Biden and Carper Continue to Address Air Noise in New Castle County

Letter Urges EPA to Participate in Re-design of Philadelphia-NJ-NY Airspace

ILMINGTON, DE – Senators Joe Biden and Tom Carper co-signed a letter to EPA Administrator Michael Leavitt, urging the agency to participate in the ongoing redesign of the Philadelphia/New Jersey/New York airspace. The EPA’s involvement would help ensure that the air noise problems affecting northern New Castle County are considered as the redesign process moves forward. The Federal Aviation Administration is redesigning traffic patterns for the Philadelphia International Airport, as well as airports in New Jersey and New York, and as such, must develop an environmental impact statement. Senators Biden and Carper, along with senators from New York and New Jersey, fear that the FAA intends to exclude the reduction of airplane noise as an objective of the redesign project. Senators Biden and Carper believe it is imperative that the EPA step up to the plate and address airplane noise as an environmental issue. Attached is a copy of the letter sent to the EPA’s Administrator: January 29, 2004 The Honorable Michael O. Leavitt Administrator Environmental Protection Agency 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20460 Dear Administrator Leavitt: We are writing to urge the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to participate in the ongoing redesign of the New York/New Jersey/Philadelphia airspace in order to ensure that the redesign addresses the significant air noise problems that affect thousands of our constituents. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is now redesigning traffic patterns for Newark Liberty International Airport, LaGuardia International Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport and Philadelphia International Airport, one of the busiest airspaces in the country. Currently, the FAA is in the process of developing the environmental impact statement (EIS). However, we understand that the FAA intends to exclude the reduction of air noise as a primary objective. We are concerned that the redesign process, once complete, will not result in significant and meaningful noise relief. Noise from aircraft, unfortunately, is an important part of the environment in the communities surrounding these airports, and we believe it is EPA’s responsibility to address related concerns. EPA has the statutory authority to do so under the Noise Control Act of 1972 [42 U.S.C. 4901 et seq.] and the Quiet Communities Act of 1978 [42 U.S.C 4913]. We therefore strongly request that the EPA exercise its authority by taking an active role in providing comments to the FAA as it drafts the EIS and making aircraft noise reduction a priority in those comments. You will recall that this matter was brought to your attention when the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works considered your nomination. At that time, you agreed to examine the issue in more depth, if confirmed. We hope you now will engage actively in the redesign process to ensure that it adequately addresses the serious problem of air noise.