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Quigley Works to Alleviate Aircraft Noise Pollution Near Chicago Airports

Dec 6, 2013
Press Release

New Silent Skies Act will help mitigate impact of increased O’Hare traffic

WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05) announced the introduction of the Silent Skies Act (H.R. 3650), legislation to reduce noise pollution and improve the quality of life for those who live near airports. It is part of Rep. Quigley’s ongoing efforts to address neighborhood noise concerns over increased air traffic stemming the O’Hare Modernization Project.

The Silent Skies Act will require the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to issue regulations by the end of 2015 requiring all commercial airplanes to meet Stage 4 noise standards, which are significantly lower decibel levels than those currently in use.

“Chicago’s airports are vital economic engines of our community, but they and the airlines must do everything they can to be good neighbors,” said Rep. Quigley. “Introducing newer and quieter engines into airline fleets will make them less disruptive to families who live nearby and keep our vibrant neighborhoods livable.”

In 2006, the FAA issued regulations requiring all new commercial aircraft designs to meet Stage 4 noise standards but was silent on whether airlines would need to phase out older, louder airplanes or retrofit them with quieter engines.  The Silent Skies Act will require the FAA to issue the new regulations to phase in the quieter engines at a rate of 25% of an airline’s fleet every five years, so that all commercial airplanes meet these quieter standards by 2035 at the latest.

In addition, the bill encourages research and development of quieter engine technologies through a new grant partnership program. Currently, there is no stream of federal funding dedicated specifically to the development of quieter engines.

Chicago O’Hare Airport became a part of Illinois’ 5th Congressional District in January of this year. Since then, Rep. Quigley has met continuously with neighborhood organizations and aviation officials to discuss solutions to the airport’s increasing noise pollution. He recently called on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) to further examine ways to mitigate noise pollution resulting from the new runways that opened in October as part of the O’Hare Modernization Program

Rep. Quigley serves on the House Committee on Appropriations, where he has made Chicago-area infrastructure investment a top priority as a member of the Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD).