Congresswoman Jackie Speier

Proudly Representing San Francisco and the Peninsula

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Airport Noise

AIRPLANE NOISE IMPACT ON OUR COMMUNITIES

Airplane noise has become an ever-increasing concern in our communities. In the fall of 2014, the FAA began implementation of NextGen RNAV flight procedures in the Bay Area. NextGen Performance Based Navigation is part of a nation-wide FAA modernization program which includes new technologies using precise satellite navigation in place of the aging ground-based radio beacon navigation system.

This new technology is lauded because of its ability to design more efficient straight-line flight paths which reduce flight time, fuel and emissions.  But NextGen RNAV procedures are not necessarily a good thing for residents living below. Because of the precision of satellite navigation, airplanes fly a concentrated, repeatable narrow path over the earth; many residents are subjected to an incessant barrage of flights overhead.

In addition, long standing flight paths based on ground based navigation aids were often eliminated and replaced by new NextGen procedures which shifted noise to new areas. As the installation of NextGen routes expanded to new areas through 2015, more and more communities were impacted.

In response to the noise impact of these new NextGen procedures, Congresswoman Speier, along with two of her Bay Area colleagues Anna Eshoo and Sam Farr, met with FAA Administrator Michael Huerta in the spring of 2015 in Washington, DC to explain in no uncertain terms that more and more residents were being subjected to intolerable NextGen noise…and the FAA needed to fix it.

FAA’S RESPONSE TO CONGRESSIONAL INQURIES

As part of the FAA Administrator’s response to these Congressional complaints, FAA Western-Pacific Regional Administrator Glen Martin appeared at Congresswoman Speier’s August 2015 meeting of elected and community leaders. At this meeting, Mr. Martin heard how families could not sleep through the night, how conversations would be disrupted throughout the day and that the noise was unrelenting. These community leaders also shared suggestions to improve flight procedures to reduce the noise impact.

FAA INITIATIVE REPORT AND PROCESS

In response to Congresswoman Speier’s initial inquires and the forthright community comments to the FAA at her meeting as well as additional input, the FAA compiled the FAA Initiative to Address Noise Concerns of Santa Cruz/Santa Clara/San Mateo/San Francisco Counties: Compiled at the Request of Representatives Farr, Eshoo and Speier. This FAA Initiative, presented to these three Members of Congress in November 2015, listed a number of suggested changes to flight procedures. Since that time, the FAA has been evaluating those items using the FAA’s seven step process: 1. Detailed Analysis, 2. Fly-ability Assessment, 3. Operational Assessment, 4. Feasibility Determination, 5. Stakeholder Feedback, 6. Environmental Review, 7. Safety Assessment.

As part of the FAA process, the three Members of Congress established the Select Committee on South Bay Arrivals (SCSBA). The SCSBA and the long-standing SFO Airport/Community Roundtable provided forums for public input to the FAA Initiative reports.

The SCSBA has focused on South Bay arrivals, especially the SERFR Arrival, including its impact on Peninsula cities underneath the flight path to its termination at MENLO intersection. The Select Committee on South Bay Arrivals has considered other FAA Initiative items as well as additional noise issues.

The SFO Airport/Community Roundtable has focused on departures and arrivals which impact the City and County of San Francisco and San Mateo County and its cities.

Each of these forums has worked with FAA staff on technical issues, held public meetings, study sessions and technical meetings, received written communications and heard public input at meetings. After much consideration, discussion and debate, each of these two forums has voted on recommendations which have been presented to Representatives Speier, Eshoo and Farr. The recommendations made by both the SFO Airport/Community Roundtable and the SCSBA will undergo the same FAA research, analysis and feasibility determination as was performed for the initial recommendations in the May 16, 2016 FAA Feasibility Study.

The final report and recommendations from SFO/Airport Community Roundtable can be downloaded HERE.

The final report and recommendations from the Select Committee on South Bay Arrivals can be downloaded HERE.

Representatives Speier, Eshoo and Farr have transmitted these two reports to FAA Administrator Michael P. Huerta with a letter requesting a progress update. The Members have urged the Administrator to take action as soon as possible to remedy disturbing noise impacts which affect the health and well-being of their constituents. Read the letter HERE.

