WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) released the following statement after the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) advanced the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill, which included his legislation, the Protecting Airport Communities from Particle Emissions Act and a provision to protect North SeaTac Park in Washington’s Ninth District.
“I applaud the Committee for including important aviation noise related provisions, including my bill, the Protecting Airport Communities from Particle Emissions Act, in this year’s FAA reauthorization bill that passed out of Committee this week. The provisions in the bill will help move us forward in the effort to mitigate the impacts of aviation noise and pollution and enhance 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 green space for community members in my district that the City of SeaTac, Port of Seattle, and other local leaders have been working to preserve,” said Rep. Adam Smith. “Aviation impacted communities are over-burdened by health, environmental, and quality-of-life impacts, and we need to put forward solutions to understand and address these impacts – this bill is a positive step in that direction. This important advancement would not be possible without the tireless advocacy efforts of local leaders and organizations who have consistently fought for policies to bring relief to residents and communities impacted by aviation. I’m grateful for their efforts, and I will keep pushing for the strongest possible provisions in the FAA reauthorization bill.”
“On behalf of the Port of Seattle, we are grateful to Senator Cantwell and Representative Smith for their successful efforts to include this significant provision to allow for the preservation of North SeaTac Park in the House and Senate versions of the 2023 FAA Reauthorization Act,” stated Port of Seattle Commissioners Hamdi Mohamed and Fred Felleman. “This legislation will provide the flexibility needed for the Port to work with the FAA, the City of SeaTac, and the community to address our neighbors’ need for open space, while also meeting our environmental priorities and the region’s aviation needs.”
“Sea-Tac Airport brings huge benefits to our whole region’s economy, but the negative impacts of airport operations are almost all felt right here in our local airport communities that bear the burden of air and noise pollution. We need to make sure that all levels of government – federal, state, and local – are looking out for the needs of the people living in airport impacted communities. Including these important provisions in the FAA’s reauthorization is an important step to protecting and helping the folks who are hurt the most by that air and noise pollution,” said Washington State Senator Karen Keiser
“North SeaTac Park is an essential community asset to both SeaTac and surrounding communities. This 220-acre park improves fresh air, reduces noise, and provides a healthy space for community connection,” says SeaTac Deputy Mayor Senayet Negusse. “I am grateful for Rep. Adam Smith’s leadership in providing a path for preservation of this open space for generations to come.”
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.
Passage of the FAA reauthorization bill in the House T&I Committee is just one step in the process to advance the bill to the House floor for consideration. Following passage in the House, differences must be reconciled with the Senate’s FAA reauthorization bill.
More information about Rep. Smith’s testimony to the House T&I Committee can be found here. The full testimony can be read here.
Aviation noise related provisions in the FAA reauthorization bill passed out the Committee include:
  • Protecting Airport Communities from Particle Emissions Act (UFP Study) - This section requires a National Academies study to examine airborne ultrafine particles (UFP) and their effects on human health, including on susceptible individuals. Among its considerations, the study will provide recommendations on measures to reduce aviation-related emissions.
  • 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. 
  • 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, work with airports sponsor and aviation communities in modifying arrival and departure routes.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
More information about Rep. Smith’s Protecting Airport Communities from Particle Emissions Act can be found here.
Statements of Support for the Protecting Airport Communities from Particle Emissions Act
“Thank you, Congressman Smith! The new science is consistently showing that airport noise and pollution is causing significant public health harm to airport communities. However, government and industry action is lagging behind. Congressman Smith’s three new bills lay the groundwork for leveling the playing field against resistant regulators and industry, by creating sensible policy to address the risks to public health from airport operations.” – Sheila Brush, Chair of Quiet Skies Puget Sound
“I am honored to have been involved as an advisory board member with the many phases of this UW UFP MOV-UP (Mobile Observations of Ultrafine Particles) research. There is still much to learn and finding extremely poor health outcomes in residents living around Sea-Tac Airport in a 2020 King County community health profile makes it even more urgent to continue this type of research. I am grateful to congressman Smith for putting forward a bill that will aid in this pursuit. I look forward to continued research into relationships between noise and emissions from aviation sources and these alarming poor health outcomes.” – Debi Wagner, Chair of Quiet Skies Coalition
“The Protecting Airport Communities from Particle Emissions Act is an important step in mitigating adverse health impacts on airport adjacent communities and helps to ensure that institutions can work together to build healthier communities. Communities who live adjacent and near the airports have the right to their well-being and this is an opportunity for institutions and government to help us reach that goal. It is important for me to know what harmful impacts are present, and how aircraft and airport operations are reducing their emissions because I live under a flight path, with a family member who has a chronic health condition and is immunocompromised. These compounding factors can certainly impact our lives.” – Sameth Mell, Aviation Community Activist