07/14/13 11:41am
07/14/2013 11:41 AM

east-end-helicopter-noise-long-island

A federal court has rejected a challenge by helicopter pilots that would have overturned Federal Aviation Administration rules requiring they fly a mile off Long Island’s North Shore during their trips back and forth to the Hamptons.

[Read more this week in The Suffolk Times newspaper]

The pilots, represented by Helicopter Association International Inc., have been fighting FAA rules enacted last year after the agency found “residents emphatically agreed that helicopter overflights during the summer months are unbearable and negatively impact their quality of life,’ according to a decision issued Friday by the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington D.C.

The helicopter association had argued, among other points, that the FAA lacked the authority to change air traffic patterns solely for reducing the impact of aircraft noise on residents and had exceeded its congressional limits on authority.

The court disagreed.

“Although the noise-related provisions [the helicopter association] cites refer to discrete areas, for example, to noise reduction in or near airports, neither their substance nor their structure suggest that Congress intended to narrow its broad authorization to the FAA to regulate the use of navigable airspace, much less to restrict the FAA’s capacity to manage aircraft noise to these limited contexts,” reads the three-judge panel’s decision, written by Circuit Court Judge Judith Rogers.

The judges also agreed the FAA had the authority to act out of concern for safety on the ground, below the flight paths.

The 2012 rules came after years of complaints along the North North and Shelter Island about the noise from helicopters taking well-heeled passengers back and forth to the South Shore over homes, sometimes at low altitudes.

The concern caught the attention of Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and other lawmakers who lobbied on behalf of residents for the changes.

Helicopter pilots had typically taken three routes over Long Island, either along the South Shore, North Shore, or over the Long Island Expressway. However, the North Shore route was preferred because it was faster and less likely to encounter weather delays than the southern route, according to the court case.

Under the FAA’s new rules, helicopter pilots are permitted to fly inland on the North Shore only in the case of inclement weather or other emergencies. Offenders could face fines or license revocations.

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06/28/13 9:59am
06/28/2013 9:59 AM

FILE PHOTO | Superstorm Sandy caused millions in damage to Orient Beach State Park.

Orient Beach State Park is on the receiving end of more than $1 million of federal funding eight months after Superstorm Sandy ravaged the parts of the shoreline.

On Thursday, U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kristen Gillibrand announced the New York Department of Transportation had been awarded approximately $1,783,778 to repair and upgrade the beach’s heavily damaged parkway.

During the storm, the two-mile-long entrance road and Gardiners Bay shoreline sustained serious erosion, and four sections of asphalt roadway were damaged and buried utility lines along the entrance drive were exposed. All of the buildings in the park were flooded and the storm surge and flooding destroyed dozens of trees and washed a lifeguard shack and picnic tables back from the beachfront.

“Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc along the parkway of Orient Beach State Park,” Mr. Schumer said in a statement. “These federal funds will ensure that local taxpayers are not on the hook for repairing this critical infrastructure. “

In addition to funding repairs, the money will be used toward hazard mitigation prevention measures to protect the facility from future natural disasters and flooding.

The repairs and hazard mitigation funding is being provided by Federal Emergency Management Agency through the state transportation department, which is responsive for maintaining the beach parkway.

In April the beach official re-opened following an extensive restoration, including the removal of hazardous trees, repairing the water treatment facility and elevating all utilities to above the flood zones.

Orient Beach State Park is open daily at 8 a.m. year-round.

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11/04/12 3:56pm
11/04/2012 3:56 PM

JOHN DUNN FILE PHOTO | Senator Charles Schumer announced Sunday federal aid is coming to local municipalities.

Local federal elected officials announced Sunday FEMA aid is now available to fund repairs for public infrastructures and facilities damaged this week by Hurricane Sandy.

According to a press released issued by U.S. Senator Charles Schumer’s office, FEMA administrator Craig Fugate agreed to expand President Barack Obama’s major disaster declaration to include all categories of public assistance for the counties affected by the storm, including: roads, bridges, water control facilities, public buildings and equipment, utilities, parks, recreational facilities, beaches and more.

Initially, municipalities on Long Island and in New York City and the Hudson Valley were only eligible to receive federal aid for some public services like debris removal and emergency protective measures.

Residents in those areas have been eligible for individual assistance from FEMA.

Mr. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand applauded FEMA’s recent decision.

“It is critical that FEMA has heeded our call and expanded the major disaster declaration to include full public assistance for communities throughout storm-ravaged New York City, Long Island and the lower Hudson Valley,” Mr. Schumer said.

“Providing this full range of federal disaster assistance is essential for repairs to everything from sewages facilities, to parklands, to the hundreds of roads and bridges that were destroyed in the storm, and I am pleased that our communities can know that the federal government will be there to help as they continue their response and recovery efforts.”

Ms. Gillibrand agreed and described the damage she has seen as “devastating.”

“The federal government has a responsibility to stand with these families every step of the way to help them recover and rebuild better than ever before,” she said. “The Obama administration promised no red-tape, and this is another example of the president backing up that commitment.”

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02/19/11 8:00am
02/19/2011 8:00 AM

Eastern Long Island’s U.S. representatives lead the way in environmental issues, according to a report released this week by the national League of Conservation Voters.

Congressman Tim Bishop, Senator Charles Schumer and Senator Kristen Gillibrand all scored a perfect 100 on the report card. The national average was 48 for the Senate and 57 for the House.

The 2010 Scorecard includes 6 Senate and 9 House votes on issues ranging from clean energy to public health protections to wildlife conservation, accordng to the LCV.

The League of Conservation Voters is a non-partisan political action group that works to make environmental protection a top priority for legislators, according to its website.

Click here to read more