WASHINGTON, D.C. – June 4, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today offered an amendment on the House floor to the fiscal year 2016 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations (THUD) bill to prohibit air transportation service between midnight and 6 a.m. at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). Norton’s amendment was defeated by voice vote. Norton introduced the amendment after holding a May 5 community meeting on airplane noise with residents in the Palisades, Foxhall, Georgetown, Hillandale and other impacted neighborhoods in the District of Columbia. The meeting was attended by representatives of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as residents expressed great frustration at an increase in air traffic activity during late nighttime and early morning hours. As of now, there are no congressional prohibitions on nighttime flights at DCA.
“A standing-room crowd of District residents recently gave witness at our public meeting to the exasperation of an entire community experiencing sleepless nights caused by the high volume of early morning and late night flights,” Norton said. “My amendment responds to the harmful effects these flights are having on children and adults. However, it is only one of the strategies I intend to use until residents get relief. Even though I did not get the immediate relief today that my amendment would offer, by going to the House floor with an amendment that was made in order, I put the community’s airplane noise on the congressional agenda. In addition, I intend to seek relief through the FAA reauthorization process and have already submitted this issue as a priority to the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and its Subcommittee on Aviation, both of which I serve on. I am working with Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Representatives Don Beyer (D-VA), Gerry Connolly (D-VA), and Barbara Comstock (R-VA) to ensure that no additional slots or perimeter exceptions are added to DCA. And, of course, I am continuing to work with MWAA, FAA, the Foxhall Civic Association, and residents on the community’s action items to address airplane noise.”
Norton’s amendment responded to an action item drawn at the community meeting where Norton promised to “work with congressional colleagues to halt nighttime flights (midnight to 6 a.m.) through statutory language either in an appropriations bill or FAA reauthorization bill.
Norton’s floor statement on her amendment, as prepared for delivery, follows.
Statement of the Honorable Eleanor Holmes Norton
on Amendment to HR 2577, the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016, Prohibiting Late Night and Early Morning Flights At DCA
June 4, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I rise to offer an amendment to the THUD appropriations bill that would prohibit federal funds from being used to permit airplane service between midnight and 6 a.m. at Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA).
Last month, I held a widely attended community meeting on airplane noise with residents in the Palisades, Foxhall, Georgetown, Hillandale and other impacted neighborhoods in the District of Columbia. Representatives of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and Andrea Ramirez of the Foxhall Civic Association sat on a panel with me while we discussed airplane noise impacting the community.
Over the last 18 months, D.C. residents have reported an increase in air traffic activity during nighttime and early morning hours, breaking the sleep of children and adults alike. During this time period, American Airlines added two flights that arrive at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) after midnight and three flights that depart before 5 a.m. As of now, there are no congressional prohibitions on nighttime flights at DCA. Although MWAA has committed to working with the community and the airlines, Congress needs to settle this issue in the nation’s capital to provide relief to those D.C. residents who suffer from airplane noise night after night. I urge the adoption of this amendment.