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Sat, Apr 20, 2013

NIMBY Alert: CA Senate OKs Message To Obama, Congress On Helicopter Legislation

Urges President And Congress To Adopt Helicopter Noise Relief Act For The State

The California Senate has passed a resolution offered by state senator Ted W. Lieu (D) urging President Obama and Congress to adopt the Los Angeles Residential Helicopter Noise Relief Act.

“Los Angeles County residents who have endured the cacophony of seemingly endless helicopter flights over their homes need relief,” Lieu (pictured) said about a pending federal bill that would ask the FAA to evaluate helicopter routes, operating altitudes and hovering practices, and report back to Congress on possible solutions to noise complaints. “When one can’t sleep or talk because of helicopter noise, it hurts the quality of life.”
 
Lieu’s bill also asks the president and Congress to direct the FAA to solicit the views of neighborhood groups, helicopter operators and others on helicopter noise and safety issues in Los Angeles County.
 
U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, and Reps. Adam Schiff, Janice Hahn, Brad Sherman and Henry Waxman are asking the FAA to explore possible solutions with neighborhood groups and helicopter operators but bills to require restrictions on helicopter operations in Los Angeles have languished in Congress in the face of industry opposition. Such efforts last year faced resistance in the House, where members rejected an effort by San Fernando Valley lawmakers to give Burbank's Bob Hope Airport and Van Nuys Airport authority to impose nighttime curfews.
 
Lieu said in a news release that the FAA appears receptive to such a study. In a recent letter to Senator Boxer, the agency said it is “very much aware of the Los Angeles community’s concerns with helicopter noise” and is “prepared to commit to work” with community groups and helicopter operators to explore solutions. He noted that helicopter traffic in Los Angeles County is not currently regulated by the FAA or any other agency. The FAA does, however, require a specific minimum flying altitude for fixed wing aircraft.

Lieu says he wrote the bill ... Senate Joint Resolution 7 ... because in his view, residents across Los Angeles County suffer intrusive and disruptive low-flying helicopter traffic above their neighborhoods.

He said that Los Angeles County is home to a unique and excessively large concentration of scenic, historic, entertainment, and transportation venues, including movie studios, movie star homes, outdoor entertainment facilities, the coastline, Griffith Park, the Hollywood sign, and many others, that generate extensive helicopter tours engaged in sight-seeing activity, and it also has a high concentration of media helicopters engaged in monitoring traffic conditions, following car chases, and filming celebrity events which often involve hovering for lengthy periods.

He went on to say that the county is home to the world’s leading civil helicopter manufacturer that conducts extensive helicopter flight testing in the region, and that the unique terrain of canyons and valleys in Los Angeles County often amplifies noise from helicopters in otherwise quiet residential areas.

Lieu contends that helicopter noise in Los Angeles County interrupts daily life for many residents by interfering with ability to hear conversations, television, radio, telephone and disrupting sleep cycles.
 
SJR 7 is sponsored by Citizens for Quiet Helicopters, and the act is supported by numerous local governments in Los Angeles County, including the county and city of Los Angeles and the cities of Hermosa Beach, Lomita, Palos Verdes Estates, Rancho Palos Verdes, Redondo Beach, Rolling Hills Estates and West Hollywood.
 
The measure would not restrict helicopter operations for emergency responders and the military. It now goes to the Assembly for action. No initial hearing date has been set.

FMI: http://senate.ca.gov

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