Proposal In Congress Would Mandate No-Fly Zones

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EAA raised the red flag Friday to warn of an amendment to the Homeland Security Act of 2002 titled, "Secure Existing Aviation Loopholes Act." The document includes a section titled "Security Requirements For General Aviation" and its measures would place additional restrictions on general aviation beyond what is already under consideration by the TSA and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). On Feb. 11, Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) proposed the bill (H.R. 3798 that would require the DHS to establish no-fly zones around nuclear plants and chemical facilities for the duration of any high threat levels, including level orange or above. The zones could also be implemented anywhere else the DHS might designate, at any time it deems appropriate. The bill would also require all GA airports to complete "vulnerability assessments" and develop a plan for addressing those vulnerabilities.

"The Transportation Security Administration and the FAA have assessed, and continue to do so, the security risks general aviation poses and are taking the appropriate actions," said EAA spokesman Earl Lawrence. "Mandated no-fly zones will not improve national security, nor will mandatory vulnerability assessments." General aviation organizations have been working continuously with the TSA to develop GA airport security guidelines since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. "Let the TSA and industry develop these guidelines before imposing new restrictive federal laws on an already heavily regulated industry," Lawrence said. The bill has been referred to the Congressional Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and in addition to the Committee on Ways and Means, for consideration. Co-sponsors of the bill include Rep. Ed Case (D-Hawaii); Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.); Rep. Norman Dicks (D-Wash.); Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.); Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.); Rep. Major Owens (D-N.Y.); and Rep. Louise McIntosh Slaughter (D-N.Y.). To find contact information for your representative, visit the House Web site. To read the text of the bill, go to thomas.loc.gov and type in HR 3798.