On Tuesday, March 16, 2010, U.S. Senator John McCain introduced an amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Bill.
McCain’s amendment #3528 to the FAA bill is a giveaway to the air tour industry and will lead to further deterioration of natural quiet in Grand Canyon National Park.
This amendment, co-sponsored by Arizona’s Jon Kyl and Nevada’s Harry Reid, will be voted on sometime Friday March 19, 2010.
If you care about Natural Quiet in Grand Canyon, make a quick Surface to Air call to your Senator’s Washington DC office right now and ask to speak to a real person who covers National Park issues.
Tell the staffer to urge your Senator to vote NO right now on the McCain amendment #3528 to the FAA Reauthorization bill.
Tell them how important natural quiet at Grand Canyon is to you and future generations.
Don’t know the phone number for your Senator? Click here: http://www.contactingthecongress.org/
Congress mandated in the National Parks Overflights Act of 1989, that the National Parks Service (NPS) and the FAA jointly develop an air tour management plan which would substantially restore natural quiet to the Grand Canyon.
Today, the NPS and FAA are working to finally implement that mandate and to achieve a restoration of natural quiet in the crown jewel of America's National Park System.
A range of alternatives, a preferred action, full environmental analysis and public meetings are scheduled for later this year, after which the agencies will finalize air space regulations.
Unfortunately, Sen. McCain's amendment would undermine that process and gut the intent of the 1989 Park Overflights Act. The McCain amendment would:
# Change the playing field. As directed by the Overflights Act, NPS and FAA are required to achieve substantial restoration of natural quiet within at least 50% of the park for at least 75% of the time. The McCain amendment gets rid of the ‘at least’ language and says half the park can be loud all the time. This action would remove any discretion the NPS has to manage the air tour noise impacts in Grand Canyon toward a quieter park.
# Increase air tour noise in Grand Canyon. The amendment relaxes existing air tour curfews and permanently codifies existing air tour routes, including all day flights over Marble Canyon – this is the one place NPS has said they wanted to restore natural quiet as a top priority.
# Removes commercial and general aviation flights, along with tourist transport flights and all flights around the Grand Canyon Skywalk including helicopter flights down to the Colorado River itself, from being included in the definition of natural quiet, where presently at least 50% of the park for at least 75% of the time has to be naturally quiet when counting ALL aircraft noise.
Bottom line: this amendment effectively removes the NPS from any further influence or future management changes over aircraft noise at Grand Canyon National Park.
This amendment guts the 1989 Park Overflights Act as well as the 2000 National Parks Air Tour Management Act as it relates to Grand Canyon.
This amendment legislates existing conditions into law and removes the NPS from having any continuing role in this impact to the park.
Make that call right now!
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