A meeting was held at St. Peter’s Church in Rosedale on October 4 under the auspices of Eastern Queens Alliance to address concerns over the proposed expansion runways at JFK.
One of the representatives of the Port Authority stated that a study was conducted whereby a simulation of the flight patterns showed only a change of .7 decibels, therefore, there was no adverse impact. There would only be a negative impact if the decibel level was to rise 1.5 or more.
The problem is an unknown number of trees would be removed. I questioned him as to whether or not he took into account that the study was conducted while the trees were still there.
Once the trees that act as noise buffers are removed the results of the study would be different. He stated that the removal of the trees was not taken into account in the study. He claims there would not be a change from .7 decibel to 1.5 decibel based on his knowledge of the way noise travels.
Are we, the residents of Laurelton, Rosedale and Springfield Gardens to take him at his word? I think not. According to Earl L. Buts, of healthguidance.com, findings show that reduction of sound values in the order of 5 to 10 decibels are not unusual for wide belts of tall, dense trees.
Granted, we are not talking about wide belts of tall trees of the size mentioned by the study. However, if an increase of .8 decibel is possible, the study is rendered null and void. The representative from the Port Authority could not state with certainty that the removal of the trees would not make such a change.
Another source, agroforestry.net stated that planting "noise buffers" composed of trees and shrubs can reduce noise by five (5) to ten (10) decibels. We can then presume that the removal of trees would create the reverse – it can increase the noise level by 5 to 10 decibels.
In light of this, I am calling on the FAA to order the Port Authority to conduct an Environmental Impact Study (EIS), as the community may be negatively impacted by the expansion.