Noise News for Week of January 31, 1999

Council Members Want to Rid Van Nuys Airport of Noisy Stage 2 Jets

PUBLICATION: The Daily News of Los Angeles
DATE: February 6, 1999
SECTION: News, Pg. N3
BYLINE: Rick Orlov
DATELINE: Los Angeles, California
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Cindy Miscikowski, Laura Chick, Hal Bernson, Mike Feuer and Joel Wachs, members of the San Fernando Valley City Council

The Daily News of Los Angeles reports city council members from California's San Fernando Valley are dissatisfied with a recent economic-impact survey, and on Friday called for a plan to phase out noisy aircraft at Van Nuys Airport in California.

According to the article, five of the council members, Cindy Miscikowski, Laura Chick, Hal Bernson, Mike Feuer and Joel Wachs, want the Airport Commission to create a new plan detailing how the noisier, Stage 2 aircraft can be phased out at Van Nuys Airport within a reasonable period of time. The proposal asks that the study be "a balanced approach to the economic and quality of life issues" involving the noisy planes with participation of the Van Nuys Airport Community Advisory Committee, nearby residents and the airport business community.

The article states Feuer was also critical of the recent city report examining the economic impact of limiting Stage 2 aircraft at the Valley airport. "The study . . . is almost useless," Feuer said. "Instead of giving us hard facts, the consultants gave us the impressions of airport users who have a clear economic bias. I think it's possible to make meaningful reductions in the noise level without harming the airport's economy." The study released last month said there would be a loss of between $26 million to $191 million and the elimination of between 120 to 565 jobs if the Stage 2 aircraft were eliminated.

According to the article, Miscikowski said she believed the city has to move forward without further studies. "We cannot afford to take the time required to perform additional economic analysis which would also provoke debate," Miscikowski said. "We must work with the information we have now and move forward to reach a solution to the jet noise problem. Clearly, if we do nothing, it will only get worse."

The article reports that in a separate proposal, Feuer asked that the number of Stage 2 aircraft be capped at 53, the number now based at the facility. At the same time, because of the economic impact, he wants to give the facility an extra year, to 2002, to phase out the planes. "The noise at Van Nuys Airport seriously affects the quality of life in the surrounding neighborhoods," Feuer said.

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Los Angeles Council Members Tired of Studies, Want Limits Now at Van Nuys Airport for Noisy Jets

PUBLICATION: Los Angeles Times
DATE: February 6, 1999
SECTION: Metro; Part B; Page 1; Zones Desk
BYLINE: Patrick Mcgreevy
DATELINE: Los Angeles, California
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Gerald Silver, head of the group Stop the Noise!; Mike Feuer and Cindy Miscikowski, Los Angeles City Council members

The Los Angeles Times reports two Los Angeles City Council members called Friday for an immediate limit on the number of older, noisier jets based at California's Van Nuys Airport.

According to the article, in a motion introduced Friday, Los Angeles City Council members Mike Feuer and Cindy Miscikowski also called for adoption of a nonaddition rule that would ban replacements of existing noisy jets. As a compromise, Feuer and Miscikowski proposed that the effective date of the nonaddition rule be delayed until Jan. 1, 2002, to allow airport tenants time to adjust. "I think that's a very important step in the right direction," said Gerald Silver, head of the group Stop the Noise! "It's long overdue." But Silver objected to the three-year delay in implementing the nonaddition rule.

The article reports the City Council delayed action on restrictions two years ago to give the city Airport Department time to conduct a study measuring the economic impact of banning additional Stage II jets--the formal federal classification for noisier aircraft built before 1984. The study released last month predicted the nonaddition rule would be disastrous for the local economy, costing as many as 565 jobs and $190 million in revenue over three years. But Feuer criticized the study as "almost useless," saying its flaws include a failure to calculate the positive impact on businesses near the airport that will no longer have noise problems. "Instead of giving us hard facts, the consultants gave us the impressions of airport users who have a clear economic bias," he said. "I think it's possible to make meaningful reductions in the noise level without harming the airport economy."

