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California Legislature

Revised March 22, 2019


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116th CONGRESS (2019-2020)

115th CONGRESS (2017-2018)

H.R. 4 — FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018
Introduced by Rep. Bill Shuster (PA-9). See H.R. 302.

H.R. 302 — FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018
Introduced by Rep. Brett Guthrie (KY) Jan. 5, 2017; signed into law Oct. 5, 2018 (Pub. Law 115-254). The bill is the first five-year spending program (through 2023) for the FAA since the early 1980s. Title I, Subtitle D "Airport Noise and Environmental Streamlining" (sections 171-192 of the bill), contains a dozen provisions dealing with aircraft noise, all of which mandate study or research (much of which the FAA is already required to perform) but lack mandates for implementation. See in particular Sec. 175 Addressing community noise concerns; Sec. 176 Community involvement in FAA NextGen projects located in metroplexes; Sec. 179 Airport Noise Mitigation; Sec. 189 Study of potential health and economic impacts of overflight noise.

H.R.598 — Airplane Impacts Mitigation Act of 2017
Introduced by Rep. Stephen Lynch (Mass.) on Jan. 20, 2017. Requires the FAA to enter into an agreement with an eligible institution of higher education 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. The bill died in the Subcommittee on Aviation; it was identical to H.R. 5075 introduced in the 114th Congress by Rep. Lynch (see below).

H.R. 2997 — 21st Century Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act
Introduced by Rep. Bill Shuster (PA-9) on June 22, 2017. Includes a provision to transfer air traffic control to private companies.

H.R. 3938 — Air Traffic Noise and Pollution Expert Consensus Act of 2017
Introduced by Rep. Stephen Lynch (Mass.) on Oct. 4, 2017. The bill requires the FAA to sponsor an Expert Consensus Report issued by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on the health effects of airplanes flying over residential areas. A companion bill in the Senate, S.2422, was introduced by Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Feb. 13, 2018.

H.R. 6168 — Aviation-Impacted Communities Act
Introduced by Rep. Adam Smith (Wash.) on June 20, 2018 and referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Aviation. The bill created local forums in communities identified as "aviation-impacted" and required the FAA to actively consult with such forums when altering flight paths into and out of local airports. According to Rep. Smith, the bill "will help to bring some relief by streamlining the FAA’s engagement processes, allowing residents to bring their concerns directly to the FAA and airport operators." The bill expanded funding for aircraft noise mitigation in areas beyond the current limit set by 65 day-night average sound level (DNL) contours. (Bill died in committee.)

114th CONGRESS (2015-2016)

H.R.2577 — Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2016
An amendment to this omnibus funding bill (S.Amdt. 2809 to S.Amdt. 2812) requires the FAA Administrator to review decisions to grant categorial exclusions for Next Generation (NextGen) flight procedures and to consult with airports where such procedures are planned. Under existing law federal agencies are permitted to assert that, based on their experience, the potential environmental impact of some action can be categorically excluded as a possibility and thus not evaluated. This amendment by Sen. McCain (Ariz.) arose in the wake of strong protests from Phoenix and other communities throughout the U.S. as the FAA has begun implementing the NextGen procedures for landing and take off at major commercial airports. The new procedures have resulted in significant flight noise over communities that had been noise-free. The Senate unanimously consented to the amendment. (See S. 2943, below, in which this proposal was adopted and became law.)

H.R. 3384 — Quiet Communities Act of 2015
Introduced by Rep. Grace Meng (NY 6th) on July 29, 2015, this bill would restore the EPA’s Office of Noise Abatement and Control. (Similar bills have been introduced in every Congress for several years.) However, the bill also requires the EPA Administrator to conduct a study of airport noise and examine the FAA’s selection of noise measurement methodologies, health impact thresholds, and abatement program effectiveness. The results of the study would have to be available within two years following enactment of the bill. This provision stems from widespread frustration with the FAA's handling of noise abatement.

