Is Legislation For Safer Air Travel In Jeopardy?

March 30, 2011 Updated Mar 30, 2011 at 5:16 PM EDT

By WKBW Programming

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Is Legislation For Safer Air Travel In Jeopardy?

March 30, 2011 Updated Mar 30, 2011 at 5:16 PM EDT

( WKBW / release ) Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) is working diligently behind the scenes in Washington, D.C. to prevent the House of Representatives from passing an amendment that threatens great strides in federal flight safety improvements made following the tragic crash of Flight 3407 in Western New York.

“This isn’t going down without a fight,” said Congressman Higgins. “It took hundreds of hours of meetings, dozens of hearings, and over a year to build the flight safety changes that are credited with making our skies safer for air travelers, a feat only made possible through the tireless efforts of Flight 3407 families. Efforts to dismantle this progress puts lives at risk.”

Working closely with Flight 3407 families Congressman Higgins pushed for, and last July Congress approved, sweeping new aviation safety requirements for pilots and airlines which included new transparencies for regional carriers, increased training for pilots and new policies to protect against pilot fatigue.

An amendment under consideration this week would make it more difficult for the FAA to implement the aviation safety reforms like the pilot fatigue regulations by imposing additional requirements on the rulemaking process.

“It’s very frustrating that this amendment could undermine all of the progress and effort we have made on flight safety,” added Flight 3407 family member Karen Eckert.

Congressman Higgins’ office met with flight 3407 families in DC on Monday to discuss the matter. Higgins’ office is reaching out to other offices over the phone and will be issuing a letter to his colleagues.

The amendment is being proposed by Pennsylvania Republican Congressman Bill Shuster, which critics say would make flying on small carriers unsafe.

John Kausner, who lost his daughter in the Crash of Flight 3407 told Eyewitness News he feels that Shuster's amendment could be the result of lobbying efforts by the aviation industry. Kausner, and other members of the 3407 families will be in Washington, D.C. to meet with lawmakers, and possibly Representative Shuster, to make a personal appeal to make sure the amendment does not move forward.

New York State Senator Charles Schumer released this statement to Eyewitness News:

“Following the tragic crash of Flight 3407, I worked side-by-side with the families to make serious, overdue reforms to our aviation industry that will make our skies safer. Time and time again, we have seen proposals put forth that would weaken these tough and necessary new rules. We are going to band together once again to beat back this senseless amendment and any other attempts to undermine the progress we’ve already made.” – U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer