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Helicopter Noise Relief Bill Introduced

The legislation would establish flight paths and minimum altitude rules. The Redondo Beach City Council supported similar legislation last year.

Los Angeles County residents could soon see some relief from the seemingly constant helicopter noise overhead.

California Reps. Henry Waxman—who represents Redondo Beach as part of the 33rd Congressional District—and Adam Schiff and Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer introduced legislation Monday that would require the Federal Aviation Administration to establish regulations on flight paths and minimum altitudes for helicopter operations in Los Angeles County.

Other Los Angeles congressional colleagues, including Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) also support the bill.

“I hear complaints about helicopter noise from every part of the 33rd District—from Malibu to Brentwood to Benedict Canyon,” said Waxman in a statement. “FAA regulation of the thunderous helicopter traffic over L.A. is long overdue. And if the FAA won’t act, Congress must.”

Feinstein noted that in addition to reducing noise, the bill would increase safety and minimize commercial aircraft delays while exampting first responders and military aircraft from its limitations.

Last year, Schiff and Feinstein wrote to Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood urging him to form a working group at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to solicit input from local communities and stakeholders on helicopter noise and safety issues across Los Angeles County. For the past year, that working group has been meeting with local residents, stakeholders and officials to discuss ways to move forward and adequately address the concerns and complaints of affected residents.

Under the proposed legislation, the FAA would have to set the guidelines within a year of the bill being signed into law.

This is the second time such a bill has been introduced. Last year, then-Rep. Howard Berman spearheaded legislation to quiet helicopters.

According to the Los Angeles Daily News, the new bill requires the FAA regulations to increase safety, "minimize scheduled commercial aircraft delays," and be written with input from both communities and helicopter operators—items that were not part of Berman's bill.

Redondo Beach passed a resolution in 2012 supporting the proposed legislation.

"As a coastal community, the city of Redondo Beach attracts a large amount of helicopter activity from private operators for its scenic coastline and attractive location, causing a noise nuisance and distraction for many residents," Councilman Steve Aspel, who represents District 1, wrote in a staff report.

It's unknown whether the city council will pass a resolution supporting the current legislation.

South Redondo Beach and the Hollywood Riviera are west of Torrance Airport, which is home to helicopter manufacturer Robinson Helicopter, a flight school and numerous private helicopters. Multiple South Bay residents testified at a hearing in June 2012 about helicopter noise in the area.

“I’m heartened that Congressman Schiff and Senator Feinstein will be taking up the mantle of helicopter noise regulation next year," Berman said in a news release. "They have been steadfast partners with me on the LA Helicopter Noise Relief Act. Los Angeles County residents should know that they will have an important voice in Washington who will continue to fight for common sense reforms to protect their safety and quality of life from intrusive helicopter flights.”

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