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FAA To Schedule Public Hearings About O'Hare Noise Pollution

By Jim Bochnowski in News on Apr 24, 2015 2:45PM

As part of the O'Hare Modernization Project, launched in October 2013, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authorized changes to the take off and landing procedures in and out of O'Hare that resulted in planes entering and leaving the airspace in an east-west orientation.

Unfortunately, this change dramatically increased noise complaints (both real and fictional) in record numbers, especially in Chicago neighborhoods directly in the flightpath of America's busiest airport. Thankfully the FAA, after prodding from Mayor Emanuel, has agreed to hold four public hearings regarding the noise complaints and will publish an online draft report regarding the noise and air pollution of a new runway that is scheduled to open in October.

Originally, the FAA was planning on holding only two public hearings in Chicago to discuss noise pollution in and around O'Hare, but after meeting with Mayor Emanuel the administration agreed to hold four separate forums. The dates for these forums have not yet been scheduled.

In a statement, the Mayor said, "This is a challenging issue, and we need all voices at the table as we work together to ensure O'Hare remains an economic engine for our city, while being a good neighbor to those who live nearby."

Despite this news, Jac Charlier, co-founder of anti-noise pollution advocacy group Fair Allocation in Runways, or FAIR, said that this move does not go far enough. According to Charlier, "It’s a very, very small step forward in that regard. These meetings are not with the mayor, they are with the FAA and in terms of moving from two to four hearings for an issue that affects tens of thousands of residents it’s still entirely insufficient.”