Following enactment of the Noise Control Act of 1972 and the Quiet Communities Act of 1978, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established an Office of Noise Abatement and Control (ONAC) to promulgate noise emission standards, require product labeling, facilitate the development of low noise products, coordinate Federal noise reduction programs, assist State and local noise abatement efforts, and promote noise education and research. After ONAC was defunded in 1981, federal action on noise came to a halt and today the United States lags behind much of the rest of the world in protecting the public from excessive noise and its adverse health and environmental effects. Over 100 million Americans are now exposed to noise that endangers their health, causing billions of dollars in health-related economic losses annually.
Although ONAC was defunded, the EPA is legally obliged to carry out its duties designated under the Noise Control Act. That responsibility is at the foundation of a petition filed by Quiet Communities in 2017. Efforts are underway to update and re-submit that petition to the new EPA Administrator, the Michael Regan.