WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Stephen F. Lynch (D-Massachusetts) introduced H.R. 3938, the Air Traffic Noise and Pollution Expert Consensus Act of 2017. The Act addresses increasing community concerns about airplane noise and pollution by requiring the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to sponsor an Expert Consensus Report issued by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine on the health effects of airplanes flying over residential areas. Expert Consensus Reports produced by the National Academies examine scientific and technological issues of national importance. The bill is co-sponsored by 13 members of Congress, including the co-chairs of the Congressional Quiet Skies Caucus, Congressman Tom Suozzi (D-New York) and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), and Vice Chair Congressman Mike Quigley (D-Illinois).

Federal and regional transportation authorities have received an increased number of complaints around airplane noise as new flight paths have been implemented as part of the FAA’s “Next Generation Air Transportation System.” The program – often referred to as “NextGen” – shifted flight paths in and out of airports, causing increased airplane activity over certain residential areas. In Massachusetts alone, MASSPORT received nearly 30,000 complaints about aviation-related noise from across 78 communities, including Hull, Hingham, Milton, and Boston, in the first half of 2017. That nearly doubled the number of complaints received during the same time period in 2016 and was more than four times the number received in the first half of 2015.

“There is a clear demand from our constituents that we look into the impacts of new flight paths across the country,” said Congressman Lynch. “It is imperative that we understand and remedy any health effects caused by aircraft flying over residential areas, and the onus is on the FAA to produce this information.”

Congressman Lynch’s Air Traffic Noise and Pollution Expert Consensus Act of 2017 would make available the best scientific information on the health impacts of air traffic noise and pollution by requiring the FAA to sponsor an Expert Consensus Report from the Division of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Under the bill, the National Academies would be required to convene a committee of health and environmental science experts within 30 days. The committee would examine the health impacts of air traffic noise and pollution and issue the Expert Consensus Report with their findings. The report would be submitted to the FAA Administrator, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and relevant Congressional Committees, including the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. 

Cosponsors of the bill include: Congressman Tom Suozzi (D-New York), Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Congressman Mike Quigley (D-Illinois), Congressman Jared Polis (D-Colorado), Congressman Ro Khanna (D-California), Congressman Ruben Gallego (D-Arizona), Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-Maryland), Congresswoman Kathleen Rice (D-New York), Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-California), Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-California), Congressman Scott Peters (D-California), Congressman Alan Lowenthal (D-California), and Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Illinois).