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Congresswoman Karen Bass

Representing the 37th District of California

CORRECTED: House Passes FAA Reauthorization Bill, Provisions to Address Aviation Noise Still Need Strengthening

May 1, 2018
Press Release
WASHINGTON – Last Friday, the House of Representatives passed a 6-year reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which contained provisions sponsored and co-sponsored by Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), including language that would: seek to overhaul the inaccurate way that FAA accounts for noise impacts; recognize that noise during the night has even more health effects than noise during the day; and increase the priority that the FAA gives to effects on the ground when changing flight paths.

“It’s long past time for Congress to address airplane noise and its harms,” said Rep. Bass. “Increasing airline efficiency must not and cannot require the sacrifice of health and well-being of those on the ground. I look forward to continuing to fight for constituents affected by the roar of aviation over their heads."

You can watch the remarks made by Rep. Bass upon passage of the FAA reauthorization bill here:

As a member of the Quiet Skies Caucus, Rep. Bass has worked with other Congressional representatives affected by airplane noise and NextGen Metroplex implementation. She introduced 4 amendments to the 2018 FAA reauthorization bill and collaborated on more than 40 others that would have addressed additional harms caused by airplane noise.  Only 13 of those were allowed by Republican leadership to advance to the floor for a final vote. The 11 amendments below have been passed by the House of Representatives in the 6-year FAA Reauthorization bill:  

Measuring Actual Noise, Revising FAA Systems

  • Amendment #90 - Requires the FAA within 1 year of enactment of the bill to complete the ongoing evaluation of alternative metrics to the current Day Night Level (DNL) 65 standard.
  • Amendment #62 - The Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration shall evaluate alternative metrics, including the use of actual noise sampling, as part of a day-night average sound level standard. Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Administrator shall submit to Congress a report on the results of the study, including a description of the proposed structure of a recommended pilot program.
  • Amendment #89 - Requires the FAA to develop a 5-year aircraft noise research and mitigation strategy.
  • Amendment #15 - To require that the FAA Administrator submit a report to Congress on the status of the technology that was promised to keep planes higher for a longer duration (Terminal Sequencing and Spacing or TSAS) with specific information provided, by airline, regarding the adoption and equipping of aircraft and the training of pilots in its use.
  • Amendment #16 - Requires a Government Accountability Office report studying:
    • while maintaining safety as the top priority, whether air traffic controllers and airspace designers are trained on noise and health impact mitigation in addition to efficiency; and
    • the prevalence of vectoring flights due to over-crowded departure and arrival paths, and alternatives to this practice.
  • Amendment #7 - Adds “economic impacts” to the study on the effects of airport noise on communities near busy airports.
  • Amendment #14 - Permits the Secretary to carry out an aircraft noise, emission, and fuel burn reduction research and development program (CLEEN II).
  • Amendment #116 - Restores funding to critical aviation environmental research and development programs by altering provisions in Title VII, Section 703(a) of the recently updated House Reauthorization bill (H.R. 4), that as written would cut the funding level for FAA Environmental Sustainability Research and Development programs by over 50 percent from the current $43 million funding level. Further, the amendment would strike a "poison pill" in the FAA bill (in Section 703(b) of Title VII) that proposes a contingency funding provision that would nullify the authorization for FAA’s environmental R&D programs entirely should appropriators decline to appropriate full funding to certain other unrelated programs.
  • Amendment #29 - Directs the FAA to establish a program to utilize available remote detection and identification technologies for safety oversight, including enforcement actions against operators of unmanned aircraft systems that are not in compliance with applicable Federal aviation laws, including regulations. It also requires annual reporting by the FAA to Congress to report the number of drones entering restricted airspace, the number of enforcement cases brought by the FAA or other agencies, and recommendations by the FAA for detection and mitigation systems.

Addressing Concerns At Smaller Airports

  • Amendment # 12 - Requires a report from the Secretary of Transportation and the National Research Council on aviation gasoline that assesses non-leaded fuel alternatives to the aviation gasoline used by piston-powered general aviation aircraft.

Retrofitting Aircraft, Improving Airport Maintenance

  • Amendment #69 - Asks for a report on airline and passenger safety pertaining to aging commercial aircraft: the average age of commercial aircraft owned and operated by United States carriers, overall use of planes, including average lifetime of commercial aircraft, the number of hours the aircraft are in flight, and the impact of metal fatigue on aircraft safety, review on contractor assisted maintenance of commercial aircraft and re-evaluation of the rules on inspection of aging airplanes.

NOTE: This press release replaces one issued on April 27th.