routing proposal will cause an average airport delay, according to Mr. Hinson's testimony, of some 35 minutes per aircraft between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. daily. I have heard this accusation before, but I have not seen much by way of documentation that allows us to examine the data that drew that conclusion.
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Is that data available? Can you briefly share it with us this morning?
Mr. WASHINGTON. Yes. I can briefly identify the steps that we took in terms of analyzing the ocean proposal that was submitted by New Jersey CAAN.
Essentially, the operational steps we took were, first, to develop the proposal from its basic outline that was submitted to the agency in order to establish a full route scenario.
We drew departures from that scenario from the runway on proposed flight track to an established route in the en-route structure, following an altitude of 5,000 to 6,000 feet until clear of the JFK arrival traffic, and then climbing to approximately 17,000 feet.
We then drew arrival tracks from existing routes in the en-route system to the proposed route to the active landing runway, which would be either runway 22 or runway 4, depending on the activity and the specific wind conditions at the time.
We designated the routes so that they could reasonably be flown by a skilled pilot with the existing navigational guidance.
We then ensured reasonable separation from existing traffic in the system, and we then went on to prepare an overlay, using existing routes in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area, and the newly-developed New Jersey CAAN routes to determine points where conflicts would exist.
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The next step was to eliminate as many of those conflict points as possible, and we did this first by adjusting altitudes of the aircraft in the proposal that was submitted, and secondarily by adjusting speeds or adding additional vectoring so as to allow for the required separation and spacing.
We analyzed crossing points using the actual altitudes from existing traffic flows, and then projected the altitudes from the New Jersey CAAN proposal. We based altitude assumptions on actual unrestricted flights, with the specified altitudes in the New Jersey CAAN ocean routing proposal used to the extent practicable.
We then plotted conflict points where altitudes overlapped, with as many conflict points being eliminated as possible.
We specifically then addressed two noise areas, the first developing input files for the New Jersey CAAN routing proposal for use in the expanded integrated noise model, and then modeled the New Jersey CAAN proposal using that reduction methodology which was consistently applied to each routing scenario in the Expanded East Coast Plan EIS.
Mr. FRANKS. Thank you, Mr. Washington.
You mentioned conflict points, which many of us on this committee have only now begun to understand the import of, although I know that there are members of the committee far more expert on this than I.
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And I know that one of the reasons for the rejection of the ocean routing alternative was the number of conflict points in the ocean routing plan, as reviewed by the FAA.
But when one looks at the EECP you seen an enormous number of conflict points, as well. I'm wondering, under what circumstances or under what framework of analysis do conflict points compromise safety and therefore trigger a rejection of an alternative routing scheme?
Mr. WASHINGTON. The primary distinction between the preferred alternative in the EIS study and the New Jersey CAAN proposal over the ocean is that the New Jersey CAAN proposal would take traffic essentially south and then immediately east-bound at a relatively low altitude to a point over Raritan Bay, which would essentially conflict with departing traffic from J.F. Kennedy.
That is the issue, in addition to the return of those aircraft, which would be required to then either depart south or to points eastward, coming back over the land where additional conflicts would occur with the other two major air carrier airports in this vicinity that we have already addressed as the most congested airspace in the country.
Some 1.9 million operations annually is what we are addressing here, which is reflected in the chart that is displayed presently.
So the issue is the New Jersey CAAN proposal forces departing aircraft onto a single track, initially east-bound toward the water, as opposed to our preferred alternative in the Solberg mitigation proposal, which would essentially take aircraft north and then on a westward routing to allow them to achieve higher altitudes without conflicting with traffic from Kennedy and LaGuardia Airports.
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Mr. FRANKS. Thank you, Mr. Washington. Mr. Hinson, I'll look forward to receipt of the answers to the other questions.
Mr. HINSON. Yes, sir.
Mr. FRANKS. I thank you for your willingness to commit to those answers.
Mr. HINSON. Yes, sir.
Mr. FRANKS. Next I'd like to call on Mr. Lipinski for any questions.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman, I yield my time to Mr. Menendez.
Mr. MENENDEZ. I want to thank the gentleman, the ranking member, for yielding his time. I will be happy to do so when it is Chicago's turn, although I have a feeling, Mr. Lipinski, you won't need it from me.
Administrator, good morning. I want to ask a series of questions, and, to the extent that you can work with me to be as brief but still responsive, I'd appreciate it so that I can try to get as much as possible in my time frame.
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Mr. HINSON. Yes, sir.
Mr. MENENDEZ. Am I to understandyou were here when I gave my statement about this issue. Am I to understand that the FAA was Congressionally mandated to go ahead and study above 3,000 feet?
Mr. HINSON. That is our interpretation.
Mr. MENENDEZ. It wasn't your choice? You were Congressionally mandated to do it?
Mr. HINSON. Essentially, yes, sir. Let me ask Louise, if I may, to address that. She's our policy expert.
Ms. MAILLETT. Yes. You are correct. The language did not saythe actual language of the statute did not say only above 3,000 feet, but the language of the statute was the impacts of the Expanded East Coast Plan, which did not change any routes below 3,000 feet. So we believed that the language of the statute limited us to reviewing above 3,000 feet.
Mr. MENENDEZ. Isn't it fair to say that there are impacts for the people who live within
Mr. HINSON. Clearly.
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Mr. MENENDEZ.who are affected below the 3,000 feet?
Mr. HINSON. Clearly. Absolutely.
Mr. MENENDEZ. And aren't those potential impacts just as devastating as anyone else's impacts?
Ms. MAILLETT. Yes. We would certainly say that there are aircraft noise impacts below 3,000 feet, not just, obviously, in the New Jersey area, but in other places in the country.
However, there were no changes to any of the aircraft routes as a result of the Expanded East Coast Plan below 3,000 feet, so we limited our study, as we thought the statute directed us, to only those impacts of those route changes.
That's not to say thatwhat I said earlier, that there are obviously impacts from aircraft routes below 3,000.
Mr. MENENDEZ. Wouldn't the intensity of the number of flights over those routes have a compounding effect for the people living in that area?
Mr. HINSON. Yes. Let me sort of come at that a different way, if I may.
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First, I think it is true that the closer to the airport one is with an airplane, either arriving or departing, the fewer the options available to mitigate noise. In other words, the functions of the square of the distance. That's all. The closer we are, the fewer options we have in order to operate the airplane safely.
All across the United States at many, many airports and in many communities the FAA works with local authorities, airport authorities, and/or noise groups. This is not a problem that is unique to the New York/New Jersey area, for sure. It is all over.
We work with the local authorities to design traffic flows below 3,000 feet, airplane procedures below 3,000 feet, noise abatement procedures, engine run-up procedures, day and night and things of this nature to mitigate noise to the maximum possible degree with safety.
So you're correct in observing that it is noisier below 3,000 feet, for sure, than it is beyond 3,000 feet, and that any real evaluation of noise mitigation in a broad context has to include airplanes below 3,000 feet. I agree with that.
Mr. MENENDEZ. Let me ask you: at what level does the FAA consider that decibels begin to impact upon a person's health?
Ms. MAILLETT. We believe that 65 DNL is a level of significance, and when you start getting into the 70 to 75 DNL is when you start having those types of serious concerns.
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Mr. MENENDEZ. And, in fact, for many residents of my District they are in that potential level, based upon some of the proposals that I have seen.
Let me ask you: I understand that, under the New Jersey CAAN proposaland I'm reading from notes. I'd like you to tell me if this is correctaccording to FAA's analysis of their plan, over 460,000 New Jersey residents would have an increase in noise, but nearly 700,000 would experience a decrease. Is that correct?
Ms. MAILLETT. Yes.
Mr. MENENDEZ. Can you tell me what areas the 460,000 New Jersey residents who have an increase in noise are in?
Ms. MAILLETT. The routing of the aircraft under the New Jersey CAAN proposal would increase noise in the southern part of theI'm sorry. I don't know the counties off the top of my head, but the southern part of New Jersey, as well as a small portion of the northern, and a portion along the shore.
Mr. MENENDEZ. Well, could you get me, through the committee, the counties that are affected, the particular area? I'd be very interested in seeing that.
[The information received follows:]
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Mr. MENENDEZ. Let me just ask you, Mr. Administrator, do you think that the 1990 Aircraft Noise and Capacity Act is making a dent in terms of successfully reducing aircraft noise in the country?
Second, for example, in Newark International Airport, our largest operator, Continentaldo you know if they are meeting their obligations under the act?
Mr. HINSON. I think clearly that is true that we are seeing an increasing sensitivity to the noise issue, not only at airports, but every place else, for that matter, but especially because of this act.
The requirement to phase out stage two airplanes and replace them with stage three airplanes by the turn of the century, as Congressman Oberstar pointed out, has been a significant driver in air carriers converting their aircraft and, indeed, it is causing manufacturersengine or propulsion manufacturersto advance the science of quieting the engines.
It is not easy, obviously. Physics being what they are, to get the thrust you need, you have to push some air through there. But there are ways to mitigate that, and manufacturers are working very hard to improve even the relatively low noise levels of current stage three engines.
I think you will see, going forward into the next century, real additional improvements in design of engines and the cells and the way power plants are appended to aircraft that will continue to reduce noise.
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That's a long answer to your question, but yes, clearly that legislation has had an impact.
Mr. MENENDEZ. I see my time has run. Do you know if Continental, which is our major carrier out of Newark, so therefore contributes as any other airlineare they in compliance with the act?
Mr. HINSON. Yes, they are.
Mr. MENENDEZ. They are in compliance.
Mr. HINSON. In fact, I think they're slightly ahead.
Mr. MENENDEZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. FRANKS. Thank you, Mr. Menendez.
Ms. MOLINARI. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Let me start, before I begin my questions, to welcome the administrator and thank him for resisting regional pressures and finally closing the record of decision on the 5-year pending EIS. The people of Staten Island and other areas of New York, like our friends in certain areas of New Jersey, are anxious to get on with a regional solution, and we do appreciate the difficult position you've been put in, and we are grateful to you for that.
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Mr. HINSON. Thank you.
Ms. MOLINARI. Let me just ask a couple of quick questions.
What is the unrestricted climb-out for Newark Airport?
Mr. HINSON. Let me ask my experts. I haven't flown there, myself, for a while. When you say ''unrestricted,'' are you meaning an air carrier or any aircraft could take off and climb to altitude without any restrictions at all?
Ms. MOLINARI. Yes.
Mr. HINSON. I'm not sure thatJim, do you have a
Mr. WASHINGTON. If I understand your question correctly, that's essentially that, once an aircraft is approved or cleared for departure, they are cleared to their requested altitude upon departure from the airport.
Ms. MOLINARI. Yes.
Mr. WASHINGTON. So, assuming no conflicts with that, with other arriving aircraft, then that permission is granted.
Page 79 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. MOLINARI. Okay. What is the agency's understanding of a departure route a plane would take to fly over-the-ocean procedure with regard to New York?
Mr. WASHINGTON. The altitude, itself, would be 6,000 feet. That is our understanding.
Ms. MOLINARI. Okay. Administrator, now that the record of decision is closed on the EIS, where do we go from here? What kind of time line can we all look forward to in terms of additional studies in the entire region?
