Menendez, Sires hope to reduce helicopter traffic

U.S. Senator Robert Menendez and Congressman Albio Sires are calling for action to reduce both the number of helicopters flying over the Hudson River.

Menendez was joined at a news conference today by Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer; Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner; Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis; state Sen. Nicholas Sacco; Guttenberg Mayor Gerald Dracheff; West New York Mayor Felix Roque; Hudson County Executive Thomas DeGise; Freeholder Anthony Romano; and Deputy Chief of Staff Mark Albeiz on behalf of Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop.

Brian Wagner from the advocacy group ‘Stop the Chop’ also joined Menendez’s call for ban of helicopters tours over New York Harbor and the Hudson River.

The Northeast corridor, and especially Manhattan, is the busiest helicopter environment in the world. There are five helicopter tours companies that operate in Manhattan with more than 300 flights per day, every day of the year, and several others are based in New Jersey.

A 1999 report by the Natural Resources Defense Council links aircraft noise to a host of serious health problems.

The operator of Linden Airport, who filed a lawsuit to block the opening of a Kearny heliport arguing that routes over Jersey City pose crash risks in the busy area, piloted a fatal Hudson River helicopter crash in October 2011.

In October, Menendez announced an agreement with FAA Eastern Regional Administrator Carmine Gallo to reduce the number of helicopter flights out of Jersey City’s Paulus Hook Heliport.

At that time, Menendez said, “But there is still more work to be done to ensure tourist helicopter flights don’t continue flying over New Jersey riverfront communities at unacceptable altitudes.”

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