Administrator Huerta provided a brief progress report to Representatives Speier, Eshoo and Panetta stating that the FAA "is carefully reviewing, analyzing, and considering the detailed report and recommendations." Read his letter from February 6, 2017 HERE.

The FAA continues to analyze the numerous recommendations submitted to the FAA in the November 17, 2016 reports by the SFO Airport/Community Roundtable and the Select Committee on South Bay Arrivals. Congresswoman Speier's office has been in regular contact with FAA staff regarding the FAA response to the SFO Roundtable and Select Committee recommendations. In mid-May, she had a conversation with FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, as did her colleagues, Rep. Anna Eshoo and Rep. Jimmy Panetta. The Administrator informed each of the Members that the draft Response document was in his office and after appropriate review, within about a month, would be forwarded to the Department of Transportation for review. Click HERE to read the May 17, 2017 Joint Statement of Reps. Speier, Eshoo and Farr on this topic.

On July 25, 2017, the offices of Representatives Speier, Eshoo and Panetta released the FAA Initiative - Phase Two. This FAA report is in response to the Recommendations submitted by the SFO Airport/Community Roundtable and the Select Committee on South Bay Arrivals.

This FAA response report is not final, but rather it is an interim report with many recommendations yet to be evaluated. The FAA will later issue a final report with all recommendations fully evaluated, along with detailed technical data for each recommendation. The FAA report indicates: “This report is a living document, such that it will be updated as recommendations which start out in a particular category are moved into a different category, as appropriate.” The report not only contains technical data about the recommendations, but also information on timelines and process.

This interim report is divided into seven categories based on the current assigned status of each recommendation: 1. Addressed Concern: These recommendations are already being addressed - primarily by NCT TRACON. This does not necessarily mean that an individual item has been completely addressed and solved, but that it is known and is being addressed; 2. Feasible and could be implemented in the Short Term (less than 2 years); 3. Feasible and could be implemented in the Long Term (more than 2 years); 4. Under Evaluation: These recommendations continue to be analyzed in conformance with the FAA seven step process; 5. Not Endorsed by the Select Committee: These recommendations were considered by the Select Committee but were not approved by the Select Committee; 6. Not Endorsed by the FAA: These recommendations are not feasible by the FAA based on some aspect of their non-compliance with FAA standards. 7. Not the FAA’s Action: The FAA states that these recommendations are not within their purview.

Feasible recommendations in this report of particular interest to residents of Congresswoman Speier’s District include: improvements to nighttime overflights by routing southbound SFO and OAK departures over the Bay and Ocean rather than over residential land; by routing arrivals from the north over the Bay; and by allowing certain SFO departures to receive unrestricted climb clearances. Also deemed feasible is the creation of a new SFO Runway 10 departure procedure which would return the flight path to the historical pre-NextGen flight path closer to mid-Bay than Foster City.

Other feasible items include a return to the historical split of arrivals from the north which will result in increased arrivals over the Bay and fewer arrivals over the Peninsula.

A promising recommendation deemed not feasible by the FAA is the creation of dual offset approaches to SFO Runways 28, which would have provided for two flight paths closer to the mid-Bay than to Foster City.

Many promising recommendations remain in the Evaluation category and will be further categorized in future FAA reports.

∙ July 25, 2017: FAA Initiative to Address Noise Concerns of Santa Cruz/Santa Clara/San Mateo/San Francisco Counties - Phase Two
This is the initial FAA Response to the recommendations submitted by the SFO Airport/Community Roundtable and the Select Committee on South Bay Arrivals.

 

∙ July 25, 2017: Click here to download the joint press release from Representatives Speier, Eshoo and Farr regarding the release of the FAA Response to the Recommendations of the SFO Airport/Community Roundtable and the Select Committee on South Bay Arrivals.

 

∙ May 17, 2017: Click on the image to download the joint press statement of Reps. Speier, Eshoo and Farr regarding the status of the FAA Response to the Recommendations of the SFO Airport / Community Roundtable and the Select Committee on South Bay Arrivals.

 

 

Huerta letter∙ December 2, 2016: Click on the image to download the Congressional transmittal letter from Representatives Speier, Eshoo and Farr to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta which accompanied the reports of the SFO Airport/Community Roundtable and the Select Committee on South Bay Arrivals.

