News

Montgomery County Council APPROVES $125k Funding for Airspace Expert!

Thanks to all of your phone calls, emails and office visits, the County Council has approved $125k to fund an airspace expert to work with the FAA to develop solutions to the DCA air traffic problem.

 

Please take a moment to thank Council President Riemer and Councilmember Berliner for their leadership on this issue.  Their support was critical in this effort and is very much appreciated.  

 

District 1 Councilmember, and candidate for County Executive Roger Berliner:  

240-777-7828

Councilmember.berliner@montgomerycountymd.gov

 

County Council President, and candidate for At Large County Council Hans Riemer:  

240-777-7964

Councilmember.Riemer@montgomerycountymd.gov

Letter to County Council Candidates and Their Responses

posted May 15, 2018, 3:46 PM by MoCo Quiet Skies   [ updated May 16, 2018, 2:47 PM ]

Dear County Council Candidate,

 

As an at-large candidate for Montgomery County Council, the Montgomery County Quiet Skies Coalition asks for your commitment, if elected, to ensure that Montgomery County will work effectively with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to lessen the impact of new, high frequency flight paths and procedures at Reagan National Airport. 

 

Our Coalition represents a group of 29 communities with over 20,000 residents who are severely impacted by new, high frequency flight paths that traverse a 7 mile corridor with laser like precision over Potomac, Cabin John, Glen Echo, Bethesda and Brookmont.  Due to changes made by the FAA in late 2015, residents in these previously quiet neighborhoods now must endure over 400 low altitude airplanes roaring overhead every day from 5:30 am to after midnight - one airplane after another - every 1-3 minutes.   There is no break.  Residents in these neighborhoods are at-risk of unknown levels of air and noise pollution as well as serious diminution of their property value.

 

Montgomery County residents need the County to be on a level playing field as it works with the FAA to mitigate the damage done to our communities.  Our Coalition recently testified before the Council requesting $150,000 be allocated to the Office of Intergovernmental Relations so the County can hire an airspace expert to develop viable flight path and procedure alternatives to present to the FAA.  To date, Montgomery County has relied on community volunteers, with no technical aviation experience, to represent the County on the DCA Community Noise Working Group, which is tasked with developing noise mitigation recommendations to the FAA.  Hiring a highly skilled airspace expert to work with the FAA on behalf of Montgomery County is a critical first step to resolving this issue. 

 

State and Federal efforts are uncertain.  We need our County representatives to dedicate both human and financial resources to tackle this tremendous burden on Montgomery County.  Please let us know how, if elected, you would work to help bring safe, clean and quiet skies back to all Montgomery County residents.  Responses should be sent by May 10, 2018 to mont.co.quietskies@gmail.com. All responses will be posted on our Coalition website:  www.MoCoQuietSkies.org

 

Sincerely,

 

Gretchen Gaston, Janelle Wright, and Anne Hollander 

 

Co-chairs, Montgomery County Quiet Skies Coalition Policy Committee 

Call to Action for Tuesday, April 10 - Please Attend the Budget Hearing to Help Secure County Funding for an Airspace Consultant

posted Apr 7, 2018, 5:35 PM by MoCo Quiet Skies   [ updated Apr 7, 2018, 5:42 PM ]

Please mark your calendar to attend the Montgomery County Council FY19 Budget Hearing on Tuesday, April 10 at 7:00 pm in the Third Floor Hearing Room, 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, MD 20850.   Your attendance will support MCQSC's request to fund an airspace expert to assist the County in resolving the increased air traffic over our homes and communities.     

Councilmember Roger Berliner and Council President Hans Riemer have requested that the Government Operations and Fiscal Policy Committee add $150,000 to the FY19 Operating Budget for airspace consultant work.  Their letter is attached HERE.  We are extremely grateful for their support and wholeheartedly agree with their statement that "[I]t is time that Montgomery County do more to protect its residents."  

While their letter is a great start, securing limited County funding is extremely difficult and will require engagement from all Coalition members.  Funding requires an affirmative vote from 5 Councilmembers - we still have work to do!

Please show your support by attending the Budget Hearing this Tuesday, April 10 at 7:00 pm in the Third Floor Hearing Room, 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, MD 20850!  MCQSC policy co-chair, Janelle Wright, will be testifying on behalf of the Coalition to support the budget request.  Several other individuals also have signed up to testify on how the air traffic issue negatively impacts their lives and our communities.  

