WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) released the following statement upon the introduction of his bill, the Aviation Impacted Communities Act, which would help address aviation-related noise and emissions pollution experienced by communities near airports and air-flight pathways.

“Across the country, communities near airports and air-flight pathways are burdened with high concentrations of noise and emissions pollution, which can result in serious public health and environmental consequences. Far too often, these consequences disproportionately fall on low-income communities and communities of color,” said Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash). “Residents in aviation impacted communities – like my constituents who call Washington’s Ninth District home – should not be left to deal with these challenges on their own. The Aviation Impacted Communities Act would allow residents to bring their concerns directly to the Federal Aviation Administration, creating a platform to develop effective solutions to mitigate the harmful effects of commercial aviation-related activity in an equitable way.”

“Rep. Smith's aviation impacted communities will help our beloved Seattle Beacon Hill neighborhood and other affected neighborhoods. We are under the flight path. Airplanes fly over us as often as every 90 seconds on the average. Seventy percent of inbound flights go over our heads. The noise is disruptive and bad for our health. There are many poor families including elderly who live in our Beacon Hill neighborhood. This bill will help relieve this unjust burden,” said Estela Ortega, Executive Director, El Centro de la Raza

Background

In recent years, some communities have come to experience an increased and disproportionate share of noise and other environmental impacts stemming from commercial aviation. The concerns of residents of these increasingly impacted areas are not being adequately addressed. 

The Aviation Impacted Communities Act seeks to help localities, neighborhoods, and community members to more effectively and productively engage with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This legislation 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 community boards, affected areas will be empowered to effectively work toward achieving relief from the impacts of civil and commercial aviation.

The Aviation Impacted Communities Act will:

  • Establish a new “aviation impacted communities” designation for areas suffering from excessive noise or environmental impacts.
  • Establish a process to bring together airport operators, designated community leaders, public health and environmental experts, and the FAA to discuss solutions.
  • Require that appropriate FAA representatives attend community board meetings and respond to community questions and concerns about issues involving aviation or the FAA when requested.
  • Allow communities to petition the FAA for comprehensive impact studies and require that the FAA develop action plans to respond to communities’ concerns and the recommendations for mitigation provided in the impact studies.
  • Expand the availability of mitigation funding for aviation impacted communities outside of the current 65 day-night average sound level (DNL) contours.
  • Provides grants for noise mitigation in a designated community for residences, hospitals, nursing homes, adult or child day care centers, schools, places of worship, or other impacted facilities identified in a community assessment.
  • Establish a sustainable ongoing revenue stream for relief efforts/noise insulation in the bill through funding from increases in revenue to the Airport and Airways Trust Fund.

The burden of airplane noise and environmental impacts should not fall disproportionately on any single group, neighborhood, or community. This bill will help to bring some relief by streamlining the FAA’s engagement processes, allowing residents to directly bring their concerns to the FAA and airport operators, comprehensively assessing the effects of aviation in a given area, and seek mitigation for those impacts.

The Aviation Impacted Communities Act is endorsed by El Centro de la Raza.

The full text of the bill can be found here.

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