Today, the House of Representatives came within a few votes of allowing the Bob Hope Airport to adopt a curfew on an amendment to the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations Act proposed by Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks), and Henry Waxman (D-Los Angeles). The amendment was defeated by a narrow vote of 208 to 212. This issue previously was voted on in 2011, and failed then by a vote of 178-243.
“I’m disappointed that our amendment to allow Bob Hope Airport to adopt a curfew narrowly missed passage,” said Rep. Schiff. “But I’m encouraged that bipartisan support for a curfew at the Bob Hope Airport has only grown, and hope that the FAA gets the message that we are serious about noise relief. The Part 161 process is deeply flawed and the FAA has little intention of granting relief to any community unless it is forced by Congress. I will continue fighting on behalf of the thousands of San Fernando Valley residents who have long-sought relief from aviation-related nighttime noise, and look for future opportunities to pass legislative language to make this possible.”
“Ninety-nine percent of Valley residents want to sleep at night without being awakened by a loud jet,” said Rep. Sherman. “Congress should act so that the reasonable nighttime curfew sought by Burbank Airport can be put into place. I will continue to fight for nighttime curfews at both Van Nuys and Burbank Airports.”
“I am disappointed the Republican controlled House has defeated this important, common-sense amendment,” said Rep. Waxman. “The airport should have the authority to impose a legally binding curfew on all flight operations and nighttime flights to the benefit of the residents who live in the surrounding communities.”
This amendment would clarify that Bob Hope Airport should be exempted from the Airport Noise and Capacity Act (ANCA), like other similarly situated airports were at the time of its passage. In the case of the Bob Hope Airport, this was one of the first airports in the country to impose a curfew. The language would allow Burbank Airport to adopt non-discriminatory curfews applicable to operators from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.
“The City of Burbank and the Burbank City Council are committed to providing nighttime noise relief for the entire San Fernando Valley,” said Burbank Mayor David Gordon. “As a result, the City of Burbank and the Burbank City Council strongly support the legislative efforts of Congressmen Schiff and Sherman in this regard.”
The legislation would apply only to Bob Hope Airport and addresses concerns that the FAA cited in rejecting Burbank’s Part 161 application for a curfew – that it would add congestion to an already crowded airspace and it would impact the national system of airports because it would cause system wide delays. The proposal would have a minimal impact on local airspace because a joint curfew for both airports is designed to ensure that air traffic is not shifted from one airport to the other.
During a speech on the House Floor, Schiff stated: “Thousands of residents of Southern California’s San Fernando Valley, who live under the flight paths or near the terminals at the Bob Hope Airport, endure the house-shaking noise of air traffic during the day and suffer the jarring interruption of their sleep caused by a roaring jet. To address the concerns of those affected by airport noise across the nation, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) established a process to consider an individual community’s request for a curfew. However, the process was designed to be difficult – so difficult, that in the decades since it was established by the FAA, only one airport in the nation has successfully completed an application – Bob Hope Airport. And then it was summarily turned down… Because of the FAA’s dismissive attitude toward legitimate local concerns it is clear to us that the only way to provide relief to the residents in our community is through legislative action.”