Helicopter Noise Becomes Election Issue in California

 - May 24, 2012, 3:27 PM

Less than two weeks before California’s June 5 primary election, some federal lawmakers in the state are again making helicopter noise in the Los Angeles area a campaign issue. In a letter sent yesterday to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, seven members from California’s congressional delegation are urging him to jump-start the public comment period of the FAA rulemaking process. Their goal is instituting more restrictive flight paths and altitudes for civil helicopters operating in the Los Angeles area in the name of noise abatement.

“We would also like to reiterate our firm belief that while consultations and reporting requirements are an important step forward, they are no replacement for meaningful action by the FAA,” the letter reads. “We strongly feel that FAA’s leadership must lead to meaningful action to reduce helicopter noise.”

Attempts by various letter signers to pass targeted legislation and add-on amendments to force the FAA’s hand on the issue have failed. However, they now seem encouraged by the success of Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who successfully lobbied LaHood directly to have the FAA institute similar helicopter route restrictions over Long Island.