Potomac residents are not the only Marylanders aware of increased airplane noise since the Federal Aviation Administration implemented the Next Generation Air Transportation System in 2016.
Gov. Larry Hogan, earlier this year, joined with those voices questioning NextGen and, on Sept. 12, he requested Attorney General Brian Frosh to file suit against the FAA and Michael Huerta, its administrator, “on behalf of all Marylanders suffering from the adverse effects of [NextGen].”
As stated in his letter, the program was instituted by Congress nationally to “modernize flight patterns in order to save fuel costs.”
But, the governor wrote in his letter to Frosh, the takeoff and landing patterns at both Baltimore-Washington International Airport and Reagan National Airport has, “caused a significant increase in noise pollution for many of our citizens, accordingly it is imperative the suit include both airports.”
“We have heard from countless Marylanders, including many community leaders and elected officials, about this continuing problem,” Hogan wrote. “The program has made many Maryland families miserable in their own homes with louder and more frequent flights which now rattle windows and doors. As elected leaders of this state we cannot allow this situation to stand.”
County Council president Roger Berliner responded to the Governor’s letter with a Facebook comment: “Thank you Governor Hogan for moving to file suit against the FAA for flight path changes that have degraded the quality of life in our communities. The airplane noise our residents have experienced starting as early as 5:30 a.m. and ending late at night because of these changes is unacceptable. I believe the changes are also unlawful, as the Court of Appeals recently found in the context of another community.
“I have urged this action for many months and I am confident that through this lawsuit, Attorney General Brian Frosh will help return calm and quiet to our skies and to our residents.
“While we still have work to do regarding the change in flight path locations that is separate and apart from NextGen procedures, this is a significant step forward.”
As Hogan pointed out in his letter, the problem is not just local, it is nationwide.
“In fact,” Hogan wrote, “the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which will hear our challenge, has just ruled in favor of the City of Phoenix. The court found the FAA’s approval of the flight paths to be ‘arbitrary and capricious’ with the result that the FAA will have to return to routes previously in place prior to September 2014, until it conducts a new environmental review process.”
County residents who would like to comment on this issue can go online to http://viewpoint.bksv.com/dca3.