Backroom Politics Blasts Grand Canyon Quiet
Grand Canyon National Park will stay noisy from air tours, thanks to last minute secret maneuvers during passage of a federal transportation funding bill by Congress before their July recess. In a closed-door conference committee, Arizona Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl amended the 1987 National Parks Overflights Act by inserting language that allows air tour noise to stay at current levels.¬† Read more‚Ä¶
The amendment came immediately before the National Park Service was prepared to issue final recommendations on reducing air tour noise over Grand Canyon.¬† This followed years of agency noise studies costing taxpayers $6 million, and after gathering almost 30,000 public comments.
The Park Service plan was expected to extend quiet hours in the morning and evening, move air tour routes away from popular beaches, trails and overlooks during certain seasons, and limit air tour numbers in the future. The law is now changed to allow half the park to have unlimited aircraft noise, and allow the rest of the park to hear air tour noise 25% of the time throughout the day.¬† Plus air tour numbers can increase into the future. (Please see issue summary and fact sheet).
Previous attempts to amend the 1987 National Parks Overflights Act have failed. But campaign contributions by the air tour industry finally paid off. The National Park Service is currently reviewing how to incorporate the amendment into its Final Environmental Impact Statement. Faced with this disappointing action, the Grand Canyon Trust and allies will be forced to develop new strategies to reduce air tour noise in Grand Canyon National Park.
For more information, please see:
Congress thwarts effort to reduce Grand Canyon noise pollution
Writers on the Range: It’s all about the aircraft, not Grand Canyon‚Äé
Arizona Republic editorial: Congress bungles noise restrictions
McCain, Kyl back aerial clatter at Canyon