Senator Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) and Senator Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) filed a amicus curiae brief on Friday, September 5, 2008.
The Brief makes three arguments: how the FAA did not give appropriate weight to noise reduction in balancing the alternatives for the Airspace Redesign Project, how the FAA failed to give appropriate weight to noise reduction, which is inconsistent with Congressional Intent, and how the FAA’s current interpretation that safety and efficiency are much more important than noise reduction is inconsistent with its prior interpretations of the relevant statutes.
The Senators in their brief point to several instances where Congress directed the FAA to protect exposed populations from the harm of aircraft noise, concluding that "given this history, the FAA’s policy of considering noise mitigation only ‘where feasible’ cannot withstand scrutiny." Likewise, the Senators point out that members of Congress have "criticized the FAA for the lack of weight afforded to noise reduction as a goal of the redesign plan." Thus, the Senators conclude, the FAA "failed to heed its mandate to integrate noise reduction with its other laws, regulations, and policies for the redesign plan.
The FAA’s Brief is due December 12, 2008.
News Articles regarding the amicus Brief by Sens. Specter and Dodd: