Washington Report: Thanks for safe oysters, Mr. Secretary

 - August 12, 2008, 5:03 AM

Tongue firmly in cheek, National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) president John Carr thanked Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta for the Bush Administration’s decision to declare seafood inspection an “inherently governmental” function. He added that the safety of our nation’s seafood supply should be a national priority.

“As you and your colleagues in the Administration consider issues of protecting public safety, I ask that you extend the same level of safety to our skies as you do to our seafood,” Carr wrote in a letter copied to FAA Administrator Marion Blakey. “If seafood inspectors are inherently governmental, shouldn’t air traffic controllers (who are responsible for guiding more than one million passengers every day) receive the same designation?”

Earlier this year, the White House designated ATC as a “commercial activity” instead of “inherently governmental.” The union sees this as a prerequisite for future privatization of the ATC system.