US and EU eye anti-satellite weapons pact

January 31, 2011 at 9:39 am | Posted in Space Law Current Events | Leave a comment

by Sara M. Langston with the blog faculty

Source: Washington Times

The Obama administration is negotiating with the European Union on an agreement limiting the use of anti-satellite weapons, a move that some critics say could curb U.S. development of space weapons in general.

Three congressional staffers told The Washington Times that Pentagon and intelligence analysts said in a briefing Monday that the administration is looking to sign on to the European Union‘s Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities.

The briefing followed the completion of an interagency review that recommends the United States sign on to the document with only a few minor changes to its language, according to two administration officials familiar with the review.

That recommendation is awaiting final approval from the National Security Council. [Full story]

FAA Bill Back in Play

January 31, 2011 at 9:31 am | Posted in Aviation Law Current Event | Leave a comment

by Sara M. Langston with the blog faculty

Source: AVweb

After three years on the legislative backburner, it looks like the FAA reauthorization bill is catching fire. Sen. John Rockefeller, D-W.Va., will introduce a new bill next week that he says is identical to a bill introduced last year (PDF) that was passed 93-0 by the Senate. The House never did pass it. The proposed bill includes funding for NextGen and sets an accelerated schedule for its deployment under the auspices of the newly created senior position in the FAA to keep NextGen on track. The bill authorizes spending of $34.5 billion over two years and has general support in the aviation world, but politics is not that cut and dried.

Among its provisions is the controversial “passenger bill of rights” that prevents airlines from being able to hold passengers in aircraft for longer than three hours. The Department of Transportation has a similar regulation that allows it to fine airlines for long ramp delays, but this would enshrine it as law. That provision is expected to get a rough ride in the House and could derail the Senate’s speedy approach to the bill.

Also:

Democrats push aviation bill as jobs program – Washington Post

Senate set to take up long-delayed FAA bill – The Hill

 

 

U.S. to provide specifics in future terrorism alerts

January 28, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Posted in Aerospace Law Interfaces, Aviation Law Current Event | Leave a comment

by Sara M. Langston with the blog faculty

Source: Reuters

The Obama administration on Thursday unveiled a new system to warn Americans about terrorism threats that will include specific information about the threat, scrapping the widely ignored color-coded alerts.

The old approach was criticized because it lacked specifics about threats and so people ignored the warnings. The new approach will tell the public whether the threat is “imminent” or there is an “elevated” risk of threat.

“The alerts will be specific to the threat. They may recommend certain actions, or suggest looking for specific suspicious behavior. And they will have a specified end date,” Napolitano said.

The new system will be implemented over the next three months and U.S. security officials have apparently quietly tried the new alert approach.

The Transportation Security Administration, responsible for airport security, issued an advisory in December that officers may closely examine insulated drink containers after learning al Qaeda operatives may try to hide explosives in them.

Further, when al Qaeda operatives from Yemen tried to hide bombs in printer toner cartridges aboard cargo planes, the DHS banned large ink and toner cartridges from domestic and U.S.-bound flights.

The current threat level is set at orange (“high”) for the aviation system, which has been a popular target of al Qaeda militants. For the rest of the country, it is yellow (“elevated”). [Full story]

NATA Protests FAA Funding for Chattanooga FBO

January 28, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Posted in Aviation Law Current Event | Leave a comment

by Sara M. Langston with the blog faculty

Source: Aviation International News

NATA has objected to the use of FAA funds disbursed under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport Authority (CMAA) to build a ramp for a new airport-owned FBO at Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport/Lovell Field. The new facility, to be managed by Tennessee-based Wilson Air Center, is scheduled for completion this summer and would compete with Tac Air, which has been the lone ground services provider at the airport.

In a letter to FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt, NATA president Jim Coyne noted that revenue-generating commercial facility infrastructure was ineligible for such funding based on longstanding FAA policy, and warned that “approval of this grant and accompanying distribution of funds appear to be a dangerous shift in policy.

 

FAA authorization bill due in Senate

January 28, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Posted in Aviation Law | Leave a comment

by  Sara M. Langston with the blog faculty

Source: The Hill

The Senate adjourned tonight until Monday at 2 p.m., when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he hopes the chamber can take up a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authorization bill, S. 223.

Reid said there is “no reason” the Senate cannot begin work on that bill Monday. He said this is an “extremely important piece of legislation,” and that it will “at a minimum” create 100,000 U.S. jobs through airport infrastructure improvements.

He said the bill, sponsored by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), also would include a patients’ bill of rights and help improve air safety. Coming off today’s changes to Senate procedural rules, Reid noted that Democrats will make room for Republican amendments, and said it’s “time for a good old-fashioned Senate debate.”

Before adjourning, Reid asked that three non-controversial resolutions, S.Res. 31-33, be considered as passed.

