WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) released the following statement after the House of Representatives passed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill.

“Residents in aviation impacted communities – like many of my constituents in the Ninth District – are overburdened by health, environmental, and quality-of-life impacts, and we must advance solutions to understand and address these impacts. The bill we passed today includes many provisions that will help study and mitigate the impacts of aviation noise and pollution. It includes my bill, the Protecting Airport Communities from Particle Emissions Act, and enhances community engagement between the FAA and residents in aviation-impacted communities. The bill also includes a provision to permanently protect North SeaTac Park, an important win for community members in SeaTac,” said Rep. Adam Smith. “This year’s reauthorization bill was a bipartisan effort, and we didn’t get everything we wanted. I am extremely disappointed to see the inclusion of a provision to raise the mandatory retirement age for commercial airline pilots. I fought for an amendment to remove this provision, which I believe would have passed the House with bipartisan support, but House Republican leadership did not make the amendment in order. I will work with my colleagues to get this harmful provision removed as differences between the House and Senate FAA reauthorization bills are addressed. The bill is not perfect, but overall, I believe we delivered a package that will create a stronger aviation system to meet our air transportation needs and bring relief to aviation impacted communities. I commend the local leaders in Washington’s Ninth who helped get us to this point and who continue to advocate for residents and communities impacted by aviation.”
There were many important provisions for aviation impacted communities included in the FAA reauthorization bill, including:
  1. Protecting North SeaTac Park: The bill includes a provision that enables North SeaTac Park in Washington’s Ninth District to be permanently protected.
  2. UFP Study: The bill includes a modified version of Rep. Smith’s bill, the Protecting Airport Communities from Particle Emissions Act, which requires a study on ultrafine particles. 
More information about Rep. Smith’s Protecting Airport Communities from Particle Emissions Act can be found here.
Noise Provisions
  1. Aviation Noise Officer: The bill requires the FAA to appoint an Aviation Noise Officer who will act as a liaison with the public and community groups on issues regarding aircraft noise. This position will make recommendations to the FAA to address concerns raised by the public.  
  2. Reducing Community Aircraft Noise Exposure: The bill requires the FAA to take certain actions to reduce aircraft noise when implementing or revising a flight procedure. This includes implementing flight procedures that can mitigate aircraft noise and working with airports sponsor and aviation communities in modifying arrival and departure routes. 
  3. Aviation Noise Metrics Study: The bill requires a National Academies study on the efficacy and disadvantages of the Day-Night Average Sound Level (DNL) noise metric compared to alternatives, including for assessing the impacts of nighttime noise, and any changes that should be made to it. 
Community Engagement Provisions
  1. Aviation and Airport Community Engagement: The bill requires the FAA to form an Airport Community of Interest Task Force to provide recommendations on multiple aspects of FAA community engagement with airport communities, including with regard to Federal noise abatement efforts, air traffic pattern changes, the Federal noise complaint process, development projects around airports, and improving information sharing. 
  2. Community Collaboration Program: The bill requires the FAA to establish a Community Collaboration Program to harmonize policies and procedures across the Agency relating to community engagement, including establishing the Airport Community of Interest Task Force, hosting regional engagement events, coordinating with the Air Traffic Organization on engagement efforts related to air traffic procedure changes, oversight of Regional Ombudsmen, increasing the responsiveness of the FAA’s noise compliant process, and implementing GAO recommendations related to improving outreach on noise. 
Earlier this year, Rep. Smith shared his priorities for the FAA reauthorization with the House T&I Committee. In his testimony, he pushed for policies to more effectively address the environmental, health, and quality of life concerns of aviation impacted communities.

More information about Rep. Smith’s testimony to the House T&I Committee can be found here. The full testimony can be read here.

Passage of the FAA reauthorization bill is just one step in the process to advance the bill to the President’s desk to be signed into law. Following House passage, differences must be reconciled with the Senate’s FAA reauthorization bill.