oversight

Noise Pollution: Federal Program to Control It Has Been Slow and Ineffective

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1977-03-07.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                             DOCUMENT RESUaE

00237 -   a0891553]

Noise ollution: Federal Program to Control  It Has Been Slow and
                                           1977. 4 pp. +
Ineffective. CED-77-42; B-166506. arch 7,
appendices (22 pp.).
Report to the Congress; by Robert        .   Keller, Acting Comptroller
General.
                                                   Environmental
Issue Area: Environmental Protection Programs:
     Protection Standards (2201).
Contact: Community and Bconomic Development Div. and Energy:
Budget function: Natural Resources, nvironment,
     Pol!ttion Control and Abatement (304).
                                                     Agency;
organization Concerned: Bnwiroamental Protection
     Department of Transportation.                           and
Congressional Relevance: House Committee on Interstate
                                                      Works;
     Foreign Commerce; Senate Committee on Public
     Congress.                                            1970 (42
Authority: Clean Air Act; Clean Air Amendments [cf]
     U.S.C. 1857). Noise Control Act of 1972    (42 U.S.C. 4901).
     P.L. 90-411. 14 C.F.R. 36.  14 C.F.R.  91.
                                                             EPA) has
           Although the Environmental Protection Agency
                                                       of  the  Noise
 made slcme progress in fulfilling the requirements
                                                        Act's
 Control Act of 1972, implemantation of many of the
 provisions has been  slow and sometimes  ineffective.
                                                     four noise
Findings/conclusions: Since passage of the Act, only     air
sources have been regulatedz newly manufactured portable         notor
 compressors, sedium and heavy duty trucks, interstate
                                                    probleas   of
 carriers, and interstate railroads. Serious
                                     Aviation Administration Little  and EPA
 coordination between the Federal
                             of  noise  control    regulations.
 have hindered development                                         EPA has
 progress has been achieved in labeling noisy products.         and  local
 placed low priority on technical assistance to exist  State
                                                              to   study
 governments. Four interagency research panels           vehicles, but
 aircraft, machinery, noise effects, and surface
                                                        research done by
 they have not been effective. An assessment of
                                                          EPA, although
 other Federal agencies has net been completed by
 it is required by the Noise Control Act.          ecommendations:
                  hold  hearings  to  evaluate    past  performance and
 Congress should
                                                          noise control
 to provide guidance for f 4 ture activities of the    (EPA  and the
 program. Both the  two  major  agencies   involved
                                                            are
 Department of Transportation) agree that hearings                strategy
 appropriate and timely. EPA should prepare an- overall
                                                              and
 for a Federal program, setting forth goals, timing, to the Act
 priorities for action   to ensure   that   all  provisions
                                    research done to date must for     be
  are iFmlemented. Federal noise
                              required   by  the  Acts  and  areas
  assessed, as specifically
  future research must be identified. (DJM)
N~.

CD                    'REPORT                          TO THE CONGRESS
  ~:~J              '/,.
          t
      \'( -   %'Lq?

                                BY THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL
               4 x
      'q( ( )I Si
                           ::   OF THE UNITED STATES




                                Noise Pollution--Federal Program
                                To Control It Has Been Slow
                                And Ineffective
                                Environmental Protection Agency
                                Department of Transportation


                                Although some gains have been made since
                                passage of the first comprehensive legislation
                                to control noise--The Noise Control Act of
                                1972--implementing many of its provisions
                                has been slow end sometimes ineffective.
                                Tne Congress should hold hearings cn the
                                effectiveness thus far of the Feaeral program
                                which was established to control and lessen
                                noise pollution. The two major agencies in-
                                volved agree that hearings are appropriate and
                                timely.




                                CED-77-42                                    M ARC H   7, 1977
              COMPFROILER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES
                         WASHINGTON. O.C. 205




B-166506



To the President of the Senate and the
Speaker of the House of Representatives

     This report describes Federal efforts to control and
abate noise pollution. Although some progress has been made
in fulfilling the requirements of the Noise Control Act of
1972, implementing many of the provisions has been slow and,
in some cases, ineffective.
     The Noise Control Act of 1972, the first comprehensive
noise control legislation passed by the Congress, was designed
to protect the American public from noise that jeopardizes
their health or welfare. Our review was made to determine how
effectively this act has been impltemented in order to identify
those areas needing improvement.

     We made our review pursuant to the Budget and Accounting
Act, 1921 (31 U.S.C. 53), and the Accounting and Auditing
Act of 1950 (31 U.S.C. 67).
     We are sending copies of this report to the Director,
Office of Management and Budget; the Administrator, Environ-
mental Protection Agency; and the Secretary of Transportation.




                         ACTING Comptrolle General
                                of the United States
COMPTROLLER GENERAL'S                  NOISE POLLUTION--FEDERAL
REPORT TO THE CONGRESS                 PROGRAM TO CONTROL IT HAS
                                       BEEN SLOW AND INEFFECTIVE
                                       Environmental Protection
                                         Agency
                                       Department of Transportation
      D IG E S T

      Cars, buses, trucks, airplanes, construction
      equipment, and kitchen gadgets add to the cacophony
      that frazzles 20th century nerves. About 13 million
      Americans live in places where such noises may be
      harming their health. The Government has slowly
      and ineffectively acted to control noise pollution.

      In carrying out provisions of the Noise Control Act
      of 1972, the Environmental Protection Agency has
      concentrated most of its resources on

             -- identifying products considered to be major
                sources of noise and setting standards on the
                noise emission characteristics of these
                products;
             -- developing regulations to control noise from
                railroads, trucks, and construction equipment,
                etc.-

             -- producing, as required by law, various documents
                on effects of noise on people, noise
                standards, and noise controls.
      These actions have helped, but the country is still
      noisy. Some regulations were issued as much as a year
      or more late. The Department of Transportation is not
      now enforcing one regulation because criminal, rather
      than civil, penalties are imposed for noncompliance
      with it. The Environmental Protection Agency spent
      time anc money preparing proposed regulations to the
      Federal Aviation Administration to control aircraft
      noise, but little progress has been made in issuing
      these regulations. (See p. 15.)
      The Environmental Protection Agency has done less in
      other areas, such as technical assistance, Federal
      program coordination, research, and labeling. As
      a result:




TIrSbI. Upon rmoval, the report    i                CED-77-42
cow date should be noted hereo7.
     -- While the agency recognized early in 1974
        that a strategy for a comprehensive noise pro-
        gram was needed, a final version of such a
        strategy has not been published.  (See p. 33.)

     -- Little progress has been achieved in
        labeling noisy products. (See p. 18.)

     -- The J-tal noise research program of the
        Government has decreased since the act
        was passed. (See p. 26.)

     -- The agency has failed to effectively coordinate
        Federal noise research activities.  (See p. 22.)
     -- The agency has not adequately assessed the
        status of Federal noise research as required
        by the act. (See p. 25.)
The failure to assess the status of noise research
done to date--specifically required by the act--
has hindered the total Government program. Without
this assessment, areas needing improvement in Federal
noise research will not be known and the expertise of
other Federal agencies concerned with noise control
cannot be used.
Noise research and coordination of the Federal noise
research program must be infused with more resources
and work to be effective. The Environlental Pro-
tection Agency's fiscal year 1977 budget request
contained no funds for noise research, and its 5-year
plan for total research and development activities
did not mention noise research.  (See p. 31.)

Another problem among the agencies is a fundamental
difference of philosophy on how best to control
aircraft noise and whether the actions taken are
effective. The Environmental Protection Agency
believes that the aviation noise problem today is
essentially the same as when the act was passed,
and does not think much progress will be made during
the next few years.  (See p. 21.)

Because of the problems detailed in this report,
the Congress should begin hearings to evaluate the
past performance of and to provide guidance for
future activities of the noise control program.
The Environmental Protection Agency and the Depart-
ment of Transportation agree that such hearings are
appropriate and timely.  (See p. 40.)


                        ii
The Environmental Protection Agency should develop
a comprehensive strategy for the noise program
because all provisions in the Noise Control Act
must be coordinated and balanced when carried out
before noise pollution will be controlled or
diminished. Although a strategy study was pre-
pared early in 1973, the agency agrees that a more
comprehensive strategy is needed. In November
1976 it sent a draft strategy to interested
parties for their comments. (See p. 39.)




  X.2A&kt             iii
                    C o n t e n t s
                                                             Page


DIGEST

CHAPTER
                                                               1
           INTRODUCTION                                        1
               Effects of noise pollution                      3
               Noise Control Act of 1972
               Reports and documents prepared                  4
                 pursuant to the act                           6
               Scope of review
           SLOW IMPLEMENTATION 'T   THE NOISE CONTROL
   2
             ACT OF 1972                         slowly
               Noise emission standards issued
               Little progress in issuing  final
                  aviation noise contLol                      12
                  regulations
               Little progress achieved in labeling           18
                  noisy products                              19
               Low priority on technical assistance           20
               Conclusions                                    20
                Agency comments and our evaluation
                                                  RESEARCH
    3      EPA EFFORTS TO COORDINATE THE NOISE
                                           FEDERAL
             AND CONTROL PROGRAMS   OF THE
                                                               22
             GOVERNMENT HAVE NOT BEEN EFLECTIVE         in
               Many other Federal agencies involved            22
                  noise research and control activities
               EPA's efforts to   coordinate the noise         24
                  activity of the  Federal Government
                                                  other
               Analysis of EPA's contacts with                 26
                  aqencies
                                                   on
                Lack of coordination of research
                                               to
                  noi;e has been  detrimental
                                                               30
                  EPA efforts                                  31
                Conclusions                                    32
                Agency comments and our evaluation

       4    NEED FOR DEVELOPMENT OF A COMPREHENSIVE             33
              NOISE ABATEMENT STRATEGY         on
                Major program emphasis placed                   34
                   developing regulations
                Need to develop a noise program
                   strategy                                     35
                                                                37
                Conclusions
                 Recommendations to the Administrator              39
                   of EPA
CHAPTER                                                Pa2
      4        Agency comments and our evaluation         39
               Recommendation to the Congress             43
               Agency comments and our evaluation         40
APPENDIX

      I    Letter dated January 11, 1977, from thi
             Assistant Administrator for Plannino
             and Management, Environmental Pro-
             tection Agency                               42
  II       Letter dated November 15, 1976, from the
             Assistant Secretary for Administration,
             Department of Transportation                 55
 III       Principal officials responsible for
             activities discussed in this report          62

                     ABBREVIATIONS
DOT        Department of Transportation
EPA        Environmental Protection Agency
FAA        Federal Aviation Administration
FHWA       Federal Highway Administration
GAO        General Accounting Office
IANAP      Interagency Aircraft Noise Abatement Program
OAWM       Office of Air and Waste Management
ONAC       Office of Noise Abatement and Control
ORD        Office of Research and Development
R&D        Research and Development
                             CHAPTER 1

                        INTRODUCTION

     Noise, commonly defined as unwanted sound, is an
environmental pollutant, a waste product generated in con-
junction with various human activities. Recognition of noise
(other than occupational noise) as an environmental problem
that affects people has been late in coming. Federal noise
legislation historically has been piecemeal; however, the
Congress passed the Noise Control Act of 1972 (42 U.S.C.
4901)--the first comprehensive noise control legislation--
which was designed to eliminate excess noise in the design
stage of a wide variety of new consumer products.
EFFECTS OF NOISE POLLUTION

     The effects of noise on humans have not been successfully
measured in terms of deaths, shortened lifespan, or incapaci-
tating illness. However, noise can affect the essential
nature of human life--its quality. An estimated 16 million
people in the United States suffer from some degree of hearing
loss directly caused by noise. There is clear evidence that
if exposure is of sufficient intensity and duration, noise
can:

     -- Damage the inner ear causing permanent hearing losses
        that can range from slight impairment to nearly total
        deafness.

     -- Cause temporary hearing losses; repeated exposure to
        noise can lead to chronic hearing losses.

     -- Interfere with speech communication, disturb sleep,
        and be a source of annoyance.

     -- Influence mood adversely and disturb relaxation.
     Noise is measured in decibels. Zero on the decibel scale
is based on the lowest sound level that the healthy, unim-
paired human ear can detect. Decibels are representative
points on a sharply rising curve. While 10 decibels is 10
times more intense than 1 decibel, 20 decibels is 100 times
more intense (10 x 10), 30 decibels is 1,000 times more
intense (10 x 10 x 10) and so on.

     Noise levels are measured at their source; thus their
decibel rating decreases as the distance from that source
increases. The table on page 2 illustrates the noise level
and human response to various noise sources.



                                 1
                                              Hearing          Conversatinal
                            Response          Effects          Relationships

Carrier Oeck
Jet Operation




(200 feet)
Digcotheque
Aulo Horn (3 feet)
Riveting Machine
Jet Takeoff
(2,000 feet)                                            .i
Garbage Truck
N.Y. SubwaY
Station
Heavy Truck
(5sofeet)
Pneumatic Drig
             ll                                                          4 ft.
( feet)
      20
Alarm Clock


Freeway Traffic



  Air
    Conditioning           Oet                               Convetion, 4 ft.
Unit (20 feet)


Light Aeeto raffic                                           Convaton 1
(100 feet)
Living Room
Bedroom

Library
Sofl Whisper              Very Quiet
(15 e9t)


Broadcasting
Studio


                          Just Audible

                          Threshold of
                          Hiearing




                                         U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

                     SOUND LEVELS AND HUMAN RESPONSE



                                          2
Scientists agree that the noise level for potential hearing
loss begins at about 70 decibels. Many scientists are con-
cerned because our normal daily life regularly exposes us
to noise levels of about 70 decibels, even inside our homes.
The combination of garbage disposals, mixers, blenders, and
dishwashers in an average kitchen can raise the noise level
to the 80-90 decibel range, equivalent to the noise level
right outside a major airport.
NOISE CONTROL ACT OF 1972

     Under the 1970 Clean Air Amendments to the Clean Air
Act (42 U.S.C. 1857) the Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) established an Office of Noise Abatement and Control
(ONAC) and charged it with the responsibility of conducting
a complete investigation of noise and its effect on the
public health and welfare.

     On December 31, 1971, EPA issued the results of its
investigations in a reporL entitled "Report to the President
and Congress on Noise." EPiA concluded that noise has a
negative impact on people in the United States by interfering
with speech communication, disturbing sleep, and creating
other disturbances that lead to annoyances. EPA also con-
cluded that some noise levels in nonoccupational situations
may contribute to the risk of incurring hearing impairment.
     Regarding noise control technology, EPA said current
technology and that expected to be available in the next 5 to
10 years indicates that a substantial reduction in noise from
various sources is feasible. EPA stated that application of
available technology is lagging because of inadequate social,
economic, or governmental pressures for noise abatement.
     Based on EPA's December 1971 report and extensive
Congressional hearings, the Congress passed the Noise Control
Act of 1972. The objectives of the act are to "promote an
environment for all Americans free from noise that jeopardizes
their health or welfare" and "to establish a means for effec-
tive coordination of Federal research and activities in noise
control." The act directs the Administrator of EPA to:

     -- Coordinate all Federal programs relating to noise
        research and noise control and report to the Congress
        on the status and progress of Federal noise control
        activities.

