Edgewater supports bill prohibiting tourist helicopters from landing in NJ
September 18, 2015
By Svetlana Shkolnikova STAFF WRITER | Edgewater View
EDGEWATER — Prompted by residents’ concerns about noise pollution, the Edgewater council on Sept. 14 threw its support behind a state bill that would prohibit sightseeing helicopters from landing and taking off in New Jersey.
The bill, sponsored by state Sen. Nicholas Sacco, who is the mayor of North Bergen, and others, seeks to curb overhead noise from tourist helicopters flying along the Hudson River by banning them from operating at state-licensed aviation facilities.
"Residents want these tourist helicopters grounded and they deserve relief from the incessant noise and pounding headaches," said U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., in a statement supporting the legislation in February. "The threat to public safety is very real and very troublesome."
Studies by the Natural Resources Defense Council and others have linked helicopter noise to developmental disabilities in children, including impaired memory and reading comprehension, as well as cardiovascular and gastrointestinal problems.
"These are not just annoyances, these are serious medical issues," said an Edgewater resident in an appeal to the council last month.
Residents say the helicopter noise begins between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. and continues until dark.
During the peak season of April through October, an average of 185 tourist flights traverse the skies above the New York City skyline per day. More than 4,000 helicopter flights arrived and departed from the Teterboro airport last year, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and more than 30,000 tour helicopters took flight from the Downtown Manhattan Heliport where most sightseeing companies operate.
Edgewater last took a stand on the issue in Oct. 2014, when the council adopted a resolution supporting the New Jersey Senate’s plea to the Federal Aviation Administration to stop tourist helicopters from flying over the Hudson River.
"We are definitely in support of this," said Councilman Michael Henwood of the new proposed law, which would not apply to military, government or emergency medical flights.
Stop the Chop NYNJ is a local grassroots coalition of NY and NJ residents seeking to educate the public about the adverse effects of helicopters sightseeing tours on the environment and on the health and welfare of the two million people living underneath their Hudson River flight path.