The Slow Implementation of the Noise Control Act of 1972

Published: Apr 19, 1977. Publicly Released: Apr 19, 1977.

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GAO investigated the implementation of the Federal Government's noise pollution control program. The Noise Control Act of 1972 was designed to eliminate excess noise in the design stage of a wide variety of new consumer products. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has accomplished little in carrying out its responsibilities under the act, and where action has been taken, implementation has been very slow. With regard to new products, EPA has identified 11 major sources of noise, but has issued final regulations for only two of these. EPA issued noise emission regulations for railroads late, and violators of these regulations are not being prosecuted because the act calls for criminal rather than civil penalties. EPA has not issued final regulations for labelling any products as to noise levels. It has given low priority to giving technical assistance to state and local governments in developing noise standards. EPA efforts to coordinate federal noise research and control programs have not been effective, although it has drafted and submitted for comment an overall noise program strategy. Lack of coordination between EPA and the Federal Aviation Administration has seriously hindered the development of aviation noise control regulations.

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