New Jersey Coalition Against Aircraft Noise

Summary of NJCAAN's Recent Successes

  1. NJCAAN, a wholly volunteer organization, has grown to represent 18 counties and over 300 municipalities in New Jersey through its over 7000 household member database.

  2. A "tidal wave" of endorsements for using the ocean to reduce aircraft noise includes: Governor McGreevey, former Governor Whitman, former Acting Governor DiFrancesco, former Governor Florio, Senators Corzine and Lautenberg, former Senators Bradley and Torricelli, Representatives Frelinghuysen, Pallone, Pascrell, Rothman, Holt, Ferguson, Garrett and former Representatives Roukema, Franks and Gallo. Nine Freeholder Boards including Bergen, Essex, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, and Union have endorsed Ocean Routing and live testing in letters and resolutions. Countless state legislative district officials and local municipal governments have also demanded Ocean Routing to reduce noise. A partial list of endorsements is available on NJCAAN's Ocean Routing page

  3. NJCAAN releases a report assembled through Freedom of Information Act Requests (FOIA) to the FAA. Subsequently, Senator Torrcelli and Representative Ferguson send a joint letter to the Department of Transportation Inspector General requesting he investigate the FAA's December 2001 implementation of the Yardley/Robbinsville Flip-Flop.
    Following numerous delays, the IG releases his final report 11 months later and 16 months after the implementation of the route change. The report states the FAA failed to notify Congress about this route change and ignored the "red flags" that the changes would increase noise for hundreds of thousands of residents. While this IG report is highly significant, unfortunately, the FAA suffers no further consequence. The routing change and the airport noise remain in place. Ocean Routing, if implemented, would provide noise relief to this affected population.

  4. The New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), as an impartial body recognized for its expertise in engineering design, reviews NJCAAN's ocean routing airspace plan in 1998 at the request of Governor Whitman.
    In 1999, NJIT publicly endorses a test of this plan to provide immediate noise relief to the Garden State as the metro airspace redesign proceeds.
    In August of 1999, Governor Whitman announces she has commended the study to the FAA with the request that "ocean routing be given serious consideration."
    Three months later, in November, Governor Whitman writes Administrator Garvey requesting the FAA live test the first portion of the NJCAAN plan. Endorsements of the Governor's position, including former Mayor McGreevey, are mailed to the Administrator. Support also includes letters from over half of the state's legislative districts affected by aircraft noise and numerous local townships. Some of these are noted NJCAAN's Ocean Routing page.

  5. Editorials by the Asbury Park Press, Home News Tribune, and Courier-News have endorsed ocean route testing. In April 2000, NJCAAN is featured in The New Jersey Monthly in an article entitled "Twelve Ways to Make New Jersey Better." Ocean routing was the featured topic.

  6. NJCAAN's political pressure prompts federal officials to begin working with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) on noise abatement programs for communities adjacent to Newark Airport. Until Senator Torricelli and NJCAAN resurrect the issue, the PANYNJ has ignored Part 150 for more than 20 years. Part 150 is a federal program funding noise relief projects.
    In February 2000, Representative Holt releases a congressional study on the Port Authority blasting its noise mitigation programs in New Jersey.
    In March 2000, the PANYNJ announces it will soundproof 9 more schools.
    In March 2001, the PANYNJ approves funding for soundproofing 12 schools near Newark and Teterboro.
    In March 2002, NJCAAN exposes a study never released to the NJ Press Corps and commissioned by the PANYNJ. The study concludes airplane noise, even below 65 DNL, disrupts the classroom, reduces teacher time and results in loss of student attention. Thousands of children are potentially affected by the current air route structure that impacts New Jersey's densely populated communities.
    In April 2002, the PANYNJ announces that it secures monies through the Airport Improvement Program to cover 90% of the cost to sound insulate schools in Hackensack, South Hackensack, Kearny, Newark and Teterboro. The PA further reports that it will review schools beyond the 65 dB contour on an individual basis to continue its sound insulation effort.
    In March 2003, the PA authorizes funding for two additional New Jersey schools to participate in its School Soundproofing Program. According to data provided by the PA, since 1983 a total of 18 Newark schools have participated in this program. Additionally, nine Newark and six Teterboro schools are presently undergoing improvements.
    In May 2004, the PA announces $15 million in federal money for continued work on soundproofing for schools affected by airplane noise from Newark International and Teterboro Airports.

