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Title II of H.R. 6002, which sets specific requirements on dBA level exposure of aircraft to residential properties, times of takeoffs, etc., is based on current technology and existing standards. Such requirements would limit the Federal Government's authority to establish_more stringent standards keeping pace with new technology. Rather than repeal Section 611 of the Federal Aviation Act of 1958, Section 6(c) of the Administration's proposal would amend Section 611 by making rules and regulations developed thereunder subject to the approval of the Administrator of EPA. The Administration's proposal would also require that the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration not issue "type certificates" under Section 603 of that Act unless he has prescribed standards, rules and regulations subject to the approval of the Administrator of EPA, and further that the Administrator of EPA may at any time request the Administrator of FAA to report on the advisability of revising standards, rules and regulations not believed to adequately protect the public from aircraft noise or sonic boom. The Administration's approach provides flexibility to take into account changes in noise technology, noise monitoring, and noise control requirements.
Again under Title III of H.R. 6002, pertaining to control and abatement of motor vehicle noise, numerical values and other conditions for noise exposure are specified. In this instance, the proposed limitations closely follow those established by the State of California, except that they do not specify the point of measurement (number of feet) nor do they take into account some of the research results now being developed by the Highway Research Board of the National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences, and National Academy of Engineering. Therefore, the requirements that would be fixed in the law would not reflect the latest developments, nor provide for keeping pace with such developments. Title III covers only motor vehicle noise, whereas, the Administration's proposal provides for noise generation control for other internal-combustion engines such as heavy construction equipment (compressors, generators, etc.). Virtually all recent studies have concluded that the major sources of noise in urban areas are from all forms of internal-combustion equipment. H.R. 6002 thus deals with only a portion of the problem while the Administration bill provides for the most important sources.
Title IV of H.R. 6002 specifies numerical levels that must be included in the regulations. The numerical regulations regarding the 8-hour daily exposure are more restrictive than those presently specified in the Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act (which have been a source of controversy). This Title, in effect, would supersede the authorities of the Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1970 regarding occupational health vested in the Secretaries of Labor and Health, Education, and Welfare. The environmental aspect of occupational health and safety is only one segment of programs which involve a combination of medical, engineering and educational functions that should be conducted in an integrated, coordinated fashion. Removal of responsibility, authority and accountability for one segment of the industrial-environmental exposure would seriously weaken the overall occupational health and safety effort. In addition to the environmental controls, other measures are required, such as the setting of standards for hearing ability associated with various tasks and occupations, and pre-employment and periodic audiometric and other evaluations to
differentiate effects of occupational noise from other sources of hearing loss (illness or accident), and the problem of providing an overall environmental control program operated in conjunction with other medical and educational procedures.
The relationship between the occupational environment and the general environment, recognizing the totality of environmental exposures, is taken into account in Section 5 of the Administration bill which would require that the Administrator of EPA assure consistency between the criteria provided for in that proposal and the criteria and standards for occupational noise exposure produced under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. In our view, this represents a better functional solution to the total environmental problem than that proposed in H.R. 6002.
H.R. 6986 (and H.R. 6987) would amend the Noise Pollution and Abatement Act of 1970.
Under Section 402, among other things, the Congress would. find that excessive noise is a serious hazard to public health and welfare, that the level of noise in the United States has doubled since 1955; the government has not taken steps necessary to provide for control and abatement; that the Federal Government has a responsibility to protect the health and welfare of its citizens; and that all citizens are entitled to a peaceful and quiet environment. The purpose of the act would be to expand the functions and responsibilities of the Office of Noise Abatement and Control; to establish means of effective coordination of all Federal research and activities relating to noise control; to establish standards to promote public health and welfare; to provide grants, contracts and assistance to State and local government; and to establish a Noise Control Advisory Council to provide expert advice.
Section 403 would provide that the Administrator of EPA establish an Office of Noise Abatement and Control.
Section 404 would authorize the Office in performing its functions to undertake investigations, hearings, research, experiments, publish reports and assist State and local governmental bodies with technical assistance.
