U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer of California say Congress has an obligation to develop and enforce regulations to control helicopter noise and improve helicopter safety above Los Angeles.
The two are now publicly backing the Los Angeles Residential Noise Relief Act of 2011 (HR 2677), a federal bill introduced in July by Rep. Howard Berman (D-Van Nuys) that would restrict helicopter flight paths over residential neighborhoods.
"The air above Los Angeles is polluted with helicopter noise that disrupts the rights of Californians to live in peace and quiet," Feinstein said in a statement. "Congress has an obligation to reduce the noise and force the FAA [Federal Aviation Administration] to establish some common sense rules."
The West Hollywood City Council endorsed the proposal in August, following a dispute with the Sofitel hotel over a .
In early December, Caltrans issued a cease and desist order, as the hotel did not have the proper permits for nonemergency landings. Shortly after that, the Sofitel proposed using its emergency evacuation helicopter pad for commercial use.
Councilmen John Duran and John D’Amico wrote to the California Department of Transportation: “We want to emphatically convey to you our opposition to the issuance of a permit to allow nonemergency flights to land at the Sofitel hotel." They said such landings would be “detrimental to the quality of life and health" of local residents.
The hotel withdrew its plan to use the emergency evacuation helicopter landing pad for commercial landings in early April.
Whether it's emergency landings at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center or a media blitz flying overhead, noisy helicopter traffic has long plagued West Hollywood.
"It is critical that the FAA initiate a plan to stop the disruptive level of helicopter noise in Los Angeles neighborhoods," Boxer said.
Feinstein said, "To date, FAA leaders have ignored this problem. In fact, FAA has not even tracked noise and annoyance complaints. This bill directs the FAA to take this matter seriously."
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