HAI seeks help blocking National Park Air Tour Amendment

HAI seeks help blocking National Park Air Tour Amendment

1-May-2012 Source: HAI

The U.S. House of Representatives has now selected its conferees to iron out differences with the Senate over competing versions of the Highway Reauthorization Bill. Embedded in the Senate version, S. 1813, is language inserted by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) that usurps FAA authority to regulate air tour operators over national parks, and instead gives it to the National Park Service. HAI believes that the Alexander amendment is unacceptable and would dangerously marginalize the FAA’s statutory role in overseeing air safety.

Senator Alexander developed his amendment without the participation of the affected stakeholders and without any consultation from the air tour industry. This dangerous, precedent-setting amendment jeopardizes passenger safety and thousands of air tour-related jobs during a time of high unemployment, in addition to threatening the very existence of a vital tourism-based industry.

Anyone with an interest in the issue may contact the conference committee members (see the list below), but your help is particularly needed if you reside in a districtor state represented by one of the House conferees. Because you are one of their constituents, your help is especially critical in getting the message to the actual decision-makers in Washington.

Contact information for all U.S. Representatives may be found at www.house.gov.

The House conferees and their Washington, D.C., telephone numbers are:

Rob Bishop (Utah)
(202) 225-0453
Timothy Bishop (N.Y.)
(202) 225-3826
Larry Buschon (Ind.)
(202) 225-4636
Earl Blumenauer (Ore.)
(202) 225-4811
David Camp (Mich.)
(202) 225-3561
Leonard Boswell (Iowa)
(202) 225-3806
Chip Cravaack (Minn.)
(202) 225-6211
Corrine Brown (Fla.)
(202) 225-0123
Rick Crawford (Ark.)
(202) 225-4076
Jerry Costello (Ill.)
(202) 225-5661
John Duncan (Tenn.)
(202) 225-5435
Elijah Cummings (Md.)
(202) 225-4741
Ralph Hall (Tex.)
(202) 255-6673
Peter Defazio (Ore.)
(202) 225-6416
Richard Hanna (N.Y.)
(202) 225-3665
Eddie Bernice Johnson (Tex.)
(202) 225-8885
Doc Hastings (Wash.)
(202) 225-5816
Edward Markey (Mass.)
(202) 225-2836
Jamie Herrera Beutler (Wash.)
(202) 225-3536
Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.)
(202) 225-5635
James Lankford (Okla.)
(202) 225-2132
Eleanor Holmes Norton (D.C.)
(202) 225-8050
John Mica (Fla.)
(202) 225-4035
Nick Rahall (W.V.)
(202) 225-3452
Shelley Moore Capitol (W.V.)
(202) 225-2711
Henry Waxman (Calif.)
(202) 225-3976
Reid Ribble (Wisc.)
(202) 225-5665
Bill Schuster (Penn.)
(202) 225-2431
Steve Southerland (Fla.)
(202) 225-5235
Pat Tiberi (Ohio)
(202) 225-5355
Fred Upton (Mich.)
(202) 225-3761
Ed Whitfield (Ky.)
(202) 225-3115
Don Young (Alaska)
(202) 225-5765

Among the talking points you may wish to use in explaining the perils of allowing the Alexander amendment to remain in the final Highway Reauthorization Bill that will be signed into law:

  • Because it would impact an aviation safety issue, the Alexander amendment is not germane to a highway trust fund reauthorization bill.
  • The Alexander amendment flies in the face of Congressional intent when it established the FAA to create a unified National Airspace System overseen by a single authority.
  • The FAA must not be allowed to relinquish its authority or abandon its responsibility to maintain the safe and efficient use of the National Airspace System.
  • The Alexander amendment would facilitate the National Park Service in being able to inappropriately influence the selection of air tour routes when the NPS has no expertise in the regulation of air carriers or airspace management, and has been openly hostile to the air tour operators.
  • The Alexander amendment would inappropriately give the Director of the National Park Service full unilateral authority over airspace above national parks, allowing him to eliminate the air tour industry from our national parks.
  • The last time the National Park Service exerted undue influence on air routes over a National Park, a mid-air collision between a fixed-wing aircraft and a helicopter resulted. The National Transportation Safety Board’s final report listed as contributing factors, failure by the FAA to exercise its oversight responsibility and the National Park Service’s influence over the selection or routes.
  • This amendment would lead to lost jobs for pilots, drivers, guides, and support staff of air tour providers and the local businesses that rely on them, but will cause a ripple effect of lower manufacturing employment through the helicopter parts and maintenance industry.
  • The air tour operators’ willingness and eagerness to be “early adopters” of quiet technologies supports manufacturers’ development of those technologies, benefiting the entire industry and the people we fly over.

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