The Reagan administration yesterday began to dismantle the federal enforcement program to control noise from large trucks, motorcycles, portable air compressors and certain other heavy equipment.
The Environmental Protection Agency said it no longer will enforce regulations requiring manufacturers to test these products for compliance with noise limits and to report the test results to the government. The EPA also plans to take the next step of abolishing these requirements, and it is giving interested parties until Sept. 14 to comment.
"The agency is requesting that manufacturers of regulated products immediately stop submitting product verification reports and labeling verification reports to the director of the Noise Enforcement Division," EPA Administrator Anne M. Gorsuch said in a notice printed in yesterday's Federal Register.
The reason for that move is that the EPA's Noise Enforcement Division is being closed down rapidly as part of the administration's budget reduction and deregulation of business.
The existing noise limits for the various products remain in effect -- at least until Congress completes its review of the issue this fall. Currently, medium-size and heavy trucks are required to stay below an 83-decibel standard, which drops to 80 decibels in January 1983, according to the EPA. On that date, noise regulations would apply for the first time to motorcycles, when an 83-decibel standard would take effect. In 1986 it would be lowered to 80 decibels. Motorcycles currently range from 80 decibels to more than 90 decibels.
But how would the EPA know whether a new product complies with the noise standards if the record-keeping and enforcement activities are abolished? an EPA spokesman was asked.
"We would not know," the spokesman replied.
At the request of truck manufacturers, the EPA is reviewing the 80-decibel standard scheduled to take effect in 1983.
In submitting his fiscal 1982 budget, President Reagan announced the administration's intention to stop regulating noise pollution from motorcycles, medium-size and heavy trucks, the air compressors used on street-repair projects, and certain other products. The president's budget proposed to cut EPA funding in this area to $2.2 million.
The Senate has passed legislation setting a $3.3 million budget for noise regulation next year, while the House Commerce Committee has backed a different bill that would provide $7.3 million.