In a marked change in longtime Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) policy regarding analysis of noise and air quality impacts from FAA initiated, directed or funded projects, FAA has substituted a single new model for the long mandated Integrated Noise Model (“INM”) and Emissions and Dispersion Modeling System (“EDMS”). Beginning May 29, 2015, FAA policy “requires” the use of the Aviation Environmental Design Tool version 2b (“AEDT 2b”), which integrates analysis of aircraft noise, air pollutant emissions, and fuel burn. These impacts, according to FAA are “interdependent and occur simultaneously throughout all phases of flight.” 80 Fed.Reg. 27853.
The FAA policy provides for differential displacement of existing analytic models. For air traffic and airspace procedural changes, AEDT 2b replaces AEDT 2a, already in use. For other, ground based projects, AEDT 2b replaces both the INM, for analyzing aircraft noise, and EDMS for developing emissions inventories and modeling emissions dispersion. The change was presaged by FAA Administrator Michael Huerta who announced in April that FAA was undertaking an “ambitious project” to revamp its approach to measuring noise. The “ambitious project” was apparently inspired by the vocal objections to the results of the analysis using current methodologies, voiced by citizens of locals that have experienced the effects of FAA’s current, nationwide reorganization of airspace around major airports to institute procedures based on Performance Based Navigation (“PBN”).