New Petition: The FAA Must Protect Birds

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Tell the FAA to Protect Birds and Ecosystems from Drones Now

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has begun to update regulations on the operation of drones. What they do now will set the stage on how much or how little birds, wildlife, people, and ecosystems will be protected from the hundreds of thousands to over a million drones that will soon fill the air. The FAA has excused itself from any environmental reviews but is taking comments on its proposed rulemaking.

Sign this petition to tell the FAA they must follow the National Environmental Policy Act and conduct an Environmental Impact Statement before going further.

Scroll down to an earlier post for more information.

Drone Update: Suprizing, Worrying

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Drone Update as of February 20, 2015

While the FAA considers Green Vegans’ letter charging they have failed to abide by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) regarding the regulation of drones, consider this surprising and worrying additional background. Drones will provide many benefits and can be a useful technology if used responsibly. Unfortunately, drones and their advanced technology are ripe for abuse that the FAA has too long ignored.

They are available to anyone with money, meaning there are tens of thousands of drones now and countless more to come. Hobbyists will continue to have more drones of considerable speed and size than all other sectors. Commercial drones, up to fifty-pounds and one hundred miles per hour if proposed rules are adopted, are and will be in the minority compared to hobbyist aircraft. Rulemaking for commercial drones cannot escape the need for an environmental assessment that considers the total number of drones.

3drobotics Rtfx8915 X8 Heavy Lift Multicopter Drone 915 MhzTaken together—and in individual instances—this many drones constitute a threat to public privacy interests, ecosystems and wildlife. With few exceptions, they are allowed to operate in public airspace. Hobbyists at present fly from ground level to 400 feet above—the approximate height of a forty storey building. The proposed commercial flight maximum is 500 feet. As we reported earlier, Amazon.com alone is reported to be selling 10,000 hobbyist drones every month. This is a new intrusion into human and wildlife habitats at a scale we’ve never experienced before.

Government agencies and first responders like fire and police services are making plans to increase their use of drones. And of course, amateur to professional hobbyists are yearning to fly where they want, filming, intruding on people and wildlife most often without any redeeming benefit compared to the impacts and next to no regulatory constraint. Continue reading

Green Vegans Petitions FAA Re: Drones and NEPA

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FAA Petitioned to File Environmental Impact Statement for Drones

Amazon Reported to be Selling 10,000 Drones per Month

January 30, 2015 / MEDIA RELEASE

Green Vegans, a Seattle-based human ecology organization, has petitioned the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to implement the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) before it finalizes policy and regulations that would apply to commercial drones under the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (the Act), in addition to “model” drones used by hobbyists. “Clearly,” said Will Anderson, president of Green Vegans, “the benefits as well as the environmental and social impacts from drones are enormous. The FAA must comply with NEPA on this major action by the federal government that covers what will soon be millions of drones, most of which at not going to be regulated by the Act.”

This QR X350 PRO drone is being sold on Amazon's "Drone Store."

This QR X350 PRO drone is being sold on Amazon’s “Drone Store.”

On Wednesday, President Obama, relating to the model drone that crashed on the White House lawn over the weekend stated, “We don’t really have any kind of regulatory structure at all for it.” The White House Council on Environmental Quality was given a copy of the petition.

Total Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), as drones are called by the FAA, will approach ~250,000 by 2035, of which ~175,000 will be in the commercial marketplace.” Significant is the fact that these figures do not include the far larger number of users in the model/hobby UAS category. Continue reading