The Select Board releases statement on excess airplane traffic

Select Board Update
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The Select Board releases statement on excess airplane traffic

The Select Board highlights current efforts to combat excess airplane traffic.

Because of the overarching authority of the FAA, responding to the FAA’s “NextGen RNAV” narrow flight paths that put excessive airplane traffic over certain communities has proven to be a vexing issue for those seeking change over the last several years. Over the last six months, the Select Board has continued to attack this problem in several ways, including the following:

(A) Representation and Collective Actions

(i) MCAC Representative Initiatives. In May 2019, the Select Board appointed a new Massport Community Advisory Committee (MCAC) representative, Tom Dougherty. At its public meeting on June 12, the Select Board reported on its aim to submit a comprehensive set of proposals to the ongoing FAA-MIT Block 2 overflight noise study. Proposed Requests and Recommendations for the Block 2 study, addressing Milton overflights, were then presented by Mr. Dougherty, and discussed, deliberated on, and voted by the Select Board at its June 26 public meeting. After that public process, the Requests and Recommendations for Block 2, incorporating comments received at the Select Board meeting, were submitted to the FAA and Massport on July 10. The Requests and Recommendations are posted on the Town of Milton website at its page dedicated to Massachusetts Port Authority Community Advisory Committee matters.
Tom Dougherty was also recently unanimously elected by MCAC members to be its Treasurer and ex officio member of its Executive Committee, which oversees MCAC processes. He is a longtime resident of Milton and author of the 2018 proposed amendment to the FAA Budget Authorization Act, which was sponsored by Senators Markey and Warren, that would mandate that FAA restore dispersion of overflights to their proven safe pre-RNAV mode using RNAV to so.

(ii) Opposed the FAA’s Efforts to Add Supersonic Flights. Milton was the first community in the country to expressly object to the FAA’s effort to loosen the regulations that restrict supersonic flights in our airways.

(iii) Meeting with Representatives of Senators Warren and Markey. During this meeting, we advocated for federal legislation to help communities such as Milton combat the effects of NextGen.

(iv) Meeting with Congressman Lynch. In a meeting organized by Senator Timilty, we sought the Congressman’s assistance to ensure that our needs for overflight dispersion and noise relief are considered, and we advocated for federal efforts (FAA and Congress) to help mitigate the effects of NextGen. Later that same week, Congressman Lynch pressed these concerns in a meeting with the head of the FAA and other members of the House’s Quiet Skies Caucus in Washington, which he then made public.

(v) Next Public Meeting on Airplane Traffic. The Select Board, along with the Airplane Noise Advisory Committee (“ANAC”), has scheduled a public session devoted to the issue of excessive airplane traffic on November 14, 2019, at 7:00 p.m., at the Council on Aging.

(B) Data Collection

(i) BU Noise Study – The Select Board supported the work of the Community Noise Lab from the BU School of School of Public Health and Dr. Erica Walker in a noise study to help establish independent facts about the noise burdens suffered by Milton residents. These independent facts may help the Town make its case to the FAA, Massport, and others on its outsized burden.

(ii) $10,000 Environmental Monitor Purchased – This purchase, made in conjunction with Olin College’s study of the pollution caused by excessive airplane traffic over certain communities, allows Milton to join in the work being done by Olin College in East Boston to help establish the kinds of independent facts that can assist in its efforts to advocate for change.

Over the next several months, the Town will continue to focus on Block 2 issues, on data collection showing the human costs and environmental harms caused by excessive and low-flying airplane traffic, and on advocating along with our Congressional representatives for federal legislation mandating that the FAA relieve NextGen harms affecting people on the ground.

As we continue these efforts, we hope for the constructive assistance of all who are united in the common goal of improving the lives of Milton residents.

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