Assemblyman Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles) has joined the chorus of voices asking Congress to do something about noisy, low-flying helicopters in Los Angeles neighborhoods.
Feuer introduced a resolution Tuesday asking the California Legislature to support the proposed federal Los Angeles Residential Helicopter Noise Relief Act of 2011. A version of the bill is in both houses of Congress.
If passed, the bill would restrict helicopters' flight paths and set minimum altitudes over residential areas. Some exemptions are included for emergency and law enforcement helicopters.
"For far too long, residential neighborhoods have had to deal with increasing noise and other burdens from helicopters,” Feuer said in a press release. “This is a major quality of life issue throughout our region. The California Legislature should urge Congress to act this year.”
Larry Welk, president of the Professional Helicopter Pilots Association, told NBC Los Angeles earlier this year that the legislation, if passed, would not apply to many of the helicopters flying over Los Angeles neighborhoods.
In a letter sent to members, the helicopter pilots association's Board of Directors explained that the bill would exempt all helicopters flown by public agencies such as fire and police departments, the Department of Water and Power and the like.
"Their exemption would insure that the net effect of all this legislation in providing actual reduction of noise affecting the population on the ground would be negligible," the letter states. "These regulations would not solve the 'problem' they set out to solve."
"There's a public perception that there's more helicopter traffic," Welk told NBC Los Angeles. "That's just not true. There used to be six, seven traffic helicopters in the air. News stations that used to have two now have one, some have none. The fact is, this legislation exempts 70 percent of the helicopters that generate the noise."
The association is advising its members to contact local representatives.
In late August, in the House of Representatives and discouraged a permit to allow commercial helicopter landings on top of the Sofitel hotel across from Beverly Center. The 10-story hotel in April 2011.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors also expressed . The city of Rancho Palos Verdes also sent a letter to Congress in support of the legislation. The Hollywood United Neighborhood Council voted in favor of the House bill in October.
The Los Angeles City Council has not yet voted on a resolution in support of the bill, introduced by Councilmen Tom Labonge and Paul Koretz in July.
Feuer previously urged Congress to include the measure in the Federal Aviation Administration's long-term funding bill.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein sponsored the Senate bill (S. 2019), and Sen. Barbara Boxer co-sponsored it. In the House, Rep. Howard Berman (D-Valley Village) sponsored the bill (H.R. 2677) and Reps. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks), Henry Waxman (D-Beverly Hills) and Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) were co-sponsors.
Noise near the Santa Monica Airport
The Santa Monica Airport, where residents living as close to 300 feet from the tarmac have staged protests against air traffic noise and pollution, already has some of the strictest noise ordinances of general aviation airports across the country.
Helicopters are restricted from departing during early morning hours and must restrict noise levels when within 1,500 feet from each end of the runway. In some cases, pilot face fines of up to $2,000 for curfew violations.