Section 405 would provide that this Office coordinate the efforts of any arm of the Federal Government which has any responsibility relating to the control of noise, and all Federal agencies must consult with this Office on noise problems considered to be a public nuisance. The Office would be required to publish periodic reports on the status and progress of Federal activities.
Section 406 would provide that an annual report be submitted to the Congress in July of each year which would include complete information on the results of its investigations, on the work and activities of State and local governmental bodies and on the activities of other recipients of grants or contracts.
Section 407 would establish a categorical grant program for the support of State and other local governmental bodies for developing, establishing and conducting programs of noise control and for research into the causes and effects of noise and new techniques.
Under Section 408 the head of the Office would be further authorized to make grants or contracts to any public or nonprofit organization for the purpose of conducting research into noise pollution, training professional and technical personnel, and conducting demonstrations projects.
Section 409 would forbid Federal contract negotiations with persons convicted of violation of Section 412 which lists "prohibited acts." The head of the Office would establish procedures required, and within 180 days after enactment of the legislation the President would be required to issue an order requiring compliance by all Federal agencies involved in procurement. The President could exempt any contract, loan or grant where such exemption would be paramount to the interest of the United States, and he would be required to report annually to the Congress regarding measures taken.
Section 410 would create a Noise Control Advisory Council to advise the head of the Office on its responsibilities and further to review all project grants and contracts.
Section 411 would authorize the prescribing of standards, rules and regulations applicable to any machine, or class of machinery, which is determined contributes to, or may contribute to, the endangering of the public health and welfare. Provision would be made for necessary inspections and investigations to implement this section. Manufacturers for which regulations, rules or standards were promulgated would be required to maintain records, make reports and provide necessary information. State or local governmental units would be permitted to set stricter standards than those established under this section.
H.R. 6986 further would provide for district courts to have jurisdiction to restrain violations of the standards set and to impose civil and criminal penalties for each violation with maximum fines set. If the head of the Office fails to take action against a violator within 60 days suits by private citizens would be authorized against the polluter or the head of the Office, as may be appropriate. In any civil action to which the head of the Office is a party, he would appoint attorneys to represent him.
EPA supports the general objectives of H. R. 6986, but recommends enactment instead of H.R. 5275.
Section 403 would continue the Office of Noise Abatement and Control currently established by Title IV, P.L. 91-604 and deals with responsibilities for undertaking investigations, hearings, research, experiments and reports provided under P.L. 91-604. We would prefer an approach whereby the Administrator of EPA would have management flexibility of modern program planning and budget operation and procedures.
Coordination of Federal activities under Section 405 carries forward that requirement already in P.L. 91-604 and in the main, contains the same proposals as in the Administration bill under Section 4. Section 405 would require the publication of a periodic report and Section 406 requires an annual report. While a report requirement is desirable, we believe only one such requirement is preferable.
As in H.R. 6002, the grant programs provided in Section 407 and 408 would be duplicative. Again, the technical assistance provisions contained in H.R. 5275, would provide a better basis for Federal support of State and local programs and would give more flexibility to take care of individual State needs. Section 407 and 408 would also provide specific appropriation authorizations. As stated above, we believe the legislation should authorize appropriation of such sums as may be necessary. Studies that are underway in EPA will provide a basis for determining the amounts that will be needed to carry out an effective program.
Section 409 would provide for Federal procurement procedures for with respect to noise control. Although the Administration's bill does not specifically deal with this issue, we believe that consideration should be given to the use of Federal procurement to further the purposes of the Federal noise control program.
We concur in the desirability of obtaining advice and recommendations of an interdisciplinary group of nongovernmental experts. However, we question the desirability of a Noise Control Advisory Council to deal in the actual administration of grant and contract awards. EPA is presently considering the establishment of an advisory group. In this context we will take account of the need for experts in the noise control field.
