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ARSA Condemns FAA’s Rulemaking by Fiat

Update – Aug. 28, 2015: The FAA issued a second SNPRM soliciting comments on agency-provided supporting documentation. While the association did not submit specific comments on the second SNPRM, it maintains that the agency is required to support its rulemaking with verifiable technical data, which it has thus far failed to do.


On Feb. 23, ARSA continued its opposition to the FAA’s flagrant disregard of basic requirements for promulgating regulations. The neglect of its responsibilities is particularly troublesome when unsafe conditions are alleged. The association again requested the immediate withdrawal of the proposed rulemaking.

The proposed Airworthiness Directive (AD) requires a phased replacement of cylinders used on certain engines manufactured by Continental Motors, Inc. ARSA’s comments point out the FAA continued to ignored its statutory duties under the Administrative Procedure Act and Data Quality Act, as well as the agency’s own internal guidance for satisfying those obligations.

“The FAA has completely failed to provide the substantive basis for the rule or explain why such a factually deficient administrative record supports the issuance of a far reaching safety directive,” said Ryan Poteet, ARSA’s regulatory affairs manager. “The agency was asked to provide the data on which it relies, but instead has doubled down and pushed through without supporting information. It seems to think that it can pass a rule simply by saying it can pass a rule.”

ARSA’s comments detail how the FAA’s failure to comply with its statutory obligations has stymied public participation, the lynchpin to rulemaking. Commenters are forced to speculate on the agency’s justifications and to provide every reasonable explanation for why the rule should not be issued. The failure to provide supporting data not only makes it impossible for the public to engage in the rulemaking process, it demonstrates that the agency has failed to consider all relevant evidence required to reach an informed, well-reasoned conclusion.

“In a heavily regulated industry, all certificate holders are negatively impacted when a government agency ignores the law,” Poteet said. “The FAA cannot be allowed to issue the most important type of safety rule, an AD, based on nothing more than speculation and conjecture; it must be reminded that it cannot regulate by fiat.”

ARSA’s comments are available at http://arsa.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/ARSA-Comments_to_SNPRM-FAA-2012-0002-20150-20150223.pdf.



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