My Way of Thinking: Why limit the use of ‘drones’?
I wrote this column a week after the Missouri House Committee on Agribusiness held a hearing on the “Preserving Freedom from the Unwarranted Surveillance Act.” The sponsoring legislator said it was the legislature’s “obligation to assure that technology is not being used irresponsibly.”
And there was the Missouri Farm Bureau testifying in support of passing the legislation to protect their member’s personal privacy and personal property rights.
During mid-2012, a big uproar in Iowa and Nebraska occurred because of unfounded reports that the Environmental Protection Agency was flying drones over private property in the states. At the National Alliance of Independent Crop Consultants, I sat next to the EPA official who had to field the calls of the concerned public and inquiries from the media. He said it was a crazy couple of weeks.
The EPA has used conventional airplanes to check out environmental concerns, and that has probably been going on since the agency was founded.
States’ rights cannot be allowed to make a patchwork of the sky from one state to another where UAVs are allowed or not allowed to fly, which would give one state’s farmers an advantage or disadvantage in precision agriculture for the future. As for national restriction on the use of UAVs, we can only try to convince Congress to not be stupid in passing unreasonable UAV restrictions.