Congressman Rob Menendez has sent a letter to the National Park Service and the Federal Aviation Administration asking them to designate all of Liberty State Park as an avoidance area for helicopter traffic.
In so doing, Menendez has aligned himself with several groups, including Friends of Liberty State Park and NYC-based Stop the Chop NY/NJ, that mobilized last year to oppose a controversial plan governing helicopter flights in and around the park, Liberty Island and Ellis Island.
Last month, the two agencies signed agreements with helicopter tour operators. Friends of Liberty State Park condemned the plan last week.
“Park users’ peaceful use of LSP will still be negatively impacted as the flight path will remain close to LSP’s entire waterfront area east of Freedom Way, and will pass over the southeast and northeast ends of the park. The final agreement also has no cap or reduction in the current number of helicopter sightseeing flights” wrote the group.
According to FOLSP, the Park Service ignored 2,263 public comments that opposed helicopter flights over the park. The Park Service solicited the comments last Fall.
In his letter, Congressman Menendez called these the plan inadequate for families who will experience increased noise pollution in and around the park.
“Every family deserves to peacefully enjoy the incredible urban jewel that is Liberty State Park – a beloved natural, recreational, and cultural oasis open to all New Jersey residents and visitors,” said Menendez. “The agreements signed by the NPS and FAA will push highly disruptive helicopter traffic towards the park and that is not something I will stand for. Administrator Nolen and Director Sams should protect our park by designating the entirety of LSP as an avoidance area and also consider alternative flight routes that do not bring disruptive flight traffic in close proximity to Hudson County’s waterfront.”
“We are very grateful for Congressman Rob Menendez’s strong and dedicated advocacy to protect the quality of life of all urban residents who use LSP and the enjoyment by all who visit this local, state and national treasure park behind Lady Liberty,” said FOLSP President Sam Pesin.
Resolutions opposing a flight plan over LSP were passed by Jersey City Municipal Council and the Hudson County Board of County Commissioners. Mayor Steven Fulop has also come out against the plan.