NRECA welcomes legislation on aerial drone permitting

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) on April 19 lauded the Senate’s approval of legislation to improve the permitting process for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The UAV provisions were included in a bill to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

“Allowing co-op line crews to use UAVs for infrastructure repairs, maintenance and protection will reduce risks to co-op employees, shorten outage times and save money for their member-owners,” said NRECA Interim CEO Jeffrey Connor. “We greatly appreciate Sens. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) for championing these provisions.”

NRECA also supports language in the bill that would require the FAA to create a process to restrict UAV use near critical infrastructure, including electricity facilities, in order to help protect critical equipment from unintentional damage by recreational UAV users, as well as intentional damage by bad actors.

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national service organization that represents the nation’s more than 900 private, not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives, which provide service to 42 million people in 47 states.