The FAA and the airline industry told Congress and the American public that the new NextGen air traffic control system would create fuel savings, fewer emissions and “greener” performance. Where is the data supporting this promise?
By contrast, ample evidence exists that aircraft produce noise and toxic emissions that are detrimental to human health and degrade the environment.
In 2010, the New York City Council issued a report under New York City Administrative Code Section 24-205 called “Strategies to Reduce Sound Levels Related to Airports.” The report noted that “it is widely recognized that the effects of airport noise can be deleterious to human health.”
Research shows aircraft pollution creates carcinogens less than 2.5 microns, implicated in asthma, lung diseases, learning deficits, cardiac issues, even autism.
A 2002 study of LaGuardia Airport by Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Queens) noted that one 747 jetliner produces as much smog as a car driven 5,600 miles, and as much nitrogen oxide as a car driven 26,500 miles. Cars face legally required emissions inspections, but airplanes do not.
One dilemma: How can you reduce emissions from the burning of fossil fuels (kerosene in jet fuel) when you are pumping more emission-producing devices (aircraft) into the air as a result of NextGen? On the whole, greenhouse gases are on the rise, and at least 10% or more of that is the direct result of air travel.
NextGen was “fast tracked” through Congress in 2012 without environmental impact studies. To date, neither the FAA nor the airline industry has produced actual figures on the net reduction of heat-trapping gases created by using NextGen flight procedures. (The predecessor radar-based air traffic control system was much less harmful to the environment than NextGen.)
Ask your city, state and federal politicians to challenge the FAA: Produce data proving that NextGen is “green” – or use a more environmentally-friendly system to manage aircraft over New York City and other heavily-populated areas.
For more information, see NextGenNoise.org.