A broad spectrum of aviation groups is opposing a congressional bill that would allow local authorities to set noise standards at general aviation airports. In a letter to House leaders, nine groups representing operators that use municipal, regional and major airports say H.R. 5423, the Aircraft Noise Reduction Act, would undermine the federal authority that governs aviation policy. “This legislation seeks to impose restrictions at the local level, thereby undercutting the utility and safety of thousands of airports across our nation and reversing course on the need to regulate aviation matters at the federal level, which Congress has recognized since the 1920s,” the letter reads. It was sent to leaders of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and its aviation subcommittee.
The Department of Transportation, through the FAA, has full authority over aviation facilities and policy and the letter says the bill will compromise that authority. The Airport Noise and Capacity Act (ANCA), enacted in 1990, governs noise levels at airports and the groups say it “provides an effective process” for assessing and adjudicating those issues. The bill, they say, would allow local authorities to restrict access by commercial aircraft and imperil a host of vital services and businesses. It would also force commercial operators to use large airports, adding to the already significant congestion at many of them. “Uniform federal authority is an essential predicate to the safe and efficient administration of the National Airspace System,” the letter reads. “Any changes to this well-established process will open the door to a tangle of conflicting local regulations, encouraging inefficiencies and jeopardizing safety.”