Quiet Skies

How do you feel about Boulder County – particularly Gunbarrel and Niwot- being designated as the sacrifice zone for unlimited flight training operations (much of it now coming from RMMA in Broomfield about 20 miles away)? Should citizens have any say about airport expansion (RMMA and Longmont)? Here are the links to the flyers from yesterday’s rally.
Boulder County airplane noise riles residents Citizens for Quiet Skies also protest pollution By Kelsey Hammon Staff Writer Under a hot afternoon sun Saturday, roughly 15 people gathered outside a Gunbarrel King Soopers to bring awareness to aviation noise and airplane emission pollution in Boulder County’s skies. Called Citizens for Quiet Skies, the group formed in 2011 over shared concerns about what they say is growing air traffic and subsequently increased noise and pollution overhead. Kim Gibbs, the group’s organizer, said her purpose Saturday was to provide educational outreach to people as they walked in and out of the store at 6550 Lookout Road. Additionally, Gibbs said she hoped to intrigue them in the mission to have citizen consent on airport expansion projects and give local airport operations more control to implement restrictions, as opposed to relying on the Federal Aviation Administration. Gibbs said with four airports — including those in Erie, Boulder and Longmont, and Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport in Jefferson County — offering what she says are 21 different flight schools, she has been subjected to countless noise from overhead planes. The aircraft fly in numerous loops around her Gunbarrel home, Gibbs said, which she said she attributed to some legitimate flight training, but also to joyriding. “It’s relentless and not regulated by the Federal Aviation Admin-istration, with respect to noise See QuieT, 8B Quiet from Page 1B emissions,” Gibbs said. “I live on open space and we are getting bombarded by flight schools. Skydiving operations have been a yearslong concern. Now we are seeing helicopter flight training — they’re not over my home, but they are in other neighborhoods. There are no mandatory regulations that protect our noise-sensitive areas.” Others who rallied Saturday shared similar stories of having their daily lives disrupted by the continuous sound of droning aircraft. Ani Liggett, of Lafayette, said on three different occasions overhead planes have been so loud that it’s shaken the walls of her home. “It’s really scary,” Liggett said. “They (the planes) are low and loud and two to three minutes apart.” Mark Ricketson, of Gunbarrel, said he’s concerned about lead leaching into the air from small planes’ use of leaded aviation gasoline. According to an Environmental Protection Agency fact sheet on lead emission and aircraft from February, “piston engine aircraft (two-to-10-person planes) operating on leaded fuel are the largest remaining aggregate source of lead emissions to the air in the country.” The Federal Aviation Administration says on its website that it “shares the EPA’s concerns” for lead emissions and is supporting research at the William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City to find alternate fuels. Both Vance Brand Airport in Longmont and the Boulder Municipal Airport have voluntary aircraft noise abatement recommendations. Citizens for Quiet Skies, however, said in a fact sheet distributed Saturday that there is no enforcement and that procedures are “ignored.” Boulder’s website notes that a “significant number of concerns from city residents are caused by aircraft that do not operate from the Boulder Municipal Airport.” The website also says that aircraft in flight are outside the city’s jurisdiction and under the responsibility of the Federal Aviation Administration. Citizens for Quiet Skies members have written to express their concerns with local city officials across the county, as well as the Boulder County Board of Commissioners. U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Colo., is working to address aviation impacts through his Aircraft Noise Reduction Act. The Lafayette resident’s bill was introduced in 2019 and seeks to permit operators of general aviation airports the power to create noise restrictions. “Airports and communities can co-exist,” Gibbs said. “But not with this gross imbalance of power.” Vince Comella, of louisville, rallies Saturday with Citizens for Quiet Skies outside King Soopers in Gunbarrel to bring awareness to aviation noise and airplane emission pollution in Boulder County. Kelsey Hammon / Staff Writer © 2020 Daily Camera and Prairie Mountain Publishing, LLC. .Please read our Privacy Policy and User Agreement. Please review new arbitration language here. 6/28/2020

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