H.R. 3614 — Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2015
In July 2015 the House majority leader decided to delay consideration of an FAA reauthorization bill until the end of September, the end of the federal government's fiscal year. H.R. 3614, introduced Sept. 25, provides reauthorization of funds for the FAA for six months starting Sept. 30, when the current FAA reauthorization expires. (The current authorization was enacted in early 2012 following 23 consecutive short-term extensions that occurred between 2007 and 2012 — see 112th Congress.) The bill passed the House Sept. 28 and the Senate Sept. 29 without debate or controversy.

H.R. 3965 — FAA Community Accountability Act
Introduced by Rep. Ruben Gallego (Dem - Ariz 7th) Nov. 5, 2015. The bill would require community involvement in the planning of flight paths and airport operations; compel the FAA to take aircraft noise into account when implementing new flight paths over, or adjacent to, residential areas; and create Community Ombudsmen positions to monitor the impact of these flight paths and serve as liaisons between the FAA and local communities.

H.R. 4441 — Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization Act of 2016
Introduced in the House by Rep. Shuster (PA-9) Feb. 3, 2016.

H.R. 4721 — Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2016
This bill, introduced in the House by Rep.Shuster (PA-9) March 10, 2016, reauthorizes for the period March 31, 2016, through July 15, 2016, the Airport Improvement Program and specified related authorities. Became law March 30, 2016 (PL 114-141).

H.R. 5075 — Airplane Impacts Mitigation Act of 2016
Introduced by Rep. Stephen Lynch (Mass.) on April 28, 2016, the bill would require the FAA to commission a study of the health impacts of airplane flights on residents of selected metropolitan areas, to begin no later than six months following enactment of the bill and completed within two years after commencement of the study. No action.

S. 2761 — FAA Community Accountability Act
Introduced by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Dem - Mass) April 7, 2016. Companion bill to H.R. 3965 (above).

S. 2943 — National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017
An amendment by Sen. McCain (Ariz.) limiting the FAA's use of categorical exclusions when changing air traffic patterns to and from airports was approved and became law on Dec. 30, 2016 (Public law 114-328). A categorical exclusion is an excuse for not examining noise impacts. Sen. McCain's proposal was earlier included in H.R. 2577 (see above for discussion of categorical exclusions).

113th CONGRESS (2013-2014)

H.R. 4745 — Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2015
Rep. Adam Schiff (Dem, Burbank CA) offered an amendment (H.Amdt.832, June 10, 2014) that would allow Bob Hope Airport in Burbank to impose mandatory nighttime curfews, curfews that are presently voluntary. The amendments was defeated by a very narrow margin, 208-212. A similar bill in 2011 was defeated by a wide margin, 178-243. The recent vote may reflect a growing impatience in The Congress with aviation noise disturbance near airports.

H.R. 3547 -- Consolidated Appropriation Act of 2014
Sec. 119D of the Senate's transportation appropriations bill (S. 1243), authored by Sen. Diane Feinstein, requires the FAA to develop regulations related to the impact of helicopter operations on the quality of life of Los Angeles County residents. This bill was included in the House Consolidated Appropriations bill as Division L: Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2014. The final omnibus spending bill was adopted by both chambers, and signed into law Jan. 18, 2014.

H.R. 2120 -- Valley-wide Noise Relief Act of 2013
Introduced May 22, 2013 by Rep. Adam Schiff (Cal.). The bill would permit an airport in the San Fernando Valley outside Los Angeles to implement a total mandatory nighttime curfew uder certain conditions. As of August 2014 the bill was still stalled in the Subcommittee on Aviation, to which it was referred upon introduction.

H.R. 456/S. 208 -- Los Angeles Residential Helicopter Noise Relief Act of 2013
House bill introduced Feb. 5, 2013, by Rep. Adam Schiff, and Senate bill Feb. 4, 2013 by Sen. Diane Feinstein. These same bills were introduced in the 112th Congress but were not acted on. They have been stalled in committee since introduction.

112th CONGRESS (2011-2012)

H.R. 658 -- FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012
Introduced Feb. 11, 2011 by Rep. John Mica (Fla.). Senate version is S. 223. Authorizes appropriations through FY 2014, including funds for airport planning and development and noise compatibility planning programs. The Congress finally passed the bill in early 2012 after being unable to do so since 2007. In the intervening five years more than 20 short-term authorization acts were passed, each one side-stepping all substantive issues.

