Rep. Ruben Gallego Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Compel FAA to Reconsider Flight Routes and Address Flight Noise Problems

Rep. Ruben Gallego (AZ-7), 11/5/2015, Press Release

Washington, DC – Today Rep. Ruben Gallego and 14 cosponsors introduced the FAA Community Accountability Act to give local communities a say in the Federal Aviation Administration’s decision-making process regarding flight paths.

The FAA Community Accountability Act would establish a new process to compel the FAA to reconsider existing flight routes that are exposing residents to unacceptably high levels of aviation noise. The legislation would also end the presumption under current law that flight paths implemented through the NextGen program may not follow pre-existing routes, even when these paths better reflect land use around the airport.

The bill would designate Community Ombudsmen to serve as effective, independent voices for airport communities within the agency. Finally, the bill would prevent the FAA from bypassing the environmental review process for new flight paths over the objections of local communities.

The bills original cosponsors include Reps. David Schweikert (R-AZ), Mike Quigley (D-IL), Steve Israel (D-NY), Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Katherine Clark (D-MA), Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA)Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Joseph Crowley (D-NY), Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Grace Meng (D-NY), Kathleen Rice (D-NY), Alan Grayson (D-FL), and Don Beyer (D-VA).

Rep. Ruben Gallego said, “Last September, the FAA altered flight paths for aircrafts departing from Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport. The changes were made without meaningful input or consultation with community members or civic leaders, and have caused severe noise disruptions that have lowered the quality of life for many members of my community. My bill would help address this problem in Phoenix and make sure that other communities across the country don’t suffer the same consequences of the FAA’s opaque decision-making process.”

Rep. Steve Israel said, “Airplane noise continues to have a negative impact on the lives of my constituents in Queens and Nassau county. This bill will ensure that residents affected by airplane noise have a voice in urging the FAA to reconsider placing these noisy flight paths over their homes and communities.” | Contact: Joe Knickrehm (202-225-3335)

Rep. Mike Quigley said, “My constituents back home in Chicago are facing unprecedented noise pollution from passing aircraft that is eroding their quality of life, lowering their property values, and impacting their health. But this is clearly not just a Chicago issue. Communities across the country are experiencing increased airplane noise, and it’s time for the FAA to be more accountable and responsive to their concerns. I’m proud to introduce the FAA Community Accountability Act with my colleagues to ensure that the voices of our constituents are heard before any changes to flight paths are considered.” | Contact: Emily Hampsten (202-225-4061)

Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick said, “Phoenix residents have every right to be frustrated, not only by disruptive noise from new flight paths but by the FAA’s unwillingness to listen. It shouldn’t have taken congressional action to find a solution, but if that’s what it takes then we’ll fight for these folks until the FAA is responsive and accountable.” | Contact: Jennifer Johnson (202-225-3361)

Rep. Don Beyer said, “Our communities deserve greater input in the FAA’s processes to minimize airplane noise. I am proud to join Congressman Gallego in urging the FAA to be more inclusive in considering the impact of its flight paths.” | Contact: Thomas Scanlon (202-225-4376)

Rep. Joseph Crowley said, “Unfortunately, aircraft noise pollution isn’t merely a nuisance – it poses health risks, disrupts student learning and drowns out the joys of daily life. Our airports will never be perfect neighbors, but we can certainly work to make them better ones. I’m proud to join Congressman Gallego in sponsoring this much-needed legislation that will go a long way in helping communities impacted by aircraft noise.” | Contact: Courtney Gidner (202-225-3965)

Rep. Stephen F. Lynch said, “Many of the towns and neighborhoods that I represent are close to Logan Airport and the residents in our area have faced a huge increase in airplane noise and a total lack of responsiveness from the FAA. Some of these citizens and taxpayers have 500 planes fly directly over their homes each day – and they deserve to have their voices heard and they are entitled to some relief. I am proud to cosponsor Congressman Gallego’s bill, which will demand accountability and create a dialogue between these affected communities and the FAA.” | Contact: Elizabeth Zappala (202-226-1918)

Rep. Anna G. Eshoo said, “New flight paths associated with implementation of the FAA’s NextGen satellite-based navigation program have caused major increases in aircraft noise. For thousands of Americans, including so many throughout my congressional district, a family conversation at the dinner table, sitting outside, or trying to sleep have all been disrupted because of the roar of jet engines overhead. I’m proud to be part of the effort to resolve this untenable situation by introducing the FAA Community Accountability Act, which requires the FAA to work with local communities and limit noise impacts when planning and implementing new flight paths with NextGen. This legislation can mitigate unacceptable high levels of aircraft noise while continually modernizing our aviation system.” | Contact: Charles Stewart (202-225-8104)