For immediate release
October 26, 2021
Chapel Hill: Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet has released a position paper calling for the restoration of the federal noise pollution control office.
The Office of Noise Abatement and Control (ONAC) was established by the Noise Control Act of 1972. ONAC was responsible for requiring product labeling, issuing noise emission standards, facilitating the development of low-emission standards, coordinating federal noise reduction programs, assisting local and state noise abatement efforts, and promoting noise education and research.
In 1981, the Reagan administration de-funded the agency, asserting that its regulations were “burdensome” and that noise pollution was a matter for state and local governments. Since that time, Congress has never refunded the agency (even though the Noise Control Act of 1972 is still in effect).
Noise pollution is a significant health issue. Noise pollution is linked to hearing loss, tinnitus, sleep deprivation, heart disease, chronic fatigue, hypertension, depression, learning difficulties, and decreased job performance. Noise is also a significant quality of life issue.
The Quiet Communities Act of 2021 (H.R. 4892) sponsored by Representative Grace Meng (D., New York) calls on ONAC to promote the development of effective state and local noise control programs, carry out a national noise control research program and a national noise environmental assessment program, develop and disseminate educational materials, develop educational and training materials and programs, and establish regional technical assistance centers.
Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet proposes that the federal noise pollution control office also conduct a national gas-powered leaf blower buy-back program, persuade OSHA to relax their regulation regarding noise back-up beepers, and direct American-based automobile manufacturers to stop causing car horns to honk when a car owner uses their keyless entry system.
Advocates of peace and quiet are encouraged to write to their members of Congress, asking them to support reestablishment of the federal noise pollution control office. This link provides contact information for all members of the United States House of Representatives. This link provides contact information for all members of the United States Senate.
Supporters of Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet are also encouraged to contact interest groups, to ask for their support of reestablishing the federal noise pollution control office. For example, you may contact AARP through this link. To contact the Sierra Club, please use this link.
Ted Rueter, the director of Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet, stated that “without appropriate federal involvement, the problem of noise pollution is likely to grow worse, damaging more lives. Congress and the Biden administration need to reestablish funding for the Office of Noise Abatement and Control within the EPA.”