Helicopters on helipad at the West 30th Street heliport in New York City
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) has vetoed a bill that would have prohibited the use of the West 30th Street heliport for sightseeing operations. (Photo: Buffers on tour, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

New York Governor Vetoes Helicopter Noise Bill

Kathy Hochul questioned the “stop the chop” bill’s legality.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) has vetoed a bill that would have allowed the state attorney general and anyone else to sue a pilot, flight department, line service worker, or company employee for creating an “unreasonable level” of rotorcraft noise anywhere in the state—even if the flight operation complied with federal law and regulations. The legislation also would have prohibited the use of the West 30th Street heliport for sightseeing operations.

Hochul cited the “stop the chop” bill’s questionable legality in rendering her decision, noting in her veto statement, “Recent federal case law makes clear that non-federal actors must carefully consider how state and local restrictions interact with federal laws governing aviation and must be attentive to federally mandated processes for enacting policy in this area. Certain elements of this legislation run counter to the federal scheme regulating New York’s airports and airspace. Therefore, I am constrained to veto this bill.”

The Helicopter Association International (HAI) and the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) praised Hochul's decision.

“We are grateful for the governor’s sound reasoning in vetoing this legislation,” said HAI president and CEO James Viola.

NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen said, "We thank Governor Hochul for her swift action in vetoing this obstructive bill. In New York, the general aviation industry is responsible for 43,200 jobs and more than $8.6 billion in total economic output, and this proposed legislation would have done great harm to our industry." 

Both Viola and Bolen also thanked their respective memberships for fighting the legislation. “HAI applauds the efforts of the businesses and individuals in the vertical aviation industry who took the time to send messages expressing their opposition to the bill to Governor Hochul," Viola said. "Elected officials pay attention when they hear from their voters."