The article states the motion introduced asks the Airport Commission to immediately limit to 53--the current total--the number of Stage II aircraft based at the airport. Under that action, jet owners would be able to bring in Stage II jets to replace existing planes only if the total number did not grow. The motion asks the Airport Commission to also adopt a nonaddition rule, which would prohibit any other Stage II aircraft from being based at the airfield, even to replace existing jets. That rule would result in a phaseout of the Stage II aircraft as they wear out. The motion also asks the airport commission to reconvene committees examining aircraft and helicopter noise and to hold regular meetings in the Valley to better respond to concerns from neighbors of the airfield. "The noise at Van Nuys Airport affects the quality of life in the surrounding neighborhoods," said Feuer.

According to the article, at the same time, Miscikowski introduced a separate motion calling on the Airport Commission to report to the council in 90 days with a revised recommendation that balances the quality of life concerns about noise with the economic impact issues. Miscikowski's motion--co-sponsored by council members Laura Chick, Hal Bernson, Joel Wachs and Feuer--criticizes the nine years it has taken to adopt the noise regulations. "The concerns over jet noise at Van Nuys Airport have been debated for too long and too little action has been taken," Miscikowski said. Airport tenant representatives could not be reached for comment. Airport Department administrator Jack Driscoll said he wants to continue looking at alternatives before making a judgment on Feuer's proposal. He said it would be difficult to complete a recommendation for council consideration in 90 days.

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Two New Terminals Proposed at O'Hare Airport Bring Noise Questions

PUBLICATION: Chicago Tribune
DATE: February 6, 1999
SECTION: News; Pg. 5; Zone: NW
DATELINE: Arlington Heights, Illinois
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Arlene Mulder, mayor of Arlington Heights and chairman of the O'Hare Noise Compatibility Commission

The Chicago Tribune reports the chairman of the O'Hare Noise Compatibility Commission on Friday asked for an analysis of how plans for two new terminals at O'Hare International Airport will affect noise in surrounding communities.

According to the article, Arlington Heights Mayor Arlene Mulder, commission chairman, said, "I would think we would want to do a very careful analysis." She then referred the matter to the technical committee. Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, in announcing the plans Thursday, said the proposed terminals are needed to accommodate the bigger jets being used by major airlines.

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The Politics of Noise vs. Economics at O'Hare International Airport; Editorial Praises Mayor Daley's Expansion Plan

PUBLICATION: Chicago Tribune
DATE: February 6, 1999
SECTION: Editorial; Pg. 18; Zone: N
DATELINE: Chicago, Illinois

The Chicago Tribune published an editorial praising Chicago Mayor Richard Daley's expansion plans for O'Hare International Airport.

According to the editorial, "At last Chicago, the city that transportation built, is gearing up to capture more aviation traffic rather than playing down the potential for growth." The O'Hare World Gateway Program calls for two additional terminals, expanded concourses, new customs stations and roadways. The billion-dollar plan was proposed after a coalition of business leaders last year recommended that Chicago bid to become the mid-continental hub of international air travel. The Midwest Aviation Coalition pointed out that multilateral "open skies" treaties and economic globalization are causing a dramatic rise in international travel, and that O'Hare is uniquely situated to grab the new business.

The editorial states the problem is that O'Hare is approaching its design capacity. Gate availability is limited, and the airport is bound by federal edict to the number of flights that can be safely guided to and from its dual runway system. But the possibility of a third set of runways has been bitterly opposed from noise -weary northwest residents and their elected officials. The editorial says much of the political push for a third airport at Peotone comes from opposition to O'Hare expansion. "Gov. Ryan may be right about Peotone in the long run. The new century may witness such an increase in air travel (and in south suburban growth) that a third airport will be necessary. We'll know that when a major airline or two steps forward to sign a lease and fund construction."

