Right Hooks

CEI Challenges FAA's New Drone Regulations

The FAA is stifling tinkering and exploration.

Dan Gilmore · Dec. 17, 2015
Photo courtesy Richard Unten, Flickr

Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Marc Scribner, a transportation policy expert, said the Federal Aviation Administration was “practically demanding litigation” when it announced a requirement for owners of drones to register their device and pay a fee to the government. The libertarian think tank threatened to sue the federal government over the interim final rule because it claimed the governing body skipped over critical procedures in enacting the regulation. “The FAA’s claim that complying with notice and comment requirements for small drone registration regulation is ‘impracticable and contrary to the public interest,’ so that it can therefore ignore them is as predictable as it is absurd,” Scribner said. “In requiring that all drones over 250 grams — which includes many harmless toys — the FAA will also be violating Congress’s 2012 prohibition on the regulation of hobbyist small drone use.”

The FAA justified its swift decree by saying drone culture is booming. It had to move fast because American consumers were snatching up drones during the holiday retail season by the hundreds of thousands. In fact, the FAA predicted, drones could pose a threat to other aircraft such as commercial airlines or helicopters providing air medical services. But in tripping over itself to impose regulation to prevent a problem that, quite frankly, hasn’t come to a head, the FAA is stifling the tinkering and exploration that has made Americans in the past discover breakthroughs and create new technology.

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