The California State Legislature has approved Assembly Joint Resolution 25 by Assembly Member Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles), urging Congress to pass the Los Angeles Residential Helicopter Noise Relief Act (H.R. 2677 and S. 2019). The resolution signals the Legislature’s support of the federal measure.
H.R. 2677, sponsored by Representative Howard Berman and co-sponsored by Representatives Brad Sherman, Henry Waxman, Adam Schiff, and Janice Hahn, and S. 2019, sponsored by Senator Dianne Feinstein and co-sponsored by Senator Barbara Boxer, would require the FAA to issue regulations relating to helicopter flight paths and altitudes.
“For far too long, residential neighborhoods have had to deal with increasing noise and potential safety issues from helicopters,” said Feuer. “This is a major quality of life issue throughout our region. I hope the California Legislature’s support will increase the likelihood that Congress will act this year.”
“Many constituents living in several cities in my district have said the nearly non-stop noise is hurting their quality of life,” Sen. Ted W. Lieu of Torrance, an Air Force veteran and co-author of AJR 25 said shortly before the measure’s passage. “Federal investigators have also concluded that flying at low altitudes caused at least two recent fatal accidents in the hills overlooking Los Angeles. This measure will help raise public awareness about the need to increase public safety while providing some additional peace and quiet.”
Commercial helicopter operations in L.A. County pose safety and quality of life concerns for residents. State and local governments are precluded from adopting altitude and flight path regulations, since the FAA possesses sole regulatory authority. Current federal rules, however, preclude state and local governments from adopt altitude and flight path regulations.
In October 2011, Feuer released a letter to Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer requesting that the federal act be included in the upcoming Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization. Feuer was joined in his request by a coalition of 17 members of Los Angeles County’s Delegation in the State Legislature.
Feuer has long been concerned about the noise and other associated impacts of helicopters on neighborhoods. In April 2011, Feuer, joined by Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, sent a strongly worded letter to the California Department of Transportation, which controls permitting of helipads, opposing the issuance of a non-emergency helipad permit for the Los Angeles Sofitel Hotel, which is adjacent to over 1,000 homes in the area.
Separately, Assembly Member Mike Feuer wrote in November 2011 to Dennis R. Roberts, the Director of Airspace Services for the FAA, urging the FAA to use existing regulatory authority to address the community concerns caused by helicopters in the area around Mr. Lee in Los Angeles County. This area includes such well-known facilities as the Hollywood Bowl. Thus far, the FAA has yet to take sufficient action.
Joint Resolutions require approval of the legislature but do not require the Governor’s signature. The resolution will be transmitted to the President, congressional leadership, and California’s congressional delegation.
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