Congress bungles noise restrictions
Excerpted from the Arizona Republic July 5, 2012
It’s a bipartisan flop that elevates narrow desires above majestic goals.
How majestic? Think Grand Canyon.
Think silence as profound as the scenery. Think legacy to the future. Not just Arizona’s. Not just America’s.
When you’re talking about stewardship of one of the world’s natural wonders, you’re talking on a global scale. Arizona’s pride. Nation’s treasure. World-class tourism attraction.
Too bad Congress got sucked into thinking on a much smaller scale.
Republican Sen. John McCain and Democratic Sen. Harry Reid made a bipartisan blunder in shortcutting a Park Service process to restore natural quiet to the Grand Canyon. They backed legislation — inserted into the huge transportation bill — that supersedes the Park Service’s yet-to-be-released noise regulations. The measure was pushed in the House by GOP Rep. Paul Gosar, who referred to congressional interference as an effort to stop the “Obama administration’s misguided regulations.”
Wrong. In 1987, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill that recognized the value of limiting air tours for the sake of safety and restoring quiet to the Canyon. McCain sponsored the 1987 bill that called for “substantial restoration” of natural quiet.