LASP: The Next Chapter
Working Toward a ‘Reasonable’ Approach
March 2, 2009 — The end of February also signaled an end to the comment period for the Transportation Security Administration’s Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP), but not to the industry-wide effort opposing the TSA plan. More than 4,200 comments were submitted to the docket, which according to USA Today were the most comments TSA has received regarding any single initiative since the agency was created in the wake of 9/11.
EAA continues to work closely with TSA and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials toward a more reasonable approach to general aviation security through use of a negotiated rulemaking committee. EAA is also continually meeting with members of Congress on the proposal, including an invitation to attend a roundtable discussion next week on The Hill hosted by House Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Jerry Costello (D-Ill.) to further press the issue.
Comments to the docket include letters opposing the LASP from congressional representatives Tom Petri (R-Wis.) and Sam Graves (R-Mo.).
Petri is the ranking member of the House Aviation Subcommittee and also represents Wisconsin’s 6th District, which includes Oshkosh and EAA headquarters. In a letter addressed to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, he writes, “…the TSA’s actions related to the proposed LASP are extreme and unnecessary,” adding, “The TSA has lost sight of the important balance between security and the free flow of commerce.” Petri also called the proposal “an enormous invasion into the private lives and affairs of citizens of a free country.” (Read Rep. Petri’s letter.)
Graves is also member of the House Aviation Subcommittee and represents the Missouri 6th District. In his 23-page letter to Erik Jensen, TSA’s chief of policy, plans and stakeholder affairs for general aviation, Graves warned that if the TSA stayed on its current path and disregarded the near unanimous opposition to LASP, it could face legal challenges or Congressional obstacles to the program, such as a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act.
“Or TSA can heed the advice in these comments and select a flight path that will lead to a more reasoned decision making process,” he writes. Graves also urges formation of a negotiated rulemaking committee involving significantly affected groups. Graves’ letter was also signed by Rep. Nathan Deal, (R-Ga.); Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, (R-Ga.); Rep. John Duncan, Jr., (R-Calif.); Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, (R-Mo.); Rep. W. Todd Akin, (R-Mo.); and Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.) (Read Rep. Graves’ letter.)
EAA encourages its members to continue contacting their Congressional representatives seeking their support of general aviation and opposition to LASP. To read EAA’s official comments submitted February 27 on the LASP, click here.