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Headlines and Top Story- Updated April 16, 2018
 


DC-Area Residents Lose Legal Battle Over Noise Around Reagan National Airport
- Congressman Asks FAA to Review Noise at Hollywood Burbank Airport
- County Urged to Budget $150,000 for Airspace Consultant on DCA Noise
- Lockheed Martin Wins $247 Million Supersonic X-Plane Contract
- Court Allows Class Action Suit Over Noise from Montreal-Trudeau Airport
- Voters Oppose Basing F-35 Jets at Burlington International Airport
- Lawmakers Call for Study of Aviation Noise and Air Pollution
- NASA Conducts Endurance Testing on Motors for All-Electric X-Plane
- Montréal Group Seeks Epidemiological Study of Aviation Noise Impacts
- FAA and Laguna Beach Settle Litigation Over SoCal Metroplex Noise
- Court Affirms Noise Analysis for Operations at Trenton-Mercer Airport 




 




Community Roundtable Concludes 
Legislation or Litigation is Needed



In its first annual report, issued last month, the DC Metroplex BWI Community Roundtable challenged FAA’s process of engaging communities in addressing noise impacts of NextGen procedures, as well as the agency’s noise standards and methodology. “The noise standards used by the FAA, which were adopted in 1971, are outdated and do not reflect the precise and unremitting effects of concentrated flight paths over limited geography created by modern technology,” according to the report.
 
Members of the Roundtable used their annual report to express frustration at the inability to persuade FAA to take measures that would provide significant relief from noise attributed to NextGen procedures at Baltimore/Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport (BWI). “Previously unaffected communities are now experiencing high volumes of aircraft flying new and concentrated paths. We believe that this is having a direct effect on public health, the environment, and individual property values of residents under these new flight paths,” they wrote.

“The DC Metroplex BWI Community Roundtable was created at the insistence of the FAA to act as the vehicle for addressing the harmful noise issues associated with NextGen/DC Metroplex project. Unfortunately, it appears to be a largely unsatisfactory approach.” The Roundtable is composed of representatives from eight affected Maryland legislative districts; Anne Arundel, Baltimore, and Howard counties; the Maryland Aviation Administration (MAA); and U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen’s office (D-Md.). Non-voting members include representatives of the air cargo, general aviation, and commercial air carrier sectors and FAA, including Jodi McCarthy, the agency’s vice-president for Mission Support Services. 

Roundtable members regret that they have been “unable to effect significant change” to flight paths in the DC Metroplex. “FAA essentially disowns responsibility for the noise and other environmental harm it causes by its decisions and refers these matters to the local airport operator,” the report concludes. “There is no federal legislative mandate requiring the FAA to consider or address the complete noise effect of its NextGen plan, nor even to work in good faith with affected communities to reduce the noise to levels that are compatible with established residential development.” 

Roundtable members acknowledged that changes FAA proposed to departures from two runways “are expected to be an improvement over the current paths,” but lamented “we have made no progress on arrivals, raising altitudes, or restoring dispersion.” They concluded: “At this time, we believe there must be a change in approach in order to achieve broader results. Without a major change in federal legislation or a successful lawsuit that creates mandatory incentives for the FAA to act to dramatically mitigate the situation, the Roundtable will fail in its goal of returning to a reasonable facsimile of the non-controversial airport operations that existed at BWI prior to the implementation of the NextGen/DC Metroplex project.”

For its part, “FAA is pleased to work with the DC Metroplex BWI Community Roundtable…to consider the concerns from communities around BWI and proposed solutions…and remains committed to transparency,” McCarthy wrote in a letter to Roundtable chair Lance Brasher late last year. “However, FAA’s involvement [does] not constitute either a final decision or a re-opening of the record of decision for the…DC Metroplex Project, issued December 30, 2013.” 

Unanimously adopted at its first meeting in March 2017, the Roundtable’s main goal remains “that the FAA immediately revert to flight paths and procedures that were in place prior to the implementation of NextGen and the DC Metroplex plan.” McCarthy noted that FAA complied with all requirements of the NEPA environmental review process and that the agency no longer maintains the previous flight procedures in its inventory.

“The original pre-Metroplex flight paths, procedures, and altitudes are no longer published on navigational charts or loaded into aircraft navigation computers. Therefore, for a host of reasons, FAA cannot go back to the conventional system in place prior to Metroplex.” 

 
Copyright 2018 Great Circle Communications LLC 
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