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EAA Objects to Proposed NOAA Control of Airspace

February 10, 2011 — EAA submitted comments this week expressing concern about a proposed rule that would give NOAA unprecedented authority to regulate how and where pilots operate their aircraft, essentially usurping the FAA’s authority to regulate the National Airspace System (NAS).

EAA is opposed to the amendment of the regulations requiring that motorized aircraft maintain certain minimum altitudes above the Channel Islands, Monterey Bay, Gulf of Farallones, and Olympic Coast national marine sanctuaries for the following reasons:

  • Title 49 United States Code, Section 40103 establishes the FAA’s sole authority to regulate the NAS;
  • NOAA presumes the amendments do not have significant environmental impacts without preparing an Environmental Assessment (EA) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), required by the National Environmental Policy Act;
  • The presumption of disturbance is in direct contradiction to established case law; and
  • Safety of flight would be adversely affected.

While EAA supports NOAA’s mission to conserve and manage coastal and marine resources to meet our nation’s economic, social, and environmental needs, the NOAA proposal attempts to impinge on the FAA’s authority to regulate the NAS. National Environmental Policy Act requirements and processes need to be complied with before the agency can determine any significant environmental impact. EAA also contends that safety would be adversely affected by the proposed rule change, and in order to maintain the current level of safety, any proposed additional restricted airspace must go through the FAA rulemaking process.

Read EAA’s comments here.

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