     -- Publish criteria identifying the effects of noise and
        provide information on the levels of noise necessary
        to protect the public health and welfare.



                              3
     -- Identify major sources of noise and prescribe and
        amend standards limiting the noise-generating
        characteristics of any product or class of pro-
        ducts identified as a major source of noise in the
        following categories: construction equipment,
        transportation equipment (including recreational
        vehicles), any motor or engine, and electrical or
        electronic equipment.
     -- Prepare a comprehensive report on the problem of
        aircraft/airport noise and submit regulatory pro-
        posals to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
        for control of aircraft/airport noise.

     -- Require manufacturers to label products which
        (1) emit noise capable of adversely affecting the
        public health or welfare, or (2) are sold wholly
        or in part on the basis of their effectiveness in
        reducing noise.

     -- Conduct and finance research on the psychological
        effects of noise and provide technical assistance
        to State and local governments on the various
        methods of noise control.

     -- Promulgate regulations limiting the noise generated
        from interstate rail carriers and interstate motor
        carriers.

     The noise program has been funded at the following
levels:

                        Fiscal       ears
  ---------------------- (000 omitted)----------------------

  1973         1974        1975                1976         1977
                                            (Budgeted)   (Estimated)
 $2,390       $4,231      $5,493              $10,429    $10,285

REPORTS AND DOCUMENTS PREPARED
PURSUANT TO THE ACT

     Much of EPA's initial efforts in implementing the act
dealt with meeting the legislative mandates containing
specified deadlines. Two of these mandates resulted in
producing two major documents concerning noise. The first,
"Public Health and Welfare Criteria," (criteria document)



                                 4
dated July 27, 1973, provided the general relationships
between noise levels and their effects on people. This
document is based on scientific knowledge, and identifies
the kind and extent of effects of noise on the public
health and welfare which may be expected from differing
quantities and qualities of noise. As required by section
5 of the act, the criteria document was issued within 9
months after passage of the act.

     The second, "Information on Levels of Environmental
Noise Requisite to Protect Public Health and Welfare with
an Adequate Margin of Safety," levels document) dated
March 974, provided guidance for the noise source regulatory
process, especially noise reduction goals for prevention of
hearing loss, annoyance, and sleep disturbance. It provided
the framework for assessing, for the first time, the national
impact of noise from various types of products.

     The EPA levels document indicates that continuous exposure
to urban environmental noise levels, at or above a specified
average amount for a 24-hour period, may be harniful to health,
especially when combined with shorter, more intense noise ex-
posures in the work place, during travel, and during recrea-
tional pursuits. An estimated 13 million people presently
reside in areas where the average noise during a 24-hour period
exceeds this level. Further, an estimated 100 million people
reside in areas where the average noise level exceeds the
level that EPA says is clearly identified with marked annoy-
ance. Major factors in this blend of community noise are such
sources as vehicular traffic, aircraft operations, and con-
struction equipment. The levels document was not issued until
about 5 months after the date mandated in the act.

     Other activities or documents completed by EPA, most
of which are discussed in detail later in this report, are:

     -- Comments under section 4 of the act on the Occupational
        Safety and Health Administration's pending decision
        on Federal occupational noise standards. Basically,
        EPA has suggested a more stringent occupational
        noise standara than that proposed by that agency.

     -- In August 1973 EPA issued a report to the Senate
        Committee on Public Works entitled "Report on
        Aircraft-Airport Noise." In this report EPA iden-
        tified actions which it felt the Federal Government
        should take to help solve the aviation noise
        problem. After this report was submitted, EPA
        forwarded 11 aircraft/airport regulatory proposals
        to FAA. (Detailed discussions of this report
        appear, on pp. 13 and 14.)


                              5
      -- In June 1975 EPA published a report entitled
         "First Report on Status and Progress of Noise
         Research and Control Programs in the Federal
         Government."   Part of this document contained
         information on the noise programs of other Federal
         agencies.   (Discussed in detail on p. 25.)
      -- Two documents prepared by EPA for use by State
         and local governments in controlling noise are a model
         State noise ordinance and a model community ordin-
        ance.     (Discussed in detail on   . 20.)
      -- Eight products have been identified by EPA as majcr
         sources of noise. Final regulations have been
         issued for two of these: newly manufactured portable
         air compressors and medium- and heavy-duty trucks.
         Regulations have been promulgated that limit the
         noise generated from interstate rail carriers and
         interstate motor carriers.  (Detailed discussions of
         these regulations begin on p. 7.)
     -- Developing formal administrative guidelines and
        directives for (1) reporting of various information
        by Federal agencies, (2) inspection arnd monitoring
        of Federal facilities, and (3) exemptions of Federal
        facilities.
     -- Developing a Federal hearing conservation program
        questionnaire which will assist EPA in assessing
        hearing conservation programs at Federal facilities.

SCOPE OF REVIEW

     We reviewed EPA's progress in implementing the provisions
of the Noise Control Act of 1972. We also reviewed
lative history of the Noise Control Act of 1972 and the legis-
                                                    important
issues confronting noise pollution control.

     Our review was made at EPA headquarters in Washington,
D.C. We interviewed responsible agency officials at
at other Federal agencies with noise control programs,EPA and
                                                        in-
cluding the Consumer Product Safety Commission; Department
                                                             of
Defense; Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation
istration, Federal Highway Administration; Occupational  Admin-
                                                         Safety
and Health Administration; and the National Aeronautics
Space Administration.                                    and

     We reviewed documents, reports, records, and files of
EPA and the other agencies contacted.




                                6
                          CHAPTER 2

   SLOW IMPLEMENTATION OF THE NOISE CONTROL ACT OF 1972

     The Noise Control Act charges EPA with responsibility
for (1) issuing noise emission standards for new products
distributed in commerce, (2) issuing noise emission standards
for railroads, and or interstate motor carriers, (3) recom-
mending aircraft nise standards to FAA, (4) requiring the
labeling of products that can adversely affect the public
health or welfare or are sold wholly or in part on the basis
of their effectiveness in reducing noise, (5) providing tech-
nical assistance to State and local gcvernments, and (6) coor-
dinating Federal research and control efforts.

     Four noise emission standards were prepared under the
act, but were many months late, and little progress has been
made in issuing final aircraft/airport noise reduction
regulations. Implementation of certain sections of the act,
such as labeling, technical assistance, and r search coor-
dination, has received low priority; therefol , not much has
been accomplished in these areas.

     Detailed discussions on the first five responsibility
areas appear in the remainder of this chapter. The sixth
area, coordinating Federal research and control activities,
is discussed in the following chapter.
NOISE EMISSION STANDARDS ISSUED SLOWLY
     EPA is authorized by the act to prescribe standards
limiting noise generated by any product identified as a major
source of noise in the following categories: constructioni
equipment, transportation equipment, motors or engines, an.
electrical or electronic equipment. EPA must formally iden-
tify in the Federal Register those products that are major
sources of noise.  (The act required the first such list to
be published within 18 months, but set no time limits for
subsequent lists.) States and political subdivisions are
prohibited from setting noise emission levels different from
those promulgated by EPA, but both are permitted to regulate
the use, operation, or movement of products.
     Within 18 months after identifying a product as a major
source of noise, EPA is required to publish a proposed
regulation for the product in the Federal Register. The
proposed regulation must include a limit for noise emitted
from the product and must be based on criteria necessary to
protect the public health and welfare, taking into account
the magnitude and conditions of use of the product, available



                              7
technology, and the cost of compliance. EPA must publish
the final regulation in the Federal Register within 24
months after identifying a product as a major source of
noise.

     EPA has identified certain products as major sources
of noise and has issued two separate lists of such sources.
The first, which was required by the act to be published by
April 27, 1974, was not published until June 21, 1974, and
identified only portable air compressors and medium- and
heavy-duty trucks. The second list, published on May 28,
1975, identified wheel and track loaders, wheel and track
dozers, truck refrigerator units, truck-mounted solid waste
com- ctors, motorcycles, and buses. Final regulations have
been issued, however, only for newly manufactured portable
air compressors and medium- and heavy-duty trucks and these
regulations will not become effective until 1978.
     As shown in the following table, final regulations were
issued for both products many months after the date mandated
by the act.


                         Proposal published in               Final published in
                           Federal Register                   Federal Register
                                               Flonths                        Months
Regulation           Mandated   Actual          late     Mandated   Actual     late
Portable air
  compressor          4/27/74   10/29/74         6       10/27/74   1/14/76    14.5
Medium- and heavy-
  duty trucks         4/27/74   10/30/74         6       10/27/74   4/13/76    17.5


As of December 1976 EPA has not proposed regulations for
any of the products identified in the second identification
list. The mandated proposal date for all products was
November 28, 1976.

     The act specifically required EPA to publish proposed
noise emission regulations for railroads and motor carriers
engaged in interstate commerce within 9 months after the date
of enactment.   In both cases, final regulations were to be
issued 90 days after proposal. State and local governments
are prohibited from establishing noise emission limits for
interstate railroads and motor carriers different from
applicable Federal standards.




                                           8
     As shown in the following table, EPA has been late in
issuing final noise regulations for railroads and motor
carriers.
                       Proposal published in          Final published in
                         Federal Reister               Federal Register
                                                                                 Total
                                        M,.nths                         Months   months
Regulation         Mandated   Actual      late    Mandated    Actual     late     late

Interstate rail-
  road carrier      7/27/73   7/ 3/74     11      10/ 3/74    1/14/76     15.5    26.5
Interstate motor
  carrier           7/27/73   7/27/73      0      10/27/73   10/29/74     12      12

Brief discussions of each regulation follow.

       Portable air compressor regulation
     On Decemuer 31, 1975, PA issued final regulations on
newly manufactured portable air compressors. The regulation,
which will become effective in 1978, will limit the noise
emitted from portable air compressors to 76 decibels measured
a' 7 meters.
     According to EPA officials, some f the air compressor
industry has met the decibel level ceiling established by
this regulation, but the majority of portable air compressors
emit more noise than allowed by the EPA regulation. EPA offi-
cials feel the decibel limit established was based on a level
that would most benefit public health and welfare.
       Medium- and heavy-duty trucks

     Final regulations were published for this major source
of noise on April 13, 1976, limiting noise from newly manu-
factured medium- and heavy-duty trucks over 10,000 pounds
gross vehicle weight at the following levels and effective
dates: 83 decibels by January 1, 1978; 80 decibels by
January 1, 1982. The noise is measured from 50 feet.

      This regulation is considered by EPA and other government
agencies as the most effective of the four regulations in
reducing environmental noise. However, an EPA official told
us the lack of a decision on major strategy issues delayed
the issuance of this regulation by at least a year. He added
that it would have been delayed longer if EPA had not been
under a court order to publish the regulatica by a specified
date.



                                          9
     Interstate motor carrier regulation
     This regulation was mandated by the act and was
promulgated on October 29, 1974, with an effective date of
October 15, 1975, to limit noise emitted from motor   ehicles
with a gr.ss weight over 10,000 pounds operated by interstate
motor carriers. The noise-emitting standards, measured at
50 feet, are:  88 decibels stationary; 86 decibels under
35 miles per hour; and 90 decibels over 35 miles per hour.
According to EPA and the Department of Transportation's
(DOT's) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), which is re-
sponsible for enforcing this regulation, 7 percent of the
affected vehicles will fail to meet the new standards.
EPA officials told us that bringing these 7 percent into
compliance with the regulation will result in a 50-percent
reduction in total noise energy from all affected trucks
operated by interstate carriers.

     Our analysis of the enforcement of this regulation
disclosed the following:

     -- Only the stationary test described earlier is being
        conducted by FHWA because it does not have authority
        to stop vehicles operating on the road. According
        to EPA officials, there are currently 13 States
        and numerous cities that have active enforcement
        programs for these vehicles.

     -- Because of the criminal penalty provisions in the
        Noise Act for failure to comply with the standards,
        FHWA officials told us they have not sought prose-
        cution of any violators, although notices are given
        to those in violation. However, neither EPA nor FHWA
        has as yet requested the Congress to amend the Noise
        Act to change the criminal provision to a civil
        violation. (FHWA officials said this would make the
        regulation enforceable.)
     In a January 11, 1977, letter (see app. I) EPA stated
that draft legislative language to amend the act to provide
civil penalties which can be imposed by EPA and by DOT/FHWA
has been prepared and that EPA plans to submit these amend-
ments to the Congress in the next session. EPA continued,
"Once this one major impediment to enforcement of this
standard is solved, we would expect a more vigorous enforce-
ment program."

     Interstate railroad regulation
     This regulation was promulgated on December 31, 1975.
DOT's Federal Railroad Administration is responsible for


                             10
enforcing this regulation, which became effective on
December 31, 1976. The noise-emitting standards for
                                                     loco-
motives measured at 100 feet are: 73 decibels at idle;
93 decibels at all other throttle settings; and 96 decibels
moving at any speed. The standards for rail cars are,
88 decibels up to 45 miles per hour, and 93 decibels
greater than 45 miles per hour.

     EPA officials stated that portions of this regulation
will provide little noise reduction benefit because
                                                    it did
not require retrofit for existing equipment. One portion
the regulation, however, required that new locomotives     of
                                                       apply
mufflers to their exhaust systems.

     DOT officials told us the major cause of railroad
is the railroad yard--a category not covered by EPA's noise
railroad regulation. These officials told us they had
suggested to EPA that the railroad yard be included in
regulation. EPA officials told us they did not agree the
they felt that railroad yards should be regulated by because
and local governments.                               State

     On April 13, 1976, the Association of American Railroads
filed suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District
Columbia Circuit, requesting a judicial review of the     of
state railroad regulation. The Association's petition inter-
requested the review because it did not feel th- current
lation adequately provided for national uniform treatment regu-
the railroad industry.                                     of

      In a January 11, 1977, letter (see app. I) EPA said
                                                          it
disagreed that railroad yards are the major source of
                                                       railroad
noise. Part of EPA's response stated:
    "The issue of regulating railroad yards in addition to
    mainline train operations raises the Feleral preemption
    issue which is central to a suit filed by the Associa-
    tion of American Railroads. The EPA Rail Carrier
    Regulatiun set standards for railroad rolling stock--
    that equipment of the railroad which would clearly be
    adversely impacted by varying State and local uris-
    dictions because of the mobility of such equipment.
    However, railroad yard noise emissions represent a
    stationary localized noise source.
    "Railroad yards are located in a wide variety of
    environmental settings across this country. Some yards
    are in densely populated areas, others in isolated
    locations such as deserts or open farmland. In EPA's
    opinion, it seems more reasonable to allow State and



                            11
     local jurisdictions to establish noise emission
     requirements on railroad yards based on local needs
     and concerns as long as they do not conflict with the
     Federally-established standards for rolling stock.
     Control of such noise at the local level without in any
     way interfering with equipment which must move from one
     community to another is relatively easy. EPA's regula-
     tion encourages State and local agencies to do this. It
     appears to be the fear of local regulation of these activ-
     ities which causes the American Association of Railroads
     and certain elements of the Department of Transportation
     to criticize the EPA regulation. EPA's refusal to regu-
     late railroad yards is now the subject of a court test
     by the AAR and should the Congress wish to pursue this
     matter further, we will be glad to furnish the court
     documents which set forth the -equisite analyses.'