Mr. HINSON. The FAA will always be in a continuous evaluation of community noise issues. Actually, there is really no beginning and no endpoint from here on, I suspect. I have asked my Deputy Regional Administrator, Arlene Feldman, to accompany us this morning. She will be the point on continuing the evaluations of noise mitigation in the entire New York metroplex area, because I think it is apparent to everyone that we can't isolate a State or a city in this context.
So let me ask Arlene to comment, if I may.
Ms. MOLINARI. Thank you, Administrator.
Ms. FELDMAN. Good morning.
Ms. MOLINARI. Good morning.
Page 80 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. FELDMAN. It is a little too early, actually, to give you specific details, but I think it is important for me to tell all of you that we are meeting with community groups, and we will continue to do that, and we really look forward to working very closely, as we have in the past, with all of the people who have an interest in this issue.
Ms. MOLINARI. And I appreciate that, but we have been told for the last 5 years that New York's and, in particular, my concern, Staten Island's air noise problems couldn't be evaluated until the record of decision on the New Jersey EIS was closed. I think we anticipated something a little more structured than just, ''We'll be meeting with community groups.''
Ms. FELDMAN. Well, I think that we were constrained by the legal implications of the EIS, but now that it has been put behind us we will be able to move forward and to meet and discuss, on a regional basis, what changes might be possible to mitigate the noise.
Ms. MOLINARI. Again, after 5 long years and the kind of frustration that we have all lived through, the temptation to an answer like that is to sit down with my colleague from New Jersey and say, ''Perhaps we need another Congressional statute to mandate a delivery of some kind of alleviation of this situation.'' Without a time line, without any ability to know whether you will be coming in and providedo you have any intentions of monitoring noise throughout the region, or providing alternative situations? Will we have hearings?
This is a little ambiguous in terms of an answer, and after 5 years of waiting for this answer, I have to tell you, with all due respect, that answer just absolutely outrages me and I hope confirms for the panel here why we have this difficult emotional relationship with FAA, to say the least.
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Mr. HINSON. Let me step in here and sort of take that pitch, if I may.
The problem in the greater New York area, as in Boston, all the way to Washington, is going to get worse, not better. The airlines are going to grow from 550 to 600 million passengers to over 800 million at the turn of the century, and it is going to double by 2015. New York is the busiest commercial market in the world, as I said earlier.
The problem for noise in New York is going to get worse, not better, in that context. That is an inexorable result of what is going to happen to commercial aviation.
So our challengeand it is a real challengeis to sit down with the communities and figure out how to optimize what your citizens clearly want, which is convenient, affordable air transportation, and a lot of it, and answer the criticisms about noise, and that is not easy.
However, since we have concluded this EISand I have a record of decision, and we're going to get on with itwe will be beginning the process of evaluating everything you're asking about. But we do not have today a game plan, per se.
Ms. MOLINARI. And I guess my only question then isand I understand that, but when will you have a game plan, per se? Is there a month? Is there a season you can give us some general idea at which pointin other words, we don't want to be back here again a year from now saying, ''Administrator, what happened to the game plan?'' We need to have some idea as to when we can hold you responsible.
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Mr. HINSON. I think one will evolve as sort of a natural consequence of sitting down now and saying, ''Okay. Here we are. What are we going to do?''
We have other issues besides noise. That's the efficient movement of traffic. All of this comes together to require us to review what we are doing. And we will begin that. We are beginning that now.
Ms. MOLINARI. Okay. But you're a Member of Congress and you authorize FAA and you appropriate FAA's budgets and you are responsible to your constituents, and I can't go back there and say, ''Well, one of these days.''
Mr. HINSON. The first thing we are going to do is start the Solberg mitigation. That will probably be in effect early next year. It takes a few weeks to get that
Ms. MOLINARI. Okay. Let me get a little more specific then to Staten Islanders. We have been talking about a straight-out departure from runway 22 for the last 5 years. At what point in time can the people of Staten Island expect that the FAA may be able to review and analyze this suggestion?
Mr. HINSON. We don't treat, in this contextI don't think we treat Staten Island any different than all the other communities that are impacted by noise, and it will be included in everything we do, like all other
Page 83 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. MOLINARI. But we don't know when you're going to do that, whatever thing that you do.
Mr. HINSON. Well, it is hard to tell you, Congresswoman. Seriously, it is hard to say.
Ms. MOLINARI. Administrator, I've got to tell you, you guys are just begging for another piece of legislation.
Mr. HINSON. Well, I
Ms. MOLINARI. You're begging for it right now.
Mr. HINSON. Let me just comment in that context.
Ms. MOLINARI. And I don't want to do that.
Mr. HINSON. Thank you. We would prefer not to have one, as well. I think we can make a lot of headway without one.
Ms. MOLINARI. But you can't give me a year?
Mr. HINSON. In fact, we
Ms. MOLINARI. Forget season. Forget date. Year.
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Mr. HINSON. The fact that we had one before is causing you your problem in Staten Island, to some degree.
Ms. MOLINARI. Right. I understand that. But you're not giving me anythere is nothing there that you're promising me that, not only will you not make things betterand I understand you can't say thatbut you're not giving me any idea, any indication as to when you will look at and evaluate.
The people who live under these extreme circumstances throughout the regionwhen can they at least be confident that they will be heard?
Mr. HINSON. Well, we're going to do that immediately. I think Arlene has said that she intends to begin listening sessions immediately.
Ms. MOLINARI. Listening sessions. Do those become the same as public hearings?
Ms. FELDMAN. What I plan to do within the next few weeks is to send out a letter to all of the citizens' groups, both in New Jersey and New York, invite them to my office, and I'd like to discuss with them what process they would like to see us use, and from that we can then start developing some plans, and that's going to happen within the next few days.
Ms. MOLINARI. Okay. Now we're getting somewhere. Okay.
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Ms. FELDMAN. If I may request of you to be in touch with my office, to let me know the people that you'd like to see invited to that meeting, they will be included on our list. I would appreciate that.
Ms. MOLINARI. Okay. Great. Thank you. And perhaps if I can just close with this, we can also use this opportunity to publicly invite you to come back to Washington, or we can meet in the New York/New Jersey area with all the affected Members of Congress, after you hear from our constituents, can also share with you some of our problems and our uptake on our constituents.
Mr. HINSON. Fine. So we don't leave you sort of feeling we're totally insensitive, let me ask Mr. Washington to make a comment. There is one specific area that might affect that.
Ms. MOLINARI. Thank you, sir.
Mr. FRANKS. Mr. Administrator, we have an important vote on the floor. We have about 5 minutes left. We will get over there as quickly as we can and return immediately.
Mr. HINSON. Yes, sir.
Mr. FRANKS. There are other Members who would like to make some inquiries, so if you'd be patient to wait, we would be very grateful.
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Mr. HINSON. Yes, sir.
Mr. WASHINGTON. If I may, very briefly, on the runway 22 proposal, that is one area that we will have the ability to address with a partnership approach with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, in order to address those issues below 3,000 feet which are specific to achieving some early benefits beyond the scope of the EIS which we have just completed.
With that focus and partnership with the Port Authority, FAA would look to be able to achieve whatever we can, in concert with the other community interests, along those lines.
Ms. MOLINARI. Thank you very much. I appreciate that.
Mr. FRANKS. The committee will now resume.
Administrator Hinson, we're waiting for a few more Members who expressed their intention to come back to ask a line of questions. I apologize. They are a little bit tardy, but we'll wait a couple more minutes.
Mr. HINSON. Yes, sir.
Page 87 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FRANKS. Thank you.
Mr. FRANKS. We'll reconvene now. I'd like to recognize Mr. Lipinski.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I simply want to say I want to thank everyone for being here. I know how difficult these type of issues are, as Mr. Hinson remembers when he ran Midway Airlines and many of my constituents lived right underneath the runways where his airplanes used to take off. We had many, many conversations about these problems.
I was very fortunate in that I live eight blocks west of Midway Airport, but the airport runs from 55th Street to 63rd Street, and I lived on 59th Street, so everything went that way and that way, and nothing went over my house. I didn't have that problem.
But, now that I have said that, I see that our ranking member of the full committee, Mr. Aviation, is here, and I'm going to yield the rest of my time to Mr. Oberstar.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Thank you very much, Mr. Lipinski. I appreciate your thoughtfulness.
You may have noticed that, not quite by accident, Mr. Clinger and I walked in together. We spent 50 hours of committee hearing time a few Congresses ago listening to noise problems, at the conclusion of which we agreed that the problem of aircraft noise on a national basis as a national policy issue was too complex to be resolved in the remaining time of that Congress in 1990.
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We began to put together some principles for a national noise policy to be addressed in the next Congress, but when the AIP legislation had already worked its way through the House and was over in the Senate, there was a very strong desire to do something for cargo aircraft, so the Senate added some language that dealt with a few cargo problems, and then a few other airports, and then a few other airports, and we saw a noise policy being created airport-by-airport, and that simply was not a good way to do public policy.
In the end, we joined the PFC issue, together with reduction in the number of stage two aircraft in a phase-out through the balance of this decade. That program is working well.
As I said in my opening remarks, we started out with 2,350 aircraft in 1990 that were stage two, and we will come to the end of the decade in 1999 with 650 such aircraft. In the year 2000 it will be zero unless some airlines qualify for the very tight exemptions or extenders that were provided in the legislation. So far none has applied.
Now, in the course of those discussions I think Mr. Clinger and I spent endless hours meeting with noise-impacted groups from the various communitieseast coast, west coast, Chicagobecause no one else was listening to them. The other Body, having launched this missile, said, ''It's not our problem any more. You deal with it.'' So we did, and we heard them out, but in chambers, if you will, not in open public hearings, although we had already heard their concerns in open public hearings.
So I can safely say this committee has a very extensive record on the subject of aircraft noise, impacted communities, measures to take to remediate the problem, and that, under your leadership at FAA, there has been an openness and a responsiveness thatMr. Hinson, there has been a willingness to reach out to these communities, to use the part 150 noise abatement funds, expanded as we have provided it, to schools, to churches, including parochial schools. Any entity that's in the LDN can apply for and receive funding. It is 100 percent Federal funding. All the measures are there.
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If you want less noise, you want zero noise, there is a simple solution: shut the airport down.
I don't think any one of those communities would want to take away the economic impact.
Second, who's impacted by the noise? It is like the Interstate Highway in Duluth. There was no problem when the Interstate was going through the poor working-class communities in the west end out by the steel plant, the cement plant, and the coolerator plant, but as soon as the Interstate 35 started heading for the big oaks in East Duluth, a lot of noise went up among the people out there saying, ''Oh, you can't have the highway going out here. Put it out over the lake or some place.''
The same thing we find with noise: there are communities, and then there are other communities who are impacted by the noise, and who is going to get whose noise? It is just a redistribution of noise.
I don't think you meant to say that noise will only get worse, not better, because there are going to be more aircraft. I think you meant to say there are going to be more aircraft, but with advanced design engines and the kits that have been developed to reduce noise in retrofitting existing aircraft, noise is going to be greatly reduced.
