Sen. McCain Withdraws Air Tour Amendment For Grand Canyon National Park Overflights

Thanks are being extended after Sen. John McCain withdrew an amendment that would have substantially redrawn the ground rules for Grand Canyon National Park overflight tours.

Those who opposed the senator's amendment contended it would have led to more overflights and more noise over the national park. Monday night Sen. McCain withdrew the amendment after Sen. Jeff Bingaman voiced strong opposition to it.

“Today was a wonderful day for park visitors seeking peace and quiet in our parks. We thank Sen. Bingaman for his leadership opposing an amendment to undercut an effort to better protect Grand Canyon National Park from aircraft noise," David Nimkin, Southwest regional director for the National Parks Conservation Association, said Monday night. "Now, the National Park Service can continue to engage the American public in its final decision to allow air tours while protecting natural sounds in the world’s most famous canyon.”

Mr. Nimkin also thanked Sens. (Ron) Wyden and (Jeff) Merkley for "sponsoring an amendment that was passed in the final Senate bill that promotes the completion of air tour management plans in other national parks across the country. The Wyden-Merkley language also allows the Park Service to protect visitors from noisy air tours at Crater Lake National Park.”

Thanks also went out to Sen. Tom Coburn, who attached language to the bill that would "require the cost of developing air tour management plans in the national parks to be paid for by assessing adequate fees to commercial air tour operators.”