The D.C. Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE) is holding a public meeting on the FY2017 DCA Airplane Noise Assessment Study, which was conducted by Freytag and Associates, LLC. Representatives from Freytag and Associates, LLC will discuss their findings and make a presentation.
Good news! Residents and city officials in Phoenix, Arizona who argue that noise from flight paths at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is destroying their neighborhoods have won their case against the FAA.
In a 2-1 decision (attached here), the D.C. Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Phoenix and vacated the new NEXTGEN routes that the FAA had established over historic Phoenix neighborhoods and parks without any environmental review. While our case has significantly different facts, the willingness of the Court to find reasonable grounds for not filing a notice of appeal within 60 days of a final Order is helpful. As is the Court’s finding that notifying two low-level employees was not adequate notice to Phoenix of the rulemaking, because the D.C. State Historic Preservation Office was informed about the 2013 environmental assessment that the FAA contends was the final order in our case. Having dismissed the government’s arguments about the case being untimely, the Court went on to find for Phoenix on every substantive ground raised, which is very helpful to our case in which we make similar arguments. Our counsel, Mat Adams, was counsel for the neighborhood association petitioners in that case.
In May, the DC Fair Skies Coalition filed a Reply Brief with the Court of Appeals criticizing the FAA over the aircraft noise created by their new northern departure flight path from Reagan National. In June, delegates on the Reagan National Community Working Group sent a memorandum to the FAA and MWAA criticizing the FAA's reliance on maximizing time over water as the goal of flight path changes. Now, the DC Fair Skies Coalition is waiting for the Court of Appeals to schedule oral arguments this fall. A decision is also pending from the same Court of Appeals in a similar case from Phoenix, Arizona that was argued in March.
This website will continue to be updated as the Coalition's case progresses in the months ahead.
The Community Working Group delegates from Wards 2 and 3 sent a memorandum to the FAA and MWAA taking issue with the FAA's reliance on maximizing time over water as the goal of all flight path changes. This approach ignores the fact that the river is very narrow and curved north of Reagan Airport, so planes flying north have to fly over or close to land. Accordingly it is crucial to also consider the nature of the land which will be impacted. The FAA's failure to do so in 2015 produced the LAZIR flight path for most northbound departures from Reagan Airport that the D.C. Fair Skies Coalition is appealing in federal court. Continuing to use time over water to justify more flight path changes would make the current aircraft noise problem worse. Read the full memorandum here.