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relating noise emissions from a given source to effects on public health and welfare in an enforceable way, when standards are to be set on a national basis without control of the circumstances of use or the number of products in a given area, led the Committee to conclude that implementation of a technologically-based standard was preferable in terms of uniformity and enforceability to one calling for protection of the public health and welfare. While the intention of the whole bill is to protect public health and welfare from environmental noise, the Committee expects that the application of the best available technology will just begin to realize that goal in the foreseeable future.

After the effective date of standards applicable to a product, the manufacturer must warrant to the purchaser and subsequent owners of that product that it conforms with the standards at the time of sale and that it is free from defects in materials and workmanship which cause the product, under normal use, operation, and maintenance, to fail to conform during its useful life. Useful life is to be determined by the Administrator, taking into account the range of uses to which such product might be put.

This is a defects warranty, not a warranty that the product will in fact perform up to the standards throughout its useful life. The Committee intends that the manufacturer be liable only for those changes in noise emissions which are in fact within his control. This is the purpose for including the consideration of the many possible, even unforeseeable uses to which the product may be put, and for requiring the user to operate and maintain the product in a normal way. In fact, standards may contain provisions dealing with manufacturers' instructions for the maintenance or use of the product.

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Subsection 408 (d) of the bill deals with the responsibilities of the Federal government and State and local governments in controlling noise. For any product manufactured after the effective date of an applicable Federal standard, authority to establish noise emission standards for the product enforceable directly or indirectly against the manufacturer is preempted. States and cities, however, retain complete authority to establish and enforce limits on environmental noise through the licensing, regulation, or restriction of the use, operation, or movement of a product, or concentration or combination of products.

It is the intention of the Committee to distinguish between burdens which fall on the manufacturers of products in interstate commerce and burdens which may be imposed on the users of such products. In the judgment of the Committee, noise emission standards for products which must be met by manufacturers, whether applicable at the point of introduction into commerce or at any other point, should be uniform.

On the other hand, States and local governments have the primary responsibility under the bill for setting and enforcing limits on environmental noise which in their view are necessary to protect public health and welfare. This essentially local responsibility is not assumed or interfered with by this bill, although Federal leadership and technical assistance are provided in the criteria required by section 407 (a) which will set forth levels of environmental noise protective of public health and welfare.

The environmental impact statement prepared by the Administration for its proposed noise control legislation stated: "The States and localities would be aided in their efforts by the technical assistance provided under the proposed bill, without taking from the local units of government the power to determine the levels of perceived noise consistent with community aspirations." This also reflects the intention of the Committee in this bill. At a minimum, States and local governments may reach or maintain levels of environmental noise which they desire through (a) operational limits or regulations on products in use (such as speed or load limits or prohibitions of use in given areas or during given hours); (b) quantitative limits on environmental noise in a given area which may be enforced against any source within the area, including zones adjacent to streets and highways; (c) regulations limiting the environmental noise which may exist at the boundary of a construction site; (d) nuisance laws; or (e) other devices tailored to the needs of differing localities and land uses which do not amount to a burden manufacturers must meet to continue in business.

This discussion of preemption does not deal with regulation of noise from interstate carriers such as railroads and motor carriers. Such sources, which are regulated under Parts B and C of title V, are subject to State or local regulations only where the Administrator determines it to be necessitated by special local conditions or not in conflict with regulations under Parts B or C.


The bill generally parallels the enforcement authority of the Clean Air Act. This includes criminal penalties of $25,000 or one year's imprisonment for the first violation of the prohibited acts section applicable to manufacturers. The bill also provides authority to enjoin any violation. In addition, the bill makes it a criminal violation for a manufacturer or dealer to assist any person in removing or disconnecting a noise suppression device or the giving of information to any person on how to remove or disconnect such device for purposes not allowed by the bill.


Standards apply to all new products except those intended solely for export. Exported products have only to comply with the standards of the importing country. It is not the intention of the Committee to require the United States government to enforce the noise emission standards of other countries. Rather, this language in section 411(b) is intended to make clear that exported U.S. products must comply with applicable foreign standards.

The bill also provides authority for citizens to sue in the Federal district courts to abate violations of the requirements of the law. This section is nearly identical to the citizen suit provisions in the Clean Air Act (section 304) and the Committee intends that it be utilized and interpreted in a similar fashion.

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Excessive noise from aircraft has been identified as the major noise problem for many Americans. One of the concerns which the Committee addressed in considering means to reduce aircraft noise was the relative roles of the Environmental Protection Agency, created in 1970 to centralize the Federal government's environmental regulation, and the Federal Aviation Administration, charged with complete responsibility for aircraft operations and safety.

Presently, under section 611 of the Federal Aviation Act, the FAA has authority to set standards for noise emissions from aircraft and aircraft engines. Current standards cover only certain new aircraft types certificated after the effective date of those standards. Proposed standards recently published in the Federal Register would extend coverage to newly manufactured aircraft of existing types. Under section 309 of the Clean Air Act, EPA has authority to review and comment on regulations of FAA and other agencies.

