Tuesday night, Congressman Lee Zeldin successfully added an amendment to the Transportation Appropriations Bill that would block the Federal Aviation Administration from using funds to “institute an administrative or civil action” against East Hampton over its plan to instate use restrictions at its municipal airport.
The FAA had made a commitment to former Congressman Tim Bishop to not enforce the town’s “grant assurances” to the FAA to not restrict traffic at its airport after the end of 2014, but seemed poised this spring to renege on that promise.
East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell was quick to applaud the vote.
“Local control is the heart of the issue over East Hampton Airport and helicopter noise,” he said. “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?”
“Congressman Zeldin supports local control,” he added, “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.”
Mr. Cantwell is calling on Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand to push for the amendment in the Senate.
“This is a critical local issue, and it’s a local issue that should have a local solution,” said Mr. Zeldin on the floor of Congress Tuesday evening, adding that the FAA had promised “The Town of East Hampton would not be subject to certain regulations after 2014 and thus could adopt restrictions on the use of their airport without FAA approval.”
East Hampton is currently awaiting a federal judge’s decision, due June 26, on whether it can proceed this summer with restrictions on noisy aircraft that it enacted earlier this spring.
The full text of the amendment is online here.