Md. asks court to urge FAA to change BWI flight paths

Baltimore Sun - - MARYLAND NATION & WORLD - By Sarah Mee­han Bal­ti­more Sun re­porters Colin Camp­bell and Christina Tkacik con­tributed to this ar­ti­cle. smee­han@balt­ twit­­han

Mary­land of­fi­cials are ask­ing a fed­eral court to urge the Fed­eral Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion to re­solve com­plaints about noise pol­lu­tion stem­ming from low-fly­ing planes at BWI and other air­ports af­ter the agency de­clined to re­spond to the state ear­lier this year.

The pe­ti­tion is the lat­est in a se­ries of re­quests the state has filed as res­i­dents who live near Bal­ti­more-Wash­ing­ton In­ter­na­tional Thur­good Mar­shall Air­port and Rea­gan Na­tional in Vir­ginia seek re­lief from noise from low flight pat­terns.

The most re­cent pe­ti­tion asks the U.S. Court of Ap­peals for the Dis­trict of Columbia Cir­cuit to re­view a Septem­ber let­ter from the FAA, in which the agency de­clined to ad­dress Mary­land’s re­quests to ad­just flight paths that have added to noise pol­lu­tion, both­er­ing res­i­dents who live near the air­ports.

Louder plane noise has been a nui­sance near air­ports across the coun­try since 2014, when the FAA im­ple­mented the Nex­tGen GPS-based air traf­fic sys­tem, cre­at­ing lower flight paths that pro­duce more noise.

In June, Mary­land filed a pair of pe­ti­tions in fed­eral court and with the FAA ask­ing that the agency al­ter flight paths that have up­set neigh­bors of BWI Mar­shall and Rea­gan Na­tional air­ports since Nex­tGen was im­ple­mented.

“Mary­land cit­i­zens con­tinue to have their lives dis­rupted and are sub­jected to in­tol­er­a­ble noise pol­lu­tion due to the Nex­tGen pro­gram’s flight paths,” Mary­land At­tor­ney Gen­eral Brian E. Frosh said in a state­ment Fri­day.

“For months, the FAA has re­fused to re­spond to our re­quest for ad­di­tional en­vi­ron­men­tal sur­veys and changes to flight paths at BWI Thur­good Mar­shall Air­port.”

In July, the FAA cut off talks with the Mary­land Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion and the BWI Com­mu­nity Round­table, say­ing the state’s le­gal ac­tion ended the agency’s abil­ity to con­tinue dis­cus­sions with the groups.

Neigh­bors of BWI formed the round­table, which had been the FAA’s pre­ferred con­duit for feed­back, last year.

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