Fourteen Democratic U.S. lawmakers, including Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., have formed the “Quiet Skies Caucus” to try to find solutions to jet noise that is barraging their constituents. Quigley announced the formation of the caucus Thursday amid record complaints about O’Hare International Airport jet noise following last fall’s dramatic shift in O’Hare flight paths.
“My constituents back home in Chicago are facing unprecedented noise pollution that is eroding their quality of life and impacting their health,” Quigley said in a news release.
“I”m proud to join with my colleagues from around the country . . . and address this important issue on a national level.”
O’Hare launched its new flight patterns last Oct. 17 as part of the $8 billion O’Hare Modernization Program. The big switch left Chicago and suburban areas immediately east and west of the airport suddenly bearing 70 percent of all O’Hare air traffic. Residents who never experienced heavy jet noise before contended they were blindsided by the blitz of new planes over their homes.
Quigley and two other U.S. Democratic reps, Tammy Duckworth and Jan Schakowsky, later wrote to the Federal Aviation Administration, seeking new public hearings on the O’Hare overhaul and a new environmental study of the project. The letter followed Chicago Sun-Times stories indicating none of the initial public hearings on the runway switch were held in areas due for the worst noise, and the FAA released incorrect and incomplete information during its public hearing process.
Joining Quigley on the new caucus are Duckworth and Schakowsky; Henry Waxman, Adam Schiff and Anna Eshoo, all of California; Carolyn McCarthy, Joe Crowley, Steve Israel and Grace Meng, all of New York; Mike Capuano and Katherine Clark of Massachusetts; Alan Grayson of Florida and Keith Ellison of Minnesota.