Norton Requests New FAA Administrator Meet Quiet Skies Caucus, Address Noise Mitigation Activities

Aug 7, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Co-Chair of the Quiet Skies Caucus, has written a letter to the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Steve Dickson inviting him to address the Quiet Skies Caucus and update members on outstanding FAA projects related to aircraft noise, including a now long and continuously delayed FAA study reevaluating the threshold for noise mitigation activities.  The letter was signed by Quiet Skies Caucus Co-Chair Stephen Lynch (D-MA) and Vice Co-Chairs Mike Quigley (D-IL) and Tom Suozzi (D-NY).

“We congratulate Administrator Dickson on his recent Senate confirmation and look forward to learning more about why the FAA’s study to reevaluate the 65 DNL threshold for noise mitigation is now 15 months delayed,” Norton said.  “Unfortunately, we were not able to meet with his predecessor due to the government shutdown.”

“I would like to congratulate Administrator Dickson on his recent Senate confirmation,” Suozzi said.  “Now that there is a permanent administrator at the helm, I am looking forward to working with the FAA to further advance some concrete actions that will address and mitigate the aircraft noise that has been impacting our communities for so long.”

The full text of the letter is below.

Dear Administrator Dickson,

We, the undersigned Chairs and Vice Chairs of the Congressional Quiet Skies Caucus, write to congratulate you on your confirmation and request your presence in front of our caucus to discuss airplane and helicopter noise and to help Congress chart a path forward on possible solutions. In addition, we request an update on a number of ongoing FAA projects related to aircraft noise, including a now long and continuously delayed FAA study reevaluating the 65 DNL threshold for noise mitigation activities.

As you well know, noise from airplanes and helicopters passing overhead is more than a mere annoyance, it can dramatically impact the standard of living and even the health of residents frequently and repeatedly exposed, like those that live near major airports like Chicago’s O’Hare, Boston’s Logan, Washington DC’s Reagan National and New York’s LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy. It is important to the well-being of our constituents that substantive progress is made in the short, medium, and long terms to reduce and ultimately eliminate airplane and helicopter noise impacts on communities across the country

We are concerned about a number of actions that FAA has taken, or not taken, in recent months. In 2015, FAA began a study to reevaluate the current 65 DNL threshold for determining eligibility for residents impacted by airport noise to qualify for noise abatement assistance- this study predates and is different from a study authorized in the 2018 law that reauthorized the FAA. FAA had reported in May of 2018 that the study was nearly final but to this date has still not been released. In August of 2018, the Chairs and Vice-Chairs of the Quiet Skies Caucus wrote to Acting Administrator Elwell requesting an update on the status of the study, which was then already four months delayed. The study is now nearly 15 months delayed and FAA has still not given any indication about a reason for the delay or when it might be released.

We respectfully but urgently request a detailed update on the status of this study, including a date of expected release in the near future. Twice in the last few months, Acting Administrator Elwell had been scheduled to meet with the Quiet Skies Caucus and, through no fault of his own, the meetings needed to be postponed. We understand the challenge of congressional and agency scheduling but we believe it is necessary for the FAA Administrator, accompanied by other agency personnel with a detailed knowledge of the issues at hand, to sit with our caucus and discuss these issues of serious concern to our constituents. Please get in touch with the office of Co-Chair Norton or Co-Chair Lynch to schedule a meeting with the caucus members in September 2019.

We enthusiastically look forward to meeting with you, receiving clarity on some of the outstanding FAA noise work and discussing how Congress and the FAA can work together moving forward to improve the lives of our constituents affected by aircraft noise.

Thank you,

Eleanor Holmes Norton, Member of Congress

Stephen F. Lynch, Member of Congress

Mike Quigley, Member of Congress                                                            

Thomas R. Suozzi, Member of Congress