H.R. 2677/S. 2019 -- Los Angeles Residential Helicopter Noise Relief Act of 2011
House bill introduced July 28, 2011 by Rep. Howard Berman (Calif.), and Senate bill by Sen. Diane Feinstein. The bills would require the FAA to restrict helicopter flight paths and set minimum altitudes within 12 months. The bills were prompted by widespread, frequent complaints from residents in Los Angeles. The bills did not make it out of committee.

In the Senate an amendment to the FAA Reauthorization Bill (see above), authored by Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York, requiring regulation of helicopter operations above Long Island similar to HR 2677, was passed.

111th CONGRESS (2009-2010)

H.R.915 -- FAA Reauthorization Act of 2009
Introduced Feb. 9, 2009 by Rep. James Oberstar (Minn.). Senate version is S.1451. Selected provisions relating to noise are:

Sec. 508 prohibits, after December 31, 2013, the operation of any civil subsonic turbojet of 75,000 pounds or less operating out of airports in the continental United States unless such aircraft complies with stage three noise levels, with specified exceptions.

Sec. 512 directs the FAA Administrator to make arrangements for the National Academy of Public Administration or another qualified independent entity to review whether it is desirable to locate regulatory responsibility for establishment of engine noise and emissions standards for civil aircraft within the FAA or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Sec. 518 requires an owner or operator of a large hub airport to publish on its website a telephone number to receive aviation noise complaints related to the airport.

Note: The last comprehensive, multi-year legislation expired in 2007. The Senate and House have been unable to reach agreement on several major issues. As of Oct. 1, 2010 the Congress had agreed on the 16th short-term (three-month) authorization bill since 2007.

110th CONGRESS (2007-2008)

HR 2328 -- [Liberalization of Airport Noise and Access Restrictions]
Introduced May 15, 2007 by Rep. Nita Lowey (N.Y.). This bill would exempt certain airports from the limitations of the Airport Noise and Capacity Act (ANCA) of 1990, allowing airports that have had a voluntary curfew on aircraft operations since 1985 to impose a mandatory nighttime curfew without FAA approval. Under ANCA an airport must get FAA approval before imposing noise-abatement measures that limit aircraft operations.

HR 2881 -- FAA Reauthorization Act of 2007
Companion Senate bill is S.1300. As with past FAA reauthorization bills, several provisions deal with aircraft noise abatement.

Both the House and Senate reauthorization bills contain language requiring the phase-out of all stage-2 (noisiest) aircraft by December 31, 2012 (Section 506 in the House bill).

The House-passed bill authorizes a study on the federal responsibility for aircraft noise (Section 510).

Both bills would allow the use of stage-2 aircraft after that date only in limited situations, including transportation to scrap the aircraft, or to sell it to a foreign entity. In both bills stage-2 aircraft retrofitted to meet stage-3 noise levels would be permitted to operate. The phase-out applies only to aircraft operating in the contiguous 48 states. Aviation industry lobbyists are putting strong pressure on the Congress to provide a longer phase-out period and make other changes that would allow owners of stage-2 aircraft additional time to upgrade their aircraft.

Section 819 requires a study of ways to abate helicopter noise over Long Island, New York, but exempts from the study those pesky helicopters masquerading as "news reporters".

The House-passed bill would allow Sec. 189 of Vision 100 to expire with the current FAA Authorization. Sec. 189 restricts federal funding of aircraft noise mitigation to noise within the 65 DNL contour around an airport.

109th CONGRESS (2005-2006)

H.R. 455 -- Airport Noise Curfew Act of 2005
Introduced Feb. 1, 2005 by Rep. Joseph Crowley (N.Y.). This bill establishes a commission to prepare a study and make recommendations to Congress on the establishment of curfews on nonmilitary aircraft operations over populated areas of the U.S. during normal sleeping hours. The commission's report would be due six months following creation of the commission, and the commission would terminate with delivery of the report.

