Northwest Alliance Letter to East Hampton Town Board

September 16, 2007

William McGintee, Town Supervisor
Town Board of East Hampton
Debra Foster
Pete Hammerle
Brad Loewen
Pat Mansir

159 Pantigo Road, East Hampton, New York 11937

Dear Supervisor and Town Board,

On behalf of the Northwest Alliance, a citizens group concerned with environmental matters in the Northwest area of East Hampton, I am writing to encourage you to conduct an environmental analysis of the noise impact of one proposed plan for air traffic routing for the East Hampton Airport. In particular, we are referring to the possible setting of the outbound corridor for helicopter traffic directly along the length of Northwest Creek. Many others have made pointed out the severity of the problem even at this preliminary stage and have argued against implementing a plan with such predictable and grave impact on a natural area that the Town, County and State have gone to great effort and expense to preserve. We would like to add that in addition to disturbing the beauty and serenity of this area, the dramatic increase in helicopter noise could very well do damage to wildlife.

A 2003 review published in the journal Environmental Management (Pepper, Nascarella, & Kendall, 2003, Environmental Management, 32,4, pp 418-423) has provided evidence that airport noise is disturbing to wildlife, just as it is to humans. The “masking” effect of airport noise can interfere with the auditory capabilities of animals upon which they depend for hunting, predatory defense, and communication. Thus some animals like geese are affected more than others. The behavioral effects of airport noise are known to be particularly problematic when they applied from directly overhead in areas that are exposed rather than forested. Clearly this applies unfavorably to the plan to send outbound helicopters directly over the open Northwest Creek wetlands. Under these conditions, animals have been shown to be affected particularly severely when rearing offspring.

On the basis of these data, and common sense, it our view that any consideration of the proposed outbound corridor for helicopters through Northwest Creek be informed by a very careful environmental impact study.


T. James Matthews, for the Northwest Alliance

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