But each time you reduce the noise, people get accustomed to that level and even the quietest aircraft in the fleet, if you increase the number of aircraft from two quiet ones to four quiet ones, you still have the same amount of noise and people are not going to be happy with it.
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There are other things you can do. You can bring aircraft in at higher altitudes and then drop them down very precipitously. That saves fuel, reduces noise, but in bad weather you can't do that. You can't drop them down that quick.
I think it would have been useful for this hearing if we had had some statistics on the percentage of stage two aircraft that are coming into the New Jersey and New York airports. If you don't have that information right now, I would suggest that you provide that information for the committeestage two versus stage three. Get a breakdown for us so we know. And by aircraft typeare these DC9,30,40,50 series? Are these 727200s? And how many of the aircraft are 757s and MD80s and A320s? And how many of these are international flights where they begin to step down further out in the water so that they can bring those big aircraft in at a lower altitude?
The committee needs to have that kind of information before it can make any judgments.
[The information received follows:]
Mr. OBERSTAR. This is not a legislative area. This is in the nature of an oversight. But if Members are going to take positions and begin to formulate opinions, then they need to have the facts on the table, and we ought to have that information.
Page 91 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC When we get to the end of the decade and we have total stage three fleet, what is going to be the impact on the communities? What's the FAA's estimate of the number of people in the area?
Ms. MAILLETT. What I can respond to, sir, is that you're absolutely right. With the stage two phase-out, the number of people significantly impacted by noise continues to decrease, despite the increase in traffic that the administrator referenced.
We are approximately, Nationwide, at about 1.3 million nowpeople within that category. We started, as you know, at 7 million back in the 1970s. By the turn of the century, when we complete the legislative decision of this committee, we will have approximately 400,000 people. The decline will be down to 400,000 people significantly impacted by noise.
We have actually done some individual modeling, projecting the future, and we find that the number is not going to grow greatly for a while, because even though they are all stage three, there will be newer stage three, as well, coming in after the year 2000, so that the effort that you refer to really has made and will make a significant difference in the number of people impacted by noise.
Mr. OBERSTAR. I have already used more time than Mr. Lipinski had to give, and I know Mr. Clinger is here and wants to address this subject, as well. He will provide another level of understanding and wisdom on this subject.
This should only be considered as a beginning and not an end of our discussion of the subject matter.
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Mr. HINSON. If I could just make, Mr. Chairman, one comment, you're right, Mr. Oberstar, in pointing out that I didn't intend to suggest that it is going to get noisier. What I was intending to say was, with the additional traffic demands that we forecast and the discreet flights that will be required to carry those over what we fly today, the complications of mitigating noise through air traffic control procedures gets worse. That problem becomes more complex, and that was the gist of my comment.
Mr. FRANKS. Thank you very much. Thank you, Mr. Oberstar.
Mr. CLINGER. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I want to welcome Mr. Hinson. It is always a pleasure to see him. It is also a pleasure to see Ms. Feldman, who I just met the other day in my District. It is a delight to have you all here.
I would think Mr. Oberstar certainly very well described the history of the involvement of this committee on this issue, and it is an issue that is an extraordinarily difficult one. We will never, I think, ever solve all of the noise problems that are going to be associated with the development of airports. There is no question that is going to continue to be an aggravating problem as we grow.
I think the fact that we did make substantial progress requiring a move toward quieter aircraft, with hush kits and all the rest of it, has had a material impact. But even in my rural constituency I have concerns that are expressed by constituents about small, regional airports, so I know that it is not exactly limited to large hubs or large airports. It is a problem. I have great sympathy for the problems and the concerns that you have to deal with in trying to cope with this, but I think we are on the right track.
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I would just join Mr. Oberstar in commending the efforts you make to solve what may, in the final analysis, not be a completely solvable problem. I think you are doing a good job.
I just have one question that I would ask you, Mr. Hinson.
Continental's testimony states that it is forced to slow its air speed and to descend to low altitudes as it approaches the Newark Airport, and they suggest that these procedures result in increased noise as a result of aircraft flying lower over New Jersey communities than is absolutely necessary. The question would be the reason why those procedures are required if, in fact, it is exacerbating the noise problem for those New Jersey communities.
Mr. HINSON. Let me ask Mr. Washington to comment on that.
Mr. WASHINGTON. Mr. Clinger, I don't have the specific information you request about the reason for the required slowing on the part of Continental Airline arrivals, but I can say specifically, with regard to Newark, that we have addressed air traffic changes which have significantly reduced the delays, and that benefit has been experienced both by Continental and the other carriers operating at that airport.
We are focused specifically on what benefits will derive now that we have reached the record of decision in this EIS, and we are addressing both arrival and departure of aircraft with a focus primarily on improvements in mitigating noise from departures, since that is where the majority of the noise originates.
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Mr. CLINGER. We anticipate that, by the turn of the century, we are going to have essentially all aircraft at stage three, which is what we tried to provide for in the bill a couple of years ago. What are the prospects that you know of now in terms of new technology that might suggest that we could go beyond that? Is there a possibility of getting to a stage four if it comes to that? Or is that technologically not possible or is it economically not possible?
Mr. HINSON. Well, I'd be hesitant to say that anything is not possible technologically. We keep seeming to be able to invent new technologies all the time. So I won't say that it is technologically impossible, but I think the engine manufacturers would tell you that they are constrained, to some degree, by the laws of physics, to get the thrust required out of a specific engine. There are only two variables: that's either the mass or the acceleration. There are no other variables. Those are the only two you can really play with.
You can change the housing on the engine, to some degree, to attenuate the internal engine noises, the turbine whine, that sort of noise. That's done by using different materials. It's done by where you place the engine on the airplane. And it's done by the way you fly the airplane.
But we are going to be hard-pressed today; however, a decade from now we may have new, light materials that we can use in the combustion part of the enginethe turbine, for instancewhere we can go the 2,000 and 3,000 degrees C, which we cannot do now, which will have a direct bearing perhaps on that.
Page 95 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I'm cautiously optimistic, Mr. Clinger, notI think we can make some improvements, but I don't know how much more.
Mr. CLINGER. Thank you very much. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. FRANKS. Mr. Clinger, thank you very much.
Mr. Hinson, let me, if I canI share your enthusiasm that ultimately new technologies hold out at least the prospect of great relief for people who suffer from this problem. Moreover, I think I speak for everyone from New York and New Jersey, even those of us who may identify different solutions as being preferable, that we all feel a kinship with those who are impacted by this, whether they are in rural areas, like Mr. Clinger's, or in more metropolitan hub areas.
If I can, let me put a human face on this for just a moment.
Last summer I had the opportunity to walk through a neighborhood in the Colonia section of Woodbridge, New Jerseya neighborhood that I chose to visit because it was a source of a significant number of complaints about noise that had been aggravated since the EECP.
I walked into a small home in a residential middle-class neighborhood, and the couple who owned the home invited me in, and I sat in their living room, and they explained to me that they had a year-and-a-half-old child and they had bought a crib monitor that they put in the baby's nursery, and the speaker for the crib monitor was located on top of the television set in the living roomsomething I suspect that probably millions of families have opted for that form of technology.
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They had to get rid of that crib monitor because what happened was jet noise overhead triggered the microphone in the baby's nursery, and out of the speaker sitting on the living room television was a blare of jet noise overcoming, obviously, the utility of the crib monitor and suggesting to me the level of noise impact that some of these neighborhoods are now required to endure.
I don't want to believe that this is a zero sum game, as some have suggested. I hope it is a more manageable problem than some may have spoken to today.
All of us recognize the difficulty of the issue. None of these answers are easy, and sacrifice is going to be required from people because they do, indeed, as you indicated, want access to frequent and affordable and accessible air service.
This is a significant management problem, and it is one, as you say, that won't go away. And I hope that through technology and through routing schemes we don't have to cause a zero sum game where the noise is merely moved from one neighborhood to another neighborhood, whether it is an urban or a rural setting. I hope there are better answers than that available.
Since you are the agency that is charged with this responsibility, I think it is appropriate that we had the opportunity to visit with you today.
Mr. HINSON. I think your comments are absolutely correct. I do believe that technology will, as a function of time, allow us to reduce the noise impact in communities. But I want to be realistic with the committee and with everybody else. The FAA is noise-sensitive every placein San Francisco, in Los Angeles, in Dallas. Every community that we deal with has a noise problem, without exception. There are no exceptions where there is a major jet airport providing passenger service. And we are engaged fully across the United States in noise mitigation efforts and have been for a long time and will be for the foreseeable future.
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I don't want the committee to have any impression that we are not trying to aggressively address these issues, but, at the same time, I think realism is important. As air carriers expand their service and your community wants more service, not less service, then we have to try to work in an intelligent fashion to continue to mitigate the noise, and we will do that.
Mr. FRANKS. Thank you. We've been joined by Congressman Martini. Mr. Martini?
Mr. MARTINI. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Let me just extend my apologies. When it rains, it pours. Today I have had two hearings, both on New Jersey issuesthis one and another one in another subcommittee of which I'm a member which started at 9:30, and I'm juggling my time between the two. It is unfortunate, because these are both very important issues to me. So I apologize for not having the benefit of your testimony, but I'm sure that this was very ably handled by my colleague, Mr. Franks, who has really been familiar with this issue for the years he has been here, as well as the years he served in the State Legislature. This is an issue of great concern to me, as well.
Recently, in the last few months I have been receiving some complaints from constituents in my District now, and so we are concerned about it. I'm anxious to listen to some of them. I hope I have some time to listen to the constituents that are here today.
I don't have any questions, but I do want to thank you for the benefit of your testimony, which I will read this evening or tomorrow.
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Mr. HINSON. Yes, sir. Thank you. I did listen, Congressman, to your opening comments, so I understand your viewpoint.
Mr. MARTINI. Thank you very much.
Mr. HINSON. Yes, sir.
Mr. FRANKS. Mr. Administration, thank you very much for joining with us today. We appreciate it. Thank you for your testimony.
Mr. HINSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. FRANKS. Next I'd like to up panel number three. Will all the members of that panel please take their seats across the table?
I'll first be calling on Mr. Alfred Grazer, the general manager of Aviation Technical Services Division of the Aviation Department of the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey.
Mr. Graser, we commit to you that you will have our undivided attention, if you'd like to begin now.
Page 99 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCTESTIMONY OF ALFRED J. GRASER, GENERAL MANAGER, AVIATION TECHNICAL SERVICES DIVISION, AVIATION DEPARTMENT, THE PORT AUTHORITY OF NEW YORK/NEW JERSEY, ACCOMPANIED BY THOMAS BOSCO, SUPERVISOR OF AERONAUTICAL SERVICES; E. DENNIS HARDIE, CHAIRMAN, CENTRAL JERSEY RUNWAY 22 COALITION; NICHOLAS DMYTRYSZYN, ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEER, ON BEHALF OF GUY V. MOLINARI, BOROUGH PRESIDENT, STATEN ISLAND
Mr. GRASER. Thank you. Mr. Chairman, Mr. Lipinski, and subcommittee members, I am Al Graser, general manager of the Aviation Technical Services Division for the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey. With me is Mr. Thomas Bosco, supervisor of aeronautical services, to my left.
