In recent years, communities around the SeaTac Airport have come to experience an increased and disproportionate share of noise and other environmental impacts stemming from commercial aviation. This has been the case even as many other areas have seen reduced overall noise burdens. Making matter worse, the concerns of residents in areas experiencing increased aviation traffic are not being adequately addressed.
Congressman Smith has made it his priority to ensure that not only are residents’ concerns heard, but that solutions are put forward to reduce noise and environmental impacts for all. At the local level, Congressman Smith has worked to bring the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to the table and has brought the concerns of residents directly to the agency through roundtables and direct meetings between residents, agency staff, airport staff, and local elected officials. At the federal level, Congressman Smith has been a leader in the Quiet Skies Caucus in Congress, a group of Representatives that have elevated aviation noise and environmental issues to the forefront, along with introducing and passing legislation on these issues. Here are some of the recent things Congressman Smith has done to reduce aviation noise and environmental impacts for the residents of the 9th District:
- Giving Communities Solutions to Aviation Impacts: Introduced legislation to give communities under flight paths several options to address the aviation issues they face while requiring that the FAA work closely with residents. The Aviation Impacted Communities Act allows communities under flight paths to be designated as “Aviation Impacted Communities”. The designation will allow communities to establish community boards alongside the FAA so that they can work together to address aviation impacts. The FAA will be required to help communities find solutions for their issues. The communities will be able to petition the agency for studies on noise and environmental impacts. They can also apply for additional noise monitors and mitigation.
- Reducing Aviation Emissions: Communities near airports suffer from increased particle emissions and more must be done to understand the impact of these emissions. That is why Congressman Smith introduced the Protecting Airport Communities from Particle Emissions Act, which directs the FAA to conduct a study on ultrafine particles and their effects on the communities around the nation’s twenty largest airports, including Sea-Tac.
- Supporting increased FAA engagement and Reforming how the FAA monitors noise: Supported two amendments in the FY 2018 Consolidated Appropriations Act that would increase the FAA’s engagement with communities by increasing funding for the FAA to hire community engagement staff. The other amendment directed the FAA to study alternative metrics to the 65 Day-Night Average Sound Level.
- Secured Funding for Highline School District for Noise Mitigation in Classrooms: As Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, Smith fought for the inclusion of an provision in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to provide Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) funding for noise mitigation projects at schools in the Highline School District in Burien, WA.