HR 475 IH

108th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 475

To reestablish the Office of Noise Abatement and Control in the
Environmental Protection Agency, and for other purposes.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES



January 29, 2003

Mrs. LOWEY (for herself, Mr. ABERCROMBIE, Mr. CROWLEY, Mr. FERGUSON, Mr.
FRELINGHUYSEN, Mr. FROST, Mr. HINCHEY, Mr. HOLT, Ms. KAPTUR, Mr. LANTOS, Mr.
NADLER, Mr. PALLONE, Ms. SCHAKOWSKY, Mr. SERRANO, Mr. SHAYS, Mr. SHERMAN,
Mr. SMITH of Washington, Mr. ROTHMAN, Mr. STARK, and Mr. WEINER) introduced
the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and
Commerce, and in addition to the Committee on Transportation and
Infrastructure, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker,
in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the
jurisdiction of the committee concerned


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A BILL

To reestablish the Office of Noise Abatement and Control in the
Environmental Protection Agency, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
States of America in Congress assembled,


SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the `Quiet Communities Act of 2003'.


SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

Congress finds that:

(1) Approximately 28,000,000 Americans are afflicted with some hearing loss
and it has been estimated that 10,000,000 of these impairments are at least
partially attributable to damage from exposure to noise .

(2) For millions of Americans, noise from aircraft, vehicular traffic, and a
variety of other sources is a constant source of torment. Millions of
Americans are exposed to noise levels that can lead to sleep loss,
psychological and physiological damage, and work disruption.

(3) Chronic exposure to noise has been linked to increased risk of
cardiovascular disorders, learning deficits in children, stress, and
diminished quality of life.

(4) Excessive noise leading to sleep deprivation and task interruptions can
result in untold costs on society in diminished worker productivity.

(5) Pursuant to authorities granted under the Clean Air Act of 1970, the
Noise Control Act of 1972, and the Quiet Communities Act of 1978, the
Environmental Protection Agency established an Office of Noise Abatement and
Control. Its responsibilities included promulgating noise emission
standards, requiring product labeling, facilitating the development of low
emission products, coordinating Federal noise reduction programs, assisting
State and local abatement efforts, and promoting noise education and
research. However, funding for the Office of Noise Abatement and Control was
terminated in 1982 and no funds have been provided since.

(6) Because the Environmental Protection Agency remains legally responsible
for enforcing regulations issued under the Noise Control Act of 1972 even
though funding for these activities were terminated, and because the Noise
Control Act of 1972 prohibits State and local governments from regulating
noise sources in many situations, noise abatement programs across the
country lie dormant.

(7) As population growth and air and vehicular traffic continue to increase,
noise pollution is likely to become an even greater problem in the future.
The health and welfare of our citizens demands that the Environmental
Protection Agency, the lead Federal agency for the protection of public
health and welfare, once again assume a role in combating noise pollution.


SEC. 3. REESTABLISHMENT OF OFFICE OF NOISE ABATEMENT AND CONTROL.

(a) REESTABLISHMENT- The Administrator of the Environmental Protection
Agency shall reestablish within the Environmental Protection Agency an
Office of Noise Abatement and Control.

(b) DUTIES- The responsibilities of the Office include the following:

(1) To promote the development of effective State and local noise control
programs by providing States with technical assistance and grants to develop
the programs, including the purchase of equipment for local communities.

(2) To carry out a national noise control research program to assess the
impacts of noise from varied noise sources on mental and physical health.

(3) To carry out a national noise environmental assessment program to
identify trends in noise exposure and response, ambient levels, and
compliance data and to determine the effectiveness of noise abatement
actions, including actions for areas around major transportation facilities
(such as highways, railroad facilities, and airports).

(4) To develop and disseminate information and educational materials to the
public on the mental and physical effects of noise and the most effective
means for noise control through the use of materials for school curricula,
volunteer organizations, radio and television programs, publications, and other means.

(5) To develop educational and training materials and programs, including
national and regional workshops, to support State and local noise abatement
and control programs.

(6) To establish regional technical assistance centers which use the
capabilities of university and private organizations to assist State and
local noise control programs.

(7) To undertake an assessment of the effectiveness of the Noise Control Act
of 1972.

(c) PREFERRED APPROACHES- In carrying out its duties under this section, the
Office shall emphasize noise abatement approaches that rely on local and
State activities, market incentives, and coordination with other public and
private agencies.

(d) STUDY-

(1) IN GENERAL- Using funds made available to the Office, the Administrator
shall carry out a study of airport noise . The Administrator shall carry out
the study by entering into contracts or other agreements with independent
scientists with expertise in noise measurements, noise effects, and noise
abatement techniques to conduct the study.

(2) CONTENTS- The study shall examine the selection of noise measurement
methodologies by the Federal Aviation Administration, the threshold of noise
at which health impacts are felt, and the effectiveness of noise abatement
programs at airports around the Nation.

(3) REPORT- Not later than 24 months after the date of enactment of this
Act, the Administrator shall transmit to Congress a report on the results of
the study, together with specific recommendations on new measures that can
be implemented to mitigate the impact of aircraft noise on surrounding
communities.


SEC. 4. GRANTS UNDER QUIET COMMUNITIES PROGRAM.

Section 14(c)(1) of the Noise Control Act of 1972 (42 U.S.C. 4913(c)(1)) is
amended--

(1) by striking `and,' at the end of subparagraph (C); and

(2) by adding at the end the following:

`(E) establishing and implementing training programs on use of noise
abatement equipment; and

`(F) implementing noise abatement plans;'.


SEC. 5. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

There is authorized to be appropriated for each of fiscal years 2004 through
2008 $21,000,000 for activities of the Office of Noise Abatement and Control
reestablished under section 3.