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From Animal Defenders of Westchester (ADOW)

We advocate on all animal protection and exploitation issues, including experimentation, factory farming, rodeos, breeders and traveling animal acts.

Activists Charge USDA/ WS with violation of FAA Rules regarding Airport Wildlife Mgmt


February 25, 2015

Kiley Blackman
[email protected]

Westchester Airport must terminate USDA Wildlife Mgmt program, bid to private firms per FAA ruing
After months of research and investigation, Westchester4Geese has uncovered evidence that the USDA/ Wildlife Services contract with Westchester Airport for 'wildlife management' is not in compliance with Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) regulations; these regulations call for private sector bidding only regarding this contract.  Because of this violation the organization is calling upon the airport to terminate this contract forthwith.  
Westchester4Geese has forwarded the following registered letter to Westchester Airport Manager Stephen Ferguson, with copies to County Executive Rob Astorino and Kathleen O'Conner, Commissioner, Dept of parks:

Re: Contract Between Westchester County Airport and U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services,
            It has come to the attention of Westchester4Geese that Westchester County Airport has contracted with the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services (“USDA /Wildlife Services”), for, among other things, a Wildlife Hazard Assessment that is required pursuant to Federal Aviation Regulations Part 139, and to carry out a Wildlife Hazard Management Plan.
            Under 14 C.F.R. § 139.337(c) Wildlife Hazard Assessments must be prepared by qualified wildlife damage management biologist.  In order to comply with Federal Aviation Regulations, FAA Program Guidance Letter (PGL) 09-01, dated July 17, 2009, Program Information Memorandum #3 (PIM #3)[1] (copies of which are attached to this letter) state the USDA/Wildlife Services, as a governmental entity, is not a firm and may not be considered in the qualification selection process for the development of Wildlife Hazard Assessment.  See, PIM #3, p.1. According to the FAA, only private sector firms may be used in developing a Wildlife Hazard Assessment pursuant to its regulations and guidance.  Id.
            According to the PGL and PIM #3, the only time the USDA/Wildlife Services may be used to develop a Wildlife Hazard Assessment is when a written statement is provided certifying that the use of USDA/Wildlife Services is required because the private enterprise system cannot provide these services reasonably and expeditiously through ordinary business channels.  PIM #3, p.1; PGL, p. 3.  To our knowledge, no such certification has been provided by Westchester County.  Moreover, to our knowledge, none of the companies and individuals who provide this type of  service has been contacted by Westchester County about providing the services.
            The FAA’s position in this regard should come as no surprise to Westchester County.  The appearance of impropriety is rife when USDA/Wildlife Services, wearing its regulatory hat, makes the recommendation that certain services are required, and then turns around and receives a no-bid, “government-to-government” contract to do the work it has just required Westchester County to complete.
            Pursuant to the FAA Guidelines, then, we demand that the County of Westchester void the contract with USDA/Wildlife Services and begin negotiations with a private sector firm to provide the services for which the County of Westchester has previously contracted with the USDA/Wildlife Services.  Yours, etc...

 Kiley Blackman, Founder of Westchester4Geese, said, "The USDA should have provided Westchester County with this information and advised them to solicit qualifications from the private sector,  because Wildlife Services is a government entity and not a firm and may not be considered in the qualifications selection process.  We met with airport officials in August:  At that meeting was Ken Paskar, President of the aviation consulting firm AvTeam. Mr. Paskar, a leading aviation safety, policy, land use and environmental expert also serves as the Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association (AOPA) Airport Support Network Volunteer for Westchester County Airport and the Legislative Committee for the New York Aviation Management Association and is a former FAA Safety Team Lead Representative. At that time county officials agreed to consider upgrading to non-lethal, modern wildlife mgmt techniques such as radar and drones; now, with this information, Westchester airport must of needs be on notice to cancel their illegal contract with USDA/WS, lest the county have any appearance of impropriety.  Wildlife Services has come under fire recently for rampant abuse of authority and cruel, negligent methods of 'wildlife management' - this now is a serious charge of malfeasance, accusing them of deliberately withholding information for their own benefit." 

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