If you want to testify at the budget hearing, please sign up to testify at the Tuesday, April 10, 2018, "7pm Fiscal Year 2019 Operating Budget" time slot here: Sign up to testify Click HERE  

If you ordered a t-shirt, please be sure to wear it to the hearing!  If you don't have a t-shirt, you can wear something blue and make 8.5 x 11 signs to express your support during the hearing!

If you haven't already written a letter to the County Council, please consider submitting written testimony to the Council via email to County.Council@montgomerycountymd.gov or mail to 100 Maryland Avenue, 5th floor, Rockville, MD 20850; or fax to 240-777-7888.  Your testimony will be provided to each Councilmember and will be included in the record of the hearing.  

Your participation is encouraged, appreciated, and necessary!  We hope to see you at the Budget Hearing this Tuesday, April 10 at 7:00 pm!

Memo to County Seeking Airspace Consultant Funding Sent by Council President Hans Riemer and Councilmember Roger Berliner

posted Apr 5, 2018, 4:43 PM by MoCo Quiet Skies   [ updated Apr 5, 2018, 4:52 PM ]

On April 5, 2018, Council President Hans Riemer and Councilmember Roger Berliner sent the following Memo to their colleagues on the Council’s Government Operations & Fiscal Policy requesting that they recommend putting Airspace Consultant funding in the County’s Office of Intergovernmental Relations. 


TO: Members of the Government Operations & Fiscal Policy Committee
Councilmember Nancy Navarro, Chair
Councilmember Sidney Katz

FROM: Council President Hans Riemer
Councilmember Roger Berliner

SUBJECT: Hiring an airspace consultant to protect our residents

Colleagues, as many as 20,000 Montgomery County residents continue to be subjected to loud and consistent noise from airplanes approaching and departing Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport – the result of 2015 flight path changes put in place by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) without notifying county or state officials and without the required environmental analyses.

This noise plagues the daily lives of our residents, including late at night and early in the morning. There is now evidence it is hurting property values. There is growing concern about the presence of ultrafine particle pollution from large jets. What is indisputable is that the roughly 400 planes flying over our neighborhoods each day are harming our residents and hurting our County’s quality of life. Flight paths before these 2015 changes used to be more spread out and more focused over the Potomac River and Virginia. Now, the flight paths are concentrated into a narrower corridor directly over county neighborhoods to maximize efficiency and allow more planes to arrive and depart in rapid succession.

The new flight paths, combined with new operating procedures that have arriving flights descend sooner and fly lower for longer stretches, have led to a surge in noise complaints from residents in Montgomery County and our County’s formal participation on the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Noise Working Group. Attorney General Brian Frosh’s office is considering a lawsuit against the FAA on behalf of the state of Maryland. The Noise Working Group has been an ineffective forum for getting the FAA to reconsider these flight paths and flight procedures. We do not know the outcome of any potential lawsuit against the FAA, and even a positive outcome would not address all of the separate flight path changes that have created this problem.

It is time that Montgomery County do more to protect its residents. We request that the Government Operations & Fiscal Policy Committee recommend adding $150,000 to the FY19 Operating Budget of the Office of Intergovernmental Relations for airspace consultant work. Airspace consultants have been hired by other communities facing similar issues in order to develop new flight path proposals for the FAA. This subject matter expert would be better equipped to engage with FAA officials about the complexities of alternative flight path and flight procedure development. Thank you for your consideration of this request. We look forward to answering any questions about the need for this funding and the nature of this work.

A copy of this April 5, 2018 Memo is available HERE, and is also available under the "Elected Officials Letters" folder on the Downloads and Templates tab.

MCQSC urges you and your neighbors to please continue advocating for an Airspace Consultant.  You can quickly send an email advocating for an Airspace Consultant by using our email template that we provided HERE!

Order your MCQSC T-shirt by this Thursday, March 22!

posted Mar 20, 2018, 8:47 PM by MoCo Quiet Skies   [ updated Mar 23, 2018, 4:21 PM ]

Dear Coalition Members,

As discussed at our last Coalition meeting, some of our members will be testifying at the Montgomery County Council's FY19 Operating Budget Hearings on April 10, 2018.  (Details on the hearings will be provided once available.) 

To show your support, please order one of these snazzy MCQSC T-shirts to wear to the hearing!  (We're still tweaking the T-shirt design, but the T-shirt will look similar to the 2 prototype pictures below.)  

We encourage you to order extra T-shirts for your friends, family, and neighbors!

Please CLICK HERE to place your order, or click on the following link: https://mcqcs.wufoo.com/forms/zbte0be19cwkud/

Please note that All T-Shirt Orders must be placed by NOON, THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2018.  Sorry for the rush, but we need to make the free shipping deadline!

