LaHood to end bird strike report secrecy

April 22, 2009 at 5:30 PM
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WASHINGTON, April 22 (UPI) -- The U.S. Transportation Department said it was preparing to reject a proposal that would keep secret information about where and when birds hit airplanes.

The Federal Aviation Administration in March posted in the Federal Register for public comment a proposal that would bar the release of its records on bird collisions, The Washington Post reported Wednesday. The proposal came after an incident in January when geese brought down a commercial flight, forcing the pilot to ditch into New York's Hudson River.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, whose agency oversees the FAA, is among those who want the information released, the Post said. He said comments ran "99.9 percent" in favor of making such information publicly accessible.

"I think all of this information ought to be made public, and I think that you'll soon be reading about the fact that we're going to, you know, make this information as public as anybody wants it," LaHood told the Post. "The people should have access to this kind of information.

Keeping bird strike information secret doesn't fit with the administration's transparency pledge, LaHood said.

The FAA said it proposed secrecy on the collisions because the reports are voluntary and the agency was worried the information would discourage airlines and airports from providing the information out of concern for a negative business impact.

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