12-Mar-2012 Source: HAI
HAI continues to opposeÂ Alexander Amendment #1779Â to the Highway Bill currently being debated in the U.S. Senate. Your help is needed to ensure that the Alexander Amendment #1779 is not approved. This amendment, offered by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and scheduled for a vote on Tuesday, March 13, would set a dangerous precedent and curtail helicopter tours over national parks.
The U.S. Senate will continue debate on the highway bill next week. A vote on Alexander #1779 would likely come late in the afternoon or early evening on Tuesday, March 13. It contains provisions that would significantly affect air tour operators conducting commercial air tours over national parks and would give the National Park Service (NPS) sole authority to curtail those air tours. Alexander is attempting to insert his amendment into the surface transportation bill after having failed to insert similarly dangerous language in the final FAA reauthorization bill passed last month.
Senator Alexander developed this amendment without any consultation with air tour operating companies or HAI, and it was sprung at the eleventh hour just as the Senate prepared to begin debate. The NPSâ€™s authority over air tour operators under this amendment would be nearly unfettered.
The Alexander amendment is ill-advised and marginalizes the role of the FAA in air tour operations over national parks and tribal lands. HAI strongly believes that should the Alexander amendment pass Congress, it will mean the loss of hundreds of jobs and tens of millions in revenues. It will also limit access for visitors to our national parks, especially the elderly and the disabled.
The helicopter industry could also suffer a tremendous trickle- down effect on manufacturers, suppliers and other aspects of the helicopter industry.
HAI urges you to contact your U.S. senators today and ask them to oppose the Alexander amendment related to overflights of national parks â€“ contact information can be found at www.senate.gov. Telephoning their Washington offices is the most expedient way of letting your voice be heard.