An Open Letter to the East Hampton Town Board
We recognize the many difficulties the Town Board faces in deciding what
do about excessive noise generated by the East Hampton airport. At this
juncture in time, we want to thank you. Thank you for your courage.
for your respect for the law. Thank you for your willingness to listen.
First, we thank you for your courage. It is a sad truth that East Hampton
becoming the poster child for inequality in our country. Through your
actions on noise, you have chosen to take on the combined power,
and might of the aviation industry and some of the wealthiest
world. The aviation industry and their patrons have threatened
unending series of costly lawsuits. They have accused you of
and lack of due diligence. They have paid for and published
studies. They have flooded the media with false advertising.
obstacles in your search for facts. Through all of this, you
and continued to focus on the truth.
Second, we thank you for your
respect for the law. You have proceeded
and deliberately on the basis
of fact. You have conducted your
the high plane of dignity and
New Jersey, Analar
Corporation of New Jersey,
International of Virginia,
Liberty Helicopters of
Jersey, and other well-funded
industry groups have
filed lawsuits to prevent change
at the airport.
You have responded
and other lawsuits without breaking
knowing that the law is
on the side
of those who own the airport (i.e., the
of East Hampton),
who want to exploit the airport and the
their own economic gain.
Third, we thank you for your willingness to listen. You listened to those who
purchased property near the airport with an understanding that the airport was
primarily there for hobbyist pilots. You listened to those who said that the
incessant din of helicopters and seaplanes had radically changed the nature
of their neighborhoods and affected their quality of life. You listened to those
who live in our historically black neighborhoods who said that the re-routing
of helicopter traffic over their homes last summer was nothing less than racial
discrimination and environmental injustice. You listened to those who are
losing their retirement incomes because of loss of property values caused
aircraft noise. You listened to those fearing an airplane crash in an already
overcrowded airspace. You listened to those who documented the
harm caused by noisy aircraft. You listened to those who
observed that noisy
seaplane operators are waiting to rush in and pounce
on anything left over
should noisy helicopters leave. You listened to those who
have implored you not
to pit one neighborhood against another and force them to debate who will have
to suffer the most from noisy aircraft. You listened to those who asked you to
reject the fraudulent claim that abusive aircraft noise is good for small business
because it is the “sound of money.” You listened to those who said helicopter
noise is not just unwanted sound, not just an annoyance; that helicopter noise
can make normal speech impossible, that it can make concentration difficult,
that it can interfere with important mental tasks such as learning, that it can lead
to stress-related mental health illness, and that it can damage the environment.
You listened to those many residents who told you they can no longer experience
a peaceful life or a quiet summer evening.
Again, we thank you for your courage, your respect for the law, and your
willingness to listen. You have our full support in your efforts to do the right and
honorable thing. East Hampton will be forever in your debt.
Carol and Vincent Covello
The Quiet Skies Coalition (QSC) is comprised of citizen volunteers, based in
East Hampton, NY, whose collective experience as residents neighboring the
East Hampton airport compelled us to action, to reduce or eliminate the noise
and air pollution this facility imposes on surrounding communities.
Organized in August of 2011, QSC functions as an unincorporated association
of like-minded individuals. Our leadership includes residents from the Towns of
East Hampton and Southampton, the two municipalities which border the airport.
Our 350 members hail from across the East End--on North and South forks,
Shelter Island and, increasingly, from Long Island communities even farther afield.
We are committed to regaining control of what was once a small, rural airport
supporting local recreational pilots. The increased number of flights to
East Hampton Airport, particularly those of helicopters, sea planes and jets,
disrupts and disturbs the peaceful enjoyment of our homes, properties and
recreational areas and damages our protected natural habitats.
These conditions are intolerable and corrode the quality of life and commitment
to the environmental preservation that defines the East End of Long Island, and
particularly the Towns of East Hampton and Southampton.