 

∙ December 2, 2016: Click here to download the joint press release from Representatives Speier, Eshoo and Farr regarding the transmittal of the reports of the SFO Airport/Community Roundtable and the Select Committee on South Bay Arrivals


∙ May 16, 2016: FAA Initiative to Address Noise Concerns of Santa Cruz/Santa Clara/San Mateo/San Francisco Counties- released by the FAA
∙  Phase One Report
∙  Phase One Report Appendices
∙  Executive Summary Feasibility Study  

 

SELECT COMMITTEE ON SOUTH BAY ARRIVALS
SCSBA report

∙ November 16, 2016: Click on the image to download the FINAL REPORT of the Select Committee on South Bay Arrivals

∙ Members of the Select Committee on South Bay Arrivals

There are no upcoming meetings of the Select Committee on South Bay Arrivals

 

SFO AIRPORT/COMMUNITY ROUNDTABLE

SFO Roundtable Image

∙ November 16, 2016: Click on the image to download the SFO Airport/Community Roundtable Final Report to the FAA Initiative

 

Members of the SFO Airport/Community Roundtable

SFO Airport/Community Roundtable website

Sign up for SFO Airport/Community Roundtable e-mail list to receive meeting announcements and agendas, post-meeting follow-up and eNews announcements.

∙ UPCOMING MEETINGS OF THE SFO AIRPORT/COMMUNITY ROUNDTABLE

Wednesday, August 2, 2017, 7:00 p.m.
Regular Roundtable Meeting
Chetcuti Community Room - Millbrae City Hall
450 Poplar Avenue, Millbrae, CA 94030
Agenda, Meeting Packet, Meeting Video

Wednesday, October 4, 2017, 7:00 p.m.
Regular Roundtable Meeting
Chetcuti Community Room - Millbrae City Hall
450 Poplar Avenue, Millbrae, CA 94030

Wednesday, December 6, 2017, 7:00 p.m.
Regular Roundtable Meeting
Chetcuti Community Room - Millbrae City Hall
450 Poplar Avenue, Millbrae, CA 94030

∙ PREVIOUS MEETINGS OF THE SFO AIRPORT/COMMUNITY ROUNDTABLE
Wednesday, June 7, 2017, 7:00 p.m.
Regular Roundtable Meeting
 
Wednesday, April 5, 2017, 7:00 p.m.
Regular Roundtable Meeting
Agenda, Meeting Packet, Meeting Video
 
February 1, 2017, 7:00 p.m.
Regular Roundtable Meeting
Agenda, Meeting Packet, Meeting Video
 
January 12, 2017, 7:00 p.m.
SFO Airport/Community Roundtable Special Meeting
Meeting Audio

November 2, 2016, 7 p.m.
SFO Airport/Community Roundtable Regular Meeting
 
CONGRESSIONAL LEGISLATION RELATING TO AIRPLANE NOISE

FAA REAUTHORIZATION: H.R.2997        21st Century AIRR Act

Congress must take action to reauthorize the FAA before September 30, 2017 or risk a serious disruption of our nation’s air traffic system. The latest information can be found at www.Congress.gov

H.R. 598 • Airplane Impacts Mitigation Act of 2017
 
Introduced: January 20, 2017
Congresswoman Jackie Speier is an original co-sponsor.

Status: January 23, 2017 - Referred to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure; Subcommittee on Aviation.

Official Title as Introduced: To require the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration to commission a study of the health impacts of airplane flights on affected residents of certain metropolitan areas, and for other purposes.

Summary: Congressional Research Service    
This bill requires the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to enter into an agreement with an eligible institution of higher education to conduct a study of the health impacts of airplane flights on residents exposed to a range of noise and air pollution levels from such flights.

• focus on residents in Boston, Chicago, New York, the northern California metroplex, Phoenix, and not more than three additional metropolitan areas that each contain at least one international airport;
• consider the health impacts on residents living partly or wholly within the land area underneath the flight paths most frequently used by aircraft flying below 10,000 feet; and
• consider only those health impacts that manifest during the physical implementation of the NextGen RNAV program on flights departing from or arriving at an international airport located in one of such metropolitan areas.

