Federal Aviation Administration Ordered to Address Construction Noise Impact from New Terminal at Burbank Airport

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In a recent decision, the Ninth Circuit granted a partial win to the city of LA in its challenge of the environmental impact statement prepared by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the construction of a new passenger terminal at Bob Hope “Hollywood Burbank” Airport. While the court disagreed with LA’s argument that the FAA did not consider alternative sites for the terminal, it did agree that the FAA did not adequately analyze the impact of construction noise on surrounding communities.

According to U.S. Circuit Judge Stephen Higginson, who wrote for the majority, the FAA’s analysis was based on an unsupported assumption that construction equipment would not be operated simultaneously, resulting in a failure to consider the combined noise impact on nearby neighborhoods. The project is expected to take six years to complete, and the court ruled that the FAA did not take a hard enough look at the noise impacts from the project, especially given the surrounding community’s concerns.

The airport, which opened in 1930 and is located in both Burbank and LA, has been trying to replace its more than 50-year-old passenger terminal for some time. In 2015, Burbank and the airport authority agreed on a plan for a new 14-gate terminal, and Burbank voters approved the project the following year. The FAA began its environmental impact statement in 2018.

This decision is not the first time the city and the FAA have been at odds over the airport’s impact on the community. In 2019, the city sued the FAA over flight pattern changes that resulted in increased noise levels for residents and businesses.

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