Today, Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Brad Sherman (D-CA) and Howard Berman (D-CA) sent a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I), urging them to amend the reauthorization legislation for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to allow Bob Hope and Van Nuys Airports to adopt curfews.
"Both airports have had noise restrictions, including partial and voluntary curfews, in effect for more than a generation, but neither airport fits precisely within any of the narrow exemptions in the 1990 law," Rep. Schiff said. "Exempting these two airports from the ANCA would reduce aviation-related nighttime noise, which interferes in the daily activities of Valley residents living under the flight paths and in close proximity to the terminals."
"Valley residents living under the flight path and near Bob Hope and Van Nuys Airports should be able to enjoy a restful night without the roar of jet engines waking them up in the middle of the night," said Rep. Sherman, whose district includes both airports. "We are committed to achieving a solution that ultimately reduces or eliminates nighttime noise within the communities that have fought for relief for decades. Our improved legislative language will help balance the needs of aviation and those residents seeking peace and quiet in their communities."
"I have spent many years fighting on behalf of Valley residents to secure a curfew at Van Nuys and Burbank airports," Rep. Berman said. "The FAA's refusal to provide relief to communities across the Valley leaves us no other alternative than pursuing a legislative solution to the serious problem of night time noise operations at these airports."
Full text of the letter:
Dear Chairman Mica, Chairman Petri, Ranking Member Rahall and Ranking Member Costello,
Earlier this week, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure asked Members to provide the Committee their ideas for Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization legislation in advance of two reauthorization hearings at the end of the week. We thank you for this opportunity to share our ideas with the Committee.
We will shortly introduce legislation, the Valley-Wide Noise Relief Act, to address an oversight in the Airport Noise and Capacity Act (ANCA) of 1990 that has had a tremendous impact on our region of Southern California. We write to urge your assistance in including this legislation as a provision in FAA reauthorization and reform legislation.
When Congress enacted ANCA, it exempted from the law's new requirements many airports that had noise rules already in effect. The Burbank (Bob Hope) and Van Nuys Airports in the Los Angeles area both have had noise restrictions, including partial and voluntary curfews, in effect for more than a generation but neither airport fit precisely within any of the narrow exemptions in the 1990 law.
The proposed provision would clarify that, for many of the same reasons that several other airports were exempted when it was enacted in 1990, these two airports should be exempted from the Airport Noise and Capacity Act. In the case of the Bob Hope Airport, this was one of the first airports in the country to impose a curfew. The Van Nuys curfew was a partial curfew that applied to some, but not all, operators. The language would allow Burbank and Van Nuys Airports to adopt non-discriminatory curfews applicable to all operators from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.
The proposed amendment would apply only to airports that already had at least a partial curfew in effect before 1990 when ANCA was enacted. The legislation is designed to address the omission of not allowing curfews at these two airports, but is not intended to open the door to any further exemptions from that Act.
Furthermore, the provision would address concerns that the FAA cited in rejecting Burbank's Part 161 application for a curfew -- that it would add congestion to an already crowded airspace and it would impact the national system of airports because it would cause system wide delays. The proposal would have a minimal impact on local airspace because a joint curfew for both airports is designed to ensure that air traffic is not shifted from one airport to the other. Additionally, as Van Nuys Airport is part of a larger consortium of airports, including one of the largest in the country, LAX, that is willing and able to accept nighttime traffic the consortium can structure and implement the curfew in a manner that ensures that it does not negatively affect local and national airspace.
Accordingly, we request that you include the following language, which will be introduced shortly as the Valley-Wide Noise Relief Act, in the FAA reauthorization legislation:
(a) Section 47524, written assurances prescribed pursuant to section 47107, and any other provisions of subtitle VII of Title 49, United States Code shall not be applied in a manner that would prohibit or materially interfere with:
(1) A local action by an airport sponsor to implement and enforce a mandatory nighttime curfew for all aircraft between 10 p.m. to 7 a.m., where (i) the airport had a voluntary curfew in effect for some aircraft on November 5, 1990, and (ii) the airport was created by intergovernmental agreement pursuant to state statute enacted before November 5, 1990 where both the agreement and the statute impose obligations concerning noise mitigation.
(2) A local action by an airport sponsor to implement and enforce a mandatory nighttime curfew that applies to all or some aircraft for no longer than 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. at a general aviation airport where (i) the airport had a partial curfew in effect prior to November 5, 1990; (ii) the airport operates under the supervision of a board of airport commissioners that, as of January 1, 2010 oversaw operation of three or more airports, at least two of which have airport operating certificates pursuant to 14 C.F.R. Part 139; and (iii) the airport as of January 1, 2010, failed to comply with the cumulative noise standard established by state law for airports in the state.
(b) Prior to imposing a mandatory nighttime curfew pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, each airport sponsor must provide reasonable notice to airport users and to other potentially affected and interested parties of the terms of and penalties for violating such restriction, and may implement a restriction no earlier than 90 days from the notice required hereunder. The requirement for "reasonable notice" shall be satisfied if the airport sponsor:
(1) posts the terms of the restriction on its website, and
(2) provides such terms to known direct tenants of the airport sponsor who operate aircraft at the airport, either at their leasehold or the address they have provided to the airport for receipt of notices under their lease.
Congressman Adam Schiff
Congressman Brad Sherman
Congressman Howard Berman