  7. NJCAAN, in the early 1990s, discovers our metropolitan area airports are not receiving their fair share of quieter Stage 3 planes. In fact, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PA) is allowing the airlines to operate an inordinate number of noisy Stage 2 planes over our communities. Intense pressure by NJCAAN results in bistate legislation followed by historic Assembly bistate hearings. Public scrutiny of this PA "business practice" slowly but surely pressures change. Over a period of 10 years, Stage 2 planes are retired from Newark International Airport (EWR) and the EWR fleet is presently all Stage 3.

  8. NJCAAN, in March 2002 assisted by its general aviation airport alliance members, secures seven cosponsors to the Quiet Communities Act (HR 1116). New Jersey, with a total of eight House sponsors, strongly declares its support for legislation that restores funding to the Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Noise Abatement and Control. The significance of this legislation is that it removes noise regulation from the FAA with its obvious conflict of interest, assigning it to the EPA.
    In May 2002, a concurrent resolution is filed in the state legislature (SCR 56 and ACR 104) affirming support for the Quiet Communities Act.
    In July 2002, State Senator Bagger and Assemblymen Gusciaro and Kean write EPA Administrator Whitman requesting she utilize ONAC to assign a "Noise Watchdog" to the FAA's metro airspace redesign "to help ensure that New Jersey's interest in substantially reducing aircraft noise with the implementation of the Metropolitan Redesign is protected and fulfilled." The letter is reported in the national noise journals.
    In September 2002, Administrator Whitman writes these state legislators skirting their request. She rejects utilizing ONAC to help ensure noise reduction as an airspace redesign outcome.
    In March 2003, Rutgers Environmental Law Clinic, representing NJCAAN, writes Administrator Whitman challenging the EPA to use its established legal power to ensure the FAA substantially reduces airport noise as part of its Metropolitan Airspace Redesign. The announcement provides public notice that the citizens of New Jersey have secured legal counsel from the State University. This highly significant achievement further testifies to the legitimacy and importance of NJCAAN's endeavors over the last 16 years. Rutgers Law Clinic representation offers the citizens highly capable, extensive, low cost, legal access which will prove a formidable asset in our joint effort to establish substantial noise relief as one primary objective of the metro redesign. The announcement receives statewide press coverage. (click here for Star Ledger article)
    Within NJ, endorsements for the legal challenge are provided by NJ League of Municipalities, NJ Environmental Commissions, NJ Public Interest Research Group, NJ Environmental Lobby, Colonia Chapter of the American Association of Retired Persons, and the Metropolitan Aircraft Noise Mitigation Committee.
    National endorsements are received from the National Resources Defense Council, League for the Hard of Hearing, and the Noise Pollution Clearinghouse.
    In May 2003, Eastern Region Administrator Kenny responds on Administrator Whitman's behalf. The letter is boilerplate and non-responsive.
    In June 2003, Representative Holt circulates a letter to the House members of the five states that are part of the FAA's airspace redesign. It requests "that the EPA more effectively weigh into the FAA's environmental review of the NJ/NY/ Philadelphia Airspace Redesign Project."
    In August 2003, Senator Corzine submits three confirmation questions to Governor Leavitt, President Bush's nominee for EPA Administrator. The questions reflect the legal and public policy positions formulated by Rutgers Environmental Law Clinic (3/03) and reiterated in Representative Holt's delegation letter. Governor Leavitt's answers are non-responsive.
    In October 2003, Representative Holt releases his letter to EPA Administrator Leavitt. Fifteen House Members, representing four states affected by the Metro Airspace Redesign, request the EPA regulate airport noise and participate substantively in the Redesign to assure significant noise reduction is achieved. In February 2004, Representative Holt receives the EPA Administrator's response. The Agency letter is stamp-dated December 30, 2003 and is non-responsive.
    In January 2004, Senator Corzine releases his letter to EPA Administrator Leavitt. Eight Senators, representing four states affected by the Metro Airspace Redesign, join their House colleagues making this a bicameral initiative. The letter "strongly requests that the EPA exercise its authority by taking an active role in providing comments" and further urges "making aircraft noise reduction a priority in those comments" on EIS drafts of the Metro Airspace redesign. In April 2004, following numerous inquiries to the EPA, Senator Corzine receives a non-responsive reply from Administrator Leavitt.

  9. NJCAAN is the driving force behind the proposed "Bubble Bill." The legislation is supported by 12 county freeholder boards and organizations including the NJ Environmental Federation, NJ Environmental Lobby, NJ Lung Association, NJ Sierra Club, NJ Citizens for Environmental Research, NJ Public Interest Research Group Citizen Lobby , and the Association of NJ Environmental Commissions.
    Currently active in both houses of the 211th State Legislature, it has bipartisan sponsorship on S 542 [Vitale/Kean/Baer] and A 625 [Stender/DiGaetano/Munoz/Weinberg/Bateman/Brannick]. The bill seeks to control airport air pollution, presently an unregulated source of emissions. Similar federal legislation in the current 107th Congress, "The Right to Know About Airport Pollution" (HR 3886) is sponsored by Representative Rothman.
    In March 2002, NJCAAN's teamwork with Representative Rothman results in a bicameral delegation letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Whitman. Both Senators and 9 House Members of the NJ Delegation request that Mrs Whitman institute a comprehensive airport pollution study for Newark and Teterboro.
    In June 2002, the EPA releases the results of its 1996 air quality data collection. It reports current levels of air pollution are exposing Americans to a lifetime cancer risk at least 10 times greater than levels considered acceptable by the federal government.
    In August 2002, Eastern Regional Administrator Kenny responds to the Rothman delegation letter rejecting a new study. She states that available studies will be reviewed to determine pollution impact. No date is provided to complete this task.
    In June 2003, NJDEP Commissioner Campbell releases a study entitled 'Controlling Airport-Related Air Pollution.' The study completed an approximate inventory of aircraft emissions for three New England airports and concluded that "toxic emissions from aircraft greatly exceed those of the largest stationary sources in the three states." For example, the amount of aggregate benzene from aircraft activity totaled 20 tons versus six tons from the largest stationary sources combined in the three states. The study concludes that "while emissions from most source sectors are declining due to the implementation of more stringent control programs, the growth of air travel and the continued lack of federal control programs for aircraft engines is resulting in increased pollution from airports." Policy options include an airport "bubble" approach to limit airport-related emissions and greater use of high speed rail service to reduce short-haul flights. These are longstanding public policy positions of NJCAAN. The study concludes by recommending a detailed emissions inventory be developed to serve as basis for assessing priority emissions reducing programs.
    In August 2003, the NY Times reports the EPA has refused to do an analysis on air pollution proposals that conflict with the President's 'Clear Skies' agenda.
    In December 2003, NJCAAN submits a scoping comment letter for an EIS related to the Port of Newark and Elizabeth expansion project. The comment requests a comprehensive inventory of emissions for the current and future level of operations from the Port facility as well as Newark Airport, with appropriate mitigation measures considered. At an EIS scoping meeting in the Ironbound, a spokesman stated there is no current emissions inventory and that emissions are expected to increase.

  10. Addressing general aviation issues, NJCAAN forms an alliance with 13 municipal, general aviation airport, and community groups in surrounding Central Jersey Regional, Morristown, Solberg, Somerset, Teterboro, Trenton/Mercer, South Jersey Regional and Princeton airports. Each endorses a live six-month test of NJCAAN's Ocean Routing Plan.

