Airplane Noise

Los Angeles

Since the Federal Aviation Administration’s NextGen implementation in early 2015, the amount of aircraft noise, emissions, and community concerns have increased exponentially. 

The FAA’s mission is to “provide the safest, most efficient aerospace system”, but this provides limited protection for residents on the ground. The FAA estimates of noise impacts do not reflect how residents experience noise and are not accurate. Furthermore, the FAA is neither proactive nor transparent in its communication with the community, and does not disclose sufficient information. Elected officials and residents learn about changes after decisions are made and without prior, meaningful involvement with the communities that are affected. 

As your 18th District Congressional Representative I will not only listen, but will take action. I will:

  • Hold regular community meetings with residents to hear their concerns and update them on progress and actions.

  • Secure aviation expertise through consultants and/or staff to adequately represent the community needs and actively participate in forums. Such expertise is necessary to actively engage with the FAA when reviewing their proposals and responses and when evaluating whether the FAA is delivering what was recommended.

  • Initiate and support legislation in the House to hold the FAA accountable to implement noise abatement changes as well as deliver on commitments and use consistent community engagement processes. I will advocate for reestablishing funding for the Environmental Protection Agency Office of Noise Abatement and Control (ONAC) and for the FAA to commission independent panels of experts such as the National Academies to produce objective analyses. 

The FAA has discretion and authority to update its processes and methods. However if it does not do so, specific legislative changes will be required to for instance:

  • Modify the FAA Environmental Review Process to ensure timely community involvement with transparent and sufficient information sharing, add a validation step to check on impacts after implementation, and ban the use of a Categorical Exclusion (CATEX) for major changes such as; new flight paths or modifications to existing ones.

  • Change the FAA’s current interpretation of “Significant Impact”, which is solely based on the Day-Night Average Sound Level (DNL) metric and 65 dB threshold. 65 dB DNL fails to accurately represent significant noise impacts on communities not in the immediate vicinity of an airport. 

    • Additional non-DNL metrics must be used in environmental reviews; non-DNL metrics such as N-Above already exist and can be reported today in noise monitoring and modeling analyses. 

    • Thresholds for defining “Significant Impact” must consider the ambient noise levels of the communities.

    • Distinctions must be made for communities near and away from the airport. 

  • Ensure that the FAA will implement mitigation strategies to reduce noise on communities affected by NextGen and tie this requirement to receiving funding and/or implementing new, additional NextGen changes.