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Federal government to study helicopter noise in D.C. area after request by members of Congress

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The legislature’s official watchdog will look into the matter

A helicopter flies over the Tidal Basin

A federal study on helicopter noise in the Washington region is soon to take off. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) says it has accepted a request by five Congress members who represent local districts to examine what’s driving such noise and ways to mitigate it. The Congress members sent a joint letter to the chief of the GAO last January.

“Many of our constituents live with the impacts of regular helicopter noise that interrupts sleep patterns, causes their homes to shake and negatively impacts their quality of life,” the legislators wrote in the letter, noting that they were not seeking to hinder “law enforcement, military, and medical endeavors” requiring the use of helicopters. D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Maryland Reps. Jamie Raskin, Anthony Brown, and David Trone, and Virginia Reps. Don Beyer and Gerry Connolly (who was not on the letter) revealed the study plans last week.

In a statement, Norton called the GAO’s expected analysis “an important step toward getting much-needed information to deliver relief to our communities and making sure we minimize disruptions to neighborhoods and families.” A spokesman for the GAO confirmed the plans but said he did not have anything further to add. The office is considered Congress’s official, independent watchdog, and it is currently directed by Comptroller General Gene L. Dodaro.