The Howard County Council is considering legal action against the federal government over the increasing airplane noise, caused by flight patterns. Several attempts were made by the Council to get the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to reassess its NextGen air flight traffic update. According to Howard County officials, the FAA has not been responsive.
According to Council Chairman Jon Weinstein (Democrat), the airplane noise had increased around his home in Ellicott City. He said, “They just seem to be kicking the ball around.”
Weinstein will join Council Calvin Ball (Democrat) in introducing a bill that will authorize the Howard County government’s law office to “institute the city action or the proceedings” over NextGen. Local officials in Newport Beach, California; Phoenix, Arizona; and Culver City, California have already filed lawsuits against the FAA, so Howard County would not be the first to take legal action.
The BWI Marshall Airport changed flight patterns, as part of a $35 billion nationwide air traffic revamp. The increased noise in residential communities near the airport in Linthicum is the end result.
The NextGen air traffic update will offer more efficiency, reducing maintenance, fuel and other costs by $160 billion through 2030, according to the FAA. The residents living around the airport say they are paying the costs for the improvements. Some of the residents say the airplane noise is louder than before, while others say they haven’t heard airplane noise, but are now seeing airplanes flying close to their homes.
Anne Arundel County homeowners living in Hanover, Millersville and Severn have already lodged complaints. The BWI Marshall Airport is housed in Anne Arundel, only a mile from the Howard County border. The airport’s operations are affecting residents in both Howard and Ann Arundel.
“Frankly, I’m troubled that our FAA folks have been unresponsive and have not addressed the issues for our constituents,” said Ball, who has fielded complaints from constituents in Hanover, Elkridge and Columbia. “It’s unfortunate that it’s come to this.”
Joint action against the FAA may be necessary, but it will take a joint effort with other local counties. Weinstein requested Maryland’s representative in Congress to hold hearings on the issue. He is also hoping the new presidential administration, with new leadership at the FAA and U.S. Department of Transportation will address the issue.