LITTLE PROGRESS IN ISSUING FINAL AVIATION
NOISE CONTROL REGULATIONS
     Federally sponsored research aimed at reducing the
levels of aircraft noise began about 1946 when the National
Advisory Committee for Aeronautics initiated a research pro-
ject investigating noise emitted from light airplanes. Since
that time many Federal agencies have conducted investigations
on the continuing and growing problems of aircraft noise.

     In 1968 the Congress passed Public Law 90-411 that added
to the Federal Aviation Act of 1958 a new section entitled
"Control and Abatement of Aircraft Noise and Sonic Boom."
This law gave FAA the responsibility for ".    . . present and
future relief and protection to the public health and welfare
from aircraft noise and sonic boom . .   .   consistent with
safety, economic reasonableness, and technological practica-
bility. The Noise Control Act extended the provisions of
Public Law 90-411 and further defined the policy of the U.S.
Government regarding aircraft noise control. Section 7b(l)
of the Noise Act states:
    "In order to afford present and future relief and
    protection to the public health and welfare from air-
     :raft noise and sonic boom, the FAA, after consultation
    *:th the Secretary of Transportation and with EPA,
    shall prescribe and amend standards for the measurement
    of aircraft noibe and sonic boom and shall prescribe
    and amend such regulations as the FAA may find necessary
    to provide for the control and abatement of aircraft
    noise and sonic boom, including the application of such
    standards and regulations in the issuance, amendment,
    modification, suspension, or revocation of any certi-
    ficate authorized by this title."


                             12
     Although aviation regulatory authority rests with FAA,
EPA is mandated to play a significant role in the aviation
regulatory process in that under the act, EPA was required
to (1) study the adequacy of FAA flight and operational noise
controls; the adequacy of present aircraft noise emissions
standards (including recommendations on retrofit and phaseout
of existing aircraft); the implications of achieving levels
of cumulative noise exposure around airports; and additional
measures available to airport operators and local govern-
ments to control noise and (2) submit recommendations for
regulations to AA which EPA deemed necessary to protect the
public health and welfare.

     FAA is required to publish the EPA-proposed regulations
in the Federal Register within 30 days after receipt from
EPA. Within 60 days after publication in the Federal Regis-
ter, FAA is required to hold public hearings on the proposal.
After the hearings the act states FAA must adopt, reject,
or modify the proposed regulations within a reasonable
period of time."

    Report on Aircraft-Airport Noise

     In August 1973 EPA issued a report to the Senate Committee
on Public Works entitled "Report on ircraft-Airport Noise."
Major findings noted by EPA in this report were:

    -- "It is evident that there is a need to mobilize
       available resources and technology, including those
       of providing newer and quieter aircraft for the
       future, to deal with this problem in a coordinated
       time-phased fashion . . . Congress has thus
       established a means to integrate the activities
       of the Administrator [EPA] under the Noise Control
       Act, those of the FAA under the Federal Aviation
       Act, and of other Federal Agencies, such as
       NASA, to accelerate a coordinated program of
       correction."

              if noise levels protective of the public
       health and welfare are to be achieved around the
       Nation's airports in the near future, it will be
       necessary to establish a Federal regulatory program
       which effectively combines Federal controls on air-
       craft flight procedures, technology, and noise control
       options available to airport operators and local
       jurisdictions."




                             13
     Concerning the adequacy of FAA's flight and operational
noise controls, EPA concluded:

     -- "*      *    it appears that existing FAA flight and
       operational controls do not adequately protect the
        public health and welfare from aircraft noise."
           --.. a number of noise abatement flight procedures
        are available for implementation. Although, by
        themselves, they cannot totally resolve the noise
        problem, they play an important part in any compre-
        hensive plan for noise reduction. EPA therefore
        intends to propose regulations to FAA in accordance
        with Section 7(b) of the Noise Control Act of 1972."
     Regarding coordination of aviation noise, EPA stated
the following:

            the Inter-Agency Aircraft Noise Abatement
     Program . . . had the most direct influence in the
     coordination of R&D [research and development] efforts
     of NASA ad of the Department of Transporation and
     FAA . . . the Administrator recognizes that with the
     abolition of the Office of Science and Technology,
     and the National Aeronautics and Space Council, his
     coordinating role established in the Noise Control
     Act will have vastly important implications regarding
     major decisions yet to be made as to the degree and
     allocation of investments of Federal funds in
     apparently competing, but in fact perhaps cmpatible
     (if dealt with in a comprehensive time sequence),
     programs for retrofit and development of new and
     quieter air transport systems."
     Eleven proposals submittod to FAA

     EPA has submitted 11 proposals to FAA, as shown in the
following table.

                    Title                      Date submitted to FAA
1.   Propeller-driven small airplanes             December 6, 1974
2.   Minimum altitudes                            December 6, 1974
3.   Retrofit                                    January 28, 1975
4.   Fleet noise level                            January 28, 1975




                                   14
              Title                       Date submitted to FAA

 5.   Supersonic civil aircraft
        (future supersonic transports)     February 27, 1975

  .   Minimum flaps approach               August 29, 1975

 7.   2-Segment approach visual
        flight rules                       August 29, 1975

 8.   2-Segment approach instrument
        flight rL.a                        August 29, 1975
 9.   Supersonic civil aircraft
        (present supersonic transports)    January 13, 1976
10.   Noise level for turbojet-powered
        airplanes and large
        propeller-driven airplanes         October 1, 1976

11.   Airport regulatory process           October 22, 1976

     As required by the act, FAA published all of the
proposals in the Federal Register and held hearings on each
proposed regulation within the required time.
     At the time we submitted this report to DOT for comment,
September 22, 1976, FAA had not taken final action on any
of the EPA proposals. Later, however, actions were taken on
7 of the 11 proposals.   FAA adopted number 6 and portions of
numbers 1 and 3. FAA has decided not to promulgate numbers
2, 4, 7, 8 and portions of numbers 1 and 3. No further action
has yet been taken on the remaining four.

     On one occasion an EPA official criticized ONAC's
management of the first supersonic transport proposal. During
its review of ONAC's fiscal year 1975 performance, EPA's Of-
fice of Air and Wast Management (W!I)  noted that ". . . aware-
ness of the impending deadlines on the other regulations led to
haste which led, in turn, to several incomplete 'repairs' to
the regulation [supersonic transport proposal] instead of one
carefully developed one."

     One possible regulation which EPA has identified as
necessary to help control aircraft noise is on an airport
noise certification program. EPA's 1973 "Report on
Aircraft-Airport Noise" stated: ". . . the timely adoption
and implementation of an airport noise certification regula-
tion is the keystone of a comprehensive program to dimish
(sic] aircraft noise in communities to [a] level adequate



                               15
to protect public health and welfare." On October 22,
1976, EPA proposed this regulation to FAA for consideration.

     In discussing the joint efforts to control aircraft
noise, FAA officials indicated that EPA is not complying with
the provisions of the Noise Act. FAA officials told us the
EPA proposals dwell too much on safety-related problems,
whereas FAA feels it is the only agency qualified to deter-
mine the safety aspects of aircraft noise regulations. In
addition, FAA does not believe the EPA-proposed regulations
adequately cover health and welfare aspects. In a January 11,
1977, letter (see app. I) EPA said it would be inappropriate
to propose regulations to FAA without considering safety,
and added that in almost every case [we] have included
extensive health and welfare justifications.'
     In a November 15, 1976, letter (see app. I) DOT stated
it should be noted that prior to the passage of the act,
FAA had issued or prorosed regulations on subjects and
approaches to aircraft noise abatement.
     A DOT official provided the following information on
these regulations:

     -- 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)-36-"Noise
        Standards: Aircraft Type Certification." This
        standard, which became effective on December 1,
        1969, set noise levei limits for certification of
        new aircraft designs.
     -- Notice of Proposed Rule Making 70-16-"Civil Aircraft
        Sonic Boom." This standard was published April 10,
        1970, and became effective April 27, 1973, as
        14-CFR-91. It prohibited supersonic flights by
        civil aircraft over the United States.

     -- Advanced Notice of Proposed Rule Making 70-33-"Civil
        Supersonic Aircraft Noise Type Certificatior
        Standards," was published on August 4, 1970. This
        proposal would establish noise standards for civil
        supersonic aircraft. As of January 1977 this regu-
        lation has not been finalized.
     -- Advanced Notice of Proposed Rule Making-"Civil Airplane
        Noise Reduction Retrofit Requirement," published
        October 30, 1970. This standard, which became effec-
        tive January 1, 1977, amended 14-CFR-91 to require
        older design civil aircraft to meet the noise
        standards previously established for new designs.




                             16
    -- Notice of Proposed Rule Making 72-19, "Newly-Produced
       Airplanes of Older Type Designs," was published
       July 7, 1972, and was issued on October 26, 1973.
       This revision to 14-CFR-36 required that all civil
       aircraft manufactured after the effective date
       comply with the noise standards originally mandated
       for new aircraft design.

     Lack of coordination

     Our analysis of coordination between the two agencies
showed that serious problems have hindered the development
of aviation noise control regulations. A June 11, 1975,
letter from the FAA Associate Administrator for Policy Devel-
opment and Review to the EPA Assistant Administrator for Air
and Waste Management stated:

     "Within the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) we
     are working to simultaneously develop our NPRM's 1/
     and DEIS's 2/ for concurrent release. However, we
     have been unable to do this for the regulatory pro-
     posals which EPA has submitted to us for several
     reasons:  (1) there is insufficient time (30 days)
     between receipt of the proposals and publication of
     the NPRM; (2) we do not receive sufficient advance
     notice of the content of the proposal to permit
     analyses to start before formal receipt; and (3) as
     I indicated in my March 4 letter, insufficient data
     have accompanied each of the proposals received to
     date to permit an assessment of the impact of the
     proposal on public health and welfare."
     EPA officials told us they have been dissatisfied
with the cooperative efforts of FAA. An example of the lack
of coordination between the two agencies concerns the develop-
ment of an airport noise regulation.

     In July 1975, FAA published a solicitation of public
comment on potential directions for an FAA airport noise
policy in the Federal Register. EPA officials told us they
were not aware that FAA was going to publish this notice
and provided us a July 11, 1975, letter to the EPA Assistant
Administrator for Air and Waste Management from EPA's Deputy



1/ Notice of Proposed Rule-Making
2/ Draft Environmental Impact Statement



                             17
 Assistant Administrator for Noise Control Programs, concerning
 the lack of coordination with FAA regarding this notice. A
 section of one paragraph summarizes the feeling of the Deputy
 Assistant Administrator. It stated:

     "I can only view this Notice (FAA's airport proposal)
     with no prior consultation with EPA, as being one more
     indication that the FAA has no intention of cooperating
     and coordinating with EPA on actions relative to
     aviation noise abatement. In fact, the FAA action,
     unilateral and not in concert with EPA, could be viewed
     as being an effort on the FAA's part to build a position
     to counter EPA's proposal."

     Although recent correspondence indicates some improvement
in the relationship between the tw- agencies in dealing with
the aviation noise problem, a January 11, 1977, EPA letter
(see app. I) indicates that a problem still exists.

LITTLE PROGRESS ACHIEVED IN
LABELING NOISY PRODUCTS
     According to the act, EPA must require that for any
product which (1) emits noise capable of adversely affecting
the public health or welfare, or (2) is sold wholly or in
part on the basis of its effectiveness in reducing noise,
must be "labeled" to indicate its noise level or its effec-
tiveness in reducing noise to the consumer. States and local
governments may require product labeling as long as it is
not in conflict with EPA regulations.

      EPA officials advised us that there are as many as
70 products which EPA will possibly have to regulate. How-
ever, in over 4 years of implementation, EPA has issued only
four regulations. At this rate, EPA obviously will take many
years to regulate all 70 potentially harmful products.
According to some ONAC officials, as well as officials in
other Government agencies, one possible method of regulating
noise is to educate the consumer about the adverse effects of
noise, and then require manufacturers to label products as
to their potential harm.

     Effective labeling plus a good public awareness/education
program could result in a form of self-regulation by manu-
facturers. As public demand for less noisy products increased,
manufacturers would be required to reduce the noise generated
by their products to retain their share of the market.

     EPA officials told us the labeling program has received
minimum resources. Our analysis of the budget data showed



                              18
that for fiscal years 1973-75 the entire labeling program
received only about $100,000. The major portion of these
funds--$87,363--was for one contract, awarded on June 26,
1974, which was designed to
     -- develop a general approach to noise-labeling
        regulations,

     -- address the technical issues involved in establishing
        a labeling program, and

     -- recommend methodologies and test procedures which
        would insure compliance with the labeling information.

     EPA, however, was not satisfied with the results of the
contract. In a January 12, 1976, memorandum the labeling
program project manager wrote to the EPA Contracts Management
Division noting the following deficiencies in the contract:
     -- Contract reports were "cursory in nature and highly
        deficient."

     -- Certain items were not accomplished.

The project manager told us the contract was deficient because
(1) the contractor had underbid, (2) the scope was too broad,
and (3) EPA managed it poorly.
     Currently, ONAC is working on a proposal for development
of labeling requirements for hearing protectors (i.e., ear
plugs and ear muffs). However, no final labeling regulations
on any products have yet been issued by EPA. The Deputy
Assistant Administrator, ONAC, acknowledged in a June 4,
1976, meeting that EPA's efforts in the labeling area were
weak, but he stated that greater emphasis would be placed on
labeling in the near future.

LOW PRIORITY ON TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE

      EPA is authorized to provide techni    assistance to
State  and local governments to facilitate their development and
enforcement of comprehensive noise standards. Such assistance
is to include advice on training personnel, selecting and
operating noise abatement equipment, and preparing model
roise legislation.
     EPA has placed low priority in the technical assistance
area, having only one permanent employee in each EPA regional
office available to provide assistance.  EPA officials told us




                              19
that other duties are also performed by this employee in
addition to providing technical assistance to States and
local communities.

