Here is the letter we sent to Anna Eshoo. Please feel free to copy or adapt it for your own purposes.
Dear Representative Eshoo,
Thank you very much for signing on to the Congressional Quiet Skies Caucus. It is a very encouraging step towards the goal of bringing about relief from the constant and pervasive airplane noise that we are experiencing over our neighborhoods.
We are engaged with a group of residents from various neighborhoods in Palo Alto – Barron Park, Crescent Park, College Terrace, Duveneck, Downtown North, and Midtown to address our concerns about the rapidly increasing noise from airplane traffic over Palo Alto. Our complaints about low flying, loud airplanes to SFO are acknowledged, but we do not see that they lead to any actions to actually abate the noise. The acknowledgements suggest the only change is an increased number of flights, but we are also experiencing significantly lower flying planes during the day and night. These low flying planes are not only landing at SFO, but also flying to the Oakland, and San Jose airports, as well as San Carlos, and smaller airports.
Upon learning about the environmental assessment of plans to optimize the use of airspace above the Bay area, some of us provided input to the assessment, and also explored appealing the findings of “no significant impacts.” The legal routes for appeal appear to be limited, and expensive. The flaws in the environmental assessment should alarm everyone, as NextGen is not used to reduce noise but instead concentrates noise to harmful levels on routes cutting across Palo Alto. It is troubling to find that there seems to be no interest on the part of the FAA to address these problems, not even an avenue to communicate with the FAA in a manner that would make a difference.
Our Mayor and Palo Alto city elected officials took action by applying for the second time to be a part of the SFO Roundtable. In the days following the rejection, City Council requested the Policy & Services committee to further review the issue. We understand that your office is experienced and has been successful on this issue in the past, and we now ask for your help.
We have also started working with Queens Quiet Skies group in New York, whose Representatives Steve Israel and Grace Meng are in the process of bringing community voices like ours together. We think that we can provide input for comprehensive options to help residents. We understand that planes have to land on time, and that airline commerce is critical to the economy; however, the endemic pattern of simply ignoring the impact of changing flight procedures on the quality of life and health of residents on the ground is a serious problem. New technologies and thoughtful flight procedures for noise abatement should be of equal priority. Low flying airplanes are causing sleep disturbances, interruptions to work, and interruptions to family life. The succession of incoming planes loom over our schools, our parks, back yards, and the nature we invest to protect and preserve is being impacted as well.
We respectfully request an opportunity to meet with you, and hope that you can help address these problems soon.