Small Business Administration Raps New Drug Rule

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The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is objecting to an FAA Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that had drawn widespread opposition from aviation businesses. The SBA says the proposed rule to require drug testing by aviation subcontractors "lacks a factual basis." The rule would require any business working on materials or finished items that will end up on air carrier aircraft to adopt the same kind of anti-abuse programs as fully certified repair stations, which have sign-off authority. As AVweb reported last week, the Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA) and 13 other associations and companies are opposing the rule. The SBA told the FAA the proposed rule presents a serious economic hardship to many companies because profit margins are already low in the various trades. It said the agency didn't do its homework in assessing the impact of the rule and urged it to solicit public comment and consider alternatives before proceeding.