     Although resources allocated to the technical assistance
area have been minimal, EPA has developed two documents which
should prove helpful to Statu and local governments:    model
State noise ordinance, published in July 1974; and a mode'
community ordinance issued in September 1975. Both document
can be used to construct noise control ordinances or legis-
lation suited to local or State needs and conditions.
     In January 1977 EPA officials advised us that five States
have either adopted or are following the EPA model for States
and that 26 communities have passed or have proposed a version
of the EPA model community noise ordinance.
     EPA officials told us the reason that technical assistance
resources have been so minimal is because ONAC placed the
majority of its resources into developing regulations. How-
ever, in June 1976 EPA officials told us they realize the
burden of the Nation's noise control efforts will eventually
fall on State and local governments. These officials said
that ONAC has not been toc effective in this area, but it
plans to put greater emphasis on the area in the near future.

CONCLUSIONS
     The agencies involved in implementing the provisions of
the Noise Control Act have experienced problems in attempting
to effectively reduce noise pollution in our environment.
Since passage of the act, only four sources of noise have
been regulated, and there has been little progress in issuing
final aviation noise control regulations.

     Two provisions in the act for the control and abatement
of noise pollution--technical assistance to State and local
governments and the development of a labeling program for
noisy products--were given lower priority by EPA. Conse-
quently, progress in these areas has been slow.

AGENCY COMMENTS AND OUR EVALUATION

     In a January 11, 1977, letter (see app. I) EPA said the
regulations were late due to ". . . extensive data collection
and review periods which have run beyond the time allotted
in the statute." EPA acknowledged that better foresight and
planning cculd have resulted in improved regulations for
interstate otor carriers and rail carriers, and stated that
the four regulations would have been accelerated if more
resources could have been allocated to these efforts.


                             20
     In commenting on the aviation noise problem, EPA stated
there is still a serious aviation noise problem essentially
the same as that which existed four years ago, and stated,
       the FAA's plan for future action does not make us
optimistic about the progress which will be achieved during
the next few years."
     In commenting on the resources applied to technical
assistance and labeling, the EPA letter stated that it has
proposed a reprograming of fiscal 1977 resources to give more
support to previously inadequately supported activities. EPA
also stated that increased efforts in these areas are planned
for fiscal year 1978.
     EPA has recognized the need for better planning in the
development of future regulations, and has stated that addi-
tional resources will be applied to the labeling and technical
assistance areas. The actions planned by EPA, if effectively
implemented, will help insure the completion of the provisions
of the Noise Act.

     Because of the differences in opinion between EPA and
FAA on solving the aviation noise problem, we recommend in
chapter 4 that the Congress hold oversight hearings to deter-
mine what can and should be done.




                             21
                         CHAPTER 3

            EPA EFFORTS TO COORDINATE THE NOISE
       RESEARCH AND CONTROL PROGRAMS OF THE FEDERAL
            GOVERNMENT HAVE NOT BEEN EFFECTIVE

     Due to the wide divergence of noise abatement programs
within the Federal Government, the Congress recognized the
urgent need for a coordinated effort to control and abate
noise pollution in order to protect the public health and
welfare. Accordingly, under the 1972 act EPA was charged
with the responsibility for coordinating the noise research
and control programs of all Federal agencies.
     Our review of EPA's implementation of the coordination
aspect of the act has shown that EPA has not been effective
in promoting the coordination of Federal noise research and
control efforts. In fact, our discussions with officials
of other Government agencies involved in noise control pro-
grams indicates a feeling of hostility towards EPA. The
majority of agencies contacted told us that coordination
of the Federal noise control program has not been effective
since EPA assumed the responsibility.

MANY OTHER FEDERAL AGENCIES INVOLVED
IN NOISE RESEARCH AND CONTROL ACTIVITIES
     A substantial investment of effort and funds has already
been made by the Federal Government for noise research and
control programs. However, before the act was passed, the
majority of these funds and efforts had been directed to
noise abatement of specific sources (aircraft noise), or to
special environmental situations (such as occupational expo-
sure or transportation planning). The act was designed to
establish a coordinated, complementary Federal program to
control and abate noise pollution.
     Responsibility for noise control is vested in some
31 Federal agencies as a collateral activity to their primary
missions. Those with sitnificant involvement are the:
Departments of Defense; Transportation; Health, Education
and welfare; Housing and Urban Development; Commerce;
Interior; and Agriculture; and the National Aeronautics
and Space Administration; National Science Foundation; and
Consumer Product Safety Commission.
     The area of involvement and funding of each of these
agencies and departments in noise research activities, as
stated in EPA's June 1975 report entitled "First Report on
Status and Progress of Noise Research and Control Programs
in the Federal Governmerit," are as follows:

                              22
                      SUMMARY OF FEDERAL AGENCY
                  CURRENT INVOLVEMENT INNOISE RESEARCH
                                               AREA OF INVOLVEMENT'
                                                       SURFACE        STATIONARY
   AGENCY       NOISE EFFECTS      AIRCRAFT            VEHICLES       MACHINERY


NASA                  X                  X
DOT                   X                  X                X
HEW                   X                                                       X
DOD                   X                  X                X                   X
NSF                   X                                   X                   X
DOI                   X                                                       X
DOC/NBS               X                                                       X
USDA                                                       X                  X
CPSC                                                                          X
HUD                  X
EPA                  X                   X                 X                  X




         SUMMARY OF FEDERAL AGENCY EXPENDITURES FOR NOISE RESEARCH
                                  FISCAL YEAR FUNDING (000)

   AGENCY                  1973                 1974                   1975

NASA                  46,407                    47,232                 28,504
DOT                   13,767                     5,269                  3,467
HEW                     1,090                    1,613                  2,015
DOD                    3,897                     4,621                  3,063
NSF                       263                      658                     _
DOI                       409                       551                   730
DOC/NBS                   236                       381                   407
USDA                        4                        93                   131
CPSC                     _                           70                    -
HUD                       117                      638                    460
EPA                       453                     1,189                   490

TOTALS                   66,643                  62,315                39,186
                                         SOURCE: U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY




                                    23
EPA'S EFFORTS TO COORDINATE THE
NOISE ACTIVITY OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
     The responsibility for implementing EPA's research
coordination under the act has shifted between ONAC and
EPA'  'f!ice of Research and Dvelopment (ORD). Originally,
the t.. nsibility for all coordination was vested in ONAC.
In November 1973 the responsibility for coordinating noise
research at the Federal level was assigned to ORD, while
ONAC retained the responsibility for coordinating Federal
noise control programs. In September 1975 the responsibility
for coordinating Federal research activities was transferred
from ORD back to ONAC. However, the responsibility for EPA
noise research remained in ORD, with the exception that ONAC
was responsible for conducting research on products it
identifies for regulation.
     To discharge its legislative mandate to coordinate
Federal agency noise research, development, and demonstration
activities, EPA--through ORD--established four interagency
noise research panels in February 1974. In addition to ex-
changing information, the panels were to (1) review and assess
the current state of technology, (2) review and assess the
status of research and technology development, (3) prepare
recommendations concerning ongoing research activities,
(4) recommend noise research programs and projects and methods
for their accomplishments, (5) prepare reports on the status
and/or progress of ongoing noise research activities, ad
(6) consider scientific and programatic advice from other
sources.

     The four research panels established wece aircraft,
machinery, noise effects, and surface vehicles. EPA desig-
nated itself as chairman of each of the panels. Memberships
of the panels were as follows:

Panel                              Agency membership

Aircraft                    Departments of commerce, Defense,
                            Transportation; EPA; Housing and
                            Urban Development; National Aero-
                            nautics and Space Administration

Machinery                   Departments of Commerce (National
                            Bureau of Standards), Defense,
                            Interior, Labor; EPA; Health, Edu-
                            cation, and Welfare




                              24
Panel                             Agency membership
Noise effects               Departments of Commerce, Defense,
                            Labor, Transportation; EPA;
                            Health, Education, and Welfare;
                            National Aeronautics and Space
                            Administration; National Science
                            Foundation; Housing and Urban
                            Development
Surface vehicles            Departmeats of Commerce (National
                            Bureau of Standards), Defense,
                            Transportation; EPA; Housing and
                            Urban Development
     EPA has repeatedly (in various reports and testimony
before congressional committees) stated that these four panels
are the mechanism it uses to coordinate the noise research
activities of the Federal Government. However, in discussing
the results or effectiveness of the efforts, EPA officials
and officials from the other agencies on the panels have told
us the panels have not been effective. In fact, the panels
first met in early 1974 and then were inactive for over 2
years. In a January 11, 1977, letter (see app. I) EPA said
the four research panels have been reactivated.
     Numerous agency representatives on the panels told us
they have not been contacted about meetings for almost 2 years,
and they feel the only reason the panels were asked to meet in
the first place was to assist EPA in compiling a report on
the status and progress of Federal activities on noise research
and noise control, as required by the act.

     In June 1975 EPA issued its "First Report on Status and
Progress of Noise Research and Control Programs in the Federal
Government" (Status Report). The report, according to EPA
and other agency officials, does not meet the requirements of
the act because it does not adequately assess the contributions
of those programs to the Federal Government's overall efforts
to control noise. Officials in ONAC told us the report is
essentially an inventory or library of information, and
therefore does not constitute an assessment, as called for in
the act. The introduction of the report recognizes that:
"Although the report provides descriptions of Federal agency
noise research and control programs, it contains limited
information with respect to the 'assessment' referred to in
the Act." EPA officials told us they plan to update the
Status Report and include the assessment called for in the
act.




                             25
     The majority of agencies contacted regarding the EPA
Status Report told us they were generally displeased with
the report and found it virtually useless. All agencies
said an assessment of the contributions made by the various
programs in the Federal Government would be quite beneficial
to their programs and would better enable EPA to provide
necessary leadership and direction. A few examples provided
by officials in other agencies of how such an assessment
would be beneficial were as follows:
     -- A complete, in-depth assessment of Federal noise
        research would identify those areas where research
        has been incomplete, thereby identifying areas
        needing additional research efforts.

     -- If the assessment was completed, when presenting
        budget requests to the OffiL. of Management and
        Budget the agencies and EPA could use the assessment
        to illustrate where critical areas of need exist.
     -- An assessment of the Federal noise research and
        development efforts would identify those areas
        where research in noise control has been adequate,
        enabling EPA to prepare material for technical
        assistance to other government agencies, the public,
        and State and local governments.
     In a November 15, 1976, letter (see app. II) DOT said
that the noise research budget for the entire Federal
Government has decreased since the passage of the Noise
Control Act. A portion of this letter stated:
        .. Other agencies have reduced their budget
     requests for noise research, as they have looked to
     EPA for leadership and guidance in the definition
     of public health and welfare effects from noise.
     Overall, Federal noise abatement research has
     decreased since the Act became law."

ANALYSIS OF EPA'S CONTACTS
WITH OTHER AGENCIES

     We interviewed officials in seven Federal departments
and agencies to determine how effectively EPA has been meeting
the requirements of the act, specifically the area of coor-
dination and assistance provided to Federal agencies. The
majority of these agencies felt EPA had not been successful
in coordinating Federal noise activities. Some believed
that cooperation between EPA and other agencies was hindered
by the attitude of EPA officials.


                             26
     As evidenced in the following comments from officials
of other Government agencies, there appears to be attitudinal
or conceptual differences between the other agencies and
EPA. The general feeling of the agencies is that EPA should
(1) assess the status of noise research and control activi-
ties of the Federal Government, (2) encourage and facilitate
the agencies in meeting to discuss their activities and
problems, (3) act as a communication link between the agen-
cies, and (4) fill the gaps in the Federal noise program
not covered by the other agencies. It was emphasized that
EPA should not attempt to direct the agency programs as has
been done in the past, but that EPA should mainly encourage
cooperation.

     One example given of how EPA tried to direct rather than
assist the agencies was in the way the four research panels
were set up. EPA established itself as chairman of each of
the committees; consequently, the agencies that had been
involved in noise control activities for a number of years
became disenchanted with the entire program.

      In recent discussions with ONAC officials, we were
informed that they were aware of hostilities toward EPA and
planned to take appropriate action. One action mentioned
was to have the agency with the major interest in the panel
(e.g., DOT in the surface vehicle panel) assume chairmanship
of the panel. When the panels were recently reactivated,
representatives from other agencies were designated as
chairmen.

     Specific comments or examples of EPA's failure to
coordinate with some of these agencies follow.

     Department of Transportation
     DOT officials informed us that since the passage of the
act in 1972, when EPA took responsibility for coordinating
Federal noise control activities, coordination has taken "a
few seps backward." According to these officials, before the
act, DOT and other agencies did coordinate with each other.

     DOT officials discussed the following problems concerning
EPA's coordination of Federal noise control and research
activities:

-- The law creating DOT authorized it to perform noise abatement
   research in the transportation area, including aviation. In
   order to fulfill its responsibilities on aircraft noise, DOT
   created the Interagency Aircraft Noise Abatement Program
   (IANAP) in 1968, consisting of the following agencies:



                             27
 the Civil Aeronautics Board; the Departments of Commerce;
 Defense; Health, Education, and Welfare; Housing and Urban
 Development; Interior; and Transportation; the Federal
 Aviation Administration; and the National Aeronautics and
 Space Administration. Although not entirely effective,
 these officials said the program established a committee
 which was a viable, coordinating body. In March 1973 EPA
 decided not to continue IANAP. Since that time, these offi-
 cials said there has been no formal coordination of Federal
 aircraft noise research.

-- DOT officials believe EPA has viewed its coordination
   responsibilities under the act as dictatorial rather than
   as fostering a feeling of cooperation between agencies.
   They said EPA wanted things done "EPA's way or not at all."
   They said this alienated the other agencies. According to
   these officials, EPA rarely sought the opinions of ther
   agencies.

-- DOT officials said it is obvious to them EPA has done
   virtually nothing regarding noise research. They said the
   lack of coordination of noise research has caused LDT, as
   well as other agencies, to lose confidence in EPA's noise
   programs. These officials feel the reduction in Federal
   noise research activities and EPA's failure to adequately
   assess and coordinate research activities, as called for
   by the act, has resulted in a critical void in the Federal
   effort to control noise pollution.
     DOT officials stated that after EPA was given
responsibility for assessing Federal research, the Office of
Management and Budget was reluctant to aporove new research
on noise without an understanding of how such research com-
plemented the total Federal effort. EPA's failure to assess
the significance of various research activities to the Federal
noise effort has resulted in a reduction in the amount of
research accomplished since the act was passed. With proper
assessment of Federal research programs, EPA could have given
support to the noise research and development (R&D) budgets
of all agencies.

