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EAA, Industry Leaders Discuss LASP

May 7, 2009 — For the second time in the past month, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) met Thursday with EAA, other general aviation organizations, and industry representatives to discuss the controversial Large Aircraft Security Proposal (LASP). The meetings were specifically aimed at helping reframe the issues surrounding the controversial security proposal in a way that is acceptable to the GA community, while still meeting the bulk of TSA’s security objectives. While the sessions were a far cry from the negotiated rulemaking process requested by EAA and other industry groups, each of the meetings provided GA representatives with an opportunity to express concerns with the proposal and offer constructive alternatives.

Under the LASP, security measures much like those required of airlines would apply to general aviation operations. These measures include crewmember criminal record checks, watch-list matching of passenger manifests and TSA authorization before each flight, biennial third-party audits of each aircraft operator’s TSA-approved security program, and new airport security measures. For the first time in American history, citizens would have to seek and receive government approval before use of their personal vehicles to travel about the country.

“Following the 57 pages of comments EAA submitted and more than 7,000 comments submitted by the public, we are extremely encouraged that the TSA is actively seeking industry input,” said Doug Macnair, EAA vice president of government relations. “This has provided a forum to share suggestions and, if adopted by TSA, the alternative measures collectively presented by industry could lead to potentially viable alternative to the draconian measures presented in the original LASP proposal.”

Based on industry input the TSA has committed to develop a new or modified LASP proposal and issue a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) for additional public comment. The anticipation is that the agency will take the collective industry input into consideration and craft an NPRM that is, hopefully, more acceptable to the general aviation community and respectful of the rights and freedoms of American citizens.

Both meetings on, (April 6 and May 6) were examples of EAA’s continuing commitment to advocate on its members’ behalf. “While we cannot be sure what TSA will ultimately propose in the next NPRM, we are encouraged that TSA has been listening to the concerns of industry, has appeared receptive to many of our suggestions, and has committed to give the public the additional opportunity to comment,” Macnair said. “The devil will be in the details of what eventually emerges; however if the agency follows the industry input, we’re hopeful that the next version will be a significant improvement over the original, directly resulting from associations’ and industry’s input.”

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