The editorial asserts in the short run, however, the region must not turn away an opportunity of international dimensions. With its size and reach, O'Hare is the leading candidate for expansion. "The aviation marketplace may one day demand Peotone, but it is asking now for an expanded O'Hare. The politics of noise cannot be allowed to slow the region's $35 billion-a-year economic dynamo. The noise problem will abate with quieter jet engines, larger aircraft (that carry more passengers per flight) and city-subsidized soundproofing of nearby homes and schools. Next-generation avionics will address the safety and airspace issues."

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Florida Residents Bothered by Noise from Orlando Sanford Airport Even Though Levels Below FAA Limit

PUBLICATION: Orlando Sentinel Tribune
DATE: February 5, 1999
SECTION: Local & State; Pg. D1
BYLINE: Elaine Backhaus
DATELINE: Sanford, Florida

The Orlando Sentinel Tribune Seminole reports jets flying over neighborhoods on their way to and from Orlando Sanford Airport are noisy, but according to recent tests and federal standards, they're not a noise problem.

According to the article, noise monitors recently measured how noise from jets grows as they flew over different neighborhoods. In a 20-second period, an aircraft landing from the west measured 80 decibels over Heathrow, 83 over Lake Mary, then rose to 88, 91 and 97 decibels over Sanford. Eighty decibels is equivalent to rolling thunder; 97 decibels sounds like sharp, cracking thunder. And that's from a single flyover. But according to Federal Aviation Administration standards, noise isn't considered excessive unless it averages 65 decibels over a 24-hour period. Less noisy aircraft lower the average and make the problem look less serious.

The article goes on to say residents of communities east and west of the airport, including Heathrow and Lake Mary, have complained for years about the roar of aircraft. "While we verified that residents do have a complaint and they do hear noise, based on the 24-hour average by the FAA, they do not have a noise problem," consultant Jimmy Goff recently told the Sanford Airport Authority. When the 24-hour average reaches 55 decibels, a variety of measures can be taken, including buying up homes that are most severely affected by jet engine noise, he said. "Unfortunately, a single event doesn't qualify for federal regulations. If the noise levels had been calculated using a 24-hour average, the average noise level would be way below the 65-decibel level." Nevertheless, Goff recommended that the noise-abatement committee continue to look for ways to reduce the noise from jets as the airport grows. Authority members and Sanford Mayor Larry Dale agreed that is their intention.

The article reports Goff is project manager for an engineering company that is updating guidelines on how to control noise and plan for development near the airport. The most recent guidelines were set in 1992 based mainly on flight-school training flights, rather than the international charter jets that now bring thousands of European visitors to the airport. Goff and other company officials will present the findings during the next few weeks with homeowners groups and businesses. Then a final report recommending ways to reduce the noise and plan for growth will be presented to the Sanford Airport Authority. The FAA also must approve the report.

The article states meanwhile, airport Executive Director Victor White said some jets that cause noise complaints are actually flying to and from Orlando International Airport, not Orlando Sanford Airport. "We are finding that a significant number of noise complaints are not ours," said White, who recently learned that his home in east Lake Mary is in the flight path of Orlando's northern departures and landings. "We're in the process of investigating those."

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Rep. Hyde Needs House Speaker to Defeat Expansion at O'Hare

PUBLICATION: Chicago Daily Herald
DATE: February 4, 1999
SECTION: News; Pg. 1
BYLINE: Laura Janota
DATELINE: Chicago, Illinois

The Chicago Daily Herald reports two of Illinois' most powerful congressmen may be about to clash over expansion at O'Hare International Airport.

According to the article, the Republican dynamos House Judiciary Committee Chairman Henry Hyde of Wood Dale and House Speaker Dennis Hastert of Yorkville - may be at odds over the controversial increase of flights in and out of O'Hare International Airport. Hyde, whose district is teeming with noise-weary residents, has held firm against expanding flights at O'Hare. Last year, he managed with help of then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich to kill a popular Senate plan to increase flights and airline competition at O'Hare and several other airports across the nation. But this year as the same Senate proposal is being resurrected, Gingrich is gone. In his place sits Hastert, who says he's leaning toward the idea of expanding operations at O'Hare. "What's good for the people of Chicago and what's good for his constituents - he's going to be supporting," said John Feehery, a spokesman for Hastert. Former Congressman Harris Fawell of Naperville said Hastert's new position as speaker is a factor. "He's got an added constituency - the entire Republican membership and the entire membership of the House," Fawell said. "He can't be as parochial as he might have been before."

