Maryland asks court to urge FAA to change low flight paths near BWI because of noise

Maryland officials are asking a federal court to urge the Federal Aviation Administration to resolve complaints about noise pollution stemming from low-flying planes at BWI and other airports after the agency declined to respond to the state earlier this year.

The petition is the latest in a series of requests the state has filed as residents who live near Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport and Reagan National in Virginia seek relief from noise from low flight patterns.

The most recent petition asks the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to review a September letter from the FAA, in which the agency declined to address Maryland’s requests to adjust flight paths that have added to noise pollution, bothering residents who live near the airports.

Louder plane noise has been a nuisance near airports across the country since 2014, when the FAA implemented the NextGen GPS-based air traffic system, creating lower flight paths that produce more noise.

In June, Maryland filed a pair of petitions in federal court and with the FAA asking that the agency alter flight paths that have upset neighbors of BWI Marshall and Reagan National airports since NextGen was implemented.

“Maryland citizens continue to have their lives disrupted and are subjected to intolerable noise pollution due to the NextGen program’s flight paths,” Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh said in a statement Friday. “For months, the FAA has refused to respond to our request for additional environmental surveys and changes to flight paths at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport.”

In July, the FAA cut off talks with the Maryland Aviation Administration and the BWI Community Roundtable, saying the state’s legal action ended the agency’s ability to continue discussions with the groups. Neighbors of BWI formed the roundtable, which had been the FAA’s preferred conduit for feedback, last year.

A $60 million concourse expansion is planned for BWI to support Southwest Airlines’ growth, but the BWI Community Roudtable asked the Maryland Aviation Administration in September to halt expansions at the airport until the FAA reduces noise from low-flying planes.

Baltimore Sun reporters Colin Campbell and Christina Tkacik contributed to this article.

smeehan@baltsun.com

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