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People worried about airport noise may have to speak a little louder. A new EPA study says that by the year 2000, about 2.5 million Americans living near airports will be subject to "unbearable" noise.

Prospects for quieting the din depend not only on improved technology for aircraft engines, but also for funding to soundproof and relocate homes. Switzerland is taking a "world first" step on Nov. 1 when it imposes a noise surcharge on airport landing fees.

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But in the US, any prospect for federal help looks dimmer than ever. On Capitol Hill, those who oppose use of airport user taxes paid by passengers to quiet jet noise in and around airports are gaining strength.m

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