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EAA Helps Gather Bipartisan Support for BARR Program

More than one-quarter of U.S. Senate signs letter to DOT

June 30, 2011 – EAA joined other general aviation organizations in generating support from 26 U.S. Senators who are expressing concern over the Department of Transportation’s plan to dismantle the Block Aircraft Registration Request (BARR) program and invade the privacy of thousands of aircraft owners. In a June 29 letter to DOT Secretary Ray LaHood, the bipartisan group of Senators - led by Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Sen. Mike Begich (D-AK) - noted that the BARR program “provides owners of general aviation aircraft the ability to prevent the public dissemination of their aircraft movements. For reasons of individual security, privacy, and business competitiveness, this program is essential.”

Under the BARR program, federal agencies still have the ability to track and monitor flights to ensure national security and safety. If requested by aircraft operators, however, BARR prevents the public from tracking flights through Internet software and programs.

“EAA has worked hard with other GA organizations to gather support on both sides of the aisle regarding this program,” said Doug Macnair, EAA vice president of government relations. “This is an instance where the Senate GA Caucus has been valuable, as it allowed education and rapid mobilization into a DOT policy decision that runs counter to the Administration’s stated goals of reducing the threats to freedom and privacy of Americans.”

The senators also stressed that it is “premature to unilaterally implement a regulation on a legislative issue currently before Congress,” noting that the BARR program is currently being debated by the conferees on the FAA Reauthorization bill.

Joining Senators Roberts and Begich on the letter were Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), John Boozman (R-AR), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Jim DeMint (R-SC), Michael Enzi (R-WY), Dean Heller (R-NV), James Inhofe (R-OK), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Mike Johanns (R-NE), Amy Klobachar (D-MN), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Mark Pryor (D-AR), Jon Tester (D-MT), John Thune (R-SD), Mark Udall (D-CO), David Vitter (R-LA), Mark Warner (D-VA), Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

NBAA and AOPA have already posted intent to bring legal action in the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals against the DOT. EAA has pledged its support of that legal challenge as well.

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