Van Hollen, Sarbanes, Brown and Raskin urge President Biden to consider aircraft noise reduction efforts in appointment of new FAA administrator

March 23, 2022

U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen and Congressmen John Sarbanes, Anthony Brown and Jamie Raskin (all D-Md.) joined Congressman Don Beyer (D-Va.) in writing to President Biden urging him to seriously consider reducing aircraft noise and improving communication with local communities as it proceeds to appoint a new administrator for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The letter was also signed by U.S. Representatives Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.), and Eleanor Holmes Norton (DD.C.).

“We are writing to respectfully request that when you appoint the next administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), you choose someone who understands the importance of reducing aviation noise as a key part of the implementation of FAA policies and procedures. As members representing the National Capital Region, our constituents are significantly affected by aircraft noise from some of the busiest airports in the country,” wrote the lawmakers.

They highlighted the harms of aircraft noise, noting, “Aviation noise causes annoyance, stress, sleep disturbances and affects the quality of life of constituents in the National Capital Region. Current federal law designates the FAA as having almost all authority over airport noise. Although the FAA has recognized this role and the detrimental effects of aircraft noise on communities adjacent to the airport, much more action is needed in a timely manner to help mitigate aircraft noise in the area.

“Communities residing in the National Capital Region continue to express frustration with lackluster communication with the FAA, so it is important that a new administrator prioritize this issue. We look forward to working with your nominee for FAA Administrator to Address Aviation Noise in the National Capital Region and again urge you to choose someone who will take the issue seriously,” lawmakers concluded.

The text of the letter is below and can be downloaded here.

Dear President Biden,

We are writing to respectfully request that, when appointing the next Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator, you choose someone who understands the importance of aviation noise reduction as a key part of implementation of FAA policies and procedures. As members representing the National Capital Region, our constituents are seriously affected by aircraft noise from some of the country’s busiest airports.

Aviation noise causes annoyance, stress, sleep disturbances and affects the quality of life of constituents in the National Capital Region. Current federal law designates the FAA as having almost all authority over airport noise. Although the FAA has recognized this role and the detrimental effects of aircraft noise on communities adjacent to the airport, much more action is needed in a timely manner to help mitigate aircraft noise in the area.

For years we have worked together to address aviation noise in our communities. Last year, we were thrilled to see the FAA’s centralized noise portal, which we’ve been advocating for a long time, go live. Also, after years of delay, the FAA last year released the results of its neighborhood environmental survey of aviation noise pollution. The published data was collected in 2015, creating a six-year lag in information. These are the types of delays that we would like to see reduced under a new administrator.

Additionally, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report in September 2020 titled “Aircraft Noise: The FAA Could Improve Awareness Through Improved Noise Measurements, Communication, and Community Support” which analyzed how which the FAA leads has implemented new flight path procedures and their related public awareness activities. One of their recommendations to the FAA was to improve communications tools and public outreach strategies to better facilitate more meaningful public participation. Communities residing in the National Capital Region continue to express frustration with lackluster communication with the FAA, so it is important that a new administrator prioritize this issue.

We look forward to working with your nominee for FAA Administrator to address aviation noise in the National Capital Region and again urge you to choose someone who will take the issue seriously.

Truly,



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