Phoenix Neighborhood Groups Challenge FAA's Finding of
"No Noise Impacts" from NextGen Flight Paths

AUGUST 3, 2015

On July 31 several Phoenix neighborhood organizations filed a petition in the District of Columbia Circuit for the U.S. Court of Appeals asking for judicial review of the FAA's finding of no significant noise impacts from its redesigned departure and arrival flight paths to Sky Harbor International Airport. Plaintiffs include historic neighborhoods in the city that had not previously been subject to noise from jet aircraft using the airport. The suit follows a similar suit brought by the City of Phoenix June 1, also in the D.C. Circuit Court (City of Phoenix v. Huerta, Case No. 15-1158 -- see City of Phoenix Seeks Judicial Review of FAA's NextGen Changes in Arrival/Departure Routes.)

Petitioners submitted the following issues to be raised in reviewing the FAA's decisions:

1. Did the FAA violate NEPA by failing to prepare an "environmental document" (see 40 C.F.R. 1508.10) analyzing the agency's new routes and procedures and instead concluding that those routes and procedures are categorically exempt from NEPA review?

2. Did the FAA violate NEPA by refusing to modify or adjust implementation of its new procedures and routes despite knowing that noise impacts were far greater than expected?

3. Did the FAA violate the National Historic Preservation Act by failing properly to consult with and provide accurate information to local and state officials?

4. Did the FAA violate Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act of 1966 by failing to undertake an analysis of (a) whether the FAA's new routes and procedures would impact the use of historic resources and public parks and (b) whether prudent and feasible alternatives exist?

UPDATE Sept. 4, 2016: This case was consolidated with City of Phoenix v. Huerta on Nov. 9, 2015, on a motion of the FAA (see City of Phoenix Seeks Judicial Review of FAA's NextGen Changes in Arrival/Departure Routes).

Sources: Case pleadings.

Case Information:

Story Preservation Association et al. v. FAA, D.C. Circuit U.S. Ct. App., case no. 15-1247, filed July 31, 2015. (Documents available at Pacer.)
Plaintiffs attorney Peter Lawrence Gray of Dentons US LLP (, 202.496.7707).