     Federal Highway Administration
     One problem mentioned by these officials is the noise
caused by vertical exhaust systems of trucks. These exhaust
systems are 8 to 10 feet above ground and are a major source
oi highway noise because the noise emitted from them is not
contained by noise barriers constructed along highways.
They said it is not economically feasible to build highway
barriers high enough to contain the noise. These officials


                              28
said they brought the problem of vertical exhaust noise
to ONAC's attention, and sought advice about what could be
done to solve the problem, but that ONAC did not respond.
     FHWA officials expressed dissatisfaction with EPA's
assistance in enforcing the interstate motor carrier regu-
lations. (Section 18 of the act authorized DOT to enforce
EPA regulations of interstate motor carriers.) These offi-
cials said EPA had little contact while the regulation was
being developed, and after initial contacts with EPA's
 -. cement divisions they feel the same lack of cooperation
exists.

     These officials said that because EPA did not provide
effective technical assistance to the State and local govern-
ments, in their opinion there is total confusion among the
State and local governments regarding what EPA expects of
the regulation. They said this has resulted in the State
and local governments becoming disenchanted with EPA,"
similar to what has happened in the FHWA. EPA officials
told us that 13 States and numerous cities are enforcing
standards which are applicable to interstate carriers.

     EPA's press release announcing the interstate motor
ca'rier regulation referred to a universe of 1,000,000
venicles affected. FHWA officials informed us that they
feel the universe is at least four times that figure. EPA
officials stated that there are a total of four to five
million trucks weighing over the 10,000-pound limit, but
that only those operated by interstate carriers are subject
to the regulation, and they feel this number is approximately
one million.

     National Aeronautics and Space Administration

     These officials said the abolishment of the Interagency
Aircraft Noise Abatement Program has been detrimental to the
Federal effort to control aviation noise because EPA has done
virtually nothing in this area. They said that formal coordi-
nation of noise activities has been minimal since EPA was
granted responsibility for coordination. Although one official
at our meeting was the representative for almost 2 years to
one of the EPA-established panels, he said he had yet to be
contacted about any meetings. These officials raid there
is too much 'remoteness" between EPA and the other agencies.
     Consumer Product Safety Commission

     The noise control representative for this agency told
us that he went to EPA in 1973 to coordinate noise efforts,



                             29
specifically for lawnmower noise, because the Commission was
planning to issue a regulation limiting the noise emitted
from lawnmowers. However, he said he was told by ONAC offi-
cials that there was no need to regulate lawnmowers because
EPA was planning to issue a regulation, but EPA would not
specify when its lawnmower reculation would be promulgated.
He viewed this contact with EPA as discouraging rather than
fostering coordination, and was quite disturbed because it
appeared that EPA was years from issuing a lawnmower noise
regulation.
LACK OF COORDINATION OF RESEARCH ON NOISE
HAS BEEN DETRIMENTAL TO EPA EFFORTS

     Officials in ONAC also told us that the failure of EPA
to ffectively assess, foster, and coordinate the research
activities of the Federal Government in noise control has
been detrimental to the noise program to date and will
continue to hurt the program until something is done. A
September 23, 1975, memorandum from one ONAC Division Director
to another stated:
            it is my understanding, based on remarks I
     have heard, that ORD will not carry forward research
     coordination for EPA, and that no action has yet been
     taken to direct ONAC to assume this responsibility.
     I am becoming increasingly concerned as we move into
     more product regulations that I and my staff are
     inadequately informed as to on-going and near-term
     projected noise and noise-related R&D in the Federal
     Government. Such information is essential as we
     endeavor to identify what constitutes 'available
     technology,' state-of-the-art, and areas which warrant
     federal noise R&D attention to fill critical gaps and
     thus permit lower noise regulatory standards to be
     promulgated then would otherwise be statutorily
     defensible."

The memo continued:
     "As you have had ONAC responsibility for endeavoring
     to resolve the noise research dalemena [sic] which
     has confronted us for some months, I would ask that
     you stress to those in the Agency who may/can resolve
     this matter, its critical relationship to our regu-
     latory responsibility, and my increasing concern over
     the limited action underway to assure that we are
     being responsive to section 14 of the Act."




                             30
     Under the act, EPA is authorized to conduct research
on the effects, measurements, and control of noise. How-
ever, EPA's expenditures for research has declined from
about $545,000 in fiscal year 1975 to $45,000 in fiscal
year 1976. EPA did not request funds for research in
fiscal year 1977. Recently, ORD published a 5-year plan
for its total research and development activities. No
consideration was given to noise research in this plan.

     In its August 1976 report entitled "A Review of the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Environmental Research
Outlook - FY 1976 through 1980," the Office of Technology
Assessment stated that:

     "Despite the passage of the Noise Control Act of 1972
     which authorizes EPA to conduct and coordinate research
     programs in environmental noise, EPA/ORD is not pre-
     sently studying noise, nor does its Research Plan
     propose such research."
The report continued:

     "At present, EPA has no research program on noise.
     It is entirely dependent on what other information may
     be available on this topic, and seems ill prepared to
     respond quickly to problems of environmental noise
     which may arise . . . The research being conducted
     elsewhere in the Federa1 Government on noise effects
     on human health is not sufficiently defined in the
     Plan to enable an assessment of its adequacy. In
     particular, it appears that EPA has the clearest
     responsibility to appraise the psychological and
     esthetic impacts of incongruous noises upon the
     environment."

CONCLUSIONS

     The objectives of the act concerning noise research
have not been accomplished. The system established to
coordinate the noise research efforts of the Federal Govern-
ment has not been effective; consequently, the expertise of
other Federal agencies concerned with noise control has
not been adequately utilized.
     Although the act specifically required EPA to assess
the noise research done to date by other Federal agencies,
such an assessment has not been completed, and therefore
the accomplishments and areas needing improvement in
Federal noise research are not known.



                             31
AGENCY COMMENTS AND OUR EVALUATION

     In a January 11, 1977 letter (see app. I) EPA said
more effort will be put into Federal noise program coordi-
nation beginning in fiscal year 1977 and emphasis will be
placed on building cooperative relationships among the
various Federal programs. EPA stated that research coordi-
nation received less emphasis in the first 4 years than most
other provisions of the act and, therefore, comprehensive
assessment of Government research has not beer done.    EPA
said the total Federal noise research effort is now being
analyzed and evaluated by the reestablished interagency
research panels and will be actively continued in the
future.

     We believe noise research, assessment of noise research
done to date, and coordination of the Federal noise research
effort need more resources and effort in order to be effec-
tive. The recent reactivation of the four interagency noise
research panels--with other agency representatives designated
as chairmen--is an important first step in establishing the
much-needed coordination system.




                             ?2
                          CHAPTER 4

          NEED FOR DEVELOPMENT OF A COMPREHENSIVE
                  NOISE ABATEMENT STRATEGY

     Two months after the Noise Control Act of 1972 was
passed, ONAC officials prepared a strategy for implementation
of the act. Short-range program goals identified in this
document were (1) reducing noise produced by interstate motor
carriers, and operation of interstate railroads and their
facilities, (2) structuring and implementing solutions to the
aircraft/airport noise problem, (3) reducing significantly
noise emissions from certain products, (4) initiating an
effective cooperative Federal program of noise control,
(5) initiating an effective cooperative Federal program of
noise research, and (6) initiating an effective comprehensive
noise control program in State and local governments. This
document placed primary emphasis on developing major noise
source product emission standards in the surface transporta-
tion and construction areas, producing those documents with
mandatory deadlines, and publishing the interstate carrier
regulations. Areas such as technical assistance, Federal
program coordination, and labeling were given lower priority
in the near term.

     Early in 1974 OAWM officials recognized that the
original strategy study answered the questions for the first
year of the ONAC noise program, but they felt that a more
comprehensive noise abatement strategy was needed. A
revised strategy for the noise abatement program was prepared
in July 1974; however, EPA officials have told us it was not
as comprehensive as it should have been, and therefore was
never approved by the Administrator.

     Although it has been recognized that a more comprehensive
strategy has been needed since 1974, EPA has not yet developed
such a strategy for the Noise Control Act.

     We recognize that developing regulations is necessary
to control noise pollution. However, control of noise
pollution is such a difficult task that it requires a compre-
hensive, coordinated effort by all segments of society--
private, local, State, and Federal. Consequently, a compre-
hensive noise abatement strategy, utilizing all aspects of
the Noise Control Act, should be prepared and implemented.




                             33
MAJOR PROGRAM EMPHASIS PLACED ON
DEVELOPING REGULATIONS

     The main objective of the noise program since passage of
the act in October 1972 has been to identify products con-
sidered as major sources of noise and to promulgate regula-
tions establishing standards governing the noise emission
characteristics of these products. Consequenily, areas such
as coordination of research and control activities, technical
assistance to State and local governments, and development of
a labeling program have received low priorities and resources.
This is illustrated in the following table, which shows ONAC's
funding in these program areas during the last 4 fiscal years.

                   ONAC Funding for FY's 1973-76

Program area            FY 73          FY 74        FY 75     FY 76
Development of
  regulations         $1,232,000 $2,180,900 $3,510,500 $8,329,400
Federal coordi-
  nation                   -           288,300      228,300   204,400

Technical assist-
  ance to State and
  local governments      48,600        667,500      696,800   907,000
Labeling program           -            87,400       13,400   360,000
Research (ORD)          280,800        498,400      544,600    45,000


     EPA's budget request for fiscal year 1977 includes the
following for these four areas:

     Development of regulations                  $6,907,000

     Federal coordination                          $672,000
    Technical assistance to State
      and local governments                      $1,751,000
     Labeling                                      $400,000
     Research

Accordingly, EPA plans to continue devoting the majority of
its effort to developing regulations.




                                  34
NEED TO DEVELOP A NOISE PROGRAM STRATEGY
     Although the development of regulations is an important
part of the noise program, we believe that EPA should prepare
an overall strategy to implement the noise control program,
which will make sure that all provisions of the act are
implemented in a balanced, coordinated manner.

     Such a strategy should address such questions as:

     -- To what extent should EPA's technical assistance
        to State and ocal governments play a role in EPA's
        noise abatement program?

     -- Where should the Federal research dollar for noise
        control technology be spent?

     -- What part should the coordination of Federal
        activities and research play in the overall noise
        abatement program? Can EPA prevent duplication and
        direct research in areas that are currently deficient?

     -- When would be the most beneficial time to start a
        labeling program? How soon after a public
        awareness/education program should EPA begin a
        labeling program?

     The need for a comprehensive noise program strategy has
been recognized for some time by various officials in ONAC
and OAWM to which ONAC is organizationally responsible.
      As noted previously, EPA has formally identified eight
major sources of noise. ONAC officials informed us that
products to be identified in the near future are automobiles,
tires, snowmobiles, and lawnmowers. Of the eight products
identified, EPA has issued regulations for only two: newly
manufactured portable air compressors and medium- and
heavy-duty trucks. ONAC officials said the lack of a decision
on strategy issues has caused major set-backs in developing
some of ONAC's proposed regulations. They told us the lack
of a comprehensive strategy has caused ONAC to either regu-
late, or plan to regulate, items wnich are not significant
contributors to the noise pollution problem. One official
told us that lack ef a comprehensive strategy has caused
items to be identified, or "pre-identified," which when
regulations are finalized will be ineffective in decreasing
noise levels in the United States. Examples of these pro-
ducts are lawnmowers, motorcycles, and snowmobiles.     (Only
motorcycles have  been  formally identified at present.)
Other EPA officials believe these are major sources of noise
exposure and annoyance and, therefore, should be regulated.
                              35
       On several occasions OAWM expressed
                                            concern that ONAC
 needed a clearly defined strategy
 timing, and priority for actions.  setting  forth its goals,
 randum to the Deputy Assistant      In a July 19, 1974, memo-
                                 Administrator, ONAC, the
 Assistant Administrator for OAWM
                                   expressed concern that ONAC
 planned to proceed rapidly on a
                                  certain  regulation without
 a clear plan of action for the total
 that:                                 program.   He stated

      "The extent and timing of our action
      to the attainment of our goals and   * * * should relate
                                         resulting  priorities
      or we may find our resources committed
      priorits tasks."                       to the  lower

 In further discussing the lack of
                                   a strategy, the Assistant
 Administrator asked:
      "Are premature or poorly
      context of an appropriate defined actions, not in the
                                 plan, a major cause for the
      present difficulties * * * with the
      Truck Regulations?'"                 Section 6 New

After pointing out that contracts,
generate the necessary information, let some time ago, to
executed n a manner which provided were not conceived and
drafting new truck regulations, the the best options in
asked:                               Assistant Administrator

     "Will we not run the same risk
                                    by premature thrusts in
     other directions without a properly
     goals, priorities, and plans?"      conceived set of

Almost a year later, in April 1975,
Planning and Review, in assessing    OAWM's Office of Program
performance and fiscal year 1976   ONAC's fiscal year 1975
                                  plan, noted that:
     "Three major outputs relating to
     an overall program strategy have  the development of
     slippage impacts FY 1976 planning slipped badly. This
     indecision on the nature of and    by allowing continuing
                                      intensity of regulatory
     thrusts. It furthermore tends to
     in which policy (strategy/tactical)perpetuate a climate
     a crisis basis causing delay in      questions arise on
                                     other products."
The memo continues:
    '* * * the development of regulations
                                          has been
    chronically behind schedule. The
    over optimism, crisis changes,    lateness relates to
                                   past deficiencies in
    information development, and inadequate
                                            manpower.


                             36
    "Every regulation which ONAC has proposed or promulgated
    thus far in FY 1975 has been late, based on the schedules
    mandated in the legislation, commitments made to OAWM
    and/or the Formal Planning and Reporting System, or by
    letter and verbal communication to Congressional staff
    or individual members of Congress."
Furthermore it stated:

     ".   . the related late recognition of policy/strategy
     issues has caused delays."

     In a May 5, 1975, memorandum to the Deputy Assistant
Administrator, ONAC, concerning ONAC's proposed fiscal year
1976 budget, the Assistant Administrator, OAWM, stated:
     "I am still concerned that the proposed FY 1976 plan
     may not be the optimum plan, in terms of present
     product emphasis or forward looking studies which
     will define our regulation development in subsequent
     years.
    "I had hoped that my feelings were clearly understood
    as a result of our discussions over the past year on
    the need for the development of a strategy * * *.   I
    am concerned that we may be locking the program too
    tightly into areas were we feel that we know what to
    do as opposed to providing the best opportunity to
    make choices which will have the most desirable
    impact on the problem."

     In June 1976 we told ONAC officials that developing
a comprehensive strategy appears to be an issue that warrants
immediate attention if the provisions of the Noise Act are
to be accomplished. The Deputy Assistant Administrator,
ONAC, concurred with our comment and said developing such
a strategy is one of his highest priorities. He said that
many draft strategies have been prepared, but that an
official, agency-approved strategy has never been finalized.
The Deputy Assistant Administrator said the strategy should
be finalized within a few months. He told us he intends to
"go public" with the ONAC strategy so that industry, other
Government agencies, and private citizens can see the
direction ONAC plans to take.