As you know, the Port Authority operates Newark, JFK, and LaGuardia Airports. These facilities are extremely important to the regional economy, generating nearly $50 billion in annual economic activity and almost 400,000 jobs.
I appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today as the subcommittee addresses the FAA's environmental impact statement on the EECP.
I think most people are aware of the Port Authority's efforts over the years to deal with the issue of aircraft noise in the region. As just one example, for the last decade, we have strongly supported the Congressional efforts to completely phase out stage two aircraft. These efforts, as mentioned before, led to the passage of the Aviation Safety and Capacity Expansion Act of 1990.
Page 100 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It is encouraging that the percentage of stage three aircraft operations at our three airports has consistently met or exceeded the milestones of the Federal schedule. In fact, we are, for example, currently at 65 percent total stage three operations at Newark and, as mentioned before, Continental is at 67 percent, which means we have already met the Federal milestones for January 1, 1997.
It is this improvement in aircraft technology, we think, that will ultimately make the biggest difference in noise exposure.
Today's hearing, of course, focuses on changes in the air traffic routes and procedure. The Port Authority's policy on air traffic change is clear: we cannot support changes to air traffic routes made solely to shift the burden from one set of communities to another. The Port Authority will, however, support and promote those air traffic changes determined by the FAA to be consistent with both safety and efficiency that equitably distribute noise among the communities that both utilize and benefit from our airports.
In 1993 the Port Authority pledged to undertake an independent evaluation of the noise and operational impacts of a proposal by the New Jersey Coalition Against Air Traffic Noise to reroute Newark departures down the Arthur Kill, east over Raritan Bay, and out over the ocean to gain altitude before turning inland.
In the final report, published in May of 1994, the Port Authority's consultant, Leigh Fisher Associates, concluded that such a plan could, indeed, reduce noise perceptibly for 870,000 residents of central New Jersey; however, the plan could also result in a perceptible noise increase for 410,000 citizens living along the Arthur Kill, Raritan Bay, and the Jersey shore communities.
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In addition, the air carriers would experience a significant increase in cost under this plan due to increased flight delays and travel time.
In 1993, delay costs to the carriers operating at all three airports was an estimated $200 million in additional aircraft direct operating costs. With ocean routing, that figure could increase to just over $300 million.
From the Port Authority's perspective, we are pleased that the EECP EIS process is finally over. As the FAA has testified, the new Solberg routing should provide interim noise relief for 19,000 residents of New Jersey. Unfortunately, many residents of the New York/New Jersey region will continue to still be plagued by aircraft noise, the Solberg procedure notwithstanding.
It is generally recognized that the air route network established by the EECP in 1987 is already obsolete and no longer serves the interests of an efficient regional air transportation service. Consequently, the FAA has announced that it will soon undertake a wholesale restructuring of the region's airspace.
The time is right to take advantage of satellite-based navigation, communications, and surveillance systems, flight management systems, and other available and developing technologies to liberate air traffic from today's fixed en route structure.
The same on-board technology could also be used to fly precision approach, missed approach, and departure procedures in the terminal environment. The new routes could be tailored to improve operating rates and, just as significantly, to mitigate community exposure to aircraft noise.
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I'm confident that the FAA can, with the cooperation and participation of airlines, airports, pilots, and citizens, design an entirely new traffic infrastructure to optimize the safety and efficiency while minimizing environmental impacts.
The Port Authority stands ready to commit our expertise and resources, as appropriate, to assist the FAA in this effort.
The continued growth of our air transport system and the regional economy is at stake.
I appreciate the opportunity to address this subcommittee and the concerned citizens in attendance today.
Thank you very much.
Mr. FRANKS. Mr. Graser, thank you very much for your testimony.
Next we'll hear from Mr. E. Dennis Hardie, who is the chairman of the Central Jersey Runway 22 Coalition.
Mr. Hardie, welcome.
Mr. HARDIE. Mr. Chairman, I am Dennis Hardie, resident of Scotch Plains, New Jersey and chairman, as you said, of the Central Jersey Runway 22 Coalition.
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Mr. Chairman, I have been involved with the aircraft noise issue for 7 years. I am uncompensated for my efforts, and my group is comprised of all volunteers. Central Jersey Runway 22 Coalition does not accept government money.
I am here today because after nearly a decade the aircraft noise problem is at a crossroads.
The environmental study is years late. This was caused by the FAA extending the comment period to 500 days, most likely setting a record for the longest comment period ever. The 500 days of comment period accomplished nothingno aircraft noise relief, no progress towards relief, nothing.
Meanwhile, in heavily-impacted communities like Scotch Plains, there are people that go to bed in the basement to muffle the noise so they can sleep. Aircraft noise problems throughout the State are not all caused by the same operations. Some are caused by departures, some by arrivals, some by Newark, LaGuardia, and Kennedy air traffic. This is why a one-size-fits-all approach will not work.
NJCAAN made an honest effort to provide relief to everybody in New Jersey and found that goal impossible to achieve. This is because Newark Airport is not next to the ocean. For aircraft to get to the ocean, they must first fly over people in central New Jersey and Staten Island, New York.
Quoting NJCAAN's own report, ''almost 900,000 people would suffer increased aircraft noise with ocean routing.''
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The FAA eastern region personnel that caused the problem and then handled it so badly are all gone. The new administrator is committed to work with noise-impacted citizens to try and find solutions to this difficult problem.
For over 1 year, while we delayed the EIS, the FAA eastern region has been working with noise-impacted citizens in New York with good results. Meanwhile, in New Jersey years have passed with no one getting relief. It is time to give the FAA eastern region a chance to do something positive.
I request that our elected representatives encourage the FAA to keep their commitment to conduct a follow-up regional study to identify other means to mitigate aircraft noise in addition to the Solberg mitigation proposal.
Mr. Chairman, I am gratified that your subcommittee gave me the opportunity to present my views. It is reaffirming to know that in America an ordinary citizen can speak his mind in the citadel of democracy without fear of retribution or censorship. It is also refreshing that this subcommittee encourages the discussion of legitimate differences of opinion on matters of public policy, which is crucial to a civil discourse.
I am hopeful that the FAA will make good on its promise to work with all interested citizens in alleviating New Jersey's aircraft noise problem.
Page 105 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FRANKS. Thank you, Mr. Hardie.
Next we'll hear from Mr. Nicholas Dmytryszyn, who is the environmental engineer for the Staten Island Borough President, Guy Molinari.
Welcome, Mr. Dmytryszyn.
Mr. DMYTRYSZYN. Thank you very much, Congressman. Good morning. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, House subcommittee members, and Congresswoman Susan Molinari.
I'm delighted to have this opportunity to speak on an issue that has been controlled by New Jersey for far too long. To this day, New Jersey continues its strangle-hold control over who, representing which communities, has the right to speak against Newark Airport airplane noise. This is despite the fact that the most painfuland I mean that literallyairplane noise levels continue to barrage Staten Island.
It must be understood up front and without question that the planes causing inexcusable noise levels on Staten Island emanate from New Jersey.
The currently-configured route is intended to spare New Jersey residents the brunt of the aircraft noise. Indeed, the never-ending squadron of planes that take off from Newark Airport's runway 22 and then purposely fly over Staten Island is a constant reminder that, when it comes to airplane noise, what separates us from New Jersey is that we are obviously guilty of confusing the issues with facts.
Page 106 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It is high time to admit that the confusion is a deliberate attempt to ignore the facts. I appreciate the opportunity to get the facts on the table, now that the recently-completed $6 million EIS has been released. It would be an utter denial of facts to refute that the EIS has been heavily and unabashedly politicized.
It must be stated that a starting premise of this EIS appears to have been that aircraft noise knows and respects a political boundary when it sees one. That obvious error has been further and outrageously compounded by the inexcusable hand-out of hundreds of thousands of government dollars to a New Jersey citizens' anti-aircraft noise group that did not require either public bidding or public accountability as to how funds were spent.
But now let me get the facts on the table, starting with some obvious ones.
First, as shown in figure one in your handout, Staten Island is not in New Jersey, and Newark Airport is not in New York.
Second, because three mid-air collisions took place in the 1950s, Newark Airport was closed and the runway reconfigured from a 240-degree heading to a 220-degree heading for departures, and reopened in 1952.
Third, runway 22 remains the preferred departure route to this day for Newark Airport, being used more than 55 percent of the time in any given month. In a typical day, in excess of 300 planes take off.
Page 107 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As shown in figure two, which I have a flash card for, runway 22 departures immediately turn left to a 190-degree heading to avoid flying over New Jersey communities, only turning back once they have reached an altitude of 2,500 to 3,000 feet. This left-hand turn purposely shifts airplanes directly over northwestern Staten Island, approximately 3 miles from the end of runway 22.
Fifth, it is not uncommon for southbound departures to fly over northwestern Staten Island at altitude as low as 850 feet, even though the plane is already 3 miles south of runway 22.
A major review of Newark Airport runway 22 departures occurred in 1980 when the Newark Area Review Committee recommended that a straight-out departure test procedure from runway 22 be performed by the FAA. The test results were to be considered noise impacts, operational advantages to the user, fuel economy, and the operational advantages to the air traffic controllers.
The final report demonstrated at least three things.
One, that the straight-out departure procedure did not aggravate noise-sensitive communities to the south of Newark Airport because, ''Quite simply, the departing traffic gets higher faster, thus limiting the communities' exposure to aircraft noise.''
Second, that operational advantages could be identified that included increased fuel efficiency because of the unrestricted climb to 5,000 feet, the immediate savings of 1,500 hours per year of flight crew time, and the elimination of the 30-degree turn at the critical take-off time.
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Third, that in 1980 dollars a straight-out departure would show fuel economy savings of $2 million in the first year.
Despite the recommendation of the Newark Area Review Committee for the adoption of a runway 22 straight-out departure procedure, this recommendation was never implemented.
To date, I have not been able to clarify why this recommendation and all the positive benefits it would have produced was abandoned.
Then, in 1987, the EECP went into effect. The EECP did not require an environmental impact statement because, in effect, it restricted its focus to those planes flying at altitudes over 3,000 feet. FAA regulations restrict the need for an EIS to those actions that affect aircraft flying at altitudes below 3,000 feet.
I firmly believe that in 1990 and 1991, in direct response to suburban New Jersey communities impacted by aircraft rerouted by the EECP and flying at altitudes of 5,000 feet or more, the FAA altered the routes of departing aircraft flying below the 3,000 foot threshold.
I have a letter from FAA's then regional director, Daniel Peterson, that admits that changes in departure procedures of runway 22 were initiated to benefit New Jersey suburban communities without regard for the new noise problems created for those communities closest to the runway. These changes were initiated without any formal environmental assessmentat least there is none on file for public reviewin direct contradiction to FAA's own regulations.
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If Staten Islanders are continuously forced to suffer from airplane noise, then, at a minimum, the responsible agency should state the following for the record: Staten Island cannot be helped because of the geography of where the originating airport is as opposed to the geography of where the airplane noise goes.
An airplane noise consultant funded by the Port Authority and my office and retained under standard bidding procedures last year investigated the noise from departing runway 22 airplanes on Staten Island. Using the same noise models that the FAA and the Port Authority utilized, the consultant found that 737s produce more noise over northwestern Staten Island than over Elizabeth, New Jersey, even though Elizabeth Port is closer to runway 22 than Staten Island. The sole reason is because of the 190-degree heading.
