Congressman Smith Reintroduces the Aviation Impacted Communities Act

Discussion:

WASHINGTON, D.C.Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) reintroduced the Aviation Impacted Communities Act today, which will help communities better address noise and other environmental impacts stemming from nearby airports.

Communities across the nation continue to experience an increased and disproportionate share of noise and other environmental impacts stemming from commercial aviation. The Aviation Impacted Communities Act seeks to help citizens better and more productively engage with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in seeking relief from aviation noise concerns.

“The burden of airplane noise and environmental impacts should not fall disproportionately on any single group, neighborhood, or community. Residents of these increasingly impacted areas have been raising concerns that have yet to be adequately addressed,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “The Aviation Impacted Communities Act will allow residents to bring their concerns directly to the FAA and airport operators, empowering them to work toward achieving relief from the impacts of civil and commercial aviation.”

“The Aviation-Impacted Communities Act comes at a critical time and crossroads for our national aviation system. The Act provides an essential new voice and role for communities that have supported, and have been disparately impacted by, aviation industry growth. By seating impacted communities at the same table with government and industry, the Act provides a meaningful tool-kit for better, balanced, collaborative decision-making that can include noise and emission studies, long-term regional plans for reducing impacts, and expanded eligibility for mitigation.  Quiet Skies Puget Sound supports and endorses the Aviation-Impacted Communities Act! We greatly value the work, advocacy, and leadership of Congressman Adam Smith on this legislation that so directly targets the preservation of our environment, human health, and quality of life,” said Sheila Brush, Founder of Quiet Skies Puget Sound.

 

“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 every 90 seconds on the average. 70% 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, located in Seattle, Washington.

 The Aviation Impacted Communities Act 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. It also ensures communities suffering from increases in aviation noise are able to partake in a process for seeking relief based on the findings of more robust impact studies. Residents will be able to assess the effects of aviation in a given area and seek mitigation through streamlined FAA engagement processes, ultimately leading to real solutions for impacted communities protecting their environment, health, and quality of life.

Original Cosponsors: Ro Khanna (D-CA), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Jimmy Gomez (D-CA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Harley Rouda (D-CA), Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD), Norma Torres (D-CA), Joe Kennedy III (D-MA), Grace Meng (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Don Beyer (D-VA), Ed Case (D-HI), and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)

The Aviation Impacted Communities Act:

  • Establishes a new “aviation impacted communities” designation for areas suffering from excessive noise or environmental impacts.
  • Establishes a process to bring together airport operators, designated community leaders, public health and environmental experts, and the FAA to discuss solutions.
  • Requires that appropriate FAA representatives attend community board meetings and respond to community questions and concerns about issues involving aviation or the FAA when requested.
  • Allows 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.
  • Expands the availability of mitigation funding for aviation impacted communities outside of the current 65 day-night average sound level (DNL) contours.