Last week, I wrote about the Department of Transportation's proposed ban on peanut distribution on commercial airline flights, an action that could potentially have a significant economic impact on the Second District. On Tuesday, I was able to speak directly to Secretary Ray LaHood and reiterated my concerns with any change to current law.
During the call, Secretary LaHood assured me that changes to current policy contained in the proposed rule were not set in stone and that the Department encouraged the general public to offer comment on any changes. Additionally, the DOT would first need to conduct a study on the need for a peanut ban before implementing any change to current policy as mandated by Congress in 1999, the last time such peanut restrictions aboard airplanes were seriously considered.
The call with Secretary LaHood was both productive and informative. I am relieved that the DOT has not finalized any plans and I hope they will continue to listen to the concerns of Members of Congress and the general public before moving forward with a dramatic change in current policy.
In fact, Congressional Quarterly took notice on Monday, saying, "The response was immediate from two House Democrats, Sanford D. Bishop Jr. , whose southwest Georgia district produces more than a quarter of the nation's peanuts, and Bobby Bright , who represents the nation's second-biggest peanut producing region, around Montgomery, Ala."
I strongly encourage citizens who share my concerns to visit DOT's website and offer comments on the proposed peanut ban at www.regulations.gov.