An institution of higher education is eligible to conduct the study if it:
• has a school of public health that has participated in the FAA Center of Excellence for Aircraft Noise and Aviation Emissions Mitigation,
• has a Center for Environmental Health that receives funding from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences,
• is located in one of the areas within the scope of the study,
• applies to the FAA in a timely fashion,
• demonstrates that it is qualified to conduct such a study, and
• agrees to submit its findings to the FAA within two years after entering into such an agreement.

HR 2539 • Quiet Communities Act of 2017

Introduced: May 18, 2017Congresswoman Jackie Speier is an original co-sponsor.

Status: May 18, 2017 - Referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure

Official Title as Introduced: To reestablish the Office of Noise Abatement and Control in the Environmental Protection Agency, and for other purposes.

Summary: A summary is not yet available from the Congressional Research Service

CONGRESSIONAL QUIET SKIES CAUCUS
Congressional Quiet Skies Caucus Members    

CONGRESSIONAL QUIET SKIES CAUCUS – OTHER ACTIONS

April 4, 2017: Quiet Skies Caucus letter to the House Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban development. The letter seeks funding for: 1) “health studies on the impact of airplane and helicopter noise on communities”; and to 2) “include report language directing the Federal Aviation Administration to conduct an expedited review of their noise standards.”

 

SFO–OAK–SJC · HOW TO FILE A NOISE COMPLAINT AND NOISE RESOURCES
∙ File a SFO/San Francisco Airport Noise Complaint
∙ File an OAK/Oakland Airport noise complaint
∙ File a SJC/San Jose Airport noise complaint
∙ Flight tracking: real time and historical flight tracking in the Bay Area
∙ Learn about SFO noise abatement flight procedures
∙ SFO Airport/Community Roundtable: Learn about SFO procedures and efforts to improve noise impact     

Noisequest: Information on airports, airplane operations, noise, government regulations.  (Pennsylvania State University website supported by FAA grants)   


FAA INITIATIVE REPORTS AND PROCESS INFORMATION
∙ May 31, 2015 Congresswoman Speier’s letter to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta
∙ November 13, 2015 FAA Initiative to Address Noise Concerns of Santa Cruz/Santa Clara/San Mateo/San Francisco Counties:  Compiled at the Request of Representatives Farr, Eshoo and Speier. (original document)
∙ November 13, 2015 Press release by Reps Speier, Eshoo, Farr regarding the release of the FAA Initiative to Address Noise Concerns of Santa Cruz/Santa Clara/San Mateo/San Francisco Counties
 March 4, 2016 FAA Initiative to Address Noise Concerns of Santa Cruz/Santa Clara/San Mateo/San Francisco Counties: Compiled at the Request of Representatives Farr, Eshoo and Speier.  (updated with milestones)
∙ March 4, 2016 FAA PowerPoint:  Feasibility Study Overview
∙ March 4, 2016 FAA Video – Day in the Life of Bay Area Air Traffic Control
∙ March 14, 2016 Congresswoman Speier’s letter to the SFO Airport/Community Roundtable outlining the roles of the SFO RT and the Select Committee on South Bay Arrivals in the FAA Initiative process
∙ April 1, 2016 Reps. Speier, Eshoo, Farr Press Release announcing formation of Select Committee on South Bay Arrivals SCSBA), the roles of the Select Committee on South Bay Arrivals and the SFO Airport/Community Roundtable; includes list of SCSBA Members and Alternates.
∙ May 16, 2016 FAA Initiative to Address Noise Concerns of Santa Cruz/Santa Clara/San Mateo/San Francisco Counties

∙ May 16, 2016 Reps. Speier, Eshoo, Farr press release announcing release of the FAA Initiative to Address Noise Concerns of Santa Cruz/Santa Clara/San Mateo/San Francisco Counties Feasibility Study
       
FAA NEXTGEN · BACKGROUND INFORMATION
∙ FAA Fact Sheet: NextGen and Performance Based Navigation
∙ FAA Video: NextGen See, Navigate & Communicate

FAA AIRCRAFT NOISE · BACKGROUND INFORMATION
∙ FAA noise website: Who to Contact if You're Impacted by Aircraft Noise  
∙ FAA Airport Noise Page: with links to U.S. law, FAA regulations and other resources