H.R. 2787 -- Promotion Responsibility for our U.S. Aviation Act of 2005
Introduced June 7, 2005 by Rep. Todd Tiahrt (Kans.). The bill would restore the mandate to the FAA to "promote civil aviation." Until 1996 the FAA was charged with protecting safety in flight and promoting civil aviation -- the so-called "dual mandate". The "promotional responsibility" was removed in 1996 as leading to inappropriate and inefficient conduct in the agency.

H.R. 2895 -- Quiet Communities Act of 2005
Introduced June 14, 2005 by Rep. Nita Lowey of New York. This is the fifth bill since 1997. In each session the House Republican leadership has allowed the bill to languish in committee. The bill would reestablish funding for the EPA's Office of Noise Abatement and Control, which was defunded in 1982 by President Reagan. For a discussion of the issue, see the "Quiet Communities Act of 1997" bill under the 105th Congress below.

S.4109 -- Aircraft Noise Reducation Act of 2006
Introduced in the closing days of the 109th Congress by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), this bill would give owners of older, noiser stage-2 aircraft weighing less than 75,000 pounds three years to either discontinue their use or upgrade them to meet stage-3 standards. This bill supplements the Airport Noise and Capacity Act of 1990, which applies to aircraft weighing more than 75,000 pounds.

108th CONGRESS (2003-2004)

H.R. 475 -- Quiet Communities Act of 2003
Introduced Jan. 29, 2003, this is the fourth time in recent years this bill has been introduced by Rep. Nita Lowey of New York. In each session the House Republican leadership has allowed the bill to languish in committee. The bill would reestablish funding for the EPA's Office of Noise Abatement and Control, which was defunded in 1982 by President Reagan. For a discussion of the issue, see the "Quiet Communities Act of 1997" bill under the 105th Congress below.

107th CONGRESS (2001-2002)

H.R. 299 -- Aircraft Noise Reduction Act of 2001
Introduced Jan. 30, 2001 by Rep. Steve Rothman, this one-sentence bill would prohibit civil subsonic turbojets that do not meet "stage-3" noise certification standards from operating to or from an airport in any of the 20 most populated metropolitan areas.

H.R. 903 -- Commission for Comprehensive Review of the Federal Aviation Administration Act
This bill was introduced March 6, 2001 by Rep. Frank Wolf. It would create a commission to (1) review existing and alternative options for organizational structure of air traffic services, including a government corporation and incentive-based fees for services; (2) recommend any necessary changes in structure of the Federal Aviation Administration so that it will be able to support the future growth in the national aviation and airport system; (3) review aviation safety and make recommendations for the long-term improvement of safety; and (4) make additional recommendations that would advance more efficient and effective FAA for the benefit of the general traveling public and the aviation transportation system.

H.R. 1116 -- Quiet Communities Act of 2001
Introduced March 20, 2001, this is the third time in recent years this bill has been introduced by Rep. Lowey. It would reestablish funding for the EPA's Office of Noise Abatement and Control, which was defunded in 1982 by President Reagan. For a discussion of the issue, see the "Quiet Communities Act of 1997" bill under the 105th Congress below.

H.R. 1288 -- Amendment of the 1990 Airport Noise and Control Act
Introduced March 29, 2001 by Reps. Sue Kelly, Nita Lowey, Benjamin Gilman, and Elio Engel, all of whom represent sections of Westchester County, CT, and Rep. Christopher Shays, representing Greenwich, CT. This bill, although worded broadly, is directed at permitting the Westchester County Airport to change its voluntary nighttime curfew to a mandatory one. According to the bill, the restrictions in the 1990 Airport Noise and Control Act would not apply to limits on the hours of operation of an airport adopted by the airport proprietor but disallowed by a court before 1985 if (1) the airport operator adopted before 1985 a policy of encouraging voluntary limitation of the hours of operation, and (2) the operator entered into an agreement before 1985 with scheduled air carriers regulating the capacity of the airport terminal. The identical bill in the Senate is S. 688, introduced by Sen. Charles Schumer.

H.R. 1741 -- Introduced May 3, 2001 by Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY). The bill directs the Secretary of Transportation to prohibit the commercial operation of supersonic transport jets that do not comply with stage-3 noise levels.

