WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, Congressman Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA), Co-Chair of the Congressional Quiet Skies Caucus for the 116th Congress, introduced H.R. 976, the Air Traffic Noise and Pollution Expert Consensus Act to address 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.
“There is a clear demand from our constituents that we look into the impacts of 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 burden is on the FAA to produce this information.”
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 over 71,000 complaints about aviation-related noise from across 83 communities, including Hull, Hingham, Milton, and Boston, in 2018, which increased the number of complaints received in 2017 by almost 20%, and almost doubled the amount of complaints received in 2016.
Congressman Lynch’s Air Traffic Noise and Pollution Expert Consensus Act 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.
Congressman Lynch sits on the Aviation Subcommittee of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. Cosponsors of the bill include: Congressional Quiet Skies Caucus Co-Chair Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Congressional Quiet Skies Caucus Vice- Chairs Thomas Suozzi (D-NY) and Mike Quigley (D-IL), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL),Ted Lieu (D-CA), Anna Eshoo (D-CA,) Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Adam Smith (D- WA), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Julia Brownley (D-CA), Dan Lipinski (D-IL), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Judy Chu (D-CA), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Karen Bass (D-CA), and Kathleen Rice (D-NY).
The text of H.R. 976, the Air Traffic Noise and Pollution Expert Consensus Act, can be read here.