While Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig B. Johnson claims " ... it is too late. Everyone got what they asked for!" in his July 13 response to the Daily Herald editorial about jet noise, he unfairly referred to the O'Hare Noise Compatibility Commission as a "powerless entity." Some communities chose litigation to fight O'Hare expansion, but the ONCC chose to partner collaboratively with Chicago, the Chicago Department of Aviation, the Federal Aviation Administration, the airlines and other aviation stakeholders to mitigate aircraft noise.
Since 1997, ONCC has worked to improve the quality of life for residents in the region. The commission sound-insulated the "worst first" homes and schools, including 268 homes and nine schools in Elk Grove Village.
After the FAA deemed Elk Grove High School ineligible for sound insulation, ONCC sent a delegation to Washington, D.C., to request noise-level retesting for the high school and three other schools. Three out of the four schools received sound insulation. U.S. Reps. Jan Schakowsky and Peter Roskam stood with us at that meeting. EGHS received a $15.5 million reimbursement grant for its sound insulation project that today provides a quiet environment for approximately 2,000 students and 180 staff.
O'Hare's modernization has been a long road, and while a new population is experiencing aircraft noise, ONCC continues to be the only viable forum to address these issues. We believe the ONCC has a powerful position in mitigating aircraft noise. It supports the FAA's national citizen survey about effects of aircraft noise and encourages FAA re-evaluation of runway changes, federal and state proposed "Silent Skies" legislation and airline quieter fleet upgrades.
ONCC recently invited Mayor Johnson to join the commission and participate in the decision-making process. He said his village will consider ONCC's "kind offer." Mayor Johnson -- it is never too late.
Arlene J. Mulder