As recent as July 28, 1995, at 8:25 in the morning, Staten Island's northwest communities were subject to aircraft noise of 103.7 decibels for 95 seconds, a sound level just below a rock concert.
Although I am sympathetic to the suburban New Jersey communities, it must be clear that they have an aircraft route problem, while Staten Island has an aircraft departure problem. One cannot be resolved at the expense of the other, but unquestionably the noise problem of those aircraft flying below 3,000 feet are statistically more serious than those over 3,000 feet, and therefore must be dealt with first.
To conclude, with the reality that Newark Airport is the fastest-growing airport in New York metropolitan region, and, as such, plans are under consideration by the Port Authority to extend runway 22 by the year 2000, this aircraft noise problem must be resolved now. Thus, it is imperative that the FAA re-perform and reevaluate the straight-out departure procedure that proved so effective to communities below 3,000 feet, to the airline industry, and to the air traffic controllers.
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If this could be performed in conjunction with the Solberg mitigation proposal approved in the EIS decision of record, then so much the better, because to have raised these issues to the level of government oversight and then not institute corrective measures would be a travesty of the highest magnitude.
Mr. FRANKS. Thank you.
Next we'll hear from Mr. David McKeon, who is the supervising planner for Ocean County, New Jersey.
TESTIMONY OF DAVID J. MCKEON, SUPERVISING PLANNER, COUNTY OF OCEAN, NEW JERSEY ON BEHALF OF JAMES F. LACEY, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, OCEAN COUNTY BOARD OF CHOSEN FREEHOLDERS; BARBARA FRAWLEY, MEMBER, BOARD OF DIRECTORS, NEW JERSEY COALITION AGAINST AIRCRAFT NOISE (NJCAAN), ACCOMPANIED BY GLENN BALES, CONSULTANT, NEW JERSEY CITIZENS FOR ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH; JOAN GIBSON, TREASURER, NEW JERSEY COALITION AGAINST AIRCRAFT NOISE
Mr. MCKEON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Good afternoon, distinguished members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Aviation. My name is David J. McKeon, supervising planner for the county of Ocean in New Jersey.
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Ocean County is located on the Atlantic coast in southern New Jersey. I would like to extend my thanks to you for letting me testify here this morning. I'm here representing James F. Lacey, who is the deputy director of the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders that is the governing body of the county of Ocean. Freeholder Lacey has been carefully following the changes to the east coast plan and the proposed coastal route.
On behalf of the Board of Chosen Freeholders, I have submitted written comments on the impact of these proposals on the residents of Ocean County.
In addition, at the county's urging, the FAA conducted a hearing in Toms River on February 14, 1995. Public comment at that hearing was overwhelmingly in support of the FAA's decision not to retain the coastal route as a viable alternative.
I would like to impress upon you today that the elected officials representing the people of Ocean County have supported the FAA's findings in the final environmental impact statement.
Even Congressmen Chris Smith and Jim Saxton have agreed that the problem of aircraft noise in New Jersey cannot be solved simply by shifting the noise from one geographic area to another.
The FAA has concluded that the continuation of the current routes and procedures, but modified by the Solberg mitigation proposal to reduce noise in Scotch Plains and the Fanwood area of Union County, is the preferred alternative.
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After a thorough and protracted review by the FAA, the proposed coastal route advocated by the north Jersey citizens group called ''New Jersey Citizens Against Aircraft Noise,'' or New Jersey CAAN, has been determined to be technically infeasible. I agree with this conclusion, as does the Board of Chosen Freeholders in Ocean County. The proposed coastal route should not be the subject of any further evaluation by the FAA. It is time to move on.
Despite the numerous studies that have been done on this subject and the numerous extensions in the public comment period, proponents of the coastal route are not satisfied and seem to want the FAA to reverse its final decision. What many of these same proponents fail to realize is that, when the environmental impact statement process is concluded, as has been the case, the FAA can begin to implement the mitigation measures that will provide a measure of relief from aircraft noise in the affected area.
At this point in the process, prolonging debate is counter-productive; however, if there is going to be continued debate over the coastal route issue, let me again summarize the reason that I am opposed to this proposal.
First, while I am sympathetic to the residents around Newark Airport who are impacted by additional aircraft noise, I think it totally unfair to propose that this problem be transferred to Ocean County simply because we have somewhat less population.
The environmental impact statement says that, should the coastal route be implemented, noise levels for over 450,000 New Jersey residents, most of whom reside in Ocean County, would increase significantly. This is an unacceptable impact that would affect the county residents each and every day. It could also affect the basis of our economy in Ocean County, which is primarily tourism, because the noise impact would be felt most strongly over our coastal municipalities.
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The proposed coastal route would also cross the center of Ocean County when it moves inland, over many of our senior and retirement communities.
Beyond the issue of noise, and, more importantly, the FAA's technical analysis has determined that the proposed coastal route should be rejected because of a significant number of safety concerns, particularly aircraft separation issues. Aircraft departing Newark and those arriving in the New York City airports would cross flight paths.
The coastal route would also significantly increase flight delays. The FAA estimates that all daytime flights at Newark would be delayed by an average of 35 minutes. These delays would, of course, impact much of the commercial system across the country.
I want to conclude with another potential airspace conflict with the coastal route and note that Ocean County is not without aircraft noise of its own. There are a number of military facilities which have military flight paths over Ocean County, including McGuire Air Force Base, Warren Grove Gunnery Range, and the Lakehurst Naval Warfare Center. Obviously, we would prefer that we do not have these noise impacts, but we accept them because they are necessary and don't want to see any increase in potential conflicts with those routes.
The Federal Aviation Administration has rejected the ocean routing proposal as put forth by New Jersey CAAN. The final environmental impact statement on the east coast plan has been released in its final form, and a preferred alternative has been selected. It is time to move on so the FAA can get on with its responsibilities without further pressure from influential citizens groups.
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Again, thank you very much for the opportunity to speak before you today. I hope that you leave here today with a clear understanding of Ocean County's total opposition to the coastal route proposal and support for the findings of the FAA's environmental impact statement.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. FRANKS. Thank you, Mr. McKeon.
The next several witnesses, as I understand it, are from the New Jersey Coalition Against Aircraft Noise. I will aggregate the time for their presentations. I understand that they've got some coordinated presentation they'd like to make.
First will be Barbara Frawley, who is a member of the Board of Directors of New Jersey Citizens Against Aircraft Noise.
Ms. FRAWLEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and ladies and gentleman of the subcommittee. Please extend our special thanks to Congressman Bob Franks for his role in assuring the hearing today.
My name is Barbara Frawley of Booton Township, Morris County, New Jersey. I am a member of the Board of Directors of NJCAAN, and I am speaking on their behalf.
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NJCAAN is comprised of citizens from 280 communities, with a mailing list of 33,000 registered voters. I am also president of Morris County Citizens Against Aircraft Noise, and I live about 30 air miles from Newark Airport.
Let me just saythis is not part of my testimonythat I have worked for 8 years to obtain noise relief for Morris County, and the FAA Solberg mitigation plan tells me that they will now send, on top of what I have, 84 to 100 more departures.
And let me say to my colleague and neighbor from Staten Island, who is pleading for relief from Newark departuresand I feel for himthat we have had imposed upon Morris County two layers of New York departures that were not there before the EECP. So we have four layers of aircraft 30 miles from the airport, and the lowest is 3,000 feet, which is ridiculous.
Now I will continue with my testimony.
We believe the entire EECP episode in New Jersey, and especially the outrageous conduct by the FAA, is precisely the kind of nightmare central to the revolution the 1994 elections established. The citizens of New Jersey and their misinformed New York neighbors are unwilling captives of the bureaucratic shenanigans of the petty tyrants in the FAA, especially the Clinton Administration appointees.
This agency has used the laws, regulations, and power of the United States Government as weapons against the citizens of New Jersey, who have had the audacity to challenge it. Serving an arcane and wilful agenda, the FAA has first refused and then failed to find a reasonable remedy to the EECP controversy, as mandated by Congress.
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The FAA has fanned the fury of the citizens of New Jersey. We are not going to move from our homes and neighborhoods. We are proud of where we live, and we will fight accordingly.
This controversy is not going away unless a fair and reasonable solution is found.
The FAA needlessly harmed the people of New Jersey and, when told by Congress to right the wrong, the agency wasted millions of dollars and precious time and good people's lives, and then mocked Congress and the citizens. We need your help.
After recklessly spending taxpayers' money and citizens' time, the FAA concluded nothing could be done about the wrong it had committed in New Jersey. But then, when challenged with a new route structure utilizing the Atlantic Ocean, the agency then proposed to reorganize the airspace in such a way to give relief to 18,000 citizens at the expenseand you can look at thisof hundreds of thousands of citizens.
The citizens' proposed route structure uses New Jersey's natural noise abatement resource, the Atlantic Ocean. The citizens' plan will reduce net noise over New Jersey withoutnow hear this carefullywithout putting any new noise over any citizen in any State.
Please be aware that we are not opposed to a regional solution to the air noise problem. We are sympathetic to the longstanding problems of both New York and New Jersey neighborhoods close to the airports; however, the New Jersey air noise problem is different in two important respects.
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First, the New Jersey EECP problem was caused by a violation of law by the FAA and sustained by a malicious compliance to that EECP remedy by the FAA.
Secondly, the New Jersey problem is characterized by new and severe noise for communities more than 40 miles from the airports. In many areas of New Jersey 40 miles from the airports, noise has been increased eight-fold by the Expanded East Coast Plan.
New Jersey's ocean routing proposal will notI repeat, will notharm New York or the New Jersey shore. It is an excellent remedy to the FAA's wrongs. It is also the best foundation for a regional solution.
I appeal to our neighbors in the ocean communities and in New York to please listen to Glenn Bales' testimony.
All we have ever asked for is to be treated fairly and reasonably, a concept beyond the comprehension of members of the FAA.
Mr. Glenn Bales, the architect of the EECP and the architect of the ocean routing plan, is permitted to use the remainder of my time.
Mr. FRANKS. Mr. Bales?
Mr. BALES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee.
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My name is Glenn Bales. I have been involved with aviation for over 40 years as a pilot, air traffic controller, and manager within the aviation system.
Some of my duties include: The assistant director of the Air Transport Association of Eastern Region; on the staff of the senior vice president of American Airlines as manager of ATC operations and standards; a controller at O'Hare and Midway control towers, the Indianapolis center; a manager of the St. Louis tower, Rochester tower; and also eastern region airspace and procedures branch. I've been a member of the evaluations air traffic service in Washington headquarters and participate in evaluation in basically almost every major air traffic control facility in the United States. I have also been a liaison for the FAA between the eastern region and the NATO allies for air traffic control activities over the north Atlantic. And I have participated in no less than three major reorganizations of the airspace in the New York area, the last of which consisted of the airspace bounded by Canada, Florida, and as far west as Dallas, Texas.
For this activity I was given the Silver Medal by the Secretary of Transportation and awarded a citation for meritorious service for a plan that was, as you know it, the Expanded East Coast Plan.
