Another year and we’ve seen some progress. The FAA is moving at glacial speed, but we remain optimistic that the noise will be mitigated.
- We strengthened our relationship with Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s office
- We established a relationship with Berkeley Councilwoman Susan Wengraf
- We met with Senator Dianne Feinstein’s staff, thanks to Councilwoman Susan Wengraff
- We continue to be major participants in drafting the Oakland Airport Community Noise Forum (Noise Forum) proposal responses
- The proposal response process with the FAA continued.
- The Noise Forum sent the initial set of recommendations to the FAA in March 2017 and the FAA responded in February 2018, stating that the recommendations were under evaluation.
- The Noise Forum responded in April 2018.
- Thanks to Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s support, a response was received from the FAA in October 2018. But, it was disappointing. Nearly all of the Noise Forum recommendations were rejected including Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s request for an in-person meeting with her staff, FAA staff and stakeholders to develop a noise mitigation action plan. The Noise Forum NextGen technical subcommittee is preparing a response.
- An SOSEB team member published a series of 3 articles in the Berkeley Times, about the impact of NextGen noise on the local community.
- We extended our reach and communications with Bay Area NextGen Community advocacy groups and others throughout the US.
- SOSEB’s Facebook page celebrates it’s 2 year anniversary, with ever increasing likes and followers.
- Our mailing list subscribership has grown to over 500.
- Our updated website continues to be a popular source of information locally and throughout the US, and has been viewed in France and the UK!
- Congresswoman Barbara Lee continues to champion our cause
- HR302 reauthorized the FAA through September 2023. For the first time in 40 years Congress required the FAA to address airport noise problems by:
- partnering with educational institutions to study the impacts of airplane noise
- involving local communities in future NextGen related projects
- seeking alternative metrics to measure noise impacts
The big disappointment is that no provisions were included to mitigate current NextGen noise problems.
THERE’S REASON FOR HOPE: Negotiations are still open and should improve this year, because the FAA stated that they will now send technical staff to meet, in person, with the Oakland Noise Forum NextGen Technical Subcommittee to discuss the proposal options. This is a big change for the FAA and shows that they are still working with us.
WE ARE LEARNING that this is a long, challenging and frustrating process.
WITH YOUR SUPPORT SOSEB WILL KEEP ON MOVING FORWARD.
Let us know if you have any questions or if you would like to step up your participation in the cause. We welcome neighbors with a strong commitment towards making real progress, especially with skills in written communications, media relations, or political communications.
Remember to keep complaining, don’t give up hope, and follow us on our Facebook page and website.
In March 2017, the Oakland Airport-Community Noise Management Forum submitted a set of proposals to the FAA titled Supplemental Proposals to Revising the Northern California Metroplex For Alameda County/Contra Costa County to mitigate NextGen noise in the East Bay. SOSEB was a key participant in developing these community driven proposals. They received unanimous support of the Noise Forum members.
The cities of Alameda, San Leandro, Oakland and Berkeley passed resolutions supporting the NextGen proposals and urging the FAA to address the issues.
Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, and Oakland City Councilmembers Larry Reid and Annie Campbell-Washington sent letters to the FAA supporting the proposals.
On December 19, Alameda County passed a Resolution supporting the Noise Forum’s proposals and also requesting our California Senators become more engaged in urging the FAA to mitigate NextGen noise impacts. Our thanks go to Supervisor Nate Miley for bringing this Resolution forward.
Thanks to all your emails and letters our complaints were heard by Congresswoman Barbara Lee, who has a become a key supporter mitigating NextGen noise. She was instrumental in bringing the FAA to the East Bay’s table in 2016 and getting the FAA to commit to working collaboratively with the Oakland Airport-Community Noise Management Forum to address the adverse noise issues. Congresswoman Lee continued her support in 2017 with a letter to the FAA in June, urging them to review the proposals and develop a quick solution. She topped-off her efforts to bring quieter skies to the East Bay by meeting with the FAA this Fall and getting their assurance that they’d provide an interim response to the Noise Forum’s proposals in January 2018. Thank you Congresswoman Lee!
Senator Diane Feinstein joined the cause and wrote the FAA expressing her concern over NextGen noise, requesting the FAA provide a progress report for the Bay Area.
Air Traffic Control is now seriously enforcing night-time noise abatement hours. Planes departing Oakland and San Francisco Airports between the hours of 10pm and 7am (8am on Sundays) now fly over the Bay making nights much, much, quieter. Unfortunately, arriving OAK planes still roar overhead at all hours, but the proposals aim to fix that issue, too.
In November 2017, the Peninsula and South Bay received an interim response to their proposals that were sent to the FAA at the close of 2016. They are pleased with many of the changes the FAA agreed to implement, and are still working collaboratively with the FAA for more.
The SOSEB Website and Facebook Page were updated to include detailed information on the issues and answer your questions.
The process is well under way, and the FAA is responding. SOSEB watched as Seattle and Phoenix also notched significant wins in 2017 with the FAA rolling back and promising to eliminate specific noisy NextGen aircraft routes. This demonstrates that efforts with the FAA can succeed and are worthwhile continuing.
Because People Are Asking…
Some days seem quieter, but not because fewer planes are flying. Weather conditions can mask aircraft noise – think of a strong, noisy, wind that acts like a giant room fan masking road noise. Winds can also force planes to fly different flight patterns that then change the noise patterns and noise burdens. The only way we’ll see a long-term solution is if the FAA responds positively to the Noise Forum proposals.
The noise mitigation process will take a while. More than a year, even if we get a positive response from the FAA.
Don’t get worried if the January interim report date gets stretched. The FAA gave the Peninsula-South Bay an expected date of September 2017 to receive their response, but it didn’t arrive until November 2017.
The dry weather we are currently experiencing has dramatically reduced southeast or “reverse flow days”, when flying patterns change due to windy, stormy conditions. These reverse flow days created a significant noise impact during the rainy 2016-2017 winter season. During reverse flow, East Bay nights become very noisy, because arriving SFO and OAK flights must fly over the East Bay to land. Night-time noise abatement routes can’t be used.