Lummis Secures Wins for Wyoming in FAA Reauthorization

May 10, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) applauded the passage of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2024 which funds the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) for five years. Lummis fought to secure the inclusion of several key provisions for Wyoming including increasing funding for local airports, improving safety and expanding access to the nation’s capital for the west.

“Ensuring the people of Wyoming have reliable, safe and affordable access to travel is incredibly important for our state’s economy,” said Lummis. “In addition to boosting our thriving tourism industry, the bill eliminated burdensome regulations that placed undue constraints on small airports and restricted firefighters’ ability to fight wildfires. Most importantly, millions of Wyoming tax dollars sent to Washington will be coming home and put to work in the Cowboy State.”

For video of Lummis speaking about this legislation and its impact on Wyoming, click here.

Some of the key provisions included in the bill that will benefit Wyoming are:

  • Airport Pavements
    • A provision in the bill overturns FAA overreach from 2019 when it arbitrarily changed criteria for eligible federal funding for airport runways and taxiways.
    • This will save Rock Springs Airport from being forced to pay $6 million for renovations.
  • Categorical Exclusions
    • A Lummis amendment exempts smaller airport projects from the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review process if the project costs less than $6 million in federal funds or the total project cost is below $35 million and comprised of less than 15%of federal funds. 
    • Wyoming airports can move forward with projects with less red tape and fewer hurdles.
  • Perimeter Rule 
    • Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA) in Washington, D.C. is regulated differently than any other airport in the country. 
    • DCA has a perimeter rule, which is set at 1,250 miles, meaning nonstop flights out of the airport have to be within 1,250 miles of Washington, D.C. 
    • Congress has to approve exemptions to that perimeter by offering airlines slots where they can offer service outside of the perimeter.
    • This legislation provides five additional daily roundtrip flights beyond the perimeter which will expand access to our nation’s capital for people across Wyoming. 
    • Wyoming is one of 13 states fully outside of the DCA perimeter.
  • Airport Improvement Program 
    • Changes to the Airport Improvement Program formula will result in seven Wyoming airports receiving an additional $300,000.
    • The seven airports are: Yellowstone Regional, Cheyenne Regional/Jerry Olson Field, Northeast Wyoming Regional, Laramie Regional, Central Wyoming Regional, Southwest Wyoming Regional and Sheridan County. 
    • Essential Air Service Program
    • Reauthorizes the Essential Air Service (EAS) program, which supports flights for Laramie and Cody, and requires reports to Congress on potential reforms for serving small rural communities.
  • Wildfire Aviation 
    • The bill clears regulatory hurdles to allow wildfire response aircraft leased by state or federal agencies to transport wildland firefighters to decrease response time and keep Wyoming safe from wildfire. 
  • EMT Requirement 
    • Creates an exemption for small airports, like most in Wyoming, from being required to have an emergency medical technician (EMT) onsite. 
  • Increased Staffing for Air Traffic Control 
    • Lummis cosponsored legislation included in this bill will direct the FAA to address staffing shortfalls at Casper/Natrona County International. 
  • Transitioning Airports from PFAS Foams
    • Language in the bill establishes a reimbursement program for airport sponsors to replace aqueous film forming foam and firefighting equipment with Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, associated with such foam with non-fluorinated firefighting agents that meet military specifications.
    • Replacing PFAS proactively protects Wyoming ranchers, landowners and small businesses who the Biden administration is attempting to unfairly force to foot the bill for PFAS runoff.