As provided in Section 411 standards, rules and regulations would be applicable to machines, or classes of machinery, defined in Section 416 as any item of mechanical or electrical machinery or equipment. This definition is vague and could cover almost anything. The Administration bill deals with the major sources of noise in urban areas. Studies that are now underway in EPA will be useful in identifying other sources of noise that require attention and other steps that may be needed on the part of Federal, State or local governments to reduce noise.
An almost impossible situation for manufacturers would be created by provision for State or local standards which are stricter than those set by the Federal Government for products in interstate commerce. While conditions in States may vary, it is envisioned that the standards to be established by the Administrator of EPA would be those most consistent with requirements for protection of health and welfare and the abatement of nuisances. Where more restrictive requirements might be needed to meet special State situations, the provision of the Administration's bill would preserve the rights of States or sub-divisions to control, regulate, or restrict use, operation, or movement of products emitting noise. We believe that this is a far more satisfactory approach to the problem.
Section 414 provides that attorneys employed by the "head of the Office" shall appear and represent him in any actions instituted under the Act. We believe that the Attorney General of the United States or his designee should represent the Federal Government in any actions.
H.R. 6988 (and H.R. 6989) would require the disclosure of the operational noise level of all new machinery distributed in interstate commerce and imported into the United States one year after enactment. "Machinery" is defined as an item of mechanical or electrical machinery or equipment, and "operational noise level" is defined as the highest level of internally generated noise produced by machinery when in operation under reasonably anticipated conditions of use.
The proposal would require that disclosure be made of each machine's operational noise level unless it has been specifically exempted by the Administrator. Such an exemption would be based upon the operation noise level being so low as to be negligible and that such information would not be of value to the user.
The bill would direct the Administrator to prescribe regulations establishing standard procedures for measuring the operational noise level of each class of machinery and the form and content of plates or labels which would be required. He would be further authorized to conduct such inspection and investigation as may be necessary to implement the Act and to require manufacturers of new machinery to keep records, make reports and provide such information as the Administration may reasonably require.
The Administrator would be authorized to assess a civil penalty, not in excess of $25,000 for each violation with a maximum penalty not to exceed $500,000 for a related series of violations. Criminal penalties could be imposed by a court up to $5,000 or imprisonment not to exceed 180 days, or both. District courts would have jurisdiction of any action. Civil action by private citizens would be authorized against any violator or the Administrator if no action has been taken within sixty days after notice of a violation. In any civil action to which the Administrator is a party, he would appoint attorneys to represent him.
EPA favors the purposes of H.R. 6988, but prefers the Administration bill for the following reasons.
The definition of "machinery" in H.R. 6988 is so broad that literally thousands of items would come under it. The definition of "operational noise level" as representing the highest level of internally generated noise produced by the machine adds new terminology which would only serve to complicate the already highly complex and somewhat confused semantics relating to the noise problem. The "operational noise level" would be a required specification or statement to be included on plates or labels to be affixed to machines. We see little merit in affixing plates or labels which give no indication as to the significance of the noise level information or its effect on health and welfare or nuisance effects.
The Administration's proposal provides for a more manageable and meaningful approach to the requirement to inform the public regarding noise generation associated with various products and its significance. Greater flexibility would also be given to the Administrator in selecting the method of the notice and the units of measurement and specification of the warning. This would allow the use of the best scientific technology available to develop meaningful terms applicable to the particular product and the noise therefrom. It would also allow the Administrator to use information developed in the course of hearings called for by Title IV, P.L. 91-604.
H.R. 6990 (and H.R. 6991) would amend the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 to require adoption of standards for the purpose of providing effective protection to workers against the deleterious effects of excessive noise.
This proposal would direct the Secretary of Labor to promulgate noise standards in accordance with a dBA table provided.
Since the Secretaries of Health, Education, and Welfare and Labor have the responsibilities for occupational health and safety matters, EPA defers to their judgment as to the desirability of this proposal.
It is of interest, however, that the Administrator of EPA would be required to assure consistency between criteria published under [p. 29]