We are collecting $12 per T-shirt to cover the cost and fees.  If we happen to make a few extra dollars, we'll use it towards poster supplies for the hearing or coffee for the next Coalition meeting.  (Please note that this is not a fundraising effort.)

Even if you can't attend the upcoming hearing, you can still order a T-shirt for future events!  We'll send a note to all purchasers as soon as the T-shirts arrive so you can pick-up your T-shirt(s)!

If you have any problems with the order form or have any questions, please email Gretchen: glgaston@gmail.com.   

Thank you, everyone!

https://sites.google.com/site/208xxquietskies/news/timesensitive-orderyourmcqsct-shirtbythisthursdaymarch22/MCQSC_t%20shirt.png?attredirects=0https://sites.google.com/site/208xxquietskies/news/timesensitive-orderyourmcqsct-shirtbythisthursdaymarch22/MCQSC_t%20shirt2.png?attredirects=0

Urgent Action Needed: Send Email to the County to Request Funding for Airspace Design Expert

posted Mar 10, 2018, 12:11 PM by MoCo Quiet Skies   [ updated Apr 7, 2018, 6:10 PM ]

Dear Neighbors,

Please help in the fight against the airplane noise unfairly foisted on us by the FAA!

Please use the attached template below to send an email to help the County get the technical advice that it needs and help the Montgomery County Quiet Skies Coalition (MCQSC) return quiet skies to our County!

Simply send your email to countyexecutive@springfield20816.com which automatically forwards your email to:


Please feel free to use the attached template below to get you started or write your own email. 

Adding your own stories about how your life, sleep or health are disrupted by the over 400 low flying airplanes that fly over our area every day is most effective!



You can also download a copy of the Word and PDF formats of this 03.10.2018_Email Template from the "Action letters, Templates" folder on the Downloads and Templates tab.

Thank you for taking action, and please spread the word to your neighbors! 

You Can Now Submit Noise Complaints via the Viewpoint App on Your Cell Phone

posted Mar 5, 2018, 3:07 PM by MoCo Quiet Skies   [ updated Mar 5, 2018, 4:36 PM ]

There is an additional, new way to submit DCA Noise Complaints!  You can now submit DCA Noise Complaints via your cell phone!

To submit DCA Noise Complaints using your cell phone, first you need to download the free Viewpoint App on your cell phone:

-iPhone users can download the app here: Bruel & Kjaer Viewpoint App​ for iPhone Users

-Android users can download the app here: Bruel & Kjaer Viewpoint App​ for Android Phone Users

Thanks to the persistence of our Coalition volunteers and Senator Van Hollen’s office staff, we now have a cell phone app to file noise complaints.  Download the app tonight, and please also share this news with your friends and neighbors!

As always, you can also submit Noise Complaints via your internet browser:
Without complaints, the FAA will tell Congress and others that airplane noise is not a problem in Montgomery County.  Please submit complaints often!  Your complaints can be simple and brief.  It only takes a few minutes to fill out the web form.

For more information about ways to file DCA Noise Complaints, please see this website: How to Submit an Aircraft Noise Complaint for Reagan National

MCQSC's Letter to the Editor in the Washington Post

posted Jan 27, 2018, 10:09 AM by MoCo Quiet Skies   [ updated Jan 27, 2018, 10:11 AM ]

The Montgomery County Quiet Skies Coalition's Letter to the Editor was published in the Washington Post on January 26, 2018:

"The residents of Montgomery County also are negatively affected by the aircraft departure procedures at issue in the D.C. lawsuit. Our communities experience noise from more than 400 flights a day, including many late at night. We are newly burdened with both arrivals and departures, so there is no relief.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) is calling for legal action against the Federal Aviation Administration on behalf of communities near Baltimore-Washington International Marshall Airport and Montgomery County residents affected by altered flight procedures at Reagan National Airport.

Montgomery County is not asking the FAA to move the noise and pollution to other neighborhoods but instead has asked the FAA for varying flight procedures or to disperse the flight paths as a way to lessen the impact on any one neighborhood."

Here's a link to the Coalition's Letter to the Editor: How we got all this noise (Washington Post, January 26, 2018)

Also, here's a very informative news story about the airplane noise and pollution issues that are being faced by residents in Long Island, New York.  The commercial airplane noise and pollution issues impacting residents in Nassau County, Long Island are essentially the same as the issues impacting Montgomery County, MD residents as a result of the FAA's flight path changes.

