“While we are continuing to work with the FAA on voluntary measures, we have to take an ‘all of the above’ approach to solving the very real issues caused by helicopter noise for homeowners and residents,” said Schiff. “It’s my hope that this provision will be included in any final appropriations bill, and give the federal agencies a sense of the urgency residents feel to bring about meaningful relief from the scourge of unbridled helicopter noise.”
Below is the Senate provision included in the THUD appropriations bill:
Sec. 119D. The Secretary shall (1) evaluate and adjust existing helicopter routes above Los Angeles, and make adjustments to such routes if the adjustments would lessen impacts on residential areas and noise-sensitive landmarks; (2) analyze whether helicopters could safely fly at higher altitudes in certain areas above Los Angeles County; (3) develop and promote best practices for helicopter hovering and electronic news gathering; (4) conduct outreach to helicopter pilots to inform them of voluntary policies and to increase awareness of noise sensitive areas and events; (5) work with local stakeholders to develop a more comprehensive noise complaint system; and (6) continue to participate in collaborative engagement between community representatives and helicopter operators: Provided, That not later than one year after enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall begin the development of regulations related to the impact of helicopter use on the quality of life and safety of the people of Los Angeles County unless the Secretary can demonstrate the effectiveness of actions taken under the previous proviso to address helicopter noise.
The full letter to the conferrees is below:
Dear Chairman Latham and Ranking Member Pastor:
As the Congress moves to finalize Fiscal Year 2014 Appropriations, we respectfully ask that the House recede to the Senate with regards to a provision of the FY14 Transportation Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill directing the Federal Aviation Administration to take steps to reduce the disruption caused by helicopters in Los Angeles. As Representatives from the Los Angeles region, this is an issue of great importance to our constituents and we would appreciate the inclusion of this language in the final FY14 appropriations legislation.
As you know, Sec. 119D of S. 1243 instructs the Secretary of Transportation to undertake and support actions to address concerns with helicopter traffic above Los Angeles. This provision is in keeping with commitments made by the FAA in May in response to ongoing engagement by the community and the delegation. Residents of the Los Angeles region have been plagued for decades by frequent and disruptive helicopter noise. Despite persistent efforts to work on a collaborative basis with stakeholders to reduce the impact of helicopter noise, little has changed. The provision in the Senate legislation is an important step towards resolving the issue and improving quality of life for millions of area residents.
As you and your staff work to finalize FY14 THUD appropriations, we urge you to include this important provision. Thank you for your continued leadership.