Recommendations Come Ahead of the Introduction of the FAA 2015 Reauthorization Act
WASHINGTON – July 29, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05) and members of the Quiet Skies Caucus including Reps. Ruben Gallego (AZ-07), Steve Israel (NY-03), and Grace Meng (NY-06) sent a letter to House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Rep. Bill Shuster (PA-09) and Ranking Member Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR-04) with recommendations for the 2015 Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act that would help address the harmful impacts of aircraft noise on communities across the country.
“My constituents back home in Chicago are facing unprecedented noise pollution that is eroding their quality of life, lowering their property values, and impacting their health,” said Rep. Quigley. “I’ve been working hard to explore solutions to mitigate noise at the local level as well as at the national level with my colleagues in the Quiet Skies Caucus. The reauthorization of the FAA offers a unique opportunity to address airplane noise pollution, and I urge my colleagues on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to incorporate new ways to mitigate noise for our constituents in upcoming FAA legislation.”
The letter makes the following recommendations:
Mandate a robust community engagement process, including pre-decisional public hearings, for new flight paths or procedures or changes to existing flight paths and procedures.
Require FAA to use supplemental noise metrics when considering the impact of aviation noise on affected communities and lower the acceptable noise threshold for affected homes and businesses.
Clarify that airport operators are legally allowed to implement—and should strongly consider—noise mitigation options in communities experiencing aircraft noise levels below the current noise threshold.
Reform Section 213(c)(2) of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, which allows FAA to short-circuit the environmental review process when implementing new flight paths.
Mandate independent research on the health impacts of aviation noise.
“I strongly encourage Chairman Shuster and Ranking Member DeFazio to consider these recommendations. The FAA’s flight path changes in Phoenix resulted in serious harms to our communities and this issue must be addressed,” said Rep. Gallego. “The FAA must do the appropriate community engagement and research before making changes that will affect the public, and these recommendations are a good first step to guarantee that they do so. This issue is not going away and without clear direction from Congress, the new flight paths being implemented through FAA’s NextGen program will continue to reduce the quality of life of communities throughout the country.”
“Long Islanders and Queens residents know all too well the effects of airplane noise thundering above their homes and businesses,” said Rep. Israel. ”As they go through the process of reauthorizing the FAA, I urge Chairman Shuster and Ranking Member DeFazio to work towards finding solutions for communities who are affected by airplane noise, and I believe implementing the recommendations in our letter would represent a substantive step forward towards improving the quality of life for our citizens.”
“My district in Queens, New York – and many other communities across the country – continue to suffer from the blistering sounds of airplanes, and that excessive noise is negatively impacting the quality of life in the neighborhoods we represent,” said Rep. Meng. “Many of the recommendations we outline in our request are measures that I‘ve pushed for since I was elected to Congress, and incorporating our suggestions into this broad FAA bill would be the most effective legislative vehicle to address the problem of aircraft noise. Relief can’t come soon enough for those affected by the barrage of airplanes. I respectfully ask the committee to include our recommendations in the bill.”
O’Hare International Airport became a part of Illinois’ Fifth Congressional District in January 2013. Since then, Rep. Quigley has met continuously with neighborhood organizations and aviation officials to discuss solutions to increased noise pollution resulting from the O’Hare Modernization Program (OMP). In a March hearing of Appropriations Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) Subcommittee, Rep. Quigley pressed FAA Administrator Huerta on the need to lower the 65 DNL metric in the long term but insisted that the FAA work with the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) to provide immediate short term solutions for the communities affected by the O’Hare Modernization Program. In November, Rep. Quigley, along with Reps. Duckworth and Schakowsky, urged CDA to improve the O’Hare noise complaint process by creating a dedicated O’Hare noise complaint line, manned by personnel versed on the noise issue to begin to get a truly accurate count of constituent complaints. He also pushed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to conduct new public hearings and issue a new environmental impact study (EIS) of the OMP in response to questions raised over the hearing process and noise levels that exceeded expectations. He also repeatedly called on the FAA to change the outdated noise metric that could allow more homeowners and businesses to qualify for soundproofing programs. In Congress, Rep. Quigley helped create the Quiet Skies Caucus and introduced the Silent Skies Act to help combat aircraft noise on a national level.