H.R. 2107 -- End Gridlock of Our National's Critical Airports Act of 2001
Introduced June 7, 2001 by Rep. Lipinski (Ill.), this bill would preempt state laws requiring state or local approval of development projects at the nation's largest commercial airports. This bill is immediately aimed at negating political opposition in Illinois to expansion of O'Hare Airport, but in general is a preemptive strike against the growing public concern over the noise impacts of airports and the consequent wariness about expansion.

H.R. 2429 -- LAX Noise Community Accountability Act
Introduced June 29, 2001 by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA). The bill requires the operator of Los Angeles International Airport to mail annual noise mitigation reports to residents around the airport, and requires specific content in the reports.

H.R. 2430 -- Aircraft Noise Compensation Act
Introduced June 29, 2001 by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA). The bill requires air carriers to contribute money to nonprofit organizations in communities impactted by noise from Los Angeles International Airport.

H.R. 2746 -- Airport Noise Curfew Act of 2001
Introduced Aug. 2, 2001 by Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY). The bill establishes the Airport Noise Curfew Commission, whose functions and duties would be to study and recommend to Congress the establishment of curfews on nonmilitary aircraft operations over populated areas of the U.S. during normal sleeping hours.

H.R. 4653 -- Aeronautics Research and Development Revitalization Act
Introduced May 2, 2002 by Rep. John Larson (D-CT). The bill would set up an "initiative" to develop technologies that would significantly lower noise, emissions, and fuel consumption in future aircraft, and "reinvigorate" basic and applied research in aeronautics and aviation.

S. 633 -- Aviation Delay Prevention Act
This bill, introduced March 27, 2001 by Sen. Hutchison (R-Tex.), chair of the Aviation Subcommittee, would expedite environmental review of airport development projects (Sec. 5). It "provides for coordination among the Federal, regional, State, and local agencies concerned with the preparation of environmental impact statements." It would "ensure" that federal and state reviews are done concurrently rather than consecutively. This bill, if passed, would undoubtedly hamper the ability of the public to question the estimates of noise from new airport projects or changes in routing of aircraft.

S. 712 -- Yellowstone and Teton Scenic Overflight Exclusion Act of 2001
This bill, introduced April 5, 2001 by Sen. Thomas (R-Wyo.), would immediately prohibit flights of commercial aircraft tours over the two parks.

106th CONGRESS (1999-2000)

(See List of Aviation Bills in 1999)

H.R. 561 -- Aircraft Noise Reduction in Certain Metropolitan Areas
This bill, introduced by Rep. Rothman on Feb. 3, 1999, would prohibit operation in the top 20 metropolitan areas of the U.S. of aircraft less than 75,000 pounds that do not meet stage-3 noise-suppression requirements.

H.R. 729 -- Helicopter Noise and Control and Safety Act
The FAA believes that Congress has never enacted a statute that gives it the ability to regulate helicopter traffic for any reason other than safety. This bill, introduced by Reps. Carolyn Maloney, Ed Towns, Jerrold Nadler, and Howard Berman, would give the FAA power to regulate helicopter traffic when there are concerns over helicopter noise. It would require the FAA to determine if helicopters pose a risk to public health or welfare in a city of over 500,000 people, and to develop a plan to reduce that risk.

The plan could include curfew restrictions on the number of helicopters and time of operations, restrictions on the number of daily flights for weekdays and weekends, restrictions on the type of helicopters. Anyone could request that the FAA implement a plan by submitting a demonstration that noise or safety conditions resulting from helicopters pose a risk to the public health and welfare of a city with more than 500,000 people, and the same person could submit a plan to reduce the risk. The FAA would have to complete a review of such a plan and make any modifications necessary to ensure such a plan no more than 60 days after the receipt of a the plan and study. The FAA would be limited to 90 days for public comment on the plan and would have 60 days after expiration of the public comment period to implement the plan.

