The Ninth District is home to several airports, including Sea-Tac airport. Communities surrounding airports have come to experience an increased and disproportionate share of public health and environmental impacts stemming from increases in air traffic. Studies have demonstrated that communities near airports and airflight pathways are exposed to higher proportions of harmful pollution particles from aviation emissions. This can lead to increased risks of breast cancer, heart disease, asthma, and a variety of other lung and cardiovascular conditions. Aviation noise and emissions also disproportionately affect low-income communities and communities of color.

I have worked with residents of the Ninth District and community organizations to bring their concerns directly to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Sea-Tac airport. It is a priority of mine to ensure that not only are residents’ concerns heard, but that solutions are put forward to reduce the health and environmental impacts of aviation noise and emissions for all. This includes:

  • Working to ensure aviation impacted communities have a seat at the table to provide input to the FAA and collaboratively resolve concerns over noise and emissions with airport officials, FAA representatives, and local elected officials.
  • Advocating for re-establishing the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Noise Abatement and Control (ONAC), which oversaw the nation’s efforts to mitigate noise pollution.
  • Encouraging the FAA to reevaluate its selection of noise measurement methodologies, health impact thresholds, and abatement program effectiveness and requiring them to consider the impact on public health and the environment when determining airport capacity and approving new flight routes.

I have also introduced several pieces of legislation to support aviation impacted communities:

The Aviation Noise and Emissions Mitigation Act would help us better understand the effects of noise and emissions and fund initiatives driven by communities to mitigate these effects on public health, the environment, and the quality of life of residents living near airports and airflight pathways. This bill would create two new pilot grant programs at the EPA for studies of air quality and noise and for mitigation projects in communities, focused on low-income communities and communities of color.

The Sound Insulation Treatment Repair and Replacement Act would establish a process by which airports may apply for additional Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funding to repair or replace noise mitigation packages. Current AIP regulations make it impossible for airports to get federal AIP funding for repairing and replacing sound insulation on homes originally insulated through the AIP noise mitigation program, even if those homes had products that have failed or that were installed in a manner that causes structural damage on a home.

The Aviation Impacted Communities Act would help cities, localities, and neighborhoods better and more productively engage with the FAA. The bill is geared particularly towards communities that have not been recognized as “impacted” by the FAA’s noise standard. This bill would require that the FAA interface directly with and be responsive to residents and locally nominated leaders on issues of aviation noise and environmental impacts. Through the creation of local community boards, affected areas will be empowered to effectively work toward achieving relief from the impacts of  aviation.

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