CONCLUSIONS

     The Noise Control Act of 1972, the first comprehensive
noise control legislation passed by the Congress, required
that certain mandates be completed within specified deadlines



                             37
and provided various mechanisms for the control and abatement
of noise pollution.  Implementation of the provisions in the
act has been slow and, in some cases, ineffective.

     In implementing the provisions of the act, EPA
concentrated most of its resources on developing regulations
for the control of noise emitted from interstate railroad
and motor carriers; developing source standards for major
sources of noise; producing various documents, such as the
Airport/Aircraft Report, the criteria and environmental
noise level documents; and preparing proposed regulations
for submission to FAA for the control of aircraft noise.
Other areas, such as technical assistance, Federal program
coordination, research, and labeling, were given lower pri-
ority. While EPA recognized early in 1974 that a more com-
prehensive noise program strategy was needed, such a strategy
has not been published.

     Controlling and abating noise pollution will require the
coordinated and balanced implementation of all provisions
provided in the Noise Control Act. Since EPA has been charged
with implementing the provisions of the Noise Control Act, we
believe EPA should prepare an overall strategy for the Federal
noise control program, setting forth the goals, timing, and
priority for actions needed to make sure that all provisions
of the Noise Control Act are implemented.

     At a minimum, the strategy should:
     -- Identify those products for which noise control
        regulations will be needed in the foreseeable future.

     -- Identify the research which will be needed to
        support those regulations and the Federal agency
        which will conduct the research.

     -- Include plans for a labeling program coupled with
        a program to educate the public on the detrimental
        effects of noise, as a means of encouraging manu-
        facturers to voluntarily take action to reduce noise
        generated by their products.

     -- Include a workable plan for coordinatir    a noise
        research and control activities of all      al
        agencies, including the maintenance of     ragency
        coordinating panels.

     -- Provide that the chairmanship of each interagency
        coordinating panel be maintained in the Federal
        agency with the greatest expertise in the area
       to be covered by each panel.


                             38
     -- Include plans for providing technical assistance
        to State and local governments, including identifi-
        cation of the types and extent of such assistance.

     The failure to assess the status of noise researth done
to date, as specifically required by the act, has hindered
the total noise program of the Federal Government. This
assessment is necessary to make sure that the accomplishments
and areas needing improvement in the Federal noise research
effort are known.
     Noise research and coordination of the Federal noise
research program need more resources and effort in order to
be effective. EPA's fiscal year 1977 budget request contained
no funds for noise research, and no mention of noise research
was made in ORD's 5-year plan for its total research and
development activities.

RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE ADMINISTRATOR OF EPA
     We recommend that the Administrator, EPA, direct that
an overall strategy for the noise control program be prepared
so that all provisions of the Noise Control Act are imple-
mented in a balanced, coordinated manner.

     An essential element of this strategy should be an
assessment of the Federal research effort to determine the
effectiveness of research done to date, as well as to identif'y
and provide for needed research.

AGENCY COMMENTS AND OUR EVALUATION

     In a January 11, 1977, letter (see app. I) EPA agreed
that updating the strategy proceeded more slowly than it
should have, and stated that a draft of such a strategy
was circulated for public comment in November 1976. EPA
added that the strategy will be redrafted in the spring of
1977, in response to public comments.

     The Department of Transportation concurred with the
recommendation to the Administrator of EPA on the need for
an overall strategy for the noise control program, with two
qualifications.   (See app. II.) First, DOT stated that it
must be recognized that an overall strategy plan can only
be conceptual in nature, since the technology to achieve
much of the desired noise reduction is not yet available
in many instances. Second, it said such assessment can only
be performed through close alliance and cooperation with
other Federal agencies, and not through a unilateral EPA
study or contractor analysis.



                             39
     We believe the overall noise program draft strategy that
has been prepared and sent to other organizations is a step
in the right direction in the development of a unified,
national effort to reduce noise pollution. Controlling and
abating noise pollution has been and will continue to be a
complicated job requiring the coordinated and balanced efforts
of all provisions contained in the Noise Control Act of 1972.
RECOMMENDATION TO THE CONGRESS

     Because of the problems discussed in this report--slow
and ineffective implementation of certain sections of the
Noise Control Act, and the disagreements between EPA and the
other agencies as to what actions are necessary to control
noise pollution--we recommend that the appropriate congres-
sional committees or subcommittees hold oversight hearings
to evaluate past performance and to provide guidance for
future activities. In addition to considering needed improve-
ments in the overall management of the program and its
effectiveness, we believe that the act should be amended to:

     -- Change the penalty for violating the interstate
        motor carrier regulation from a criminal to a civil
        penalty.

     -- Require FAA to publish a notice in the Federal Register,
        within a specified time, as to whether the noise
        abatement proposals submitted by EPA will be accepted,
        modified, or rejected. If the proposals are to be
        modified or rejected, the reasons for such actions
        should also be stated.

     We would be glad to assist the appropriate congressional
committees in the development of such legislative amendments.

AGENCY COMMENTS AND OUR EVALUATION

     EPA supported our recommendation that the Congress hold
oversight hearings on the implementation of the Noise Control
Act (see app. I).  EPA said some sections of the act have
been implemented more successfully than others and that
evaluation of the Executive Branch's performance will be
helpful. EPA also supports the tw) specific legislative
amendments we suggested.

     With regard to aviation noise, EPA said the Congress
should explore the basic philosophical differences between
EPA and FAA. It was further stated that fundamental policy
questions divide the two agencies and progress will be
delayed in the aviation noise area until the intent of the
Congress is clarified.


                             40
     The Department of Transportation agreed generally with
                                                         the
our findings and said that a major review of the act by
                                                        act
Congress is both appropriate and timely. DOT said the agencies
sets up basic conflicts between EPA and  other Federal
in carrying out their respective responsibilities and,  there-
                           congressional  review of the act
fore, DOT feels a thorough
would be highly desirable.
     DOT concurred with the first legislative amendment we
suggested and it suggested this change be extended to viola-
tions of the interstate rail carrier regulations.     DOT also
                               in interpretation   between  EPA
suggested that the difference
                                  nature  of sections   17 and  18
and DOT regarding the preemptive         review by  the  Congress.
of the act should be another  matter of

     DOT did not concur with our second suggested legislative
                                                      time period
amendment concerning the establishment of a fixed
for response to the EPA aircraft noise proposals.      DOT said
                   reviews necessary  to   determine  the proper
the administrative
action vary so widely that a fixed time period for response
is not practicable. While we recognize that each proposed
aircraft noise regulation is unique, we believe that FAA
should state, within a specified time, what action is to
be taken on the EPA proposals. The regulations do      not
necessarily have to be promulgated  by  a  certain  date;  how-
                       the  reasons why   would be  useful  in
ever, if they are not,                              required.
determining what additional  research  or  data  is

     Progress in implementing the Noise Control Act of 1972
                                                          the
has been slow and, in some cases, ineffective. Although
two major agencies responsible for the act have basic  philo-
sophical differences concerning how  the act should be imple-
                          thorough  congressional review is
mented, both agree that a
necessary.

      A proposed national strategy for noise abatement andin-
 control has finally been drafted and submitted to other
 terested agencies and organizations. Provided the redrafting
 is completed by the time oversight hearings are held, the on
 Congress will have an opportunity to examine and comment
 the direction of future noise pollution efforts.




                                41
APPENDIX I                                                                APPENDIX I
   *ito 8



  is   dUNITED
         9F~7           STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
                                 WASHINGTON, D.C.   20460

                                    JAN 1 11977

                                                                         OFFICE OF
                                                                 PLANNING AND MANAGEMENT




            Mr. Henry Eschwege, Director
            Community and Economic Development Division
            United States General Accounting Office
            Washington, D. C. 20548

            Dear Mr. Eschwege:

                    On September 22, 1976, you sent us copies of a draft report
            entitled "Implementation of the Noise Control Act of 1972 Has Been
            Slow and Ineffective, " for our review and comment. Enclosed is
            EPA's response to that report.

                    We appreciate the opportunity to review the report prior
            to its submission to Congress and if there is any additional
            information needed please let us know.

                                            Sincerely yours,



                                            Alvin L. Alm
                                     Assistant Administrator
                                    for Planning and Management

            Enclosure




                                            42
APPENDIX I                                                           APPENDIX

                      EPA RESPONSE TO GAO REPORT ON NOISE
       I. Regulations
             A. Meeting of Deadlines
       Report
       Regulations issued have been many months late.
       EPA Response
       It is true that EPA has been late in promulgating regulations.
       These delays are not the result of any lack of zeal on the
       part of the Agency but rather the consequence of extensive
       data collection and review periods which have run beyond the
       time allotted in the statute. It has taken longer than
       anticipated to develop the necessary cost/technology infor-
       mation; prepare environmental impact and inflation impact
       assessments; conduct interagency reviews on both the proposed
       and final versions of the regulations; and hold public
       hearings. The IIS requirements were imposed by Executive
       Order after enactment of the Noise Control Act (NCA) and
       were not considered when the NCA deadlines were established.
       Itwould have been irresponsible for the Agency to adopt
       regulations hastily, without proper documentation and review,
       thereby possibly failing to achieve optimum environmental
       benefits.
       Of course, EPA did face particular problems in the very early
       years of a totally new program. In the case of the inter-
       state motor carrier and rail carrier regulations, for instance,
       better foresight and planning could have resulted in improved
       regulations. Also, promulgation of these regulations and
       truck and portable air compressor regulations would have
       been accelerated had the Agency been able to allocate more
       resources several years ago to these efforts. More resources
       and better planning have been applied to subsequent actions
       by the Agency and many of the program's start-up problems
       have been ameliorated.
           B. Interstate Motor Carrier Regl:ation
       Report
       Neither EPA nor the FHWA has as yet requested the Congress
       to amend the Noise Act to change the criminal provision
       to a civil violation.
      EPA Response
      EPA took the initiative some time ago to draft legislative
      language to amend the Act to provide civil penalties which
      can be imposed by EPA and by DOT/FHWA. D has already
      concurred with this proposal. EPA plans to submit these
      amendments to the Congress in the next session. Once this
      one major impediment to enforcement of this standard is
      solved, we would expect a more vigorous enforcement program.

                                   43
APPENDIX I                                                          APPENDIX   I




             C. Interstate Railroad Regulations
        Report
        DOT officials are reported as identifying the imjor cause of
        railroad noise as the railroad yard.
        EPA Response
        All of EPA's studies of railroad noise indicate otherwise.
        There are approximately 120 hump yards in the United States
        as compared to thousands of miles of mainline railroad
        running through essentially all principal populated areas of
        this country. Almost all of the complaints and inputs we
        have received from State and local governments and private
        citizens have been regarding noise from mainline railroad
        operations.
        The issue of regulating railroad yards in addition to mainline
        train operations raises the Federal preemption issue which is
        central to a suit filed by the Association of American Railroads.
        The EPA Rail Carrier Regulation set standards for
        railroad rolling stock -- that equipment of the railroad which
        would clearly be adversely impacted by varying State and local
        jurisdictions because of the mobility of such equipment. However,
        railroad yard noise emissions represent a stationary localized
        noise source.
       Railroad yards are located in a wide variety of environmental
       settings across this country. Some yards are in densely populated
       areas, others in isolated locations such as deserts or open
       farmland. In EPA's opinion, it seems more reasonable to allow
       State and local jurisdictions to establish noise emission require-
       ments on railroad yards based on local needs and concerns as long
       as they do not conflict with the Federally-established standards
       for rolling stock. Control of such noise at the local level
       without in any way interfering with equipment which must move
       from one community to another is relatively easy. EPA's regu-
       lation encourages State and local agencies to do this. It
       appears to be the fear of local regulation of these activities
       which causes the American Association of Railroads and
       certain elements of the Department of Transportation to
       criticize the EPA regulation. EPA's refusal to regulate
       railroad yards is now the subject of a court test by the AAR
       and should the Congress wish to pursue this matter further,
       we will be glad to furnish the court documents which set
       forth the requisite analyses.




                                     44
APPENDIX I                                                       APPENDIX I



      Report
      Officials in EPA have stated that portions of the interstate
      railroad regulation will provide little noise reduction
      benefit because it did not require retrofit for existing
      equipment.
      EPA Response
      EPA did not propose that existing diesel and diesel-electric
       locomotives -- both new and currently in use -- meet a standard
      similar tc the standard for new locomotives. That would have
      meant equipping nearly the entire locomotive fleet with mufflers
      in four years at a cost estimated by EPA at $60,000,000 to
      $120,000,000 and by the railroad industry at upwards of
      $400,000,000. This extraordinary cost is the result of the
      fact that mufflers would have to be "custom-built" for most
      of these older locomotives. Since noise from railroads is less
      of a health and welfare problem than that from many other
      sources identified in the Act and legislative history,
      serious consideration had to be given to how much economic
      disruption was justified by the health and welfare benefits
      to be gained by custom retrofit of these locomotives. Given
      the economic condition of the railroads and their very
      positive environmental benefits as an efficient alternative
      to other modes of transport, the Agency chose not to push
      blindly for the incorporation of this complex retrofit
      technology in order to achieve such small benefits for
      society.
       Although this regulation did not require retrofit of existing
       equipment, there are some significant benefits to be derived
       from the regulation. The regulation requires that locomotives,
       rail cars, wheels, and track be maintained in good operating
       condition in order to meet the specified noise level. The
       EPA and DOT were unable to identify new technology which
       could be applied in any reasonable manner to significantly
       reduce wheel-rail noise below that caused by well-maintained
       equipment; thus a noise ceiling for railroad rolling stock
       was established which puts into motion a maintenance program
       using currently available technology which will monitor and
       maintain railroad equipment to specified noise levels. This
       imposes a significant burden on the railroad industry but
       one which will have more than compensating benefits in terms
       of noise abatement as well as safety.




                                    45
APPENDIX I                                                          APPENDIX T



  II. Aviation Noise

  Report
  Little progress has been made in abating aviation noise since
  1972.

  EPA Response

  In 1972, when the Congress passed the Noise Control Act, there
  was a serious aviation noise problem which clearly needed to
  be attacked in an aggressive manner. Today, four years later,
  there is still a serious aviation noise problem of essentially
  the same dimensions. In November of 1976, the FAA did take a
  few steps toward solving this prrblem, but a great deal remains
  to be done.

  In 1972, the Congress amended the Federal Aviation Act to give
  EPA a role to the aviation noise area. EPA is proud of the job
  that it has done in the last four years. The Agency has
  produced as required by Congress a comprehensive study which
  identifies steps that should be taken by the Federal Government
  to deal with this problem. The Agency as subsequently sent
  eleven regulatory proposals to the FAA. The FAA's actions
  in November were largely in response to some of the EPA initiatives.

