R. L. Miller
Harris, Miller, Miller & Hanson, Inc., 15 New England Exec. Park, Burlington, MA 01803
Since the demise of the EPA's Office of Noise Abatement and Control at the hands of former President Reagan, coordinated regulatory action for the control of noise at the Federal level has essentially disappeared. Instead, governmental agencies are left to deal with their noise problems on their own, usually meaning that they respond only to specific legislation, political pressures, or litigation. Agency coordination, when it does occur, is imposed by Executive Order or law. This paper briefly reviews existing Federal regulations controlling the world of transportation noise, but focuses to a greater extent on the on-going efforts of our government that will influence our noise environment into the next century. The paper summarizes the actions of the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the Department of Defense as they confront issues of aircraft noise and airspace management; the National Park Service as it struggles to resolve conflicting mandates to preserve natural quiet and solitude while providing access to and public enjoyment of National Parks and Forests; the Federal Railroad Administration and the Federal Transit Administration in their endeavors to control noise from transit, high-speed rail, and mag-lev systems; and the Federal Highway Administration as it develops better tools to assess and control the noise impact of traffic. The paper concludes, speculating on the effects that reduced Federal spending will have on these efforts.