Rep. Lynch Files Amendments to FAA Reauthorization to Reduce Airplane Noise and Strengthen Agency Responsiveness to Community Concerns

Jul 19, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, Congressman Stephen F. Lynch (D-Boston), the Vice-Chair of the bipartisan Quiet Skies Caucus, filed a series of amendments to H.R. 2997, the 21st Century Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization Act, also known as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization bill. Congressman Lynch is strongly advocating for provisions that reduce airplane noise, improve the quality of life for local communities under flight paths, and promote a more responsive FAA.

“I hear daily from families in Milton, Hull, South Boston, and other communities in the 8th District about the impact of concentrated and relentless airplane noise. As the House considers the reauthorization of the FAA, it is critically important that strong provisions are included to address constituent concerns about the public health, noise, and environmental impacts of the NextGen precision-based navigation procedures. Unfortunately, in our area, the FAA has proven to be the least responsive agency in the federal government. These proposed amendments will help increase community engagement, explore alternate flight paths, and ensure that the public health impacts of airplane noise are taken into account in FAA decision-making going forward. I thank State Senator Walter Timilty, State Representative Nick Collins, our local elected officials, and local advocacy groups for keeping the pressure on the FAA to ensure that community concerns are heard loud and clear,” said Congressman Lynch.

After hearing directly from local advocates and receiving a letter from the Milton Town Administrator sent on behalf of the Milton Board of Selectmen to members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation, Congressman Lynch offered an amendment to require an Expert Consensus Report from the Health and Medicine Division of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Within 30 days of enactment, the National Academies of Sciences will be required to convene a committee of experts in health and environmental science to examine the various health impacts of air traffic noise and pollution and prepare a corresponding Expert Consensus Report that sets forth current scientific knowledge relating to the various health impacts of air traffic noise and pollution. 

While Republicans included a watered-down version of Congressman Lynch’s legislation, H.R. 598, the Airplane Impacts Mitigation Act in the FAA Reauthorization, they removed critical provisions that would require the FAA to initiate a health study surveying the public health impacts at airports around the country. They also extended the timeline for the study, delaying answers for local communities. In order to increase accountability and get much-needed data on the impacts of airplane noise on local communities, Congressman Lynch offered an amendment to insert the full text of the Airplane Impacts Mitigation Act into the FAA Reauthorization bill.

In addition, Congressman Lynch offered amendments to improve the responsiveness of Regional FAA Administrators. In order to eliminate the prolonged dispute about the FAA participating in a public forum, similar to what occurred ahead of Congressman Lynch’s December 2015 forum with the FAA, he offered an amendment that requires the Regional FAA Administrator to conduct public forums within affected local communities in their region every 90 days to address concerns regarding the logistical, environmental, and health impacts of aircraft overflight noise. Congressman Lynch also filed an amendment, which would establish a Regional Aircraft Noise Ombudsman in each FAA region to enhance agency responsiveness to public concerns with aircraft noise.

While House leadership postponed consideration of H.R. 2997 and does not expect to vote on it this week, Congressman Lynch filed the amendments ahead of Monday’s amendment deadline and will seek to build bipartisan support for the amendments ahead of floor consideration for the FAA Reauthorization bill.