H.R. 1000 -- Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century, or AIR 21
This bill by Rep. Shuster would, among other things, significantly change financial investment in airports, by increasing the Airport Improvement Program to $5 billion annually. The Airport and Airway Trust Fund (AATF) would be moved "off-budget", as Congressman Shuster accomplished for the Highway Trust Fund in 1998. If Shuster is successful with the AATF, additional funds will be available for aviation investment rather than being used to camouflage the nation's budget deficit. Slot controls would be eliminated at three of the four high-density airports (New York's LaGuardia and JFK, and Chicago's O'Hare). Washington's Reagan National Airport (the fourth high-density airport) would have six additional flights per day. Thus this bill would override any efforts by these airports to contain aircraft noise. Other provisions include increased funding for automated systems; incentives to promote competition among airlines, etc. (See below, the Budget Resolution that extends the AIP to May 31, 1999.) S. 82 is the companion bill in the Senate. See:

Public-Interest Provisions of H.R. 1000
House Passes H.R. 1000 (June 15, 1999)
Congress Agrees on Conference Report on H.R. 1000 (March 2000)

H.R. 2499 -- Silent Skies Act of 1999
This bill sets the schedule for implementation of the next stage of noise-suppression technology in commercial aircraft ("stage 4"). The bill requires that by December 3, 2000 the Secretary of Transportation must establish stage-4 noise levels for civil turbojets. Fifty percent of civil turbojets with a maximum weight of more than 75,000 pounds operating to or from airports in the U.S. would have to comply with the stage-4 noise levels by Dec. 31, 2006. All such aircraft would have to comply by Dec. 31, 2011.

H.R. 2702 -- Quiet Communities Act of 1999
This bill, introduced by Rep Lowey, Nita M. Lowey on Aug. 4, 1999, directs the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reestablish an Office of Noise Abatement and Control in EPA. Rep. Lowey sponsored the same bill two years earlier in the 105th Congress: H.R. 536, Quiet Communities Act of 1997 (see discussion under that entry).

H.R. 3661 -- General Aviation Access Act
This bill by Rep. Hansen and others, introduced Feb. 15, 2000, would prohibit the Secretary of the Interior and Secretary of Agriculture from taking any action or inaction, including neglect, which would permanently close or render as unserviceable any aircraft landing strip without following certain procedures established in the bill. Purpose is to facilitate access of small planes ("general aviation") to federal lands.

S. 82 -- Air Transportation Improvement Act
This is the Senate's reauthorization bill for the FAA. It contains numerous policy recommendations on these and other issues: $2.4 billion is authorized for Airport Improvement Program in FFY 1999 (but only $1.95 billion is appropriated); FAA will be authorized until September 30, 2000; airline competition; increased number of slots at high-density airports in Chicago, New York and Washington D. C.; overflights of national parks permitted. The bill was marked up by the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on Feb. 11.

In March Sen. Torricelli offered as an amendment to this bill the Quiet Communities Act, which would restore funding of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Noise Abatement and Control. The Quiet Communities Act was defeated in the 105th Congress (see below).

See the following articles:

Virginia Lawmakers to Fight Increase in Flights (Jan. 22, 1999)
Senate Bill Adds Flights Where They're Not Wanted (Feb. 12, 1999)
Airports Support Aviation Appropriations Bill (Mar. 10, 1999)
Viewpoint: Burying the Real Story (Mar. 10, 1999)


Airport Community Representation Act (H.R. 300)
This bill, introduced Jan. 7, 1997, would require that any airport located within 5 miles of a state boundary applying for an Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grant from the Federal Aviation Administration must have a committee representing surrounding communities review the airport's development plans. The committee would consist of three members appointed by the governor of each of the states located within 5 miles of the airport and three members appointed from the state in which the airport is located. The committee would have to review the impact of airport development projects on surrounding communities before the sponsoring airport could submit a grant application for projects that affect the noise levels, environment, traffic congestion, or safety of a community. The Federal Aviation Administration could not approve an application for a project grant unless it was satisfied that the sponsoring airport had fully considered the findings of the committee on the project.

Airport Improvement Program Reauthorization Act of 1998 (H.R. 4057)
This is an example of a "routine" annual bill on behalf of the FAA. It was introduced in the House June 16, 1998 and passed by a voice vote (after suspension of the rules) on Aug. 4. This particular bill includes procedures for permitting air tours over national parks (cf. the National Parks Overflights Act of 1997, below). On Sept. 25, 1998 the Senate voted 92 - 1 for H.R. 4057 in lieu of the companion bill in the Senate (S. 2279). [Note (Dec. 2, 1998): The House and Senate were unable to reach agreement on many controversial provisions of these bills.

