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House Includes Language to Preserve BARR Program

September 14, 2011 – Language that would preserve the Block Aircraft Registration Request (BARR) program was added to a congressional appropriations bill by members of the House of Representatives on Tuesday, lending support to aviation groups – including EAA – that seek to maintain the security and privacy for aviators who participate in the program.

EAA is supporting NBAA and AOPA in their challenge to the Department of Transportation’s initiative to limit the availability of BARR, including filing an amicus brief in the NBAA/AOPA suit against the DOT plan. A hearing on the court challenge is expected in the coming months.

Rep. Tom Latham (R-Iowa), who chairs the House Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies, included a provision to preserve the BARR in the annual appropriations bill for the departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development.

It marks the latest congressional move in opposition to ending the BARR program, which has been in place for more than a decade. It was established to provide aircraft owners and operators an ability to opt out of having their aviation movements tracked by anyone, anywhere in the world, with an Internet connection. BARR still allows law enforcement and security agencies access to aircraft movements in the interest of national security.

A bill requiring the FAA administrator to in effect restore the BARR program was introduced in the House on Monday, September 12. H.R. 2897, introduced by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kansas) with 13 co-sponsors, would require the FAA administrator “to prevent the dissemination to the public of certain information with respect to noncommercial flights of private aircraft owners and operators.”

Earlier this year, the House passed legislation preserving BARR as part of the FAA reauthorization package. That measure is still awaiting reconciliation with the U.S. Senate’s similar measure. In addition, U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) has introduced a stand-alone bill to preserve the program, and bipartisan House and Senate groups have each written to DOT Secretary Ray LaHood to set aside plans to dismantle BARR.

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