Oral Arguments Heard in the Citizens Association of Georgetown v. FAA (Washington, DC Lawsuit)

posted Jan 16, 2018, 8:44 AM by MoCo Quiet Skies   [ updated Jan 22, 2018, 10:14 PM ]

From the DC Fair Skies Coalition and Citizens Association of Georgetown's DC Fair Skies websites on January 12, 2018:

"Listen to the January 11th Oral Argument 

The Oral Argument in Citizens Association of Georgetown, et al. vs. Federal Aviation Administration in the Federal Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit was held on Jan 11 at 9:00. CAG, joined by nearby civic associations have challenged the northbound departure route change that has brought a large increase in noise to our community and this is our chance to persuade the Court to require the FAA to cease using this new route.

Listen to the 40 minute argument HERE

According to CAG General Council Richard Hinds the Court seemed to be sympathetic to our arguments about the lack of notice to the community and all DC elected officials (except Congresswoman Norton) of the new departure flight path and the misleading correspondence between Council member Jack Evans and the airport authority in 2013. However the outcome can not be predicted by the Court’s aggressive questioning of the attorneys for both sides. Listen and decide who won!

The Court usually takes several months to craft an opinion that the panel finds acceptable. A quick decision would probably be unfavorable since we carry the burden of proving our appeal was timely or we had reasonable grounds for appealing when we did."

The audio recording of the January 11, 2018 oral arguments in the Citizens Assn of Georgetown v. FAA lawsuit. (Washington, DC Lawsuit) is also available under "Oral Argument Recordings Before U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit" folder on the Downloads and Templates tab.

Related News Stories:
-On Tuesday, January 23, 2018, at 12 p.m. (ET), DC airplane noise will be the topic of discussion on the Kojo Nnamdi Show on WAMU 88.5, the NPR member-station in Washington, D.C.  The show starts at noon, but the Coalition has been informed that the airplane-related segment will air from 12:30pm-1:00pm (ET).  Kojo Nnamdi and his guests will be discussing "the unfriendly skies" over Washington, D.C.  
-Tune in to WAMU 88.5 at the time mentioned above, or click on the following link to listen to the radio broadcast recording: Flying High In The Unfriendly Sky: Local Residents Take On FAA Over Airplane Noise (The Kojo Nnamdi Show, WAMU 88.5, NPR member-station, Jan. 23, 2018)


As always, every noise complaint you file continues to matter!  Please continue to file noise complaints and encourage your neighbors to also file complaints!

We need to continue to send to the FAA the clear message that the airplane noise & pollution continue to be daily, nonstop problems here in Montgomery County!

Rep. Jamie Raskin Co-Sponsors Legislation to Protect Airport Communities from Toxic Ultrafine Particles

posted Nov 11, 2017, 5:37 PM by MoCo Quiet Skies

On October 19, 2017, Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) introduced the Protecting Airport Communities from Particle Emissions Act.  The Protecting Airport Communities from Particle Emissions Act has been cosponsored by Representatives Jackie Speier (CA-14), Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Anna Eshoo (CA-18), and Mike Quigley (IL-05). 

From the October 19, 2017 Press Release:

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Smith introduced the Protecting Airport Communities from Particle Emissions Act. Recent studies have indicated that ultrafine particles (UFPs) from a variety of sources could have detrimental impacts on human health. In recognition that communities located near airports could be more likely to be exposed to aviation-related particle pollution, Congressman Smith introduced this legislation to require a national study on ultrafine particles to help direct policy and solutions to improve the quality of life for local communities.

The full extent of health impacts resulting from UFPs has not been completely examined. Because of their structure and size, these particles can enter deep into the lungs and find their way into the blood stream. There are many sources that contribute to the rise of UFPs, including congested roadways, industrial emissions, as well as air travel. The health effects that can arise from UFPs include aggravation of heart and lung disease as well as asthma. These damaging health impacts can result in increased hospital admissions.

The act will ensure that affected localities across the country, including the communities surrounding Sea-Tac International Airport in Washington state, have access to information about the health risks of UFPs. It will direct the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator to compile existing data from previous research and then conduct an original study on UFP prevalence around the twenty largest airports in the country. This will lead to a better understanding of how nearby communities are exposed to UFPs and the adverse health impacts associated with them. In addition, the study will also evaluate whether biofuel use at airports could contribute to reduced UFP emissions.

