Bennet Secures Colorado Priorities in Aviation Reauthorization

Washington, D.C. – Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today applauded the passage of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization, which included four Colorado priorities:

Wildfire Mitigation Assistance: The Bennet-led Wildfire Mitigation Assistance Act will provide resources to assist communities recovering from damaging wildfires. The bill treats wildfires in the same manner as other natural disasters by making available Hazard Mitigation Assistance funding to states affected by catastrophic wildfires.

“In Colorado, we know the enormous costs wildfires inflict on our communities. And those costs pile up even after fires are extinguished to protect against flooding and erosion. It’s time we treat wildfires like other natural disasters and provide communities—like those harmed by the Lake Christine and Spring Creek Fires—with the federal resources they need,” Bennet said.

Prohibition of Drones over Wildfires: The Bennet-sponsored Securing Airspace For Emergency Responders (SAFER) Act will make the unauthorized use of an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) over a wildfire a federal felony.

“Too often, we hear about interference from drones near wildfires in Colorado. The least we can do to support first responders at the scene of a wildfire is prohibit this unauthorized drone use,” Bennet said.

Helicopter Fuel System Safety Standards: Following the 2015 air ambulance crash in Frisco, Colorado, Bennet has worked with the Colorado delegation to enact provisions requiring the FAA to adopt safety standards that promote crash-resistant fuel systems in newly manufactured helicopters.

“The air ambulance crash in Frisco three years ago was a wakeup call for Colorado and for Congress to implement new safety standards for helicopter fuel systems. Coloradans’ years of advocacy and hard work paid off today—closing a loophole that will improve safety for helicopter pilots across the country,” Bennet said.

Essential Air Service Program: The bill reauthorizes the Essential Air Service (EAS) Program, which provides critical support to Colorado’s rural airports.

“Colorado’s airports, big and small, are economic engines in our state. Reauthorizing this program will allow for more flights, fewer delays, and a stronger focus on growing economic opportunities for rural communities,” Bennet said.