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Eshoo Unveils Legislative Package to Reform FAA

November 6th, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18) unveiled today a legislative package of reforms to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to combat major increases in aircraft noise documented across the country. The package consists of two bills aimed at mitigating the cause of the increase in noise: new flight paths associated with implementation of satellite-based flight navigation, known as NextGen. The recently introduced bills were unveiled as Eshoo and her Bay Area colleagues Reps. Sam Farr (CA-20) and Jackie Speier (CA-14) continue to work with FAA officials on a regional remedy.

“Because of NextGen, constituents throughout my congressional district and our region are being subjected to increased jet engine noise,” said Eshoo, who is a founding member of the Quiet Skies Caucus. “The bills I’ve introduced require the FAA to plan with communities when implementing NextGen, and restore the EPA’s Office of Noise Abatement and Control which was defunded more than three decades ago. With this legislation we can mitigate unacceptably high levels of aircraft noise, while continually modernizing our aviation system.”

The Quiet Communities Act would restore the EPA’s Office of Noise Abatement and Control, which was created by Congress in 1972. This office oversaw the nation’s noise control activities until it was defunded by Congress at the request of the Reagan Administration in 1981. In addition to restoring funding for this office, this bill requires the EPA Administrator to conduct a study of airport noise and examine the effectiveness of the FAA’s noise measurement methods, health impact thresholds, and abatement programs. This will bring transparency to the FAA’s current noise measurement and abatement practices.

The FAA Community Accountability Act would require the FAA to work with local communities and limit noise impacts when planning and implementing new flight paths. Importantly, the FAA Community Accountability Act would require the FAA to reconsider existing routes that are exposing residents to unacceptably high levels of aviation noise. The bill also creates a new Community Ombudsman in each FAA region to monitor the impact of NextGen implementation on affected communities, serve as a liaison between airport communities and the FAA, and make policy recommendations to Congress and the FAA.

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