Congress Weighs Allowing Supersonic Flights Over US

Roll Call reports:

The U.S. has banned domestic commercial supersonic aviation for four decades, but lawmakers could upend those restrictions in the coming weeks even as environmentalists and public health advocates warn that doing so could elevate pollution and climate damage from high speed aircraft.

Congress faces a Sept. 30 deadline to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration. A provision in the House-passed FAA reauthorization bill directs the agency to create federal and international “policies, regulations, and standards relating to the certification and safe and efficient operation of civil supersonic aircraft.”

The Senate bill that was advanced by the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee last year and now awaits floor consideration would direct the Transportation secretary to promulgate rules to permit “the development, testing, manufacturing, and operation of civil supersonic aircraft in the United States” and to set a noise standard for sonic boom that is “economically reasonable and technologically” practical.

Multiple environmental groups have issued a joint objection.