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The President of HAI (Helicopter Association International), Matt Zuccaro,  is calling on industry to take action on an aviation provision that has snuck its way into a highway funding bill (S.1813) currently being negotiated by members of the House of Representatives and Senate that threatens both access to airspace and air safety.

An amendment (S.Amdt.1779) to the highway trust fund bill offered by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) does nothing less than begin to dismantle the United States' National Airspace System (NAS) – the safest, most efficient air transportation system in the world. It breaks the cohesive NAS into pieces and gives regulatory authority for some of those pieces to an agency – the National Park Service – whose only previous experience with airspace management was a contributing factor in a fatal midair collision.

Congress must act – by passing either a compromise bill or an extension – no later than June 30. The aviation community cannot assume that Congress will remain deadlocked and just pass an extension. We must assume that a conference bill will emerge. Therefore it is imperative that HAI members call – not fax, not email, but call – the offices of members on the conference committee. A list of the conferees and their contact information is below.

Points you may wish to consider for your conversation with the conferees' offices:

The Alexander amendment threatens access to the National Airspace System.

  • Agencies other than the FAA would be given sole authority to determine who may and may not use certain airspace.

The Alexander amendment is anti-safety.

  • The FAA exists to maintain safe, efficient use of the National Airspace System.

The Alexander amendment gives control of sections of airspace to agencies whose primary interests are other than air safety.

The Alexander amendment flies in the face of the will of Congress.

  • Congress deemed a cohesive National Airspace System vital to national interests. The Alexander amendment breaks that system into separate pieces with different overseers.

The Alexander amendment sets a dangerous precedent that opens the door to any government or government agency – federal, state or local – demanding control of "its" airspace.

  • For example, what would prevent the Nuclear Regulatory Commission from blocking access to airspace over nuclear power plants? Or a mayor of a major metropolitan area – Los Angeles or New York, for instance – from demanding the airspace over downtown be closed?

The Alexander amendment has received no congressional review.

  • The current aviation-related amendment was added to the Senate version of a surface transportation bill at the eleventh hour, without review by any committee or subcommittee with oversight of aviation matters.
  • An attempt to attach an earlier incarnation of the amendment to the FAA authorization bill was reviewed – and rejected!

The House General Aviation Caucus has sent a letter to the conferees urging them to reject the Alexander amendment.

The Alexander amendment language was developed without any input from the air tour industry it seeks to legislate out of existence.

The deadline for congressional action is imminent and the danger that the conference committee could reach a deal is very real.

The industry needs you – to let the conferees know that the Alexander amendment is bad for the industry and bad for the country.

Call now!

P.S. Let HAI know who you reached and what they said. Please email them at ann.carroll@rotor.com

Senate Highway Bill Conferees
Senator State Party Phone
Sen. Barbara Boxer (Senate Conf. Chair) California D 202.224.3553
Sen. Max Baucus Montana D 202.224.2651
Sen. Richard Durbin Illinois D 202.224.2152
Sen. Tim Johnson South Dakota D 202.224.5842
Sen. Robert Menendez New Jersey D 202.224.4744
Sen. Ben Nelson Nebraska D 202.224.6551
Sen. Charles Schumer New York D 202.224.6542
Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV West Virginia D 202.224.6472
 
Sen. Orrin Hatch Utah R 202.224.5251
Sen. John Hoeven North Dakota R 202.224.2551
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison Texas R 202.224.5922
Sen. James Inhofe Oklahoma R 202.224.4721
Sen. Richard Shelby Alabama R 202.224.5744
Sen. David Vitter Louisiana R 202.224.4623
 
House Highway Bill Conferees
Representative State Party Phone
Rep. Timothy Bishop New York D 202.225.3826
Rep. Earl Blumenauer Oregon D 202.225.4811
Rep. Leonard Boswell Iowa D 202.225 3806
Rep. Corrine Brown Florida D 202.225.0123
Rep. Elijah Cummings Maryland D 202.225.4741
Rep. Peter Defazio Oregon D 202.225.6416
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson Texas D 202.225.8885
Rep. Edward Markey Massachusetts D 202.225.2836
Rep. Jerrold Nadler New York D 202.225.5635
Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton District of Columbia D 202.225.8050
Rep. Nick Rahall West Virginia D 202.225.3452
Rep. Henry Waxman California D 202.225.3976
 
Rep. John Mica (House Conf. Chair) Florida R 202.225.4035
Rep. Rob Bishop Utah R 202.225.0453
Rep. Larry Bucshon Indiana R 202.225.4636
Rep. Dave Camp Michigan R 202.225.3561
Rep. Shelly Moore Capito West Virginia R 202.225.2711
Rep. Chip Cravaack Minnesota R 202.225.6211
Rep. Rick Crawford Arkansas R 202.225.4076
Rep. John Duncan Tennessee R 202.225.5435
Rep. Richard Hanna New York R 202.225.3665
Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler Washington R 202.225.3536
Rep. James Lankford Oklahoma R 202.225.2132
Rep. Reid Ribble Wisconsin R 202.225.5665
Rep. Bill Shuster Pennsylvania R 202.225.2431
Rep. Steve Southerland Florida R 202.225.5235
Rep. Pat Tiberi Ohio R 202.225.5355
Rep. Fred Upton Michigan R 202.225.3761
Rep. Ed Whitfield Kentucky R 202.225.3115
Rep. Don Young Alaska R 202.225.5765

Posted in: Regulatory

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