Page images

tion must be made as to whether such product qualifies as a lownoise-emission product. Within one hundred and eighty days after a determination that such product qualifies, a decision is to be made as to whether it is suitable as a substitute for a product presently being purchased for use in the Federal Government. Both the determination and the decision are to be published immediately in the Federal Register, including the reasons therefor.

Any product for which a proper certification application has been received, which has been determined to be a low-noise-emission product, and which has been decided to be a suitable substitute for a product presently being purchased will be certified by the Administrator for a period of one year.

Such a certified product will be acquired by purchase for use by the Federal Government in lieu of other products if the Administrator of General Services determines the procurement cost is no more than 125 per centum of the retail price of the least expensive product for which it would be substituted. Statutory price limitations are waived for procuring such products, and authorizations for appropriations for the additional amounts needed for a three-year period are provided.

Tests of products certified and procured by the Federal Government are to be made as the Administrator deems appropriate, and if noise levels exceed those on which certification was based, he must give a written notice to the supplier as well as issue a public notice. The supplier will be given an opportunity to make necessary repairs, adjustments, or replacements.

Procedures to implement this section are to be prescribed within one hundred and eighty days after this Act becomes law.

Section 16. Authorization of appropriations

To carry out this Act (other than section 15) appropriations are authorized for: $3,000,000 for fiscal year 1972; $6,000,000 for fiscal year 1973; and $12,000,000 for fiscal year 1974.


One record vote was taken during Committee consideration of the bill. The vote was on the following amendment by Mr. Eckhardt, which was defeated by a vote of 3 ayes, 16 nays:

Delete section 6(d)(1).


Washington, D.C.


Chairman, Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce,
House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.

DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: This is in response to your requests for the views of the Environmental Protection Agency on H.R. 5275 (and 5388), 6986, and 6989. We are also including comments on H.R. 923, 6002, 6984, and 6990, which are related proposals.

H.R. 5275 (also 5388) is the Administration's bill to control the generation and transmission of noise detrimental to the human environment.

Under a statement of congressional findings, that bill would provide that inadequately controlled noise presents a growing danger to public

[p. 20]

health and welfare, particularly in urban areas; that the major sources of noise include transportation vehicles and equipment, machinery, appliances, and other manufactured articles that move in commerce; and that primary responsibility for control of noise in many respects rests with States and local governments but that Federal action is essential to deal with major noise problems which require national uniformity of treatment. It would be the policy of the Federal Government to promote an environment free from noise that jeopardizes public health and welfare.

The Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, who would have the primary responsibility for implementing the legislation, would be required to promote the coordination of all Federal programs relating to noise research and control, and all other Federal agencies would be required to furnish him with any information he might reasonably request about their programs. On the basis of regular consultation with appropriate agencies, the Administrator would publish periodic reports on the status and progress of Federal noise abatement activities.

The Administrator would be given authority to develop and publish criteria, after consultation with appropriate Federal Departments and agencies, for noise for the protection of public health and welfare and which would reflect the best scientific knowledge in identifying the effects of differing quantities and qualities of noise. He would be directed to confer with the Secretaries of Health, Education, and Welfare and Labor to assure consistency with criteria and standards for occupational noise exposure under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. After compilation of initial criteria, the Administrator would compile and publish a report or series of reports to identify major sources of noise and to give information on techniques for the control of such noise which would include available data on technology, costs and alternative methods of control.

The Administrator would also be authorized to prescribe noise standards for construction equipment, transportation equipment, including recreation equipment and equipment powered by internal combustion engines. In prescribing and amending standards, he would have to consider whether it would be economically reasonable, technologically practicable and appropriate for the particular products and whether the particular products could be more effectively controlled through Federal or State or local regulations. The standards so prescribed would be those requisite to protect the public health and welfare. Standards would apply only to those products manufactured subsequent to the effective date of such standards. Any manufacturer of a product covered by a proposed standard would have the right to a public hearing.

