FAA has - based on current aircraft fleet and operations - updated the dose-response curve originally accepted by FAA in the 1970’s (the Schhultz curve) that established FAA’s definition of “significant noise,”(the contrast between the old and new curve is above). Despite decades of investments in technological advances in aircraft noise source reduction, solutions have not evolved to address noise from aviation activity and the new national curve, which surveyed more than 10,000 residents living near 20 representative airports shows that the number of people “highly annoyed” by aircraft noise is not only orders of magnitude greater than what the FAA has been claiming but people are affected at noise levels far below the FAA’s peg of 65 DNL. The new curve illustrates how the FAA's decades-old definition of significant noise, which establishes the level of environmental review (NEPA) required for airspace actions, is obsolete. The FAA says they will do 'additional research' before making any changes to policy and are soliciting public comment to consider what more they can look at. See the FAA’s Federal Register Notice: Overview of FAA Aircraft Noise Policy and Research Efforts: Request for Input on Research Activities To Inform Aircraft Noise Policy which also lays out the FAA’s entire research portfolio on noise, and please see our preliminary observations about the FAA’s notice.
There needs to be an inquiry about why FAA clung to the Schultz curve for so long, but for a moment thanks are due to the actions and activism of Quiet Skies grassroots groups and the Quiet Skies Caucus that, as far back as 2014, led to the FAA launching the Neighborhoods survey- and to study "where current standards don't address the impacts.” THANK YOU to all Quiet Skies leaders and to YOU for coming together to speak up!
We need to Act NOW:
After stalling for years on revealing the now confirmed irrelevance of 65 DNL, all the while FAA issuing NEPA determinations knowing that their significance thresholds are unfounded, we cannot wait years for the FAA to think about how they will use this new information to update environmental noise policy. Environmental issues are especially sensitive to what we do NOW. A gift to the FAA of even more years to do more research is not right. We look forward to helping steer the current vacuum in national aviation noise policy towards something that takes this issue to be managed more responsibly.
To formally provide comment to the FAA's request for input due March 15, 2020 we are working with our national colleagues and will share more comments soon. As we move forward, we will NEED YOU to support our efforts. Feel free to already post comments to the FAA’s solicitation here.
Please also note that on February 26, 2020 10:00 AM, the authors of A Guide to U.S. Aircraft Noise Regulation Policy Sanford Fidell and Vincent Mestre will be speaking at the upcoming UC Davis Noise and Emissions Symposium. To register, click here.
Palo Alto residents: An Announcement & CALL TO ACTION!
Announcing appointments to the SCSC and SFO ROundtable activities, Mayor Tom DuBois has appointed Councilmember Greer Stone to represent Palo Alto on the SCSC Roundtable, and for matters with the SFO Roundtable; replacing Councilmembers Lydia Kou and Eric Filseth, respectively.
We welcome Councilmember Stone and wholeheartedly thank Councilmember Kou for her leadership on jet noise issues! She has worked tirelessly to navigate the varied and numerous issues, from sounding the alarm on Oceanic Arrivals/PIRAT, serving on the San Jose Ad Hoc committee, and advocating for noise monitoring from SFO. Councilmembers Kou and Filseth were of great support during the Select Committee on South Bay Arrivals; Councilmember Filseth helped us close on the City’s professional noise study which was actually supported by most of the Councilmembers currently on PACC. This will be an interesting year with leaders who have experience on the matter since 2014.
CALL TO ACTION!
Palo Alto residents are asked to provide input BY JANUARY 29 to the City of Palo Alto 2021 PACC priorities which will be discussed at their annual priority setting retreat on February 1. This year there is a list of pre-selected PACC priorities to rank, as well as the following question.
- Are there priorities missing from the list? What are we missing? We want to hear those topics too. Please write your ideas in the free space below.
When you fill out the form, include AVIATION NOISE AND AIR POLLUTION to also support Councilmember Stone’s efforts as he leads on the various discussions ahead.