Norton Requests Hearing on Airplane Noise Affecting D.C. and Communities Across the...

Norton Requests Hearing on Airplane Noise Affecting D.C. and Communities Across the Nation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – October 15, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), a senior member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and its Aviation Subcommittee, today released a letter she wrote to the chairs and ranking members of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and its Aviation Subcommittee requesting a hearing to explore airplane noise and its impacts on residential communities in the District of Columbia and across the United States. In her letter, Norton wrote, “There are reports from throughout the country of intolerable nighttime and early morning airplane noise in residential neighborhoods, much of it caused by new flight paths designed to implement NextGen…. Airplane noise has become a nationwide issue for many members of our Committee and many other Members. A congressional hearing at this time would help our Committee discover what FAA is doing to mitigate noise; whether NextGen, commercial airlines, or other factors are responsible for increased airplane noise; and what can be done about it.” Norton, a founding member of the bipartisan Quiet Skies Caucus, has actively pursued remedies for neighborhood airplane noise in the District over the years with some success, only to see it return.

In May, Norton held a community meeting on airplane noise with residents in the Palisades, Foxhall, Georgetown, Hillandale and other impacted neighborhoods in the District and summoned representatives of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to be present as residents expressed great frustration at an increase in air traffic activity during late nighttime and early morning hours. Norton said much of the airplane noise is being caused by new flight paths designed to implement FAA’s NextGen program throughout the nation.

“Our investigation leaves no doubt that airplane noise our residents experience is not unique and has become a national issue,” Norton said. “Therefore, a congressional hearing is in order. With allies among Republican and Democratic colleagues, I hope that we can finally achieve appropriate remedies. We need to focus on what steps have been and can be taken by FAA and the airlines.”

The full text of Norton’s letter is below.

The Honorable Bill Shuster
Chairman
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
2165 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Frank A. LoBiondo
Chairman
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
Aviation Subcommittee
2165 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Peter DeFazio
Ranking Member
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
2163 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Rick Larsen
Ranking Member
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
Aviation Subcommittee
2163 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairmen Shuster and LoBiondo and Ranking Members DeFazio and Larsen:

Thank you for your leadership on aviation issues. I am writing to request that the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, or its Aviation Subcommittee, hold a hearing to explore airplane noise and its impacts on residential communities across the United States. There are reports from throughout the country of persistent, insufferable nighttime and early morning airplane noise in residential neighborhoods, much of it caused by new flight paths designed to implement NextGen.

About a year ago, I joined my Republican and Democratic colleagues in launching the Quiet Skies Caucus to bring a national focus to the issue of airplane noise. Airplane noise has impacted constituents across the country from Arizona and California to New York and Illinois, and many other jurisdictions. For example, the city of Phoenix, Arizona has filed a lawsuit against the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) alleging a lack of public input and false claims by the FAA in implementing modified flight paths in the Metroplex surrounding Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. The Arizona congressional delegation has been seeking legislative remedies to the situation. In the National Capital Region, residents in some sections of the city suffer persistently after-midnight and before-dawn airplane noise. FAA implemented the LAZIR flight path for departures causing airplanes to fly directly over the homes of District of Columbia residents rather than prior flight paths that kept planes over the Potomac River.

Airplane noise has become a nationwide issue for many members of our Committee and many other Members. A congressional hearing at this time would help our Committee discover what FAA is doing to mitigate noise; whether NextGen, commercial airlines, or other factors are responsible for increased airplane noise; and what can be done about it.

Sincerely,

Eleanor Holmes Norton

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