Your Surface to Air Call to Congress Needed Urgently!

On Monday, February 27, 2012, U.S. Senator John McCain (R-Ariz) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) introduced an amendment to the Senate’s $109 billion highway bill.  

Some of you will know that McCain tried this same thing two years ago in March, and he failed then. Now he threatens management by special interest congressional amendment yet again.

The McCain-Reid amendment 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 Jon Kyl (R-Ariz) and Dean Heller (R-Nev), will be voted on as early as Tuesday March 6, 2012.

If you care about Natural Quiet in Grand Canyon, make a quick Surface to Air call to your Senator’s Washington DC office on Monday and ask to speak to a real person who covers National Park issues.

Tell the staffer to urge your Senator to vote NO "on any attempt to move"the McCain-Reid amendment number 1669 to the Senate Transportation Bill (S.1813).

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:

Although a phone call is always best, you may also use the above link to fill out an online form with your request.

Some interesting details:

The chief Air Tour operator at Grand Canyon, Papillon Helicopters, is owned by Elling Halvorson. Since 2008, Halvorson has made over $127,000 in campaign contributions to McCain, Reid, and a number of other members of congress.

Meanwhile, plans are underway to spend up to $10 million in Federal, State and private funds to expand the airport at the South Rim gateway community of Tusayan, where Halvorson has extensive property and operates both fixed wing and helicopter tours.

Bottom line:  

This amendment guts the 1987 Park Overflights Act as well as the 2000 National Parks Air Tour Management Act as it relates to Grand Canyon. Senator McCain championed the 1987 bill, before he started receiving significant campaign contributions from leaders in the air tour industry.

This amendment legislates the existing excessively noisy conditions into law, opens the door for even higher noise levels and removes the NPS from having any future role in limiting noise impact to the park.

Make that call first thing Monday morning!

You might want to thank Senators Jeff Bingaman (D- New Mex.) and Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) for their opposition to the McCain-Reid amendment. They can be reached here:

The D.C. Office phone for Sen. Bingaman is (202) 224-5521

The D.C. Office phone for Sen. Boxer is (202) 224-3553