SACRAMENTO — Assembly Joint Resolution (AJR) 6 has received unanimous approval by the Assembly’s Transportation Committee, according to an announcement by Assemblymember Steve Fox (D-Palmdale).
This measure would specifically request that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) designate California as one of six test sites for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) commonly called drones.
“California has many qualities that make it an ideal place to build and test aeronautics,” said Fox in a news release. “Creating jobs and improving our economy are my top priorities and obtaining an FAA designation to be an official UAV test site can meet both of these needs.”
The Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act of 2012 directed the FAA to integrate drones into the American airspace in the safest possible manner. To comply with this directive, the FAA will designate six unpopulated test sites next month.
Two California proposals have already been submitted to the FAA, along with 48 other applications from 30 states. The final deadline to submit a proposal is May 6, 2013.
The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International reports that the drone industry has potential to create 100,000 civilian manufacturing jobs. In 2012, the FAA estimated that 10,000 drones will be operating within the United States in the next five years.
Joint resolutions are bills passed by both houses of the California Legislature that alert the Federal Government as to specific requests or opinions. Once approved, they are sent to Congress. They do not require approval from the Governor.
For more information, visit www.asmdc.org/fox.
Military Fee Waiver Bill Wins Natural Resources Committee Approval
Assembly Bill (AB) 1060 was unanimously approved by the Assembly’s Natural Resources Committee, according to an announcement by Fox.
This measure will add military projects to an existing list of parties that are exempted from fees associated with environmental impact document review.
“Our state has unwittingly stood in the way of federal projects,” said Fox. “This law will allow California to continue to protect the environment while being more cooperative with the federal government.”
According to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), public agencies are required to consult with the Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) to determine whether projects have significant impacts on the environment. The DFW is authorized to collect a filing fee from public agencies subject (ranging from $1018 to $2995 for FY 2013) to defray the costs of reviewing environmental documents.
However, the fee requirement poses a problem for the military, which is legally prohibited from paying a filing fee to any state agency.
This state requirement has resulted in unnecessary delays in the federal water projects. This law would add U.S. military organizations to the list of groups that are exempted from fee requirements.
For more information, please www.asmdc.org/fox.
(Information via press releases from Assemblymember Steve Fox, District 36.)