FAA’s preliminary assessment rejects 8 noise reduction proposals developed by MIT and community representatives without explanation

October 23, 2020, Winthrop, MA--  Congresswoman Katherine Clark (MA-05), along with Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), and representatives Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) and Stephen F. Lynch (MA-08) sent a letter to the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) New England Regional Administrator, urging the reconsideration of 8 different community proposals to reduce overflight noise stemming from Boston Logan Airport’s Area Navigation (RNAV) system, and requesting further explanation for the outright dismissal of these noise reduction proposals. 

Each of these community proposals to limit overhead flight noise were meticulously developed over a four year period by representatives from local communities impacted by airplane noise in conjunction with the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). These proposals and their assessment is the result of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the FAA, Massport, and impacted communities signed in October, 2016 to “identify specific proposed ideas to reduce overflight noise from RNAV concentration.” 

“Although we appreciate your willingness to provide this early assessment, it is deeply disappointing that after four years of work to address the issue of overflight airplane noise caused by RNAV, the assembled stakeholders would reject all eight proposals as not needing “further evaluation”,” the lawmakers wrote. “We respectfully ask that the FAA recommit to the MOU’s first stated objective to “identify specific proposed ideas to reduce overflight noise from RNAV concentration,” and work in partnership with the Massport Community Advisory Committee (CAC) to identify and present proposals for evaluation.”

A copy of the letter can be viewed here. 

Overflight airplane noise affecting communities in the Greater Boston area has skyrocketed in recent years after the FAA implemented the new RNAV GPS flight routing system at Boston Logan Airport. Throughout her tenure in Congress, Congresswoman Clark has worked to ensure that airplane-related noise problems affecting local communities surrounding Logan Airport are swiftly addressed. Most recently, Congresswoman Clark worked with Massachusetts House Speaker Bob DeLeo and State Senator Joe Boncore to secure a mandate in the Federal Appropriations bill passed by the House of Representatives on July 31, 2020 requiring the FAA to update outdated airplane noise mitigation systems that were installed in Massachusetts households over 27 years ago.