The New Jersey citizens felt that since I broke it, maybe I could fix it, so they hired me. I am now a consultant in my own company in Colorado Springs.
I have prepared a handout for you, and I hope it is before you today. In the first page of that handout is what I have here as a reduced version of the chart showing the airplanes flying within the New York airspace. This is just one piece of the Expanded East Coast Plan.
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We have heard a lot of talk about the Expanded East Coast Plan and 3,000 feet. Basically, a majority of the Expanded East Coast Plan was above 18,000 feet. The rest of it, the low-altitude route structure and the transition to these highways in the sky, really caused the problem.
The solution that we're going to talk aboutand I'd like you to leave that chart on the boardis because the solution will adjust the transitions, if you will, the on and off ramps for these major highways in the sky. We will be back on the original routings before we leave the confines of the New York center airspace, which is outlined by the heavy black line on that chart.
It doesn't take a change all the way to Florida, as was suggested earlier in various rhetoric throughout the history of the EECP.
Two colleagues of mine are with me here today, Doctor Brownell and Doctor Feder. Doctor Brownell prepared the next three charts that you will have in your handout. I think one picture is worth 1,000 words, and this certainly is, I think, an excellent description of what happened.
The first chart, in 1986, shows the system how it was, and even though the heavy black linesand there are some more-faded linesthe more-faded lines are really the flight tracks which are taken from the Port Authority radar system. They represent aircraft departing the south runways at Newark Airport, which is another chart up here.
Page 120 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As most of you know, runways are assigned by their magnetic headings, so runway 22 is 220 degrees. But when you add the magnetic declination, you are going to find out it is basically north/south.
In the rest of my testimony I will either talk about either landing and departing north, or landing and departing east/west.
The heavy black lines on your first chart are for departing aircraft that are taking off to the north. You can kind of see the white area is where the airplanes do not fly.
The next chartsame description. The heavy black lines are indicating the north departures. The faded-out lines are the south departures. You can see how it almost obliterates all the white area to the west and northwest of Newark Airport.
The next chart is what the citizens propose as the ocean route, and you can see all the white space, meaning we are not over-flying a lot of people.
I have listened very intently to all the testimony here today. I, too, would be upset, just as they are. I, too, would oppose ocean routing, just as they are, if ocean routing was what they think it is, and it is not. It is not what it has been represented to be, and that's been our problem. We have had a tough time to go from person to person to correct all the misrepresentations.
You heard testimony today from the Port Authority about their study and their findings, yet, in a public hearing in the State of New Jersey's Legislature, they admitted their study was wrong. They did not study ocean routing.
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Ocean routing is on the next page, which is represented by these colored green charts. They are pretty hard for you to see, but basically it is very simple. We take off to the south and we remained over New Jersey. We purposely put a SID in there to depart south, turn left to heading of 190 to a 2.3 DME. We want to stay in New Jersey, continue southbound until we are south of Staten Island, turn east over the Raritan Bay, go 5 miles out to sea past Sandy Hook, which is a peninsula, and then turn south.
Once we gain altitude, a minimum of 17,000 feet, we turn back inland and join the existing highways in the sky, like I told you, and its before we leave the area in black on that chart.
You also heard about the aircraft being levelled off at 6,000 feet. It is true. When you take off south, a 190 turn, and when you turn at the Raritan Bay, you'll be at 6,000 feet. You'll stay at 6,000 feet until you pass beneath the LaGuardia arrival corridor, which is at a minimum of 7,000. Once you pass that corridor, which is around Point Pleasant, you continue to climb and you cross Sandy Hook, which is a peninsula, around 10,000 feet.
So when you're turning south, you are above all the Kennedy traffic: Kennedy departures, are down below you. We have also moved the Kennedy arrival traffic and ocean routing further east out to sea to make room for the Kennedy departures, so ATC can have a parallel track system with Newark and Kennedy departures so there are no conflicts. It does reduce controller work load.
When you take off north and you make a right turn to 60 degrees for 4 miles and then turn left at 290, as you do todayand that's very important, and I'll come back to thisas you do today, instead of stopping at 290 we go to 250. Instead of being radar vectored we intercept a navigational radio, a signal in space like a clothesline that the aircraft can fly to keep them within the confines of a very narrow band versus the pictures you looked at earlier.
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As they fly southbound past the airport, they are at 6,000. When they reach the Raritan Bay they are at 10,000. That's 10,000 feet before they even turn toward Raritan Bay. When they reach Sandy Hook they are at 17,000 feet.
You have heard allegations about not only are you impacting New York, but you are impacting Connecticut, as well.
If you look up hereand I won't bother getting into too much detailthere are flights going over New York and routes going over Connecticut. We will join those same routes with those same airplanes, but instead of going to the north of the airport we go south of the airport, and we're going to be much higher because we are using the same flight paths and tracks that are used by Kennedy Airport today, only the Newark traffic will be well above 24,000 feet at cruise altitude.
What I'm here today for really is to try to set the record straight and identify the misrepresentations of the FAA in terms of noise, efficiency, and safety. I won't go into a lot of in-depth and take your time, because most of the information is contained in the testimony on the table in the back of the room, which is shoulder high to Mr. Patrick Russell.
In terms of noise misrepresentation, I'd like to talk to you about the eastern shore of New Jersey, the Ocean, Burlington, Camden, Gloucester Counties, Passaic and Sussex Countieswe have already covered the New York and Connecticut area.
On the eastern shore, a question was asked earlierand if you turn to the next map, which is taken out of the EIS, all the black area shows noise impact of 5 DBs which, according to the FAA, is when you could expect a community reaction.
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Along the shore they say there would be an increase about 17 to 19 decibels. The question was asked but never answered: what's the baseline for that 17 to 19 DB. The baseline is zero. The aircraft are out over the water.
You probably have a 17 to 19 DB increase. I don't doubt the statistics. I believe they are correct. But I also know the human ear threshold is somewhat above 20, so you're not going to hear it. Not only won't the fish hear it, the people on the land sure in hell won't hear it. And when you're at 17,000 feet turning inland, and by the time you get to the center of New Jersey where this heavy black line is, you're at 24,000 or above.
Ladies and gentleman, if we have noise problems by aircraft at these altitudes, we're in big trouble because we have highways in the sky that look like a spider web all across this country flying at these altitudes every day continuously.
The next noise area they show is northeast over the airport. It's over the meadowlands. If you're taking off north when they make that right turn, it is about a thumbnail size. Ocean routing hasn't made any change in that area. The aircraft still turn right at 60 degrees to the 4 DME, make their left turnexcept, as I said, when we get to the northwest corner of the airport, instead of being at a 290 heading we go to the 250 heading.
Last but not least, there is a black area at the north end of the map. Basically, that noise is from LaGuardia departures. LaGuardia departures cross the State of New Jersey today. In fact, if you look up in that general area, I refer to itand I refer to it onlyas ''coffin corner.'' It is a meshing, if you will, and it's the controller's job to mesh the Newark departures, the LaGuardia departures, the White Plain departures, all the traffic coming down from New England. The Newark arrivals, the Kennedy arrivals, and the LaGuardia arrivals, are also all concentrated up in that area. It is the busiest air traffic control sectors in the world right there. I'll come back to that point.
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The LaGuardia departures, the noise which we said we're going to increase, is generated because ocean routing states when you take off LaGuardia, fly the Hudson River a little bit further, get a little bit higher before you turn west. I do not know how we can be higher and create more noise.
Just to prove that what we are talking about was not in theory, we asked for a flight test. The FAA said it couldn't be done, they didn't have any airplanes, it would take too long to coordinate. Well, the citizens chartered a DC9. They got scientists with meters on the ground. They got ear witnesses. They got the public to come out. They separated the public and the scientists so any crowd noise would not reflect the meter readings.
Onboard the aircraft we took State legislators and the public. We invited the FAAthey elected not to come. We had people in the aircraft, in the cockpit, and on the radio, talking to the scientists on the ground to let them know when we were coming and where we were at so they couldn't misidentify the aircraft.
We talked about scientific and ear witness data that we have available. The results shownthe noise level was far below the 50 DB predicted by the FAA. In fact, the noise level was below the ambient level and a car in a parking lot made more noise. The people didn't see the airplane, didn't hear the airplane, and the response was, ''But that was only one airplane.'' Gentleman, if you didn't hear the first one, you won't hear the last one, and 1,000 times 0 is still 0.
Next pagewhat does it mean? Let's talk about the facts and figures.
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The New Jersey CAAN says we'll benefit approximately one million people, 983,000. FAA said 685,000. The net difference is 298,000, or an error of 30 percent.
Disbenefitwe said, ''Hey, we'll have a disbenefit. We'll make noise over Perth-Amboy. We'll affect about 280,000 people.'' FAA says, ''No, you'll affect 460,000 people.''
Well, if you are measuring the noise over the fish, you're measuring the noise at 35,000 feet, or whatever, yes, I guess maybe. An error of 64 percent.
Net benefit, last column, an error of 68 percent. And this is the misrepresentation. This is why the New Jersey people are upset, with this type of information being sent out.
Next let's talk about efficiency. This is a quote from the FAA: ''Would require all aircraft departing Newark to fly the same path for 75 miles.'' Ladies and gentleman, ocean routing only pertains to the turbo jets. It doesn't talk about the props. Not flying ocean routing it doesn't. And we're not talking about 75 miles. We're talking a distanceand I'll take it from the runway 22 to Perth-Amboy to 5 miles past Sandy Hook, which is a total of 31 miles, not 75.
The FAA, by the way, in their Solberg mitigation proposal, takes the same route off runway 22, Perth-Amboy. Instead of turning east over the water, they turn west over the people and fly to Solberg, and it's 36 miles5 miles further. I don't understand.
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I really don't understand the 75-mile argument anyway and why they even mention it, simply because you know and I know on these one-way streets, these highways in the sky, we fly daily from New York to California and beyond. That's a hell of a lot further than 75 miles.
The next thing, the FAA quoted, ''we'll cause an average airport departure delay of 35 minutes per aircraft between the hours of 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.'' The question was asked, but the answer was not given. You asked the question about delay, FAA answered you about conflict points, which we'll get into later.
There will be no 35-minute delays because of ocean routing. When I FAA them where this information came from, they said, ''well, it is intuitive knowledge.'' I said, ''Well, how did you determine all of this intuitive knowledge?'' Well, we got together around a table and we asked a bunch of people, and that's what we thought it would be.''
I said, ''Well, do you have records of that meeting?'' They don't have records of that meeting. ''Do you have records of any attendance?'' ''No.'' ''Do you even remember what day it was?'' ''No.''
I don't think they are going to give you any data or any justification of how they came up with 35 minutes.
We did. The citizens conductedand it is a matter of recorda New York airport capacity and delay analysis for the New Jersey CAAN aircraft noise mitigation proposal. It is also your first hand-out.
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The next page shows you all the different experiments which we conducted. We looked at all the runway configurations in good weather and in bad weather. The outcome of that wasand I'll just read the bottom linein good weather, when we are landing south, there is a 36 percent reduction in delay. In bad weather landing south, it's a 7 percent reduction in delay. In good weather landing north, it's 48 percent reduction in delay. In bad weather landing north, it's 11 percent reduction. The bottom line is reduction, reduction, reduction, reduction. No increase, and certainly nothing near 35 minutes.
