Capital Region Members Announce GAO Study on Helicopter Noise in Washington Metro Area
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), joined by Representatives Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Don Beyer (D-VA), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Anthony Brown (D-MD) and David Trone (D-MD), today announced that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) will conduct a study of helicopter noise within the Washington metropolitan region, a request the Members made in January.
In their letter, Members wrote, “Many of our constituents live with the impacts of regular helicopter noise that interrupts sleep patterns, causes their homes to shake and negatively impacts their quality of life. While disturbances from helicopter noise have been a longstanding problem for some, others have noted recent increases in the frequency and severity of helicopter noise in their neighborhoods. We understand that helicopter activity is an essential part of law enforcement, military and medical operations and appreciate the critical efforts of employees serving in those sectors. However, we also believe that, through information collection, analysis and coordination, we can identify strategies to minimize the negative impacts of helicopter activity without impeding the work of the agencies operating helicopters within the region.”
“As residents of the District and the region can attest, helicopter noise from police and military helicopters continue to plague many of our neighborhoods,” Norton said. “Our residents want to know what can be done to reduce helicopter noise. This study is an important step toward getting much-needed information to deliver relief to our communities and making sure we minimize disruptions to neighborhoods and families.”
“This is an important step in beginning to develop strategies to mitigate the helicopter noise that affects so many of our neighbors,” Connolly said. “I thank GAO for their willingness to examine this issue and I thank my colleagues for their leadership on behalf of our region.”
“My constituents will be glad to hear that GAO has granted our request for further action on helicopter noise, which has been a problem in Northern Virginia for years,” Beyer said. “Two hundred people came to my helicopter noise town hall last year specifically to voice frustration with frequent, increasing noise from helicopters in the area. Many of those helicopters are military, but to date the Pentagon’s responses to my requests that they identify affected neighborhoods and work to mitigate noise problems have been disappointing. The GAO study should, I hope, give us much better information with which to address this issue.”
“I am thrilled to learn that the GAO will study the impact of helicopter noise across the Washington Metro area,” Raskin said. “For years, my constituents have shared their frustrations to the government about all kinds of air flight disturbances in their neighborhoods. It is my hope that the study will highlight viable solutions to some of the chronic noise problems experienced by many of my constituents on a daily basis.”
“This issue is top-of-mind for many of my constituents and I am thankful it is being treated with the seriousness it deserves,” Brown said. “We should be doing everything we can to ensure helicopter noise does not impact our constituents’ quality of life. I am glad to have joined my colleagues to ask for this study, and I am appreciative that GAO is following through on our request.”
"This is great news for my constituents who are bothered by this persistent helicopter noise," Trone said. "The GAO ought to investigate ways to improve both the quality and comfortability of life for individuals and families impacted by air traffic in our region. I stand ready to implement these solutions at the conclusion of the study."