The article reports Hastert's position is sure to be welcome news for Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, who opposes a call for a third airport. "This is all about an orchestrated program of trying to eliminate the development of a third airport," said Suburban O'Hare Commission President John Geils, the mayor of Bensenville. "Denny Hastert wants to be able to work with the mayor. There's a lot of clout there," Geils said. The new House speaker has alliances other than Hyde that also carry clout and could sway his position. Hastert and Gov. George Ryan have been allies since the two were in the Illinois House together in the 1970s. Favoring a third airport, Ryan opposes further expansion at O'Hare. A portion of the congressman's district lies in DuPage County, home to Illinois Senate President James "Pate" Philip and Illinois House Minority Leader Lee Daniels. Both leaders are against O'Hare expansion. Hastert's relationship with Hyde goes back to the 1980s when Hyde supported Hastert's bid for Congress. The article states the differences in opinion over O'Hare expansion could begin playing out as early as next week when a Senate committee is expected to consider a proposal to add the number of flights - called slots - at O'Hare and other airports.

The article goes on to say for Hastert, the most powerful House member, and Hyde, the second most powerful House member, the differences come at a time when Republicans are being criticized for keeping unpopular impeachment proceedings going. Hyde, who has led the charge against President Clinton during the Senate trial, has been one of the main targets of criticism. "It's possible that Denny Hastert will look at this and say that Henry Hyde has carried some big water for us the past six months," said Republican strategist Edward Murnane of Arlington Heights. "He could say 'We have got to put him (Hyde) in a situation where he doesn't feel beat up.' " Hyde already has started preparing to lobby Hastert. The congressman has talked to Philip, Republican Sen. Peter Fitzgerald of Inverness and others to join a coalition to stop any O'Hare expansion bill if and when it gets to the House. "I know that there's an effort to pull together a coalition of people," said Patty Schuh, a spokeswoman for Philip. "Senator Philip is planning to join with Congressman Hyde ... and others to communicate with Speaker Hastert that there's a problem," she said.

According to the article, Hyde and others will be facing airline lobbyists and others who favor more flights at O'Hare. Hyde's effort to kill expansion plans could be difficult, particularly if Hastert isn't with him on this. "The largest issue that Henry Hyde faces in his district is O'Hare airport," said Patrick Durante, executive assistant to Hyde. "What we need is Hastert on our side," Durante said. "We'd be disappointed if he doesn't help since we've been such close allies over the years."

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NJ Lawmaker Takes New Approach to Reduce Jet Noise at Teterboro Airport

PUBLICATION: The Record (Bergen County, NJ)
DATE: February 4, 1999
SECTION: News; Pg. A04
BYLINE: Tina Traster
DATELINE: Fair Lawn, New Jersey
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Emma Perez, founder of the Alliance of Municipalities Concerning Air Traffic

The Record reports a New Jersey lawmaker has introduced a bill to reduce jet noise at the Teterboro Airport.

According to the article, for two years, New Jersey lawmakers and citizens have unsuccessfully battled to reduce jet noise over communities near Teterboro Airport by reducing the number of flights. Now Rep. Steve Rothman, D-Fair Lawn, has a new approach. On Wednesday, he introduced a bill that would reduce noise levels from the smaller but loudest planes, rather than decrease the traffic stream. "Ideally, what we're looking for is to lessen the number of flights in and out of Teterboro Airport, but any reduction of noise over the community is welcome," said Emma Perez, founder of the Alliance of Municipalities Concerning Air Traffic, a citizens group.