  However, the FAA's plan for future action does not make us
  optimistic about the progress which will be achieved during
  the next few years.
  The GAO Report indicates that there has been considerable con-
  troversy between the FAA and EPA. Various efforts to make the
  relations between the two agencies amicable have been attempted
  but this is difficult given the adversary relationship established
  by the Act. If anything, the Congress should be suspicious
  if EPA and the FAA were to be in total agreement, given the
  very different philosophies of the two agencies about what
  is needed to deal with the aviation noise problem.
  The performance of the Federal Government in the aviation noise
  area should be one of the major subjects of the oversight
  hearings conducted by the Congress in 1977. It would be
  appropriate for the Congress to explore the basic philosophical
  approaches of the two agencies and to contrast the performance
  in the aviation area to the performance in other noise control
  areas set forth by the Act. In EPA's view the FAA's regulations
  under Section 7 of the Act require only "current practice",
  while the EPA's regulations under Section 6 require "best
  available technology". Since the specific criteria for
  establishing standards differ in the two Sections of the Act,
  perhaps the outcomes should also be different, but fundamental
  policy questions divide the two agencies and they will con-
  tinue to delay progress in the aviation noise area until
  Congress clarifies its intent.


                             46
APPENDIX I                                                      APPENDIX   I




        Three specific criticisms by the FAA which are quoted by the
        GAO Report require an answer:

        1. The FAA criticizes EPA for dwelling too much on safety-
        related problems in its proposals, Safety is dealt with
        by EPA primarily in those regulations related to the operation
        of aircraft (e.g. EPA's proposal for the use of minimum flaps
        on approach). It would be inappropriate for EPA to propose
        regulations to the FAA which are clearly unsafe. This would
        be a waste of FAA's time as well as a discredit to the
        regulatory process. Consequently, EPA has proposed only
        those procedures which it felt were safe, recognizing that
        the expertise and responsibility for making that final
        determination rest with the FAA.

        2. FAA criticizes EPA for not submitting adequate health
        and welfare data to support promulgation of the regulations.
        EPA has gone beyond the requirements for the Act in submitting
        full regulatory packages to the FAA ready for publication
        in the Federal Register supported by extensive background
        reports. These proposals in almost every case have included
        extensive health and welfare justification. The health and
        welfare justification may not be persuasive to the FAA, but
        it is there nevertheless. The FAA has criticized EPA for
        relying to some extent on health and welfare data already
        developed by the FAA or in FAA files. Apparently, the FAA
        would like EPA to develop new health and welfare data in
        some of these areas. The simple fact remains that the aviation
        noise problem in this country today is severe and steps
        should be taken now to abate this noise. It is always possible
        to do more analysis and to gather more data before taking
        any action, but we believe that the EPA proposals are so
        clearly justified that to delay their promulgation on the basis
        of lack of further data in unconscionable.
        3. The Report quotes the FAA criticism that EPA does not give
        the FAA sufficient advance notice about the content of the
        EPA proposals. 'AA fails to mention the 1973 Aviation Report
        to Congress, and the February 19, 1974, Advanced Notice of
        Proposed Rulemaking, both of which outlined the forthcoming
        proposals. FAA's criticism is also inconsistent with its
        contention that EPA's proposals constitute "nothing new" to
        the FAA, as well as the direct request of the FAA on
        January 17, 1974 (letter from R.P. Skully, Director of Environ-
        mental Quality to Alvin F. Meyer, Jr., Deputy Assistant
        Administrator for Noise Control Programs) not to send draft
        project reports on the aviation proposals to the FAA (We-
        request you defer submitting this type of material for our
        analysis until such time as the documents represent formal
        EPA proposals.")




                                    47
APPENDIX     I                                                   APPENDIX   I



           III.   Program Balance

       Report
       EPA has concentrated most of its resources on the development
       of standards and consequently has given lower priority to other
       important sections of the Act.

       EPA Response
       EPA's strategy for the implementation of the Act in the
       first few years after its passage was to attack the most
       serious noise sources first and to meet the mandatory
       requirements for which the Act established specific dead-
       lines. Specifically, top priority for the short term was
       placed on developing source standards for major sources of
       noise in the surface transportation and construction areas;
       producing the other documents with mandatory deadlines such
       as the Airport/Aircraft Report and the criteria and environ-
       mental noise level documents; and publishing the two interstate
       carrier regulations. Technical assistance, federal program
       coordination, and labeling were given lower priority in the
       near term.

       EPA has now promulgated all standards and published all
       reports for which there were specific deadlines. Consequently
       it has been possible for EPA to be more flexible and broaden
       its approach to national noise control. The staff has been
       reorganized to achieve a better balance in implementing the
       authorities of the Noise Control Act. In addition, EPA has
       proposed reprogramming of FY 1977 resources within the ONAC
       appropriation to give more support to previously inadequately
       supported activities. This redirection of the program is
       reflected in the Strategy document which the Agency published
       for public comment in October, 1976. This strategy recognizes
       the essentiality of state and local programs, other federal
       programs, and informed consumer choice through labeling for
       the national noise control effort. Increased efforts in these
       areas are therefore planned for FY 1977 and 1978.

       The Agency believes that the original choice of priorities
       for the implementation of the Act was correct, but that it
       is now time to give increased emphasis to these other
       authorities in the Act. For instance, we believe the
       authority to label products has great potential for noise
       control. In the one area in which labeling had a relatively
       high priority--hearing protectors--EPA has drafted a labeling
       regulation which will be proposed shortly. However, many
       other products that are candidates for labeling did not
       have sufficient population impact to rank among the most
       serious sources of noise requiring immediate action. In
       addition, it seemed evident that in order to have a successful
       labeling program it is also necessary to have an allied
       consumer information effort. For these reasons, the development


                                    48
APPENDIX I                                                         APPENDIX   I



        of labeling   regulations did not receive the highest priority.
        In FY 1977,   it has become feasible to initiate a consumer
        information   program and to place greater emphasis on the use
        of labeling   as a supplement to national source standards.




                                    49
APPENDIX   I                                                        APPENDIX   I



      IV. Research Coordination

               A. Overall Effort

      Report

      The system established to coordinate noise research efforts
      of the Federal government has been ineffective.

      Only limited assessment of noise research done by Federal
      agencies to date has been made.

      EPA Response
      Research coordination received less emphasis in the first
      four years of the Act than most other provisions of the Act
      and consequently the comprehensive assessment of government
      research has not been done.

      However, the total Federal noise research effort is now being
      analyzed and evaluated by EPA using interagency research panels
      chaired by representatives of other agencies.    These panels
      began work in August and Octcber 1976.     This assessment
      will include evaluation of current research in the Federal
      Government, in industry, and at universities. When these
      studies are completed, in the Spring of 1977, EPA in coordin-
      ation' with the other agencies will make recommendations to
      the Office of Management and Budget concerning the appropriate
      priorities within the Federal noise research program and the
      current needs which should be met by increased funding in
      the next Federal Budget. EPA is now committed through its
      reorganization of the Noise Office and the allocation of
      personnel resources to this activity to continue this assess-
      ment function in an active manner in the coming years.

               B. Interagency Aircraft Noise Abatement Committee

      Report

      The Agency failed to continue the DOT Interagency Aircraft
      Noise Abatement Committee (IANAP).
      EPA Response
      This committee was an active coordinating body during its
      existence, and DOT proposed that it be continued by PA after
      the passage of the Noise Control Act of 1972. nohever, because
      EPA's mandate is broader than aviation noise EPA instead
      established four research panels, one of which -- Aircraft
      Research -- essentially encompasses the function of the DOT/IANAP.
      This EPA research panel has not been as effective as IANAP was
      but EPA's increased efforts in FY 1977 should fill this gap.




                                       50
APPENDIX     I                                                      APPENDIX I



           V. Federal Noise Program Coordination
           Repor't
           Many agencies are unhappy with EPA's responsiveness to their
           recommendations and with EPA's attempts to implement the
           Congressional directive to coordinate all Federal noise
           control programs.
           EPA Response
           The attempt of any agency to coordinate the activities of
           other agencies is destined to provoke some degree of
           unhappiness, especially when the "coordinator" is the
           newest agency on the scene. However, EPA has attempted to
           coordinate all Federal noise-related programs and has met
           with some success. More effort will be put into this
           activity beginning in FY 1977 and emphasis will be placed on
           building cooperative relationships among the various
           Federal programs.
       With regard to EPA's responsiveness to other agencies'
       recommendations regarding EPA regulations all noise product
       regulations are extensively coordinated with Federal
       agencies and their comments are given close attention.
       Their comments are, in each case, included as an appendix
       to the respective Background Documents together with EPA's
       responses thereto. The responsiveness of EPA can, therefore,
       be judged on the basis of the record of EPA disposition
       of each comment should anyone wish to pursue this matter in
       detail.
       Through the "Interagency Review Process" EPA regulations
       receive more review by other agencies before proposal in
       the Federal Register than all other agencies' regulations
       receive at any time. EPA does, in fact, make many changes
       in its regulations as a result of the interagency coordination
       process.
       EPA is the only agency we are aware of that documents this
       type of review process and gives an answer on the record to
       every comment received from other agencies. Thfi entire
       process is over and above the normal Federal Register public
       comment process. Rather than criticizing EPA's coordination
       methods, other agencies would be well advised to adopt
       EPA's methods since they are sorely needed in many instances.




                                           51
APPENDIX I                                                     APPENDIX I




         Many of the criticisms from offices in DOT stem, we believe,
         from the fact that EPA has been requested to conduct all
         its coordination with FHWA, FRA, and other component agencies
         with the exception of the FAA,    through the DOT Noise
         Office. Extensive coordination with that office has taken
         place regarding all EPA reoulations, EPA's efforts to deal
         directly with component offices of DOT have often been
         rebuffed as inconsistent with Departmental policy. The
         failure of component offices to have much contact with EPA
         officials is more a criticism or comment directed at DOT's
         policy of coordination than at EPA.

        The Report cited specifically FHWA's comment regarding EPA's
        nonresponsiveness to the vertical exhaust issue in relation
         to highway barriers. This issue was clearly recognized by
        EPA and addressed in the docket and the Background Document
        to the medium and heavy truck regulation. The FHWA official
        contacted was apparently unaware of DOT's official position
        in response to the final New Truck Regulation which supported
        vertical exhaust systems (see New Truck Background Document
        page A-2-29), primarily because of adverse impact resulting
        from other-than-vertical positioning and the minimal environmental
        benefits which would be achieved since exhaust stacks are
        expected to be one of the first components quieted by
        industry under the truck regulation because of cost considerations.




                                      52
APPENDIX I                                                      APPENDIX I




         VI.   Noise Abatement Strategy

         Report

         EPA has been slow in developing a more comprehensive noise
         abatement strategy
         EPA Response

         To be effective, strategies should be updated and expanded
         over time. The GAO is correct that the updating of the
         noise strategy in 1974 proceeded more slowly than it should
         have although an intensive effort was made to update it and
         drafts were produced which set out environmental goals and
         recommended a continuation of the basic set of priorities
         decided upon in 1973.

         In the Spring of 1976, another strategy development effort
         was begun culminating in the publication for public comment
         in October of 1976 of a comprehensive strategy which deals
         with all of the topics suggested by the GAO Report except
         research. This strategy will be redrafted in the Spring of
         1977 in response to public comments. Research is being
         dealt with through interagency panels and the results of
         that work will be integrated into the overall program
         strategy.

         EPA supports strategy planning as an effective method of
         directing program efforts of the Agency. In some cases, as
         in noise, there are times in the development of the program
         when a more comprehensive strategy is evolving, but is not
         immediately committed to paper in a formal strategy paper.
         Nevertheless, we are not aware of many agencies in the
         Government which do as extensive strategy planning and
         which provide for as much public input to these strategies
         as does EPA. On the whole, EPA believes that it has done
         a reasonably good job in strategy planning for noise in the
         past, but that even more extensive strategy planning is
         needed for the future since many of the actions mandated
         for immediate implementation in the Act have been carried
         out and there are now more choices which need to be made
         about the direction of the future effort.




                                   53
APPENDIX I                                                          APPENDIX I




    VII.   Recommendations
           A. Oversight Hearings

    The GAO Report recommends that the Congress hold oversight hearings
    on the implementation of the Noise Control Act and recommends two
    specific legislative amendments. EPA supports this reconmmendation.
    It has now been four years since the passage of this Act. A number
    of actions have been taken pursuant to the Act; many others are well
    on the way toward completion; priorities have been set, a new roaram
    strategy is in development. Implementation of some sections of the
    Act has been more successful than that of others. Evaluation
    of the Executive Branch's performance in implementing this Act will
    be helpful.

           B.   Recommendations to the Administrator of EPA.
                1.   Development of an overall strategy. We agree with
                     the GAO: Such a strategy was beoun in the Sprinq of
                     1976 and was circulated for public comment in
                     November, 1976.

                2.   Assessment of Federal research. We agree that such
                     an assessment is necessary: This process began in
                     August 1976 and an initial product of this effort
                     will be completed by the Sprina of 1977.
           C.   Other Recommendations

                1.   Increased emphasis on coordination of Federal programs,
                     technical assistance to State and local programs,
                     and on labeling: We agree that these activities now
                     deserve greater emphasis in the overall effort.
                     FY 1977 and FY 1978 resources have been allocated to
                     give such emphasis and the Office of Noise Abatement
                     and Control has been reorganized to give more visibility
                     to these functions.




                                         54
   APPENDIX           II                                                   APPENDIX   II



                           OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION
                                      WASHINGTON, D.C.   20590


ASSISTANT SECRETARY
 FOR ADMINISTRATION
                                                                       November 15, 1976



    Mr. Henry Eschwege
    Director
    Community and Economic Development Division
    U. S. General Accounting Office
    Washington, D. C. 20548
    Dear Mr. Eschwege:
   This is in response to your letter of September 22, 1976, requesting
   comments from the Department of Transportation on the General
   Accounting Office draft report entitled "Implementation of the Noise
   Control Act of 1972 Has Been Slow and Ineffective." We have reviewed
   the report in detail and prepared a Department of Transportation
   reply.
   Two copies of the reply are enclosed.

                                                         Sincerely,


                                                         William S. Heffelfinger
   Enclosures




                                                  55
APPENDIX II                                                            APPENDIX II



                       DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION REPLY

                                      TO

            GAO DRAFT OF REPORT TO THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES

                                      ON

                   IMPLEMENTATION OF THE NOISE CONTROL ACT
                    OF 1972 HAS BEEN SLOW AND INEFFECTIVE


                 SUMMARY OF GAO FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS


     Implementation of the Noise Control Act of 1972 by the Environmental
     Protection Agency (EPA) has been slow and generally ineffective. Specific
     mandated actions have been late, and certain actions, such as labeling,
     coordination, assessment of Federal research   [See GAO note 1, p. 61.1
             have been virtually ineffective.

