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The Planet

Environmentalists Make Noise About Natural Quiet

The Planet, March 1997, Volume 4, number 2

Unhappy with the decision by the Federal Aviation Administration restricting noise from airplane and helicopter overflights in Grand Canyon National Park (see Updates, December 1996), the Sierra Club and six other environmental groups are challenging the FAA ruling as inadequate. While air tour operators, who have also filed a suit, claim that the FAA ruling goes too far, environmentalists argue that it falls woefully short of enforcing the 1987 Overflights Act mandate to restore natural quiet by allowing the heavily used "Dragon" tour corridor to remain open and fails to place limits on the actual number of overflights.

"You simply cannot protect the character of the Grand Canyon by continuing to allow unlimited flights over some of the most popular backcountry areas," said Rob Smith, Sierra Club Southwest representative.

Last April, on Earth Day, President Clinton directed the FAA to develop rules to protect the Grand Canyon and other national parks from the growing invasion of air tour racket. The FAA has failed to follow through on this mandate and environmentalists need to let the president know that they support natural quiet in the beleaguered park. To take action: Write President Clinton and urge him to insist that the FAA place limits on flights in the Grand Canyon. Tell him that air tours should be moved away from the formerly quiet backcountry trails, beaches and overlooks that are incessantly bombarded with aircraft noise.

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