Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) says he wants the FAA to apply noise rules to all helicopters transiting the Los Angeles basin, including those flown by emergency services. “Not all law-enforcement flights are emergencies,” Schiff said during an interview with SoCal public radio station KCRW.
Schiff and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) successfully inserted language into the omnibus $1.1 trillion federal funding bill passed last month that compels the FAA to develop mandatory noise mitigation rules and routes for helicopters operating in the Los Angeles area within one year if voluntary measures do not reduce noise complaints. “First responders are not exempted [from the legislation],” Schiff said. He accused emergency service helicopters of flying over noise-sensitive areas to “save fuel.”
The Airborne Law Enforcement Association (ALEA) had supported standalone noise-mitigation legislation provided that it exempted emergency services, which are estimated to account for at least 60 percent of the area’s helicopter traffic. Legislation previously introduced, but not passed, had contained such exemptions. “We feel incredibly betrayed by the congressman,” ALEA western region director Steve Roussell told AIN.