The House this week agreed to an amendment prohibiting the FAA from taking any administrative action against East Hampton for recently adopted airport restrictions but rejected a measure to impose a nighttime curfew in Burbank. The provisions were among dozens of amendments offered on the Fiscal Year 2016 transportation, housing and urban development appropriations bill this week. The bill, controversial for its Cuba travel restrictions and Amtrak funding provisions, narrowly passed the House (216-210) on June 9 largely along party lines. The bill would provide a $137 million increase in FAA’s budget overall but has drawn objections from the administration for nearly $350 million in cuts to the facilities and equipment account. The bill overall has drawn a veto threat from the White House.
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) sponsored the East Hampton measure, which prevents the FAA from using funding to take an administrative or civil action against the sponsor of East Hampton Airport. Zeldin said the amendment would make the FAA stand by its 2012 promise to the town. The measure comes as the FAA faces a lawsuit from industry to compel it to ensure East Hampton follows its legal obligations at the airport.
East Hampton town supervisor Larry Cantwell reacted to the vote, saying, “Congressman Zeldin supports local control and I want to thank him by sending a clear message to the FAA: Stand down. Allow the town of East Hampton and its residents to determine how best to support our airport and reasonably reduce aircraft noise.”
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), meanwhile, was rebuffed in his attempt to impose a nighttime curfew at Burbank by a vote of 266-157. Eight general aviation and airline groups had written House leaders, urging them to reject the Schiff amendment or any other amendments to limit aircraft operations at the nation’s airports.
“We appreciate the strong no vote on this amendment from members of the House,” said Scott Verstandig, AOPA director of legislative affairs. “The aviation community is happy to work with airport neighbors to manage noise, but proposals that could lead to a patchwork of local requirements at airports around the country are not the best way to address noise concerns.”
The bill heads next to the Senate for consideration.