We never said you got something for nothing. We know ocean routing will cost. It will cost in travel time. We are asking the airlines to fly further on certain flights at a cost of $21 million annually. But if you subtract the delay savings of 6 million, you're in the neighborhood of $15 million a year annually, the cost of providing noise relief to a million people, certainly not $200 million or $100 million, which has been alleged.
If you would take $0.60 out of the PFCsthe passenger facility chargesand allow the airlines to retain that out of the $3 they collect for the Port Authority today, just $0.60, it would offset that $15 million.
Next, safety misrepresentations. They really had to scratch the bottom of the barrel to get theseconflict points. Conflict points is not in any book the FAA hasno manual, no handbook, no policy. It is a planning term used by air traffic planners. There are literally thousands upon thousands of conflict points in the air traffic control system.
Page 128 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC What it is used for is to try to balance controller work load. They identify where two aircraft could possibly come together, determine what procedures would be appropriate to provide either some lateral or vertical separation, and, once making that decision, they decide who should control those airplanes. That's what conflict points are all about. It has nothing to do with safety.
Philadelphia trafficthey allude to the fact that under the ocean routing we forgot about traffic going to Philadelphia. We didn't forget about traffic going to Philadelphia because there are no jets going from Newark to Philadelphia, and if there are, if they are just trying to balance the fleet and shuttle from one airport to another, it is an exception, and ocean routing is a concept. We didn't intend to dot all the I's or cross all the T's or give them a complete structure, and I think it is unreasonable for the FAA to ask the citizens of New Jersey to develop a complete entire plan similar to the east coast plan which took over 8 years to develop. Again, the reason why the people are upset with the misrepresentations.
In conclusion, FAA has failed to fulfill its statutory obligations pursuant to the 1990 Aviation Safety and Capacity Act by not providing an adequate, reasonable, and fair noise abatement structure in response to the EECP, and it has failed to adequately and satisfactorily explain why it has not done so.
Two, FAA's final environmental impact statement misrepresents the safety, efficiency and noise abatement advantages of the New Jersey CAAN ocean routing proposal.
Three, ocean routing is the only fair, reasonable, and practical aircraft noise abatement alternative that can provide relief for approximately one million New Jersey citizens.
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Four, a mechanism is needed to create a good faith opportunity for New Jersey citizens represented by New Jersey CAAN and the FAA to resolve this ever-expanding crisis in New Jersey.
Remedies: New Jersey CAAN respectfully requests Congress take swift and decisive action to repudiate FAA's failure to fulfill the 1990 Aviation Safety and Capacity Act; requests Congress to amend the 1990 Aviation Safety and Capacity Act to suspend the FAA's recent issued record of decision indefinitely or completely; and, further, New Jersey CAAN respectfully requests Congress to further amend the 1990 Aviation Safety Capacity Act to require the FAA to enter into a two-fold mediation arbitration process with New Jersey's affected citizens to reasonably, fairly, and fully resolve this public policy dispute.
I thank you.
Mr. FRANKS. Mr. Bales, thank you very much.
We have 7 minutes before our next vote. I'm going to take a break. We'll come back to hear one more witness briefly, and then we will open it to questions from members of the panel.
Page 130 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FRANKS. Ladies and gentleman, we will be reconvening now.
Let me just, for the good of the order, make a public announcement. This isnow we've eclipsed the 4-hour mark of a public hearing that had been scheduled to last about a maximum of half that time, which is no one's fault. I think it has been an excellent opportunity to put concerns on the record.
I am told that, because of now very significant scheduling conflicts that exist throughout the institution, no other Members will be coming back. We have had great participation from the region, as well as members of the subcommittee, from both the majority and minority sides. We are very, very appreciative for that and for their patience, so I will be reconvening to take testimony from our last witness, and that will conclude the hearing.
If that helps anyone to make their own scheduling connections, which may be exigent by this point in time, we certainly understand that.
I'd like now to hear from Joan Gibson, who will be the final witness to the hearing this morning.
Ms. GIBSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I'd like to thank Congressman Martini for making it possible for me to be here this morning.
We heard a rather whimsical comment earlier on about the fat lady finally having sung because the EIS is closed. I think some of the things we have heard since then, especially from Mr. Bales, would lead us to believe that the song was very off-key, and we need to keep doing it until we do it right.
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My name is Joan Gibson and I live in South Orange, New Jersey, in Congressman Martini's District. Until 4 years ago, I would have described South Orange as a very quiet suburban township, and then the picture dramatically changed. We have heard that also today that these changes have taken place over the years unexpectedly.
Almost overnight new intruders arrived on the scenelow-flying airplanes. They drowned out speech, they rattled the windows, they vibrated the walls, they made it impossible to concentrate, they made it even more impossible to be outdoors, but, most of all, they interrupted sleep at regular intervals during the night.
I did what most people do when faced with an increasingly intolerable situation over which they have no controlI looked for somebody to complain to, and I found the FAA.
Little did I guess at the time that I was beginning an odyssey that would become just as frustrating as listening to the airplanes.
When residents of the area finally managed to get through to a real person at the FAAthis is no small task to actually get to talk to somebody therewe were told that there had been no changes in the flight patterns. We were told that the planes that were waking us up at 3:00, 4:00, and 5:00 a.m. did not exist. We were told that the noise measurement, which one gentleman undertook at his own expense and got measurements in excess of 90 decibels, was simply impossible.
Page 132 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We were told that our problem was due to prevailing southerly winds, even though our location is northwest of the airport, and if the winds had been southerly, the airplanes would have been taking off in the opposite direction.
And finally we were told, only after the township board officially complained to the FAA, that nothing could be done because of this EIS of the Expanded East Coast Plan.
Soon thereafter, I began my initiation into the EIS process, and now, almost 3 years after attending my first hearing, I have gained enough experience and exposure to the FAA, the EECP, the EIS responses, and this process to draw one unalterable conclusion: the FAA never meant the EIS to be any attempt to study or mitigate noise impact.
Before the first hearing I attended in 1993, the FAA had already spent $4.5 million to come up with a DEIS that essentially said there had been no significant noise impact from EECP and that there was nothing the FAA could do even if there had been significant noise impact. The FAA's mind was already made up.
By the time we got to the SDEIS hearings in 1994, the attitude was blatant enough for the FAA to report to the press before the hearings even started that it did not expect to hear anything that would change its position.
You can't read more than a few pages of any of the EIS documentsjust turn to any section where they talk about numbers, noise measurements, and especially computer modeling, or the parts where they respond to actual testimonywithout having an astonishing number of inconsistencies, twists of logic, incredible leaps of faith, and outright fallacies jump out at you. No reasonable person reading these documents could possibly conclude that the FAA made a valid attempt to study the impact of airplane noise or to fulfill the intent of the Congressional mandate.
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Even in the record of decision in the appendix on page A37, the FAA admits that Solberg routes still need to be designed. They haven't done them yet. Well, if they haven't done the routes, how could they have told us a year ago where the noise was going to be down to blocks? This is ludicrous. They didn't know then and they don't know now.
In 1992, South Orange was told that nothing could be done about its noise because of this EIS process. And then we submitted testimony. And in 1994, when they issued the supplemental DEIS, they said ''Well, we're sorry. Your noise started in 1992 so you're not part of the EIS process.'' They couldn't help us because of the process, and they can't help us because of the process. We're simply no longer part of the problem, and certainly not part of the solution.
We have kind of come full circle. The EIS started as a mandate from Congress and now we're back again in front of Congress.
As a taxpayer, I am appalled at the FAA's waste of money.
As a voter, I am appalled at its lack of respect for elected officials.
As a citizen, I am appalled at a hearing process that the FAA spent who knows how much money on that asked us to speak out when no one ever intended to listenespecially to residents of Essex County, Morris County, and other areas north and west of the airport.
As a homeowner, I'm appalled at the continuing impact of airplane noise on my property and my community. But, most of all, I am appalled that the actions of this intransigent Federal agency could rob me of my serenity and my tranquility without due process, without compensation, and really without even any avenue of recourse.
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The FAA's treatment of the citizens of New Jersey has been indifferent, indecent, and intolerable.
The final solution, Solberg mitigation, strikes many of us as a thinly-veiled and ultimately cynical attempt to divide and conquer a citizens' coalition.
What the FAA failed to factor into its game plan was the expression of solidarity with which the coalition responded. The quiet dignity of the NJCAAN board members voting together to reject Solberg 21 to 1, many against their own interests and the potential for relief in their own community, motivated by doing what was right for the State and not just for themselves, was a noble act.
It is important for Congressional representatives from both New Jersey and New Yorkespecially Mr. Menendezto understand that NJCAAN has introduced bills in both New Jersey and New York that force the Port Authority to institute voluntary phase-out of stage two aircraft. The FAA threatened to withhold PFC money if those laws were passed. So much for the FAA's advocacy of stage three aircraft as a solution to noise that we heard about earlier.
And NJCAAN would also like to thank Mr. Nadler of this committee who, while with the New York State Assembly, as Chair of the Corporations Committee, held hearings in which the Port Authority attempted and failed to kill that bill.
It is clear that NJCAAN not only seeks a State-wide solution, but a solution that is equitable across State lines.
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Unless our elected representatives stand together and present a similarly-united front to the FAA on the issue of airplane noise, the FAA will continue to shift this problem around the State and from one State to another. Bickering among communities, counties, Congressional Districts, and States is only to the FAA's advantage, for it distracts us from what really needs to be donea careful scrutiny and complete investigation of the FAA's conduct and policies.
Mr. DUNCAN [resuming Chair]. Thank you very much, Ms. Gibson.
I apologize to the panel because I had to be in some other meetings.
Mr. Franks, do you have any questions?
Mr. FRANKS. No.
Mr. DUNCAN. All right. Let me ask you thisand anyone on the panel can respond who wishes to do so, but almost everyone that we have heard from today, from the Members and all the otherswe have heard a lot of different ideas about what should happen to reduce aircraft noise, whatall these different things that should be done. Do you think it is possible that all of you could work together in some way to come up with a plan or a solution that just about everybody could agree on?
Page 136 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I know that we could never get 100 percent, I guess, for any type of plan, but is this just an impossible situation with so much disagreement? Yes, sir?
Mr. DMYTRYSZYN. My name is Nick Dmytryszyn. I'm representing our President Molinari from Staten Island. Again, I'm speaking maybe a little bit on a parochial nature, but, listening to what Mr. Menendez has said earlier, there has to be this distinction made that there are differences in airplane noise problems between communities that are at this level of a 3,000 foot altitude, however that was determined, whenever that decision was made that anything from 0 to 3,000 is one category of a situation, above 3,000 is another.
I think if you are looking at how the other communities are reacting, emoting offensively/defensively, I don't know how you can merge those two concepts together. It is extremely difficult because there is a route problem, there is a departure problem. Is there a way of meeting all those people together? Quite honestly, I don't know how it can be done because, if you're talking about trying to get aircraft as quickly away from a community as possible when it departslet's just look at departure situationthen that's one approach, because once you get to that particular altitude another level of environmental reality could kick in.
