LEGISLATION

Last Congress, Congresswoman Speier introduced eight airplane noise bills – the highest number of any Member of Congress focused on the airplane noise issue. Rep. Speier plans on introducing airplane noise legislation again this Congress.

The bills previously introduced includes:

  1. REST Act: would allow airports to voluntarily impose a curfew at any time between 10 pm and 7 am, and permit penalties for curfew violations, with exceptions for emergencies, public safety, and other circumstances.
  2. SNORE Act: would establish a program at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to noise insulate 200 homes per year in specific areas, or provide financial support to the cities impacted by noise. Failure to do so would result in steep penalties equal to ten times the amount of funding provided to the noise-affected location under the Community Development Block Grant funding.
  3. APPRISE Act: would ensure that community knowledge and input is represented in the FAA flight procedure design process. An aviation roundtable technical representative would be allowed to fully participate in the FAA procedure design process for procedures affecting their communities. Roundtable technical representatives would participate under the same terms and conditions as representatives from airports, airlines, and procedure proponents.
  4. SHHH Act: would support formally initiating and continuing the standard processing of the proposed San Francisco International Airport (SFO) NIITE Departure Southbound Transition and the Oakland International Airport (OAK) HUSSH Departure Southbound Transition. The FAA would provide staffing and support to the SFO Roundtable, would not prohibit the SFO Roundtable from formally initiating the procedures, would permit Roundtable technical representatives to participate on the FAA Procedure Based Noise (PBN) Committees, and would require the FAA to follow the standard PBN process without adding requirements or withholding permissions.
  5. FAIR Act: would amend the FAA’s prioritization of U.S. airspace use. Safety in managing U.S. airspace would remain the first priority. Secondary priorities would put noise and health impacts on residents and other environmental concerns on an equal basis with efficiency. It would also require the FAA to update their Mission Statement to align with the revised airspace priorities.
  6. RESPECT Act: would require FAA staff to answer questions submitted in writing by Members of Congress relating to flight procedures or other data affecting their district within 90 days. It would also require FAA staff to appear at a meeting or town hall with a Member of Congress with 30 days’ notice, and under the same terms and conditions as specified by the FAA for appearances at Aviation Roundtables.
  7. NOTIFIED Act: If a new or modified flight path is proposed through the FAA Procedure Based Navigation (PBN) process, the FAA would be required to notify City Councils, Boards of Supervisors, Members of Congress, and Aviation Roundtables within 5 miles of the flight path in question. Notification shall include the flight procedure name, approximate path, approximate altitudes, and other pertinent information.
  8. LEAVE Act: As an airplane leaves from an airport, its takeoff generates significant amounts of ground-based, low-frequency noise and vibration impacting residents in the vicinity. While measurement, standards, and mitigation of airborne flight noise is well defined, low-frequency noise and vibration caused by an airplane on the runway at high thrust levels accelerating for take-off is not yet established. The bill would lead to the establishment of standards and remedies related to ground-based noise (GBN).

If enacted, the bill would permit a state cause of action for GBN if a state has undertaken a study of GBN at an airport, determined the amount of GBN, and identified a level of substantial negative impact and any diminution in real property values caused by such GBN. Before a cause of action would be permissible:

  • the state must complete a study of ground-based noise at the airport in question
  • the state must set a limit for ground-based noise emanating from the airport
  • the airport would have to be shown to have exceeded that limit

This legislation was introduced on November 14, 2019. Go to Congress.gov to track the bills’ progress.

QUIET SKIES CAUCUS

Congresswoman Speier is a member of the Quiet Skies Caucus, which seeks to raise awareness on the issue of aircraft noise and find meaningful solutions to the problem. The Caucus consists of congressional representatives from across the country whose constituents have been impacted by the FAA’s NextGen Program.

A full list of membership and history of actions taken can be found here.