Role of the FAA in Airport Noise Abatement

The following letter by the administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration's Western-Pacific Region Office describes the FAA's role in airport noise abatement. Portions have been deleted.

October 15, 1997

The Honorable Pete Stark
Member, U.S. House of Representatives
39300 Civic Center Drive
Fremont, CA 94538

Dear Mr. Stark:

This is in response to your letter ... on behalf of your constituent ... relating to aircraft noise associated with Oakland International Airport.

We are sympathetic to the concerns of your constituent. The problems associated with aircraft noise are an issue at many locations nationwide. We, in the United States, enjoy the world's finest air transportation system. This is not, however, without some cost in terms of impact on the lives of our citizens.

As I mentioned in my letter to you dated June 16, 1997, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is not involved in the management of aircraft noise or the enforcement of noise ordinances developed by local governments with regard to specific airports. The FAA's role in noise abatement is to assist airport operators to plan and implement their programs. Airport noise is a local issue which is addressed by local entities. [emphasis added] The FAA supports airport proprietors' noise abatement programs, provided they do not conflict with federal authority, do not unduly burden foreign or interstate commerce, and are not discriminatory or arbitrary.

The resolution of noise issues requires a cooperative effort on the part of the airport proprietory, industry, aircraft operators, local communities, the state, and the FAA. Airport proprietors are primarily responsible for planning and implementing actions designed to reduce the effects of noise on residents of the surrounding area. [emphasis added] It is still my understanding that the Port of Oakland is continuing to work with the mayors of Alameda and San Leandro along with the North Field Users Group on this issue. The FAA supports this cooperative and will provide assistance whenever required.

[remainder of letter omitted]

William C. Withycombe
Regional Administrator
Western-Pacific Region
Federal Aviation Administration
PO Box 92007
Worldway Postal Center
Los Angeles, CA 90009