Amendment Holds FAA to Commitment Made to East Hampton Town

East Hampton Airport. Photo credit: Cully/EEFAS
East Hampton Airport. Photo credit: Cully/EEFAS

The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday approved an amendment to the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2016 that prevents the Federal Aviation Administration from taking action against East Hampton Town’s new noise restrictions at East Hampton Airport.

The restrictions, which include curfews on airport landings and takeoffs to give relief to residents in flight paths of planes and helicopters, are currently not being enforced. The town is awaiting a court decision on an effort by members of the aviation industry to block the implementation of the local airport laws.

Congressman Lee Zeldin, of Shirley, proposed the amendment to ensure the FAA will keep the commitment it made in 2012 to East Hampton Town.

Zeldin stated on the House floor, “In light of a 2005 court settlement between the FAA and a community group, the Town of East Hampton, New York, would not be subject to certain regulations after December, 31, 2014, when certain grant assurances expired and thus could adopt restrictions on the use of their airport without FAA approval. The FAA has written that the town could proceed on certain course and not fear reprisal for their actions.”

Zeldin said the FAA has recently started wavering.

The amendment reads, “None of the funds made available by this Act may be used by the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration to institute an administrative or civil action against the sponsor of the East Hampton Airport in East Hampton, NY.”

In a statement Wednesday morning, East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell said, “Local control is the heart of the issue over East Hampton Airport and helicopter noise. Will the people of East Hampton, through their elected representatives, be able to reasonably regulate our municipal airport, or will the bureaucrats in Washington and the national aviation interest groups control it?”

He went on to say, “Congressman Zeldin supports local control and I want to thank him by sending a clear message to the FAA: Stand down. Allow the Town of East Hampton and its residents to determine how best to support our airport and reasonably reduce aircraft noise.”

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