     The report recommends that the Administrator, PA, prepare an overall
     strategy for the noise control program, to assure that all provisions
     of the Noise Control Act are implemented in a balanced and coordinated
     manner, and that he also assess the Federal research efforts to determine
     the effectiveness of research done to date, as well as to identify needed
     future research.

     The report finds that planned Congressional oversight hearings on the
     Noise Control Act are both appropriate and timely, and recommends that
     Congress consider amending the Act to (1) change the penalty for violating
     the interstate motor carrier noise emission regulation (a DOT enforcement
     requirement) from a criminal to a civil penalty; and (2) require the FAA
     to inform the EPA within a specified timeframe whether EPA aircraft noise
     abatement proposals will be accepted, modilied, or rejected by the FAA.

                 SUMMARY OF DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION POSITION

     The Department of Transportation agrees in general with the findings of
     the draft GAO report. Implementation of the Noise Control Act of 1972 has
     been slow and generally ineffective. Part of this result is due, however,
     to the fact that many of the mandates included in the Act were extremely
     difficult to meet under the best circumstances, and virtually impossible
     under the time constraints included in the Act. In addition, parts of
     the Act create counterproductive conflicts between the EPA and other
     Federal agencies. In view of these legislative difficulties, the Depart-
     ment agrees that a major review of the Act by the Congress is both appro-
     priate and timely.   [See GAO note 1, p. 61.1




                                       56
APPENDIX II
                                                                     APPENDIX




                             The four regulations which the EPA has pro--
    mulgated were possible only because prior adequate research was available.
    Additional regulations were not possible because adequate research has not
    been performed in other areas.
    The Department concurs in the draft recommendations to the Administrator
    of the EPA, but with two qualifications. First, it must be recognized
    that an overall strategy plan can only be conceptual in nature, since the
    technology to achieve much of the desired noise reduction is not yet avail-
    able in many instances. The second qualification pertains to the mandated
    assessment of Federal research efforts and identification of future re-
    search needs by the EPA. Such assessment and identification can only be
    performed through close alliance and cooperation with other Federal agen-
    cies, and not through a unilateral EPA study or contractor analysis.

    The Department concurs in the first draft recommendation to the Congress
    for the consideration of an amendment to the Act to change the penalty
    for violating the interstate motor carrier noise emission regulations from
    a criminal to a civil offense. This change should also be extended to
    violations of the interstate rail carrier regulations as well. The Depart-
    ment does not concur in the second recommendation for the consideration of
    an amendment to the Act to specify a fixed timeframe within which the FAA
    must inform the EPA regarding its intention to accept, modify, or reject
    EPA aircraft noise abatement proposals. Such proposals, and the adminis-
    trative reviews necessary to determine proper action regarding those pro-
    posals, vary so widely in nature and scope that a fixed timeframe for
    response is not practicable. The Department recommends that the present
    wording, requiring FAA response "within a reasonable time," be retained.

    POSITION STATEMENT
   The Department of Transportation agrees in general with the findings of
   the draft GAO report. The implementation of the Noise Control Act of 1972
   has been slow and ineffective, and Congressional review of the Act is both
   appropriate and timely. Part of the reason for the poor implementation
   may be found within the Act itself. Many of the mandated actions required
   of the EPA were extremely difficult to meet, because adequate information
   on which to base those actions is not available. In particular, the Act
   required the EPA to establish firm public health and welfare criteria,
   which even now remain highly controversial and without consensus agreement.
   In addition, the Act sets up basic conflicts between the EPA and other
   Federal agencies in carrying out their respective responsibilities,
   rather than fostering the coordination required in implementing the Act's
   basic intent. A thorough Congressional review of these factors would be
   highly desirable.

   The draft report finds that only four noise control regulations have been
   issued in over four years by the EPA. It should be notes that other




                                       57
APPENDIX   II                                                        APPENDIX II




     agencies issued noise control regulations during this period,- / although
     most of these were issued under authority other than the Noise Control
     Act of 1972.     [See GAO note 1, p. 61.]
     It should be noted that two of the four regulations deal with operating
     noise emissions of interstate motor and rail carriers, and do have the
     effect of imposing limits on the previous uncontrolled growth of these
     noise sources until new-product noise emission standards can become
     effective in reducing noise levels from those sources. Although not
     effective in reducing noise pollution, these two regulations limit the
     further growth of noise pollution, and hence are very important.

                              [See GAO note 1, p. 61.]
     These four regulations were issued only because prior research had been
     performed on these noise sources, largely by this Department, and results
     were available as bases for these regulations. Additional regulations
     were not possible because adequate research has not been performed in
     other areas. In addition, the statement on this page, indicating that
     the interstate motor carrier regulation is unenforceable, relates to the
     inappropriate criminal penalties prescribed by the Act; it does not refer
     to any technical deficiency in that regulation.

    On page 14 of the draft GAO report, the discussion of Section 17 of the
    Act and the petition in the U. S. Court of Appeals relates to the intent
    of the Congress regarding preemption of State and local regulations by
    the Federal regulations mandated under Section 17. This question extends
    beyond the simple need for consistency of State and local regulations
    with the Federal regulations, and the Department suggests that this is an
    important matter for Congressional review.


                              rSee GAO note 1, p. 61.]
                              The ew truck regulation will be the most
    effective of the four, beginning in 1978, but the new air compressor
    regulation and the interstate motor carrier regulation will also contribute
    to noise reduction.



    1/ For example:
       1. 14 CFR 91, Civil Aircraft Sonic Boom, March 28, 1973.
       2. 14 CFR 36, Noise Standards for Newly-Produced Airplanes of
           Older Design, October 26, 1973.
       3. 14 CFR 36, Noise Standards for Propeller-Driven Small Airplanes,
           January 6, 1975.
       4. 23 CFR 772, Highway Noise Standards and Procedures, June 19, 1973.
       S. 49 CFR 393, Vehicle Interior Noise Levels, November 8, 1973.
       6. 49 CFR 325, Regulations for Enforcement of Motor Carrier Noise
           Emission Standards, September 12, 1975.




                                        58
|APPENDIX II                                                        APPENDIX        II




                            [See GAO note 1, p. 61.]


     On page 21, the draft GAO report does not note that aircraft noise regu-
     lations proposed by the EPA to the FA are based only on the EPA's deter-
     mination of what is necessary to protect the public health and welfare.
     The FM must then consider factors of safety, available technology,
     economic reasonableness, and appropriateness to type of equipment regulated,
     and then prepare the associated environmental, inflationary, and public
     impact analyses required by the Congress and Executive orders. Certainly
     such complex analyses must be developed carefully and opportunities pro-
     vided for public study and participation. These steps take time, especially
     since some of the bases on which the EPA had developed its proposals may
     not be known to the FAA, and this effort begins upon receipt of each pro-
     posal by the FM.

     On pages 23 and 24, the draft GAO report should also note the final regu-
     lations and proposed regulations issued by the FM on its own initiative,
     prior to the EPA proposals but covering similar subjects and approaches to
     aircraft noise abatement. These duplications often cause confusion for
     the public and the affected industry, due to apparent concurrent rule
     making by the FM (FMAA-initiated and EPA-proposed) on the same subject.
     Incidentally, on October 1 and October 22, 1976, the EPA submitted its
     tenth and eleventh proposals, respectively, to the FAA for consideration
     and action. These submissions were subsequent to the preparation o the
     draft GAO report.
     On page 26 of the draft GAO report, it is stated that the FMAA has said
     an airport noise regulatory program is needed. The FMAA has not concluded
     that an airport noise regulation is needed, and, in fact, has sought wide-
     spread public comnent on that possibility. On July 9, 1975 (at 40 FR
     28844) the FMAA invited the public "to assist in the identification and
     selection of a policy course or alternative courses of action" to provide
     effective relief from aircraft noise. The FAA consequently held 25 public
     hearings across the country on potential FMAA approaches to an airport
     noise polacy. Thus, the FMAA has reached no conclusion on the need f'or,
     or potential nature of any airport noise regulation. In that same para-
     graph of the draft GAO report, '- is indicated that the FAA published in
     July 1975 a Notice of Proposed Rule Making for an airport noise regulation
     in the Federal Register, without prior consultation with the EPA. The
     publication noted aboye was not a Notice of roposed Rule Making, but a
     solicitation of public comment on potentia'. directions for FMAA airport
     noie policy. A copy of that notice is attached for reference. Prior
     consultation on such publications is not required by the Act, inasmuch as
     no regulatory action was proposed. [See GAO note 2, p. 61.]




                                          59
APPENDIX II                                                         APPENDIX      II



     The draft GAO report indicates in several places that EPA's budget for
     noise abatement research is decreasing, and no funds were requested for
     Fiscal Year 1977. An associated point may also be made--the noise
     research budget for the entire Federal Government has decreased since the
     enactment of the Noise Control Act. Other agencies have reduced their
     budget requests for noise research, as they have looked to EPA for leader-
     ship and guidance in the definition of public health and welfare effects
     from noise. Overall, Federal noise abatement research has decreased since
     the Act became law.

     The draft GAO report recommends consideration of two specific amendments
     to the Act. The Department concurs in the first such recommendation,
     wherein the present criminal penalties for violation of the interstate
     motor carrier noise regulations should be changed to civil penalties.
     This same change is appropriate for violations of the interstate rail
     carrier noise regulations as well.

     The Department does not concur in the second recommendation for amendment
     to the Act, wherein a specified timeframe would be required for the FAA
     to respond to EPA aircraft noise proposals. Proposed regulations dealing
     with aircraft noise will vary widely in scope, stlingency, schedule for
     implementation, and affected parties. The FAA is required to publish
     these proposals and hold public hearings to identify these factors for
    proper consideration. Subsequent implementation of any resultant regu-
     lations is subject to a number of administrative procedures, including
    the environmental impact assessment required by the National Environmental
    Policy Act of 1969, inflationary impact analyses, and analyses of projected
    impacts on industry, consumers, and the public in genaeral. As noted above,
    the EPA provides none of these assessments when it submits aircraft noise
    proposals to the FAA, inasmuch as EPA interprets its proper basis for
    such proposals only as "EPA determines necessary to protect the public
    health and welfare." The FAA must additionally assess each proposal in
    terms of the "highest degree of safety," "economically reasonable,
    technologically practicable, and appropriate" tests of the Act, before
    proceeding with the administrative procedures noted above. Thus, for
    example, it may be necessary to develop specific technology to demonstrate
    that a proposal is "technologically practicable," under the meaning of the
    Act. Finally, implementation of specific proposals may depend on broader
    policy decisions, over which the FAA has little control. A mandated time-
    frame for FAA response could force inappropriate action.

    The Department recommends that the current requirements for FAA response
    to EPA aircraft noise proposals "within a reasonable time" he retained.
    "A reasonable time" is subject to court interpretation, if controversy
    arises, to consider the different circumstances appropriate to each pro-
    posal, and does not allow undue delay. Thus, the practical intent of the
    Act, requiring prompt action, is satisfied.




                                       I )
APPENDIX II                                                            APPENDIX   II



     One additional weakness exists in the Act as presently written, and pay be
     considered for amendment by the Congress. This weakness relates to the
     intended preemptive nature of Sections 17 and 18 of the Act, regarding
     interstate motor carrier and rail carrier operating noise regulations.
     Subsection (c)(l) of each section reads as follows:

                  "...   no State or political subdivision thereof may
                   adopt or enforce any standard applicable to noise
                   emissions resulting from the operation of the same
                   equilment or facility of such carrier, unless such
                   standard s identical to a standard applicable to
                   noise emissions resulting from such operation prescribed
                   by any regulation under this section." (Underlined
                   portion as contained in Section 17(c)(1); that portion
                   replaced by "the same operation of such motor carrier" in
                   Section 18(c)(1)).

     The EPA interprets this wording to provide Foderal preemption only to the
     noise emission standards which the EPA promulgates, and not to the com-
     pliance regulations which the DOT(FRA/FHWA) promulgates, as required by
     the Act. The EPA view then follows that State and local governments may
     enforce the noise emission standards in an "equivalent" procedure at their
     discretion. The Department interprets this wording as preemptive for both
     types of regulations (the noise emission standards and the compliance
     regulations), and that State and local governments must enforce the noise
     emission standards in an identical fashion to .that specified in the
     compliance regulations for the intended national uniformity. Because of
     the difference of interpretation between the two agencies, it may be
     advisable to ask the Congress to clarify its intent in the Act, and to
     consider clearer wording.




     Date                                    Assistant Secretary or Systems
                                             Development and Technology



     Attachment:
       40 FR 8844-4S

     SAO Notes:

         1. Deleted comments refer to material contained in draft report
            but omitted from final report.

         2.   'he attachment to this letter was considered in the preparation
              ,f our final report but has not been included.




                                          61
APPENDIX III                                        APPENDIX III
               PRINCIPAL OFFICIALS RESPONSIBLE

           FOR ACTIVITIES DISCUSSED IN THIS REPORT

                                         Tenure of office
                                       From             To
               ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY


ADMINISTRATOR:
    John R. Quarles, Jr. (acting)    Jan.    1977        Present
    Russell E. Train                 Sept.   1973        Jan. 1977
    John R. Quarles, Jr. (acting)    Aug.    1973        Sept. 1973
    Robert W. Fri (acting)           Apr.    1973        Aug. 1973
    William D. Ruckelshaus           Dec.    1970        Apr. 1973

ASSISTANT ADMINISTRATOR FOR
  AIR AND WASTE MANAGEMENT:
    Edward F. Tuerk (acting)         Jan.    1977       Present
    Roger Strelow a/                 Apr.    1974       Jan. 1977
ASSISTANT ADMINISTRATOR FOR
  RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT:
    Dr. Wilson K. Talley             Dec.    1974        Present
    Albert C. Trakowski, Jr.         May     1974        Dec. 1974
    Dr. Stanley Greenfield           Feb.    1971        May   1974

                DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION:
    Brock Adams                      Jan.    1977       Present
    William T. Coleman, Jr.          Mar.    1975       Jan. 1977
    John W. Barnum (acting)          Feb.    1975       Mar. 1975
    Claude S. Brinegar               Feb.    1973       Feb. 1975
    John Volpe                       Jan.    1969       Feb. 1973
ADMINISTRATOR, FEDERAL
  AVIATION ADMINISTRATION:
    John L. McLucas                  Nov.    1975       Present
    James E. Dow (acting)            Apr.    1975       Nov. 1975
    Alexander P. Butterfield         Mar.    1973       Mar. 1975
    John H. Shaffer                  Mar.    1969       Mar. 1973



a/ Prior to this time, the Noise Program was the responsibility
   of several different offices and assistant administrators.



                               62
APPENDIX III                                     APPENDIX III

                                         Tenure of office
                                       From             To
ADMINISTRATOR, FEDERAL
  HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION:
    Norbert T. Tieman                May 1973          Present
    Ralph R. Bartelsmeyer (acting)   July 1972         May 1973




                            63