In the judgment of the Committee, the proper role and expertise of the Environmental Protection Agency is in identifying levels of environmental noise associated with adverse effects on public health and welfare, and, as in the Clean Air Act and Federal Water Pollution Control Act, in assessing the availability of technology to attain such levels. The special expertise and responsibility of the Federal Aviation Administration is recognized by the Committee in the area of aircraft engine and airframe design and construction, aircraft operations, and, above all, safety in air commerce.

Accordingly, section 501 of the reported bill requires the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to promulgate standards for the measurement of aircraft noise and to identify levels of noise emissions from aircraft and aircraft engines which in his judgment are adequate to protect the public health and welfare with an adequate margin of safetv. In this instance the term "safety" refers to safety from adverse effects of noise on public health and welfare. The Environmental Protection Agency therefore establishes in the first instance the levels for aircraft noise which would be necessary to protect public health and welfare.

Standards for noise emissions from aircraft, which actually define what aircraft manufacturers and air carriers must attain, would be promulgated on the basis of the degree of noise reduction achievable through the application of the best available demonstrated technology, taking into account the cost of compliance. Technological availability and the reasonableness of compliance costs would be jointly determined by the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Aviation Administration, since they share expertise in these matters. However, standards may be promulgated only after the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration determines them to be consistent with the highest degree of safety in air commerce, and technologically available for application to the particular aircraft or engine type in question. Air safety is to be the paramount consideration, and the FAA's responsibility in as

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suring safety is recognized in this veto over aircraft noise emission standards.

The bill provides that existing standards promulgated under section 611 of the Federal Aviation Act will continue in effect until modified in accordance with the provisions of this bill. The Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency is directed to review those standards within 9 months after enactment for consistency with the requirements of this bill. Original type certificates cannot be issued after July 1, 1973, unless noise emission standards which apply to such aircraft have been promulgated. Any standards would be implemented and enforced through the authority of the Federal Aviation Administration, under its on-going program of inspection and certification of aircraft. In addition, violations of the standards would be subject to the penalties and abatement procedures until Title IV, including citizen suits to abate violations.

The Committee considered approaches to controlling aircraft noise based on a concept of cumulative noise exposure, involving the level of noise from aircraft to which individuals in the areas surrounding airports are exposed and the effects of such exposure on public health and welfare. While methods other than noise emission standards can be effectively utilized to reduce aircraft noise, the Committee felt that it had insufficient knowledge as to the precise regulatory mechanism for cumulative aircraft noise exposure. Therefore, the Committee included in the bill, in place of any regulatory scheme dealing with community noise around airports, a one year study by the EPA of the implications of identifying and achieving levels of cumulative noise exposures around airports. The results of this study, submitted to the Committees on Public Works and Commerce of the Senate and the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce of the House with legislative recommendations, will form the basis for any legislation on aircraft noise in the next Co ngress.

Also included in this study are the adequacy of FAA flight and operational noise controls, the adequacy of noise emission standards on new and existing standards on new and existing aircraft (together with the Environmental Protection Agency's recommendations on the retrofitting and phaseout of existing aircraft), and any additional measures available to airport operators and local governments to control aircraft noise. In the context of the development of this legislation, inquiries were sent by one member of the committee to manufacturers, airlines, trade organizations, government agencies, and independent consultants concerning the possibility of mandating retrofit and phaseout requirements. (See appendix for text of letter and replies.)

Tools other than noise emission standards do exist for reducing aircraft noise. It is the intention of the Committee in section 501 (c) of the bill that all existing authority over aircraft or aircraft noise be utilized to reduce that noise, including, among other things, the consideration of flight and operational changes such as the two-segment landing approach and the adjustment of take-off, approach and flight paths to impact fewer people, and review of traffic flow with regard to adequacy of load factor.

States and local governments are preempted from establishing or enforcing noise emission standards for aircraft unless such standards are identical to standards prescribed under this bill. This does not

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address responsibilities or powers of airport operators, and no provision of the bill is intended to alter in any way the relationship between the authority of the Federal government and that of State and local governments that existed with respect to matters covered by section 611 of the Federal Aviation Act of 1958 prior to the enactment of the bill.


The Administrator is authorized to grant a total of $22.5 million over a three fiscal year period to State and local environmental noise control agencies. Grants are limited to two-thirds of planning and development costs and one-half of maintenance costs, in order to highlight the importance of getting new programs off the ground. No one State may receive more than 10% of the total funds, and, where an environmental noise control agency program encompasses more than one State, funds are apportioned.

Specific requirements must be met before an agency may qualify for a grant. First, the agency must meet the qualifications of the definition of "environmental noise control agency" contained in section 404. It must be established pursuant to State law or local ordinance and have jurisdiction over the prevention and control of noise. Secondly, there must be adequate representation of local, State and international interests, where appropriate. Thirdly, the Administrator must be assured. that the agency has the capability of developing and enforcing a comprehensive environmental noise control program. To qualify, the agency must have authority to regulate the location, modification, and construction of individual noise sources. It must have authority to assure that products in use will not exceed applicable noise levels, and that controls on environmental noise can be enforced against individual sources. Noise monitoring equipment must be available in the field to monitor compliance with required standards and levels, and the agency must have authority to issue abatement orders.

By conditioning funding on effective enforcement authority of State and local environmental noise control agencies, the Committee intends to implement one of the major policies of the Act: the encouragement and support of adequate State and local programs to control environmental noise.

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