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Thu, Jun 25, 2009

Alaska Delegation Asks TSA To Reconsider GA Rules

Objects To Large Aircraft Security Program

In light of the recent Department of Homeland Security Inspector General's report, in which the IG concluded  “We determined that general aviation presents only limited and mostly hypothetical threats to security,” the Alaska Congressional delegation has renewed its call for the Department of Homeland Security to reconsider the proposed TSA rules on general aviation, as the negative consequences seem to outweigh the potential threat.

In February 2009, the Alaska Delegation objected to the TSA’s proposed Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP), saying, “Our primary concern is that this plan’s far-reaching effects have not been properly weighed against potential threats. We fear the LASP plan may drastically impact the lives of our constituents with little security gain.”

The proposed regulations would ban from the aircraft cabin many commonly transported items, such as hand tools and legally-required survival gear, thereby restricting the flow of basic necessities to isolated communities. Additionally, the regulations would require fingerprinting and background checks of pilots, watch-list matching of passengers and aircraft screening. The State of Alaska estimated compliance could cost $400,000 per community. The comment period on the proposed regulations has closed, and the TSA is due to publish a revised proposal or final rules.

“This report further substantiates my concern that the TSA’s new regulations needlessly threaten our vital aviation industry,” Senator Lisa Murkowski (pictured) said. “I hope that the TSA will keep these findings in mind when developing security rules for general aviation.”

Senator Mark Begich added, “General aviation is essential to transportation in our state. We are not opposed to security improvements, however, any new regulations should not be overly burdensome to Alaska’s general aviation community.”

Rep. Don Young said, "Across the board regulations are not the answer here. What works in states in the Lower 48 will not work in Alaska where general aviation is essential to the survival of some smaller communities. I hope that TSA will closely examine this before making further determinations."

FMI: http://murkowski.senate.gov

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