Anne Arundel and Howard county executives pressure Frosh to sue Feds over airplane noise

Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh and Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman want the state to sue the Federal Aviation Administration over what residents near BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport describe as lower, louder airplanes.

In separate letters, both executives asked Attorney General Brian Frosh to sue the administration on behalf of Marylanders.

“At this point it appears that the FAA will respond only to litigation,” Schuh said.

The $35 billion Next Generation Airport System — known as NextGen — was implemented in 2014 to address delays and carbon emissions. But residents living along the paths say they’re getting more than an earful from what they describe as lower airplanes.

The county executives’ actions follow a letter sent last week by Gov. Larry Hogan, which directed Frosh to sue the FAA. The Maryland Constitution grants Hogan the power to require the attorney general to pursue certain legal actions on behalf of the state.

Hogan spokeswoman Shareese Churchill reiterated the governor’s position Thursday.

“Gov. Hogan and the administration have been very clear that we want the lawsuit to move forward right away,” she said.

A spokeswoman for Frosh said a lawsuit is under consideration. He shares the concerns of residents, Raquel Coombs said. She declined to comment on the letters sent by the executives, saying it would be appropriate to respond to the officials before publicly commenting.

In his letter dated Wednesday, Kittleman said the flight paths have subjected residents to “an unprecedented level of noise that has been life-changing.”

“It is clear that with the implementation of NextGen, the FAA failed to take careful consideration of the adverse impact to the local communities surrounding BWI,” Kittleman said.

Schuh urged Frosh to take statewide action, as the flight paths impact multiple counties surrounding BWI and Ronald Reagan Washington International Airport.

“All citizens would benefit from flight paths being routed away from residential areas and over waterways and highways,” he said. “All citizens would benefit from aircraft staying at higher altitudes as they approach BWI.”

In May, the FAA told the DC Metroplex BWI Community Roundtable, a group of community representatives, they were not able to revert to the pre-NextGen flight paths. But officials pledged to examine solutions for relief.

In response to Hogan’s Sept. 12 letter, FAA spokeswoman Tammy Jones wrote the agency “is committed to hearing the community’s concerns and to fully and fairly consider any formal Community Roundtable-endorsed changes.”

Another FAA spokeswoman said Thursday the agency does not have a comment on this week’s letters.

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to correct the spelling of Allan Kittleman’s name.

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