Push to allow workers to kill birds?

SACRAMENTO, Calif. The issue gained some urgency with the recent release of a /*Federal Aviation Administration*/ report that Sacramento International Airport had the second most serious "bird strikes" of any airport in the country, behind only New York's JFK airport.

Planes colliding with birds, and vice versa, can be a major safety hazard, particularly if the birds get into the plane's engines.

The most notable case was a collision with a flock of birds that caused engine failure on a /*US Airways*/ flight in January, forcing the pilot to make an emergency landing in the Hudson River.

Following that incident, the FAA issued permits that allow airport employees to kill birds believed to threaten flights. However, anyone doing so in California would still be in violation of state law, and possibly subject to citation or even arrest by state Fish and Game Department wardens.

State Sen. Dave Cox, R-Fair Oaks, has introduced bill SB481 that would resolve that conflict.

"We've been working with Fish and Game," said Cox.

"They've been very cooperative. They didn't want to be in a situation where they went out and arrested someone who was attempting to do good."

The Senate's Natural Resources Committee unanimously approved the bill Tuesday, which now heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

As Cox noted, the high incidence of bird strikes at Sacramento International Airport was likely to help the bill's passage. "You know, we've got lots of people in the legislature who fly to and from Sacramento on a twice-weekly basis," he said.



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