Dear Neighbors —
I hope you won’t mind getting another email this week. I try to keep the numbers of emails down so no one will feel bombarded by messages from QQS. But I thought many of you might want to know how yesterday’s press conference went.
Months ago, QQS Vice President Brian Will had an idea. He wanted to see if it was true, as we suspected, that commercial aviation traffic had increased exponentially over northern Queens.
Brian spent a lot of time deciding which information he needed. Then he spent more time writing good Freedom of Information Act requests to the FAA and the Port Authority. Once he got the information, he spent hundreds of hours “crunching” the data. We were amazed at the results. We then sent all that information out to data and aviation experts around the country, to test his assumptions and conclusions. They said Brian was right. I especially would like to thank Kevin Terrell of Minneapolis/St. Paul Fair Skies and Mark McEnearney (no relation!!) from the newly-formed Washington DC group for their invaluable assistance with this project.
We had planned to hold a press conference in September to announce the results of Brian’s study. However, some unforeseeable last-minute events forced us to act earlier than we had planned. With little time to spare, we needed help. We asked Sen. Tony Avella to organize a press conference. We thank Sen. Avella and his staff for their assistance in getting the word out.
The event was jam-packed with reporters and our QQS members came out in force. Our members are the greatest!
We had a lot of press coverage. I am pasting in below some of it, so you can see it. Thanks to all who sent me these articles and to Maria Becce for putting them all together for you. There’s more, including some broadcast news stories, such as Chuck Scaroborough’s video story on the NBC Channel 4 News, that I have not been able to link here.
Among the highlights of our press coverage, I’m pretty sure I saw that the Port Authority was quoted as saying QQS is right! Thanks, guys! But perhaps my favorite quote was from the FAA spokesperson. He said, the FAA can’t comment yet because it hasn’t studied our data. Ummm…. that’s actually the FAA’s data. We got it from them. So it should be a snap for them to study it. Maybe they should have been studying it all along.
SOME THANKS ARE IN ORDER
September will be the 4th anniversary of the founding of Queens Quiet Skies. We have come a very long way since then and we will go farther. Along the way, we have been supported by many elected officials. There have been letters signed by the entire NY Democratic Congressional delegation. Gov. Cuomo has often listened and responded to our requests.. But among our elected officials, there are a few with whom Queens Quiet Skies has worked most closely since our founding. I want to mention them all here, to thank them as well as their staff members with whom we have worked.
Thank you Sen. Chuck Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. Our U.S. Senators have organized those Congressional letters to the FAA and the Port Authority. I know how hard their staff has worked on our issues, since we began. They are our allies in what we have been trying to accomplish.
Thank you Rep. Joe Crowley, Rep. Steve Israel and Rep. Grace Meng. They have been with us since the very beginning. Rep. Crowley was the first to introduce proposed legislation, for quieter jet engines. Rep. Israel and Rep. Meng started the Quiet Skies Caucus in the House of Representatives (named for all of you). They have worked consistently and continually on legislation, strategy and tactics with us. They’ve been a tremendous source of help and hope. Their creativity has been endless on these issues. I also want to thank Rep. Kathleen Rice, from Nassau County, who works closely with us, too.
Thank you Sen. Tony Avella and Assembly Member Ed Braunstein. The Senator and the AM are members of Queens Quiet Skies, just like us. We went to Sen. Avella and AM Braunstein first, when things started to get bad, and they have never failed us. We have worked side by side with Sen. Avella and AM Braunstein for four years. They have gone to bat for us with the Port Authority and the FAA numerous times. They’ve both helped us with every imaginable need and situation, including filing FOIA requests for us. AM Braunstein always says he will keep fighting this fight forever — or until we win, whichever comes first. These two elected officials are a major part of our support system and of everything we do.
Council Member Dan Dromm has been our lifeline to Jackson Heights. We’ve had the pleasure of working with the Council Member for several years. He and his staff have been ever-supportive . They’ve helped us with every request. CM Dromm was one of the first elected officials to understand this issue, to bring it to light in Jackson Heights and to work with us to make things better.
We look forward to working with any elected official who wants to work with Queens Quiet Skies to improve the health and quality of life of the people of Queens.
QQS member Dr. Peter Muennig has started a petition to Congress about the public health threat posed by aviation noise and pollution. I am pasting in the link here. It’s an elegant statement of the problem. I hope you will sign it and pass it on to your friends, relations and community groups.