Section 611 of the Federal Aviation Act, which authorizes the regulation of noise or sonic boom characteristics of civil aircraft and components thereof, would be amended to provide that standards, rules and regulations prescribed by the Federal Aviation Administration subsequent to enactment of this legislation must be approved by the Administrator of EPA. Further, after the effective date of the proposed legislation, the FAA could not issue a type certificate for any aircraft and components thereof unless he has already prescribed standards, rules and regulations for the noise characteristics.

After the Administrator of EPA prescribed noise-generation standards for any product, no State or subdivision thereof could adopt or

[p. 21]

525-314 O 734

enforce different standards for such products. However, States or subdivisions would retain the right to control, regulate, or restrict the use, operation or movement of such products.

Únder the provisions of this Administration proposal, the Administrator of EPA would also have the authority to designate products or classes of products that (1) produce noise capable of adversely affecting public health and welfare or (2) are sold wholly or in part on the basis of their effectiveness in reducing noise. The Administrator could prescribe noise-generation or noise-reduction labeling requirements for any products so designated to be affixed to the product and the container. These labeling requirements would be far reaching and apply to many categories of equipment beyond those which would be subject to noise emission standards. States or subdivisions would retain the right to regulate product labeling in any way not in conflict with Federal regulations.

Prohibitions included in the proposal would not allow any manufacturer of new products to sell a product after the effective date of labeling regulations promulgated respecting either noise-generating characteristics or noise reduction unless they conformed to such regulations; or any person, prior to the sale to the ultimate purchaser to remove the affixed notice or label. Products imported would be subject to the same general standards and labeling requirements as domestic products. Two exceptions to these prohibitions would be provided— the Administrator could exempt any new product upon such terms and conditions as he might find necessary to protect the public health or welfare, for the purpose of research, investigations, studies, demonstrations or training, or for reasons of national security; and products intended solely for export.

Every domestic manufacturer covered by the noise regulations or labeling regulations would be required to maintain records, make reports and provide such information as the Administrator may reasonably need to determine that such manufacturer was in compliance with the Act. Information relating to trade secrets would be kept confidential.

In furtherance of his responsibilities, the Administrator would be authorized to conduct and assist noise research, including the investigation of effects on humans, domestic animals, wildlife, and property; development of improved methods and standards for measurement and monitoring of noise in cooperation with the National Bureau of Standards; and determination of most effective and practicable means of controlling noise. He would also provide technical assistance to and prepare model legislation for State and local governments and disseminate information to the public.

H.R. 5275 would provide for civil penalties of not more than $25,000 for each violation of the Act which could be imposed either by the Administrator, after notice and the opportunity for a hearing, or by a court. In determining the amount of the penalty, the Administrator would consider the gravity of the violation and the efforts to achieve compliance after the notice was given. Penalties could be judicially enforced. The Administrator would be able to enlist the aid of any State to enforce the Act either by suing to restrain violations or by imposing civil penalties. Any civil penalty thus imposed would be payable one-half to the State and one-half to the Federal Government. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends that the Administration proposal, H.R. 5275, be enacted. This legislation would

[p. 22]

provide for noise abatement control which is appropriate and adequate at this time. The Administrator of EPA would have flexibility of management which would allow him to incorporate the best managerial techniques and planning and to apply the most suitable and up-to-date technology available to carry out an effective program. States and local governments would retain responsibility to control certain aspects of noise. The Federal Government would provide technical assistance to them and address the major noise problems where national uniformity is needed.

In summary, the functions that EPA, in consultation with other agencies, would carry out under H.R. 5275 are:

1. Prescribe criteria for noise to protect the public health and welfare.

2. Identify and set standards for the following major sources of noise:

(a) Construction equipment;

(b) Transportation equipment (including recreational vehicles and related equipment); and

(c) Equipment powered by internal combustion engines. 3. Establish labeling requirements for designate products or classes of products.

4. Promote the coordination of Federal programs relating to noise research and noise control.

H.R. 923 would provide for the establishment of an Office of Noise Abatement Control within the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. Such office would be directed to conduct a complete investigation and study of noise and its effects on public health and welfare. The results of the study, together with recommendations for action, would be reported to the President and the Congress within one year of the enactment of this bill. Appropriations of such amounts as would be necessary for the purposes of the bill would be authorized.

