Highway Conference Report off to President Obama
By: Jared King | The Navajo Post | June 30
Includes Grand Canyon Overflights Provision
WASHINGTON—Today, the Senate and House approved the highway bill conference report, HR 4348, concluding formal congressional action. The bill will now go to President Obama for his signature.
Congress’s action reauthorizes highway transit programs through fiscal 2014. Included within the bill is the Tribal Transportation Program.
Of the provisions within the conference agreement, one positive surprise was the inclusion of Arizona Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl overflights provision.
The provision requires air tour operators to install noise reduction equipment and finally settles a lengthy debate over what constitutes ‘natural quiet’ at the Grand Canyon Nation Park.
Additionally, this legislation also stops a recent proposal to ban up to 77 percent of the park from air tours, which would have severely jeopardized the Navajo Nation’s possible future entrance into the market.
In 1996, the National Park Service developed a standard that required 50 percent of the park be free of aircraft noise each day to be considered “quiet.”
The provision approved in the conference agreement further codifies the original intent of the National Park Overflights Act of 1987, as conceived by author Senator McCain. Essentially, the provision will end any debate over what constitutes “quiet,” within the Grand Canyon National Park.