Superseding its own wide-ranging mandate to the executive branch of the U.S. government to carefully study the environmental impacts of that branch’s administrative actions, Congress on Feb. 6 enacted the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. The act’s stated purpose is to “authorize appropriations to the Federal Aviation Administration for fiscal years 2011-2014” It is, however, other provisions of the legislation that most profoundly affect the public.
Purportedly to “streamline programs, create efficiencies, reduce waste and improve safety and capacity,” the act exempts all new area navigation (RNAV) and required navigation performance (RNP) procedures—which, collectively, comprise the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) definitions—from environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
Finally, § 505 amends 49 U.S.C. § 47504 to allow the Federal Aviation Administration to “disregard any decrease or increase in the fair market value of the real property caused by the project for which the property is to be acquired, or by the likelihood that the property would be acquired for the project. . .”