  11. NJCAAN, working with the League for the Hard of Hearing, raises the public's awareness of the physical damage of excessive jet noise. As a result of this joint effort, Senator Torricelli inserts a bipartisan amendment to the FAA reauthorization bill (106th Congress) requiring the National Academy of Science (NAS) complete a study of airport noise.
    In June 2000, the US Government Accounting Office undertakes the study. It concludes in its final report to Congress that the NAS should be the lead scientific body conducting the study. NJCAAN has been advised that funds will be sought during this current 107th Congress to accomplish this end.
    In April 2002, the Transportation Research Board's draft report identifies an "Aircraft Noise Health Effects Study" as one of seven topics for research it considers crucial to advancing aircraft noise mitigation.
    In April 2003, the FAA announces it is in the process of setting up a university-based Center of Excellence (COE) for Aircraft Noise Mitigation. It will establish a partnership between academia, the aviation industry, consultants, and government. Research will focus on the socioeconomic effects of noise, noise abatement flight procedures, compatible land use management, and airport operational controls. The FAA has indicated that the scope of the committee will eventually include other aviation environmental issues such as gaseous emissions and particulate matter.
    In October 2003, the FAA announces $1.45 million as the first year's allocation to begin to "identify solutions for existing and anticipated aircraft noise and emissions-related problems" with the results of this research to form the basis of new aircraft noise and emissions federal policy.

  12. NJCAAN membership, in June 2002, endorses a resolution supporting Amtrak's viability as an alternative source of efficient, cleaner, quieter transportation -- one of essential importance to the economy and quality-of-life in the Northeast Corridor.
    In 2003, the Omnibus bill provides nearly full funding to Amtrak, allowing it to maintain its current services for another year. However, long term capital expenditure will be needed to bring Amtrak into the 21st century.

  13. NJCAAN garners extensive press attention from national noise journals on its interpretation of airport legislation. In January/February of 2002, NJCAAN addresses expansion legislation for Chicago O'Hare (S 1786 and HR 3479). NJCAAN cites potentially serious implications for the Garden State and asserts "this federal legislation is a blueprint for the federal government to steamroll local concerns and bypass negotiation and compromise within localities when dealing with environmental issues. The bill's sponsors and cosponsors (includes 1 NJ Senator and 2 NJ House Members) appear so determined to build runways and an airport that they would propose an unprecedented federal law that negates local rule, undermines environmental protection, disregards property rights, annuls state legislative authority and strictly limits the measurement of noise impact. The precedent threatens New Jersey." NJCAAN establishes itself as a national policy airport noise commentator.
    In August 2002, NJCAAN and the Tri-State Transportation Committee issue a joint press release rejecting airport streamlining legislation that will undermine the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The Aviation Delay Prevention Act (HR 4481) is adopted by the House in a voice vote; the Senate companion bill (S 633) is scheduled for a vote.
    In September 2002, NJCAAN S 633 analysis is cited by a prominent national noise journal. NJCAAN maintains this legislation undermines NEPA and expands the power of the federal government at the expense of state and local interests.

  14. In May 2003, Senator Corzine and Representative Rothman, joined by seven other NJ House Delegation members, release a letter to all of their congressional colleagues. The letter is intended to form a bipartisan bicameral nationwide alliance to address airport noise as a purpose of all of the FAA's redesigns.
    In June 2003, the National Organization to insure a Sound-controlled Environment (N.O.I.S.E.) releases a letter to its members to grow this congressional alliance. N.O.I.S.E., an affiliate of the National League of Cities, with a well-established and broad-based membership list, has represented local elected officials and other stakeholders for over 30 years. Its public policy objective is to reduce the impact of aviation noise pollution.
    In July 2003, the Noise Pollution Clearinghouse, a national noise pollution watchdog organization, writes its over 6,600 members announcing the Corzine/Rothman endeavor. NPC urges its members call their congressional representatives requesting they join this nationwide effort to make noise reduction a national airspace redesign priority for the FAA. This call-to-action is repeated in the NPC Autumn 2003 'Quiet Zone' newsletter.

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