Rep. Lynch Introduces Airplane Impacts Mitigation Act
BOSTON, MA – This week, Congressman Stephen F. Lynch (D-Boston), joined by members of the bipartisan Quiet Skies Caucus, introduced H.R. 598, the Airplane Impacts Mitigation (AIM) Act of 2017. As communities across the country continue to face increasing levels and durations of airplane noise, Congressman Lynch and his colleagues introduced the AIM Act to ensure that the health impacts of airplane overflights are thoroughly examined. The AIM Act will ensure that strong, independent research into the health impacts of prolonged exposure to airplane noise and emissions is available to inform the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) decision-making going forward.
With the adoption of the NextGen, GPS-based navigation system, hundreds of flights per day are guided with laser-like precision over narrow flight paths. While the RNAV procedures of the NextGen system can increase efficiency, the neighborhoods lying beneath flight paths experience extended periods of aircraft noise and exposure to air pollutants, raising health implications and negatively impacting the quality of life for local families.
“I am very pleased to reintroduce the AIM Act because I hear every day from local families in Milton, Hull, South Boston, and other communities in the 8th District about the direct impact that concentrated and relentless airplane noise has on their quality of life. The FAA must put airplane-related health impacts above jet fuel economy as they try to optimize flight path efficiency. This public health study will help promote a healthier environment for the people who live and work near Logan Airport and other airports around the country,” said Congressman Lynch. “The Quiet Skies Caucus will be working hard to make oversight of the FAA and the impacts of airplane noise a top priority. The AIM Act is an important step towards ensuring that local communities are heard and the FAA is held accountable for its policies.”
H.R. 598, the Airplane Impacts Mitigation (AIM) Act of 2017 has 18 original cosponsors including Representatives Mike Quigley (IL-05), Ruben Gallego (AZ-07), Michael E. Capuano (MA-07), Katherine M. Clark (MA-05), Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09), Hakeem S. Jeffries (NY-08), Donald S. Beyer (VA-08), Anna Eshoo (CA-18), Joseph Crowley (NY-14), Grace Meng (NY-06), Jackie Speier (CA-14), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), Daniel Lipinski (IL-03), Janice D. Schakowsky (IL-09), Scott Peters (CA-52), Ted Lieu (CA-33), Kathleen M. Rice (NY-04), and Thomas R. Suozzi (NY-03).
“New flight paths implemented under the FAA’s NextGen program have generated alarming and untenable increases in noise impacts across my entire Congressional District. I consistently hear from constituents who are impacted daily and are concerned about air pollution and other negative health impacts of airplane overflights,” said Congresswoman Eshoo. “This legislation goes to the heart of this issue, ensuring there will be scientific data developed and measured to assess the NextGen program and its effect on my constituents.”
“Having grown up less than a mile from Midway Airport in Chicago, I know that airplane noise can be extremely frustrating,” Congressman Lipinski said. “With new flight paths having been implemented into and out of Midway and other airports, the AIM Act is critical in helping us address the impact of these changes on people who live and work near our busy airports.”
“Better understanding the health impacts of prolonged exposure to airplane noise is critical, and it would be a vital tool in our efforts to combat excessive aircraft noise over our communities,” said U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY), a founder and Co-Chair of the Quiet Skies Caucus. “We must pursue all legislative remedies that seek to mitigate the impact of noise and pollution caused by airplanes, and this legislation would take a major step towards that goal. I thank Congressman Lynch for introducing this important bill.”
“The persistent noise pollution many of my constituents in Chicago face every day is not only a source of major aggravation but also a serious public health concern that requires immediate action supported by sound science,” said Rep. Quigley (IL-05). “I am proud to co-sponsor the Airplane Impacts Mitigation (AIM) Act, which will address air contamination and the impacts of noise caused by airplane overflights. This bill will help enhance the quality of life and improve the health of residents living near airports across the country.”
“I look forward to working with all stakeholders to reduce aircraft and helicopter noise for the residents of Queens and along the North Shore of Long Island,” said Congressman Suozzi. “This legislation will help all stakeholders better understand the health impacts of prolonged exposure to aircraft noise which all parties can use to work towards reaching the goal of reduced noise pollution and getting things done.”
In particular, the AIM Act requires the FAA Administrator to enter into an agreement with a reputable and independent school of public health to conduct a study of the health impacts of airplane flights on residents exposed to a range of noise and air pollution levels from such flights, including asthma exacerbation, sleep disturbance, stress, and elevated blood pressure.
The study will focus on residents living partly or wholly within the land area underneath the flight paths most frequently used by aircraft flying including during takeoff or landing at an altitude lower than 10,000 feet. It will consider only those health impacts that manifest during the physical implementation of the NextGen RNAV program.
In addition, the AIM Act mandates that the study will focus on residents in Boston, Chicago, New York, the Northern California Metroplex region, Phoenix, and up to three additional cities. These five areas have noticed a distinct change in flight paths and sharp shifts in airplane noise as a result of the NextGen flight system.
The Congressional Quiet Skies Caucus seeks to raise awareness of the impact of aircraft noise, hold the FAA accountable to the concerns of local communities, and find meaningful legislative and administrative solutions to reduce airplane noise. The caucus consists of members of Congress from across the country whose constituents are severely impacted by the FAA’s NextGen flight system.
Congressman Lynch and the members of the Quiet Skies Caucus are strong advocates for robust community engagement between the FAA and communities surrounding local airports. In December of 2015, Congressman Lynch held a public forum with representatives from the FAA, Massport, and other local elected officials in order to provide concerned residents with an in person opportunity to be heard. Nearly 600 people attended the three and half hour public forum in Milton to share the impact that concentrated airplane flight paths have on their daily lives.
In October of 2016, the FAA and Massport signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to address aircraft noise concerns at Logan Airport. Congressman Lynch and Congressman Capuano also agreed to become signatory parties to the MOU in order that they may have legal standing to intervene on behalf of affected cities and towns if the FAA or MassPort breaches its obligation to improve local conditions as they consider strategies that may reduce noise and improve the quality of life for local communities.
Congressman Lynch first introduced the AIM Act in the 114th Congress.
The text of H.R. 598, the Airplane Impacts Mitigation (AIM) Act of 2017 is available here