But the small number of people within the confines of Newark Airport that are affected by it, and by a State that doesn't have the airport, looking at the rest of these people that are X number of miles away, you are looking at trying to have a consensus which, as you can see for the past 5 years, for the past 10 years, or however many for Newark AirportI don't know. There is so much distrust and dissention.
For whatever other groups are saying for over-the-ocean routing, not for nothing, it still does not address the situation of this 3,000 foot noise environmental input that starts happening with the FAA.
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I don't know how to resolve that. I don't know if it is an act of Congress, the National Environmental Policy Act, but if that doesn't go away, then I think you are going to have still serious problems continuing.
Mr. DUNCAN. Ms. Frawley?
Ms. FRAWLEY. Well, it is very difficult to address a problem if somebody lives 2 miles from the airport. Of course it is. And I sympathize with anybody who lives 2 miles from the airport.
But I think we can. That's one of the things NJCAAN did. We specifically pushed, and we were the people that pushed for stage three aircraft. I can remember our members being down here lobbying in 1991 specifically because that would help people near to the airports.
Secondly, I really believe it is a money thing. I think this could all be solved. Glenn Bales said $0.60 would give everybody in New Jersey relief and would harm no one. This man has reconfigured the United States airspace three times.
There has been a lot of misinformation put out there by the Port Authority and the FAA. If they stop putting out the information and meet with us and we all get together with Glenn Bales and discuss this, I think we can. I think we can do it, because $0.60 a passenger is not a lot of money, and $3 in 1991I think it was 1991 when the Noise Abatement Act was passed$3 had to be put in a noise abatement fund, given to the Port Authority for every single person taking off from the airport. It's there. Take $0.60 of it and solve a lot of this problem.
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I would like to defer and ask Glen to speak a little bit on whether it is possible.
Mr. BALES. Well, it is a two-fold problem, sir, as you probably well know. I think technology is going to solve your close-in problems, and I think procedural improvements and automation in the air traffic control system will solve the problems further out from the airport.
Yes, we can get together. Yes, we can compromise. Can we satisfy everybody? Not on your life. Can we satisfy most of the people? You bet.
Ms. GIBSON. I've been to FAA hearings that were held in southern Jersey and some public meetings that were held in New York, and all I can say is that at every single one of those hearings a representative of NJCAAN extended an invitation across State lines, across different parts of the State, to work together. Whether or not that invitation will be accepted is not within our control.
Mr. DUNCAN. Well, several Members said things about the FAA not being responsive and not returning calls or having answering machines, and about studies possibly being rigged, and all this sort of stuff. And yet, you realize, from Administrator Hinson's testimony and probably even before you came here, that the FAAand I'm not trying to take their side, but they feel that they have been more than responsive by extending all these times for comment and by having all these hearings that they have mentioned or these public meetings and so forth.
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I assume, even without hearing your testimony, that you feel that their response has been very inadequate. You just mentioned a meeting with Administrator Hinson. Is that what you really want? Do you think that would be a good thing?
Mr. BALES. Let me just draw on something that just happened recently. I met with Administrator Hinson over a noise issue in Denver with Congressman Hefley. We left that office with a recommendation to put the problem in the hands of a small technical working group, which he did. The next day he passed the word to the facilities, ''Fix it.''
The turn-around and the attitude of the airport management and the FAA facilities is tremendous. We've got a 120-day test going on right now, and they're trying things, and they told me, ''If this doesn't work, we'll change it,'' and they are on a daily basis. The cooperation is extreme.
It can happen there, it can happen here.
Ms. FRAWLEY. The crux of this whole thingI sat here amazed that the Congressmen asked questions of Mr. Hinson. I didn't expect him to know the answers. After all, he's not dealing with all the small things. But what amazed me was nobody really answered a question. They just passed them off in subterfuge. No citizen could come before a Congressional committee and get away with not really answering questions.
Do you know with else frustrates me? We are speaking now. We are the citizens. We are the voters. Nobody is here. Glenn Bales is speaking. He should be answering a million questions from people who suspect his plan so that he could answer them. Nobody is here to ask those questions. That is appalling to me, and it is justI don't know. The whole bureaucratic structure is appalling to me. The FAA, although no one lost their lives, is the same bureaucratic arrogance as we have had in other bureaus in our Government.
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Mr. DUNCAN. Well, where do we go from here? Are you going to get together and come up with a new recommendation based on some of the things that you have heard today? Obviously, you'reMr. Bales, you talked about a meeting you saidwas that Congressman Hefley, you said?
Mr. BALES. Yes, sir.
Mr. DUNCAN. Congressman Hefley is a good friend of mine, but that came about just from one Member. Obviously, we had 11 or 12 Members who were extremely interested in this situation, if not more.
Mr. BALES. I was just trying to point out there has been a definite change in the FAA direction and attitude towards noise abatement from a ''hell no'' stonewall to ''Hey, there's a problem. Let's fix it.'' This problem started a long time before the Denver problem did. I think they have learned from that. They certainly don't want to repeat that.
I do believe that with this mindset that exists today, that we can sit down and negotiate and mediate a proper solution which will satisfy most.
Mr. DUNCAN. Well, I think that's what needs to be done. If you can come up with a plan that is acceptable to almost everybody involved and you got as many Members as possible together, then perhaps something could be done.
Page 141 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But if everybody remains fragmented and divided and so forth, then it is going to be a difficult thing to solve.
Mr. DMYTRYSZYN. But I would like to know what the definition of who ''most satisfied'' would be. I think II have worked closely with the Congresswoman. This is a problem for us. It is a definition problem. Quite frankly, to have the over-the-ocean routing become the rallying cry for not only the solution to close-to communities to the airport or for other things that may come out of the New York space, I don't really know if that is going to be truly a manageable situation.
The way the whole EIS process was defined 5 years ago, I would like not to think we're totally entrenched, but this thing about satisfying most peopleyou know, as the Congresswoman said, we have had to wait 5 years to see this EIS be completed because anybody from the agency would even want to talk to us.
We have a regional FAA administrator who makes changes because communities in New Jersey complained about aircraft flying maybe 500 feet lower. There were rules that were broken. There were attitudes that had been formulated.
Unless there is a definition of ''most,'' I can't speak for the Congresswoman, but I would have trouble going back to my boss and the community and saying that, well, there may be something but we have to wait for another definition to come around.
Page 142 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DUNCAN. Yes, ma'am?
Ms. FRAWLEY. Glenn Bales can address part of the problem.
Mr. BALES. Well, Congresswoman Molinari alluded to it earlier. They want to fix the SID4, SID3, or SID5, or whatever number they are going to call it now, the departure that impacts Staten Island.
Under the ocean routing plan, we proposed a solution to fly to a 2 DME to keep the aircraft totally within the confines and the noise within the State of New Jersey, to fly west of Staten Island before turning east south of Staten Island.
My mandate, when I developed the ocean routing was, one, ''Thou shall not pass the problem to thy neighbor.'' I don't care if it was a county or the State. That's one of the things that is in the document and always has been, but for some reason it has been overlooked and misrepresented.
Mr. DUNCAN. Mr. Dmytryszyn?
Mr. DMYTRYSZYN. Again, Newark Airport is in the State of New Jersey. We did not create the problem. The 190-degree turn was specifically instituted so that certain New Jersey communities would not be impacted by airplane noise. That particular procedure was reviewed in 1980. Since that time, it was not re-reviewed. We have no record as to why the straight-out departure was not instituted with all those savings.
Page 143 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We are now trying to say, ''Well, we still have to keep the same standard operating procedure for departures on runway 22 in place.'' And it is about time that if the airport and the business in the State of New Jerseyand it's a benefit. I'm not going to deny that. What benefits they provide to Staten Island outside of X number of jobs, or that they will have ease of transportation, that's one thing. In terms of economy, I don't think it can compare anywhere to what the State of New Jersey is.
If Jersey wants the airportand I'm speaking now on my boss' behalf and not on the Congresswoman's behalfthen you should take more of the brunt of the problem. Do not send it over Staten Island because of the fact of how you're having a 30-degree turn. It is not fair. It just isn't that.
You have LaGuardia and Kennedy people that have the community, you have the jobs and the economy. They are trying to come up with solutions. But those airports are in our State. We cannot controlI can't sue the State of New Jersey because of airplane noise.
But, as my graph showed, you have 103 decibels on the ground at 7:30 and 8:30 in the morning. Car alarmshow do I then go back and work with the Congresswoman or my boss or the community and say, ''Well, we still have to accept something from New Jersey''? Why?
It's like you're saying you're going to put this 2.3, I'll take anything I can get, but to us it's a Band-Aid.
The fact is: nobody wants to tell us why you're keeping with the 30-degree turn still.
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Mr. BALES. I can tell you.
Mr. DUNCAN. Go ahead, Mr. Bales.
Mr. BALES. When I was with the Air Transport Association, sir, the city [sic] of New Jersey, in order to keep the airport openin fact, what happened after an airplane crash in Elizabeth
Mr. DMYTRYSZYN. In the mid 1950s. That's correct.
Mr. BALES. That's right. The 1950s. They had such an uproar where the airport was closed with babies and baby carriages on the runways. They actually had to shut the airport down.
They were going to actually close Newark Airport until they entered an agreement that they would never over-fly the city of Elizabeth again. It was not noise; it was fear.
Mr. DUNCAN. All right.
Mr. DMYTRYSZYN. Excuse me. That's all well and good, but the fact of the matter is that, just as other parts of New Jersey have also grown substantially and there have been changes in the way the development is, just because of that situation does not mean that another State and another community that has just as much rapid growth should not have had the same opportunity of having to respond to the fear that people have at a plane flying at 850 feet 3 miles from the end of the runway, and with the winds blowing going further and further over.
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Again, why is the fear of New York so much less in this particular situation? It is very frustrating.
I'm not here to argue with any panel members, but I've waitedit's not that I've waited five and a half years to come before you. That's ludicrous. It's just that you are kind enough to listen to me, and I'm just venting. That's all I'm doing.
Mr. DUNCAN. All right. Thank you very much.
Ms. FRAWLEY. Our problem is different. His problem is from 50 years ago. Our problem was created by an illegal act by the FAA. It seems like 100 years ago, but it was 8 years ago. It is not the same kind of a problem.
Ms. GIBSON. I think when we get down to New Jersey airplanes over New York and New York airplanes over New Jersey, it becomes a moot point. Part of the reason why we have low-flying planes in Newark is because they are sandwiched under LaGuardia and JFK planes.
Thousands of planes from New York airports fly over New Jersey every day.
The other issue is that it is the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey that has jurisdiction over all three of those airports. This can't become a State-by-State issue. I think it just has to be addressed in some other way that's more productive and fruitful.
Page 146 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DUNCAN. All right. Well, I want to thank all of you for coming here. We look forward to seeing if you can come up with some plans or proposals that could receive widespread support to see if we can move forward to help solve the problem that continues to exist.
Thank you very, very much.
[Whereupon, at 2:32 p.m. the subcommittee was adjourned, to reconvene at the call of the Chair.]