To regulate flights over national parks, and for other purposes.
Mr. MCCAIN (for himself and Mr. FRIST) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the `National Parks Overflights Act of 1997'.
SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.
In this Act:
(1) ADMINISTRATOR- The term `Administrator' means the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration.
(2) PLAN- The term `plan' means the final plan prepared under section 3(c)(1).
(3) SECRETARY- The term `Secretary' means the Secretary of the Interior.
SEC. 3. NATIONAL PARKS OVERFLIGHTS.
(a) FINDINGS- Congress finds that--
(1) noise associated with aircraft overflights at a national park can cause a significant adverse effect on the natural quiet and experience of the park; and
(2) aircraft operations in a national park can raise serious concerns regarding public safety, including concerns regarding the safety of park users.
(1) SUBMISSION- Not later than 120 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit to the Administrator recommendations regarding actions necessary--
(A) to protect public health and safety from adverse effects associated with aircraft overflights at any national park;
(B) to protect the resources of any national park experiencing an adverse impact associated with noise from aircraft overflights;
(C) to preserve natural quiet at any national park where natural quiet is a part of the park's natural resources and experience; and
(D) to prevent resource impairment from noise associated with overflights at any national park.
(2) RESTORATION OR PRESERVATION OF QUIET- The recommendations shall provide for--
(A) protection of public health and safety from adverse affects associated with aircraft overflights; and
(B) substantial restoration of the natural quiet or substantial preservation of the natural quiet and experience of the park.
(3) FLIGHT-FREE ZONES, FLIGHT RESTRICTIONS, AND FLIGHT BANS-
(A) IN GENERAL- The recommendations shall include proposals for flight-free zones, for appropriate flight restrictions, or for banning flights within certain national parks as necessary to meet the goals of paragraph (2).
(B) ADMINISTRATION AND EMERGENCY OPERATIONS- Flight-free zones and flight bans shall provide for flight free areas over a national park, except for purposes of administration, emergency operations, and operations required for transportation of persons and supplies to and from Indian reservations adjacent to any affected national park.
(C) MILITARY AND OTHER PUBLIC OPERATIONS- The recommendations may exempt noncommercial general aviation, military, and other public operations from proposed flight-free zones, flight restrictions, or proposals banning flights within a park.
(D) FLIGHT RESTRICTIONS- Flight restrictions, including curfews and limitations on the number of flights in a park may be contained in proposed regulations if necessary to preserve, protect, or restore the natural quiet and experience of the park.
(E) COMMERCIAL AIR TOURS- Flight bans shall prevent commercial air tours in a park if necessary to preserve, protect, or restore the natural quiet and experience of the park.
(4) PRIORITIZATION OF PARKS FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF RECOMMENDATIONS- The recommendations shall include a proposal for prioritizing the scheduled implementation of plans regulating overflights in the national parks based on the resource impairment--
(A) caused by overflights in the national parks; or
(B) threatened by the introduction or increase of overflights in the national parks.
(5) FLIGHT ALTITUDES- The Administrator, after consultation with the Secretary, may--
(A) establish minimum flight altitudes to include in the recommendations; and
(B) prohibit overflights below such minimum altitudes in any national park as necessary to meet the requirements of paragraph (2).
(6) QUIET AIRCRAFT TECHNOLOGY- The recommendations shall include a joint proposal by the Secretary and the Administrator that--
(A) provides incentives for the use of quiet aircraft technology within a national park;
(B) creates a schedule for any commercial air tour operator operating within a national park to convert the operator's fleet to quiet aircraft;
(C) promotes other appropriate steps to encourage use of quiet aircraft within a national park; or
(D) explains why implementation of subparagraphs (A), (B), and (C) is not necessary or appropriate to meet the requirements of paragraph (2).
(1) PREPARATION OF PLAN- Not later than 90 days after receipt of recommendations under subsection (b) and after notice and opportunity for hearing, the Administrator shall prepare and issue a final plan for the management of air traffic in the airspace above any national park--
(A) experiencing an adverse impact associated with noise from aircraft overflights; or
(B) for which the Secretary determines that air tours need to be regulated in order to prevent resource impairment from overflights.
(2) REVIEW OF RECOMMENDATIONS-
(A) IN GENERAL- The plan shall provide for implementation of the recommendations of the Secretary without change, unless the Administrator determines that implementing the recommendations without change would adversely affect aviation safety.
(B) REVIEW OF RECOMMENDATIONS- If the Administrator determines that implementing the recommendations would adversely affect aviation safety, the Administrator shall, not later than 60 days after making the determination, in consultation with the Secretary and after notice and opportunity for hearing--
(i) revise the recommendations consistent with the requirements of subsection (b) to eliminate the adverse effects on aviation safety; and
(ii) issue regulations implementing the revised recommendations in the plan.
(1) ADMINISTRATOR- The Administrator shall enforce the plan in accordance with the subtitle VII of title 49, United States Code.
(2) SECRETARY- The Secretary may enforce appropriate requirements of the plan in accordance with regulations applicable to the National Parks System.
(1) IN GENERAL- Not later than 2 years after the effective date of the plan, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a report on--
(A) the success of the plan in restoring the natural quiet in the national parks; and
(B) such other matters, including possible revisions in the plan, as may be of interest to Congress.
(2) COMMENTS BY THE ADMINISTRATOR- The report shall include comments by the Administrator regarding any effect on aircraft safety resulting from implementation of the plan.