This week, N.O.I.S.E. signed a letter that was sent to the U.S. Senate opposing the authorization of overland supersonic flights in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Authorization bill. N.O.I.S.E. joined thirty-seven other environmental, public-health and community groups that also signed onto the letter. The letter lays out various negative impacts that would result from the operation of supersonic civilian aircraft over the mainland United States, including the harmful noise pollution supersonic flights would expose people to.
The full letter can be found here.
The supersonic aircraft language was included in the Senate FAA bill as the Lee-Gardner amendment, which was passed in the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation in 2017, and would require the FAA to set a US domestic landing and takeoff noise standard for supersonic aircraft no more stringent than the 2006 Stage 4 limits for large aircrafts as well as promulgate a rule within 3 years to replace the 1973 overland flight ban on supersonic aircraft with an en-route noise standard. If the FAA fails to set such a standard, the overland flight ban would be automatically repealed.
The Senate language here is particularly problematic because it is extremely unlikely that the FAA could develop an en-route noise standard to replace the overland flight ban in 3 year; therefore, the main effect of this language is to repeal the sonic boom ban without replacing it.
The letter was sent as staff meetings between Republican and Democratic staff from both the House and Senate began on Monday, August 27 to negotiate a compromise aviation bill that could potentially lay the groundwork for a bill to be attached with an appropriations agreement. The deadline for both the FAA reauthorization and appropriations legislation is September 30, which is quickly approaching.
N.O.I.S.E. has communicated our organization's priorities to the Committee and reiterated our support for continued collaboration between Congress, the FAA, communities and stakeholders to find reasonable and common-sense solutions to the impacts of aviation noise. Community impacts of aviation noise should be considered as a crucial part of the calculation that determines the overall benefits of flight path changes and emphasized the importance of two-way communication with noise affected communities when developing the final design of new airspace.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or need additional information.
National Organization to Insure a Sound-Controlled Environment (N.O.I.S.E.)