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TSA to House Subcommittee: Security Final Rule Date “Unknowable”; ARSA Submits Comments

On July 24, the House Aviation Subcommittee held a hearing entitled “Aviation Security: An Update” to gauge progress by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in the execution of directives from the “Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007” (P.L. 110-53).

ARSA worked diligently in the weeks leading up to the hearing to ensure that a spotlight was cast on the TSA’s failure to comply with that law, which included a mandate that the agency issue a final rule on repair station security by Aug. 3, 2008. Since the agency will miss this deadline, a freeze will be put on Federal Aviation Administration initial certification of foreign repair stations starting August 3 (renewals of existing certificates and the processing of certificate applications submitted prior to August 3 are exempt).

The repair station security final rule issue was placed on the official hearing agenda, and Subcommittee Chairman Jerry Costello (D-IL-12) wasted no time in questioning TSA Administrator Kip Hawley on the matter when Hawley testified before the subcommittee.

When asked by Rep. Costello on the final rule’s progress, Administrator Hawley stated that the agency is working on issuing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (an initial step in the rulemaking process) before the end of the summer. However, the Administrator said that the date the final rule will be issued is “unknowable.” Hawley pointed to inter-agency review and commenting as a major obstacle in the issuance of the final rule. Further, Hawley stated that security measures at repair stations are already being addressed, “TSA doesn’t wait for a rule to come out to get security in place.”

Rep. Jerry Moran (R-KS-1) echoed Rep. Costello’s concerns, bringing further attention to the issue.

ARSA submitted comments to the record outlining numerous points on the issue- from the current level of security found at repair stations to the precarious precedent set by the law’s punishment of private industry for federal agency inaction to the frustration at the TSA’s failure to issue a final rule.

ARSA will continue to work on the issue and press the TSA for a final rule in an expedient manner that also ensures a fair rulemaking process.

To read ARSA’s comments please open this file.



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