ARSA FERRETS OUT OBSCURE PETITION TO OBFUSCATE FAA RULEMAKING

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ARTICLE: ARSA recommends shedding light on federal rulemaking process

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Regulating a complex, dynamic industry has its frustrating, difficult moments. Adhering to the Administrative Procedures Act prescribes a very narrow band of acceptable practices. Issuing a new rule, as noted here before (jdasolutions.aero/blog), the FAA staff has a long review process between conception of a new rule and the final amendment of 14 CFR (pictured).

At the same time, being regulated by an agency with comprehensive authority is not easy. The “regulatee” has to read and understand the many pages of 49 USC §§ 40101-50105, the detailed regulations of 14 CFR Parts 1- 460, the greater granularity of FAA Orders, Notices, Advisory Circulars, SAFOs, INFOs and Handbooks—a monumental reading task. All of the documents are used by the FAA to interpret the meaning of the Congressional words of wisdom, a/k/a the statute.

The Executive Director of the Aeronautical Repair Station has pointed out an effort by the FAA to further complicate the “regulatee’s” burden. In a response to a petition at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), ARSA has dissented to an effort to simplify the FAA’s document burden (read “increase the burden of the regulatee”) by allowing the agency to “incorporate by reference” (IBR) certain materials. ARSA makes the point that the NARA proposal, if it becomes final, will allow a Notice of Proposed Rule Making to IBR documents which are not yet publically available. As ARSA succinctly said:

“Wholesale adoption of unavailable materials precludes meaningful comment from those affected when an AD is proposed and results in uncertainty about compliance once the rule is issued,” said ARSA Executive Director Sarah MacLeod.

“ARSA believes that documents essential to compliance and enforcement must be available during all phases of the rulemaking process. ARSA’s members are directly responsible for strict compliance with public safety regulations and are in the best position to provide the substantive comments necessary for the agency to fulfill its obligations. But, they cannot provide those comments if they are left in the dark by use of materials that are not readily available,” said MacLeod.

Well said ARSA!!!

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