August 12, 2013

Dear Senator Schumer and Congressman Bishop:

I am a resident of East Hampton and founding member of Quiet Skies Coalition. Thank you so much for your ongoing efforts to deal with aircraft noise over residential areas. It is a terrible problem, and is making summer life in our home unbearable more and more of the time.

For sixteen years we had NO helicopters, jets, or sea planes anywhere near our property in Wainscott, northwest of the airport approx 1.5 miles. As a lifelong resident, I bought land there because it was NOT impacted by EH Airport. Four summers ago that changed. And it is getting worse and worse.

Unfortunately, going to a “northern over-water route” for helicopters is not the solution for several reasons. 1) Choppers and sea planes still have to come in over land–a lot of it, and will still negatively impact thousands of people when doing so. This is a case of simply shifting the problem, rather than solving it. 2) Aircraft over water are incredibly loud and invasive too. One is disturbed by helicopter noise before the thing even appears–several miles distant. Are we prepared to deliberately spoil the peace and serenity of our bays, harbors and shorelines up and down Long Island–ruining perhaps our best natural resource for the thousands of sailors, boaters, fishermen, walkers, and bathers who use it every day? 3) What of the residents who live along these shorelines? Did they choose waterfront property to have it ruined by aircraft noise? 4) There is an air pollution aspect, as well as a noise pollution one–and it is severe. Aircraft are wasteful and highly toxic machines that pour excessive amounts of carbon into our air. Should we be encouraging this pollution with all that we know about climate change?

Sirs, the genuine solution, the only acceptable one, is to eliminate helicopter and sea plane taxi service to EH Airport. The airport, recently expanded to a FAA-designated “regional” one, should be returned to its originally intended use as a non-commercial resource for local pilots of small planes. If not, it should be closed.

Please lend your essential voices to an actual solution to our trauma–and stop the devastation of our quality of life. Don’t ask us to “share the pain,” as local officials did this spring with their latest re-routing of helicopters. That is unacceptable. We were here long before EHA expanded so dramatically and commercially. This crisis is threatening the value of our homes, as well as ruining our daily lives. Please don’t cast your lot with a handful of out-of-town operators who care only to make money at our expense–people and environment be damned. We need your help.

And at the same time, let’s work together to cut the absurd traffic knots on Route 27 and to create efficient rail service–as ours is that of an undeveloped nation. I have ideas which I will gladly share.

Barry Raebeck


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