State of Texas objects to the sale of Emivest Aerospace to undisclosed buyer

January 28, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Posted in Aviation Law Current Event | Leave a comment

by Sara M. Langston with the blog faculty

Source: Flightglobal

The State of Texas in asking the US bankruptcy court to halt the proposed sale of San Antonio-based Emivest Aerospace to an undisclosed buyer, an action set to take place by mid-February. Emivest builds the aircraft formerly known as the Sino-Swearingen SJ30 twin-engine business jet.

“The motion is being presented on shortened notice with a skeletal description of sale terms and no discussion of how existing secured claims will be treated,” says Texas attorney general Greg Abbott in the 24 January objection letter to the court. “The buyer has not even been identified yet.” The proposed sale and Texas’ objections are topics on the agenda for a 31 January court hearing.

According to the letter, Emivest owes the state approximately $900,000 in taxes and liens.

 

 

FAA proposes guidelines for marking meteorological towers

January 27, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Posted in Aviation Law Current Event | Leave a comment

by Sara M. Langston with the blog faculty

Source: AOPA

AOPA is supporting the FAA proposal to set guidelines for the marking and lighting of proliferating meteorological evaluation towers (METs).

The FAA has asked for comments by Feb. 4 on revisions of the 64-page Advisory Circular 70/7460-1K, “Obstruction Marking and Lighting,” that would address METs. The FAA recommends adopting guidelines for METs that currently apply to other structures including “the alternate bands of aviation orange and white paint for skeletal framework of storage tanks and similar structures, and towers that have cables attached.”

See Federal Register for the full Proposed Advisory Circular.

TSA or private security screeners at airports?

January 27, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Posted in Aviation Law Current Event | Leave a comment

by Sara M. Langston with the blog faculty

Source: OzarksFirst.com

Springfield-Branson National Airport wants to improve the security screening process,especially customer service, by hiring a private contractor to fill the role of the TSA. The airport has already filed a TSA opt-out application, with the review process expected to last a year. If the airport’s application is approved, the security regulations will not change with the advent of a private security screening force. The same federal security check rules will apply, i.e. removing shoes, getting patted down etc. [Full story]

TSA STATEMENT
“All commercial airports are regulated by TSA whether the actual screening is performed by TSA officers or private companies. TSA sets the security standards that must be followed, which includes the use of enhanced pat downs and imaging technology, if installed at the airport.”

GENERAL BACKGROUND
The Screening Partnership Program (SPP) enables qualified private vendors to perform the screening of passengers and baggage at airports. All commercial airports have been eligible to apply since 2004. There are currently 16 airports participating in SPP out of more than 450 commercial airports. Under SPP, TSA continues to oversee security at partner airports.

See here for the SSP guidelines and applicable law.

Airline lawsuit threatens delays for FAA reauthorization bill

January 27, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Posted in Aviation Law Current Event | Leave a comment

by Sara M. Langston with the blog faculty

Source: The Hill

As government regulators and Congress struggle to determine the reasons behind a rash of near-collisions between airlines, a lawsuit against a Raytheon subsidiary that trains air traffic controllers could give critics more cause for concern.

Airline safety experts are keeping a close watch on the $1 billion lawsuit’s progress. A guilty verdict or settlement would have serious airline safety implications and could complicate Congress’s efforts to pass a long-delayed reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) bill this year.

A U.S. District judge ruled Thursday that Raytheon Technical Services Co. must defend itself against a lawsuit brought by Washington Consulting Group Inc. in local D.C. court. [Full story]

Federal Communications Commission: Proposed Rule on the Implementation of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, Section 105, Relay Services for Deaf- Blind Individuals

January 27, 2011 at 11:54 am | Posted in Telecommunications | Leave a comment

by Sara M. Langston with the blog faculty

Source: Federal Register

[Federal Register: January 27, 2011 (Volume 76, Number 18)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Page 4838-4847]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr27ja11-14]

=======================================================================
———————————————————————–

FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

47 CFR Part 64

[CG Docket No. 10-210; FCC 11-3]

Implementation of the Twenty-First Century Communications and
Video Accessibility Act of 2010, Section 105, Relay Services for Deaf-
Blind Individuals

AGENCY: Federal Communications Commission.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

———————————————————————–

SUMMARY: In this document, the Commission proposes rules for a pilot
program to distribute funds for the National Deaf-Blind Equipment
Distribution Program (NDBEDP) established by Congress in the Twenty-
First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010
(CVAA). The law directs the Commission to establish rules within six
months of enactment of the new statute that define as eligible for
relay service support those programs approved by the Commission for the
distribution of specialized customer premises equipment (specialized
CPE) to people who are deaf-blind. The goal of this NDBEDP is to make
telecommunications service, Internet access service, and advanced
communications, including interexchange services and advanced
telecommunications and information services, accessible by low income
individuals who are deaf-blind.

DATES: Comments are due on or before February 4, 2011. Reply comments
are due on or before February 14, 2011. Written comments on the
proposed information collection requirements, subject to the Paperwork
Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995, Public Law 104-13, should be submitted on
or before March 28, 2011. [Full notice]
 

 

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