Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) sent a letter to Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Michael Huerta on Monday, saying that they have yet to see any demonstrated or significant progress toward reducing helicopter noise nearly a year after their initial report.
The letter comes on the heels of a meeting with the FAA in which the agency failed to produce a plan to meet its Congressional mandate to reduce helicopter noise, did not identify quantifiable ways to measure helicopter noise throughout the L.A. basin and failed to study the entire LA basin, instead focusing on small study areas.
Other members of the Los Angeles Congressional delegation also signed off on the letter, including Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Reps. Henry Waxman, Brad Sherman, Karen Bass, Tony Cardenas and Alan Lowenthal.
The full letter is below:
Dear Administrator Huerta:
We write to express our strong disappointment with the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) lack of demonstrated progress on the steps outlined in FAA’s May 2013 Report on the Los Angeles Helicopter Noise Initiative. We have yet to see the FAA demonstrate significant progress in undertaking the six actions items, which are also laid out in H.R. 3547 – the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014 (Public Law No: 113-76).
It has been more than nine months since the FAA identified action items it would undertake and support to mitigate helicopter noise in Los Angeles County. However, to date, the FAA has only produced one update, dated January 30, 2014. This update did not provide a detailed schedule, as we had previously requested, and lacks metrics on how progress will be demonstrated. Furthermore, we are concerned that the effort heavily relies on volunteer stakeholders to complete the tasks the FAA has committed to, and which it is now also mandated by law to carry out within a year.
We are also increasingly concerned that the FAA has fallen short of a comprehensive, county-wide approach, and instead decided to focus on localized areas within Los Angeles County. While we understand that the FAA will identify additional areas at future date, helicopter noise is a problem that afflicts all Los Angeles County residents, not just the few in the target areas. We urge the FAA to take a thoughtful approach that will take into account the concerns of residents throughout the County.
We recognize the FAA’s assertion that the best approach to mitigate helicopter noise on the ground is through voluntary measures, and expect the FAA to demonstrate the on-the-ground impact of this approach. If the FAA fails to do so through quantifiable metrics, we expect the agency to begin a regulatory process before the end of January 2015.
Los Angeles County residents have been plagued by frequent and disruptive helicopter noise for far too long and deserve relief. We appreciate your work and prompt attention to this matter. Please do not hesitate to contact our offices if you have any questions or concerns.