January 11, 2005
The U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, which has direct control over the FAA, has expressed its concern over the proposal to make the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) permanent. It also has requested public meetings that include Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security officials, and it has asked for an extended comment period.
"There is a real concern about the need for and utility of such wide-sweeping flight restrictions," 40 committee members told FAA Administrator Marion Blakey in a letter. "As such, it seems very reasonable for the FAA and DHS to clearly identify the conditions that would allow the removal of the restrictions and a process for lifting the restrictions immediately."
"Forty members of Congress came together under the bipartisan leadership of Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Don Young and Ranking Member Jim Oberstar as well as aviation subcommittee Chairman John Mica and Ranking Subcommittee Member Ray Costello to show their concern about the rulemaking," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "That should send a strong, clear message to the FAA that pilots, aircraft owners, and members of Congress are opposed to making the ADIZ as it currently exists permanent."
The committee stipulated that if the FAA decides to make the ADIZ permanent, it should include in the final rule conditions under which the airspace restrictions can be lifted.
The committee requested that the FAA extend the public comment period for 60 days and conduct one or more public meetings regarding the proposed rulemaking. And committee members sent a strong message that the jurisdiction for this matter goes beyond the FAA.
"Additionally, we recommend that the FAA invite DOD and DHS officials to attend these public meetings to facilitate a better understanding of the operational challenges caused by the ADIZ," the committee told Blakey. "Reviewing written comments alone will not allow the FAA and other federal security officials a full opportunity to pose questions and explore alternatives."
These members of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee signed the letter to Blakey:
Kay Granger (R-Texas, 12th District), a member of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations, also signed the letter to the FAA.
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