WASHINGTON – Today, Senator Mike Lee and Rep. Rob Bishop released a letter they wrote to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Michael Huerta requesting information regarding conflicting statements about the decision to close the tower at Ogden-Hinckley Airport (OGD).
The letter states that in March, Rep. Bishop wrote to Mr. Huerta at the FAA pointing out how the closure of the tower at OGD, located less than 3 miles away from Hill Air Force Base, would “result in significant negative safety impacts upon military flight operations and readiness”, and asked if the FAA had considered these impacts.
In April, write Lee and Bishop, “The FAA informed Senator Lee’s office that DOD reviewed all 189 contract towers under consideration and provided no feedback on the tower closure at OGD.”
However, DOD did confirm to Lee’s office that they had in fact provided a detailed report to the Department of Transportation, which oversees the FAA, listing the closure at OGD as having a “severe” impact on defense department operations.
“Recently, it has come to our attention that DOD identified in their report to DOT and FAA 38 contract towers whose closures would result in a ‘severe impact to operations.’ This list of severe impact’ rated towers included Ogden-Hinckley Airport,” wrote Lee and Bishop.
Lee and Bishop have asked FAA to explain why their representatives told Lee’s office they received no feedback when they had, and to describe the process of deciding which of the closures listed as “severe” would close and which would not.
“We request that FAA explain why Senator Lee’s office was told in response to the April 1, 2013 request that ‘there was no feedback provided’ by DOD on the tower closure at OGD when in fact DOD had provided a detailed report to DOT on March 21, 2013 identifying 38 Contract Towers whose closures would result in a ‘severe impact to operations’, including OGD. We also request an explanation for its decision regarding the closure of these Contract Towers, and specifically as it relates to those towers that DOD determined would have a severe impact on mission operations.”
They added, “Our highest priority is ensuring the safety of our service-members and those who utilize these Contract Towers. This is a serious matter and we request your attention and prompt reply.”