EPA fully supports the purposes of H.R. 923, but does not recommend that it be enacted since its provisions closely parallel requirements already enacted into law under the "Noise Pollution and Abatement Act of 1970" (Title IV, P.L. 91-604) which places the responsibility with the Environmental Protection Agency. Actions mandated by the Congress in P.L. 91-604 are now in progress in EPA.

H.R. 6002 would "provide for a comprehensive program for the control of noise" under the direction of the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Section 102 would authorize the Administrator to make grants to States for the purposes of providing programs of noise control, research into the causes and effects of noise, programs for the investigation of existing causes of excessive noise and research into new techniques of controlling, preventing, and abating noise with an authorization for appropriations escalating from $5 million for fiscal year 1972 to $13 million for fiscal year 1976. Allocation and reallocation formulas would be provided for these funds for those States with plans approved under conditions designated.

Section 103 would authorize the Director (rather than the Administrator) to make grants to any public or nonprofit private agency, organization or institution, or to make contracts for the services of any such agency, organization, institution or of any individual to conduct research, provide training, and establish and conduct dem

[p. 23]

onstration projects. Appropriations would be authorized on an escalated basis from $5 million for fiscal year 1972 to $12 million for fiscal year 1975.

Title II of this proposal would require the Administrator, after consultation with the Secretary of Transportation, to prescribe and amend standards for the measurement of aircraft noise and sonic boom and to prescribe and amend such rules and regulations as may be necessary. Standards, rules and regulations initially issued under this section would include specified restrictions on such things as the dBA level exposure to the nearest residential properties, times of takeoffs in populated areas and ground runup intervals. Civil aircraft would be prohibited from operating at supersonic speeds over land areas of the United States. Injunction proceedings would be provided, and any person violating any standard, rule or regulation under this title would be fined not less than $1,000 for each violation. Section 611 of the Federal Aviation Act of 1958 (49 U.S.C. 1431) would be repealed.

Title III would direct the Administrator to prescribe standards, rules and regulations applicable to the emission of noise from motor vehicles sold in commerce which endanger health and welfare. Standards, rules and regulations initially issued would include prohibitions against the operation of motor vehicles where the noise level of the vehicle exceeds specified dBA levels at certain speeds. Injunction proceedings and penalties would be the same as under Title II.

Title IV would direct the Administrator to prescribe standards, rules and regulations applicable to occupational noise exposure. Standards, rules and regulations initially issued would include specified dBA limits throughout the workday and for impact noise during the workday. Injunction proceedings and penalties would again be the same as under Title II. Standards, rules and regulations which would be promulgated under this bill would supersede those set under the Walsh-Healey Act (41 U.S.C. 35, et seq.).

EPA generally supports the purposes of the bill but recommends against the enactment of H.R. 6002. The Administration's bill, H.R. 5275, for reasons enumerated below, provides a more comprehensive and effective approach to the problem.

Section 102 of H.R. 6002 is patterned upon existing State-aid categorical program support authorities such as under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act. This authority overlaps, to a large measure, that contained in Section 103 of the proposal under which grants could be made to "any public or nonprofit private agency, organization, or institution" to conduct research in the same areas. Duplication of research efforts would be wasteful and could lead to confusion. We agree it is desirable to provide technical assistance to States to develop noise control programs; however, we do not believe it is necessary or appropriate for the Federal Government to provide categorical program support to states as contemplated in H.R. 6002. The more general authorities contained in Section 11 of H.R. 5275 would also provide greater flexibility in structuring research programs to be conducted by both public and private agencies. Further, the appropriation provision in Section 14 of H.R. 5275 is preferable in that it would authorize appropriations for each fiscal year beginning with 1972 for such sums as are necessary. This would provide for essential flexibility in structuring programs needed to take advantage of "breakthroughs" or unexpected new developments in research.

[p. 24]

« PreviousContinue »