The bill requires coordination between the FAA, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to study the rates of exposure to UFPs and adverse health impacts that communities of color, economically insecure residents, vulnerable individuals, and other disparately impacted groups experience. A report on the findings of the study is to be submitted to Congress within two years of enactment of the legislation.

This study parallels research on airport traffic and air quality currently being conducted at the University of Washington and builds upon the collaborative efforts Congressman Smith has been engaged in with local communities and the Port of Seattle.

Communities have the right to know how they are being impacted by ultrafine particulates in the atmosphere, what the sources of these pollutants are, and whether the use of alternative fuels could reduce those impacts.

“A comprehensive study of the ultrafine materials that jet fuel pollution emits is necessary to begin to develop practical and effective policies to protect impacted communities,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “The evidence from this national study will serve as the foundation for future work at the local, state and federal level to ensure a better quality of life for those experiencing the negative health impacts from airplane emissions.” 

“Studying ultrafine particles found in jet fuel pollution is critical to understanding the potential health impacts on airport communities and what can be done to mitigate negative effects,” said Representative Tina Orwall, D-Des Moines. “Washington state recently funded a study of Sea-Tac airport, one of the fastest growing airports in the nation. While I’m proud that we funded this local study being conducted by the University of Washington, I am very grateful for the leadership of Congressman Adam Smith in seeking to have our federal partners study this further.”

“The Port of Seattle is pleased to support Representative Smith’s effort to create a federal study on ultrafine particles and their relationship to airport-related activity,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner John Creighton. “Healthy communities depend upon healthy environments. There is a current lack of data and academic studies on ultrafine particulate emissions resulting from aviation activities, and so we welcome this legislation – as well as the study on this topic that the Port is supporting and co-funding at the state level – as an essential step toward deepening our understanding of this important topic.”

“My constituents are in need of accurate information regarding the presence of ultrafine particle pollution and the potential health risks such particulates pose to themselves and their families,” said Senator Karen Keiser, D-Des Moines. “I thank Congressman Smith for his advocacy and partnership to ensure we have the information and resources we need to protect our communities adjacent to commercial airports.”

“I would like to thank Congressman Smith and all other government partners for listening to my constituents in Federal Way and Des Moines, and for his leadership in Congress on this important issue,” said Representative Mike Pellicciotti, D-Federal Way.

The Congressional Quiet Skies Caucus seeks to raise awareness of the impact of aircraft noise, hold the FAA accountable to the concerns of local communities, and find meaningful legislative and administrative solutions to reduce airplane impacts. As a member of the Quiet Skies Caucus, Congressman Smith has convened roundtable discussions with local elected officials, city officials, and Port of Seattle Commissioners to discuss possible solutions for airplane noise and emissions, including ultrafine particles. Air travel is an economic engine for the Puget Sound Region. Congressman Smith is committed to ensuring the Port of Seattle continues to create economic opportunities for local residents, and finding solutions that will diminish the adverse impacts of air travel and improve the quality of life for local communities.

The Protecting Airport Communities from Particle Emissions Act has been cosponsored by Representatives Jackie Speier (CA-14), Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Anna Eshoo (CA-18), and Mike Quigley (IL-05).

Please click HERE for a copy of the October 19, 2017 Press Release from Rep. Smith.

MCQSC: A Year in Review and Critical Goals for Year Two

posted Nov 8, 2017, 3:00 PM by MoCo Quiet Skies   [ updated Nov 8, 2017, 3:04 PM ]

Please click here for a copy of the November 8, 2017 MCQSC Year in Review and Future Goals PDF file, which provides a detailed review of the Coalition's accomplishments over the course of the past year and outlines the Coalition's goals for a critically important second year. 

The Coalition has made incredible progress since its inception just over a year ago.  Twenty-nine neighborhoods with more than 20,000 residents are now affiliated with the Coalition.  Fifteen civic associations are charter members.  The Coalition has engaged politicians at all levels of government.  It has successfully persuaded Montgomery County and the State of Maryland to consider legal action and has proposed amendments to legislation at the federal level.  Five Coalition members represent Montgomery County on the Airport Authority’s (DCA) Reagan National Community Noise Working Group.

Without a sustained effort over the coming year, Montgomery County residents are likely to face increasingly harmful levels of airplane noise and pollution for years to come.  Please join our ranks of dedicated volunteers so that we can achieve lasting solutions to this harmful situation.

A copy of this November 8, 2017 MCQSC Year in Review and Future Goals PDF file is also available under "Action letters, Templates" on the Downloads and Templates tab.

As always, please keep filing noise complaints, and sharing with others that yes, we are making a difference!

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