Washington, DC — Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-Westlake Village) today voted in support of the House-Senate conference agreement to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) through 2023 and help reduce airplane noise concerns in Ventura County and across the country. The bill passed the House of Representatives today and is expected to be passed by the Senate and sent to the President’s desk for signature in the coming days.

“I have heard from many of my constituents in Ventura County about airplane noise in our district that is disrupting daily lives and diminishing quality-of-life, and I have been hard at work to address this issue in Congress,” said Congresswoman Brownley. “I joined with my fellow members of the Congressional Quiet Skies Caucus and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to ensure that the final FAA reauthorization bill takes steps to address these noise concerns raised by local residents. I am very pleased that we reached agreement with the Senate on a number of measures that will directly address the serious issues raised by my constituents.”

Not only does the bill authorize continued funding for airport noise abatement programs, but the bill also includes new language to require FAA to do more to address noise complaints, especially in areas like Ventura and Los Angeles Counties that have recently completed metroplex redesign projects. Among the provisions included in the final agreement:

  • The bill requires FAA to update its noise measurement metrics and requires certain airports to update noise exposure maps. It also requires FAA to evaluate alternative metrics to the current average day-night level standard, such as the use of actual noise sampling, to address community airplane noise concerns.
  • The bill requires FAA to consider the feasibility of dispersing airplane flight paths in areas where aircraft fly 6,000 feet or less above ground level.  
  • The bill requires a study on the health impacts of noise from aircraft on residents exposed to a range of noise levels in major metropolitan areas, including throughout the Southern California Metroplex. The study shall consider the incremental health impacts on residents living partly or wholly underneath flight paths most frequently used by aircraft flying at an altitude lower than 10,000 feet. The study shall also review the economic impacts of overflight noise for businesses in these areas.
  • The bill creates a new position of regional ombudsman to serve as a regional liaison with the public, including community groups, on issues regarding aircraft noise, pollution, and safety; to make recommendations to FAA to address concerns raised by the public and improve the consideration of public comments in decision-making processes; and to be consulted on proposed changes in aircraft operations affecting the region, including arrival and departure routes, in order to minimize environmental impacts, including noise.
  • The bill requires FAA to study the phase-out of the use of so-called “stage 3” aircraft, which are aircraft with older, noisier engines.
  • The bill requires FAA to improve its community engagement practices for Metroplex redesign projects.
  • The bill requires a study of take-off speeds to evaluate noise reduction options.

The full text of the bill is available here.  A summary of highlights is available here.

Residents who are interested in getting more involved are also encouraged to engage with local efforts around airplane noise, including the LAX Community Noise Roundtable, which meets regularly to address noise impacts surrounding LAX. More information about the group is available here.

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