Helicopter Noise Control and Safety Act (H.R. 2957)
This bill, introduced Nov. 8, 1997, would provide a means for reducing helicopter noise in cities or counties with a population more than 500,000. The bill requires that if the Federal Aviation Administration determines that helicopter operations pose a risk to the public health and welfare in a county or municipality with a population of more than 500,000, it must develop and implement a plan to reduce that risk. Such a plan could include curfew restrictions on the number and time of helicopter operations; restrictions on the daily number of helicopter flights; restrictions on the types of helicopters permitted to fly; or any other suitable measures. H.R. 2957 was allowed to die in committee by the House Republican leadership.

Metropolitan Airport Noise Reduction Act of 1997 (H.R. 153)
This bill, introduced Jan. 7, 1997, would exempt noise and access restrictions on aircraft operations to and from metropolitan airports from certain federal review and approval requirements. H.R. 153 was allowed to die in committee by the House Republican leadership.

National Parks Overflights Act of 1997 (S. 268)
This bill, introduced Feb. 5, 1997, states: "Congress finds that (1) noise associated with aircraft overflights at a national park can cause a significant adverse effect on the natural quiet and experience of the park; and (2) aircraft operations in a national park can raise serious concerns regarding public safety, including concerns regarding the safety of park users." The bill requires the Federal Aviation Administration to regulate aircraft over national parks through flight-free zones, appropriate flight restrictions, or banning flights within certain national parks. S.268 was allowed to die in committee by the Senate leadership.

Quiet Communities Act of 1997 (H.R. 536)
This bill, introduced Feb. 4, 1997, would reestablish the Office of Noise Abatement and Control in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Funding for the office was terminated in 1981. The identical bill in the Senate is S. 951, which was introduced June 24, 1997 and referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works the same day. The bill has languished in the committee ever since.

On Sept. 24, 1998 Sen. Torricelli (NJ) offered an amendment to the National Air Transportation System Improvement Act (S. 2279) that would have incorporated the Quiet Communities Act. The senate voted 69 - 27 to table the amendment (see Senate Amendment 3627 vote).

See the following articles and documents:

Recommendation of the Administrative Conference of the United States
The Defunding of the EPA's Office of Noise Abatement and Control
Loss of the U.S. EPA's Office of Noise Abatement and Control
A Voice to End the Government's Silence on Noise

Regulation of the Airspace over National Park System Lands in the State of Hawaii (H.R. 1187)
This bill would control aircraft noise over national parks in Hawaii. It requires the Director of the National Park Service (NPS) to identify areas over park lands in Hawaii where low-flying aircraft may have "an adverse impact on resources." It also requires the NPS to develop a system for reporting instances of low-flying aircraft over park lands, and the Federal Aviation Administration to investigate deviations from the requirements of this Act and to take action to discourage such deviations. The bill also specifically prohibits commercial aircraft over certain named parks and overflights at altitudes less than 1,500 feet over any park land in Hawaii.

Service to Airports Not Receiving Sufficient Service (Title I of H.R. 2748, Airline Service Improvement Act of 1997; the same bill in the Senate is S. 1353.)
This bill authorizes the Secretary of Transportation to grant exemptions in allocating "slots" (arrival and departure spaces) at high-density airports to enable air carriers to provide nonstop transportation between a high-density airport and small hub or nonhub airports that the Secretary determines are not receiving sufficient service to and from the high-density airport. The bill thus effectively overrides the authority of operators of the nation's busiest airports to determine their capacity. The bill also provides more corporate welfare: funds to purchase aircraft for airlines operating to airports "not receiving sufficient service." [Note (Dec. 2, 1998): An attempt to include the provisions of this bill in the omnibus FAA reauthorization bill failed and thus this bill will have to be reintroduced in the next legislative session.]