The article reports planes with louder engines are typically jets that weigh less than 75,000 pounds. The smaller jets are noisier because a 1990 law required all jets that weigh more than 75,000 pounds to switch from "Stage 2"to quieter "Stage 3" engines by December 1999. The newer engines are about 50 percent quieter. Many commercial airlines already have replaced their fleets with planes with Stage 3 engines; some have refitted older planes with "hush kits," or big metal mufflers. However, the under-75,000-pound jets, mostly used by corporations, still use Stage 2 engines.

The article states Rothman's plan would have those jets convert to the quieter engines. His bill has a caveat: Only planes using the nation's 20 busiest metropolitan commuter airports, including those in the tri-state area, would have to comply. Rothman said residents living in crowded metropolitan areas are most affected by busy commuter airports. Folks living around Teterboro complain about daily interruptions to conversation, television viewing, and barbecues. In 1998, there were 4,700 landings at Teterboro Airport. About 15 percent of the jets that landed had older, noisier engines, and most were planes under 75,000 pounds. Airport officials refused to comment on Rothman's proposal.

The article goes on to say residents around the airport began their campaign against airport noise in 1997 after learning that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey had plans to reroute corporate jets from Newark to Teterboro. The Port Authority, which owns Teterboro Airport and operates Newark International Airport, has denied plans to increase corporate jet traffic at Teterboro.

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Third Noise Study Rejects Noise Barriers for NJ Town

PUBLICATION: The Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY)
DATE: February 3, 1999
SECTION: Neighborhoods Pg.01n
BYLINE: Martha Elson
DATELINE: St. Matthews, Kentucky

The Courier-Journal reports a third noise study of the Westport Road area where a Watterson Expressway interchange is planned in St. Matthews, Kentucky, has again concluded that concrete noise barriers are not warranted - despite residents' pleas.

According to the article, the state Department of Transportation hasn't made a decision about the barriers, and district transportation engineer Larry Chaney has recommended "extraordinary measures" at the site. Residents of Windhurst Acres next to the interchange site have requested noise barriers, saying the area is strictly residential and that the interchange will be a big intrusion. Chaney reviewed the recent noise study, which followed ones in 1991 and 1994, and forwarded it to the state Transportation Cabinet in Frankfort last week. "The easy way out would be to say it doesn't fit, end of discussion, but we haven't done that," Chaney said. Other factors should be taken into account, including safety and the fact that this will be a new interchange. Chaney expects a decision soon from cabinet officials. Adding noise barriers would add $2 million to $3 million to the project's cost, Chaney said.

The article states the noise study compares noise levels with those projected 20 years from now. Chaney said the projected noise levels remained virtually the same in all three studies. At the least, Windhurst Acres would get a 50-inch-tall concrete barrier along the expressway road and ramps and an 8-foot-tall wooden fence for visual screening, Chaney said. The subdivision already experiences noise from a nearby Watterson overpass, said resident Sheila Winter, who has led efforts to get the barriers. An increase in truck traffic in the past couple of years has increased the noise - especially late at night, she said. She has talked to neighborhood leaders in other parts of town where noise barriers have been requested, including Beechmont and St. Regis Park, and was told that noise became a significant problem after expressway changes.

According to the article, in St. Regis Park, City Clerk Bill Holton said last week that the nearby Watterson expansion at Interstate 64 several years ago prompted the city to lobby for noise barriers. "It was always loud, but it was considerably louder" after the expansion work, he said. A ramp was reconstructed, I-64 was elevated and a merging lane was moved closer to homes, Chaney said. Chaney said a noise study commissioned by the state in the late 1980s as part of the Watterson expansion plan concluded that barriers were not warranted at the St. Regis Park site. Even though money is in the state's six- year plan for barriers, further analysis is needed, said Chaney, who's awaiting word from Frankfort on whether to proceed.

The article reports Winter, who has lived in Windhurst Acres for 18 years, said last week that she is asking for help in influencing Transportation Cabinet officials from state Sen. Julie Rose, state Rep. Susan Johns and A District Jefferson County Commissioner Russ Maple. At Windhurst residents' request, St. Matthews also voted last year to write to the state in support of noise barriers. The nearby city of Woodlawn Park also has advocated noise barriers.

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