Aviation Noise Limit Act of 1995 (H.R. 1971)
Directs the Secretary of Transportation to develop a staged plan to reduce by at least 75 percent on or before January 1, 2001, the number of individuals residing in residential areas in the vicinity of an airport who are exposed to a yearly day-night average sound level of 60 decibels or above (the present legal limit is 65 dB). Requires the Secretary in developing such plan to consider various methods for aviation noise reduction, including soundproofing, relocation incentives, use of quieter aircraft, operations restrictions, and revision of air routes. Authorizes the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration to make airspace traffic changes in residential areas only if they will not result in an increase in aviation noise. Makes the Secretary responsible for all non-military activity, within and outside controlled airspace, regulating such activity to ensure compliance with the requirements of this Act in normal circumstances.

This bill was referred to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure (June 29, 1995), and subsequently to the Subcommittee on Aviation (July 13, 1995), where it died.


Tip Search and retrieve the text and legislative history of all California bills at California Legislation. The California Department of Transportation Aeronautics Division posts reports on the status of aviation-related bills in the California Legislature at Summary of Aviation-Related Bills in California (2001 - present).



No significant bills concerning airport noise.


No significant bills concerning airport noise.


Airport Land Use Commissions (SB 737)
This bill, introduced Feb. 27, 2009 by Sen. Negrete McLeod (32d District -- Chino), was a second attempt by Sen. McLeod to toughen the mandate for Airport Land Use Commissions (see SB 1118 in the previous legislative session). The bill would delete some sections of the Airport Land Use Commission law, leaving fewer ways for counties to establish a commission. Some counties would be required to establish a new, so-called single-entity Airport Land Use Commission or designate an established planning body for airport planning responsibilities. No county would be exempt from the requirements. (Died in committee.)


Airport Land Use Commissions (SB 1118)
This bill, introduced Jan. 24, 2008 by Sen. Negrete McLeod (32d District -- Chino), would require nine counties that are not currently using Airport Land Use Commissions to established commissions. (The bill remained on the inactive file through the end of the legislative session.)


Los Angeles International Airport Noise Standards Compliance (AB 556)
This bill, introduced Feb. 16, 2005 by Mike Gordon (53d District -- coastal Los Angeles County), would require public hearings on the airport's application for a variance from the state's airport noise standards. Currently an airport must apply for a variance when it is not in compliance with the state's airport noise standards. In theory, a variance is meant to give the airport time to comply. Under current law no public hearing is required. The bill originally applied to any airport, but opposition from San Francisco and San Diego airports forced the author to limit the application of the bill. The bill passed the Assembly May 26, 2005 on a partisan vote. It remained in the "inactive file" until the end of the legislative session.)


Airport Land-Use Commissions (AB 332)
This bill, introduced by Assemblyman Mullin (19th District -- upper San Francisco Peninsula) limits the ability of local jurisdictions to overrule a recommendation of the county's Airport Land Use Commission against new construction near an airport. The bill was sponsored by San Francisco International Airport and supported by the Port of Oakland, League of California Aviation Professionals, and the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority. (Enacted into law.)

Aviation Noise (AB 530)
This bill, introduced by Assemblyman Mullin (19th District -- upper San Francisco Peninsula) is a "placeholder," meaning that the bill could become anything in the future. As introduced, the bill says simply that it is the intent of the legislature to have airports and airlines work together so that airports comply with existing state aircraft noise standards. (Duh.)

Real Estate Disclosures: Nuisance (AB 920)
This bill, introduced by Assemblyman Nakano (53rd District, coastal Los Angeles County) makes some adjustment to last year's AB 2776 (see below). (Enacted into law.)


Aviation Noise Disclosure (AB 2776)
This draconian bill, intrduced by Assemblyman Simitian (21st District -- lower San Francisco Peninsula), radically changes what is required when you sell your home. The state's real estate transfer disclosure statute, one of the toughest in the nation, requires sellers to disclose any actual conditions that might affect the buyer's decision to purchase. AB 2776, which quickly passed in the final days of the legislative session and was signed by the governor, now requires sellers to disclose the mere fact that a house for sale is "near" an airport if the house falls within an area that could be up to two miles away from the airport. The intent is put buyers on notice that they could experience airport noise at some time in the future. AB 2776 sailed through the legislature supported exclusively by Democrats, with Republicans uniformly opposed.

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