NOTICE: This article is for information purposes only! This article is ONLY for state laws that are DRONE specific. Local laws and “aircraft” related laws could potentially apply and were outside of the focus of this article. It might NOT be up to date. You should seek out a competent attorney licensed in the state you are interested in before operating.
Today, I signed into law House Bill 2599, which, among other things, generally prohibits unmanned aircraft from being flown within a close proximity of critical infrastructure like chemical manufacturing facilities and electrical power generating facilities. This law, however, does not apply to an “unmanned aircraft [UA] that is being used for a commercial purpose, if the operator is authorized by the Federal Aviation Administration [FAA] to conduct operations over that airspace.” The aforementioned exemption for commercial operators is sound policy: since commercial operators are already held to federal standards that are more rigorous than those for hobbyists or recreational fliers, and are also subject to a federal permitting process, more regulation is not needed to protect the public interest. And, because federally-regulated commercial operators may receive a blanket Certificate of Waiver or Authorization for flights anywhere in the country, as long as the flights are conducted in compliance with certain, specific FAA safety standards-including, for instance, height and daytime flight restrictions, as well as avoidance of restricted airspace-it is only logical to equate “operations over that airspace” with “operations over airspace as authorized by the FAA.” Any different interpretation would not only be inconsistent with FAA regulation, but also could force commercial operators to seek the written consent of the facility owner or operator prior to flight-a task so logistically difficult as to functionally disallow commercial UA operations in Oklahoma. Accordingly, to the extent that any Oklahoma agency is called upon to interpret the exemption at issue (to be codified at Section 322(C)(9) of Title 3 of the Oklahoma Statutes), I hereby direct that such interpretation shall be consistent with this Executive Order. This Executive Order shall be distributed to the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission and to all of my Cabinet Secretaries, who shall cause the provisions of this Order to be implemented.”
A. As used in this section: 1. “Critical infrastructure facility” means:
a. one of the following, if completely enclosed by a fence or other physical barrier that is obviously designed to exclude intruders, or if clearly marked with a sign or signs that are posted on the property, are reasonably likely to come to the attention of intruders, and indicate that entry is forbidden or flight of unmanned aircraft without site authorization is forbidden:
(1) a petroleum or alumina refinery, (2) an electrical power generating facility, substation, switching station or electrical control center, (3) a chemical, polymer or rubber manufacturing facility, (4) a water intake structure, water treatment facility, wastewater treatment plant or pump station, (5) a natural gas compressor station, (6) a liquid natural gas terminal or storage facility, (7) a telecommunications central switching office, (8) wireless telecommunications infrastructure, including cell towers, (9) a port, railroad switching yard, trucking terminal or other freight transportation facility, (10) a gas processing plant, including a plant used in the processing, treatment or fractionation of natural gas or natural gas liquids, (11) a transmission facility used by a federally licensed radio or television station, (12) a steelmaking facility that uses an electric arc furnace to make steel, (13) a facility identified and regulated by the United States Department of Homeland Security Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program, (14) a dam that is regulated by the state or federal government, or (15) a natural gas distribution utility facility, including, but not limited to, pipeline interconnections, a city gate or town border station, metering station, aboveground piping, a regulator station and a natural gas storage facility, or
b. any aboveground portion of an oil, gas, hazardous liquid or chemical pipeline that is enclosed by a fence or other physical barrier that is obviously designed to exclude intruders;
2. “Dam” means any barrier, including any appurtenant structures, that is constructed for the purpose of permanently or temporarily impounding water; and 3. “Unmanned aircraft” means an aircraft without occupants that is flown by a pilot via a ground control system or autonomously through use of an onboard computer and other additional equipment necessary to operate the aircraft and includes unmanned aircraft commonly called drones.
B. Except as provided in subsection C of this section, a person shall not intentionally or knowingly:
1. Operate an unmanned aircraft over a critical infrastructure facility if the unmanned aircraft is less than four hundred (400) feet above ground level; 2. Allow an unmanned aircraft to make contact with a critical infrastructure facility, including any person or object on the premises of or within the facility; or 3. Allow an unmanned aircraft to come within a distance of a critical infrastructure facility that is close enough to interfere with the operations of or cause a disturbance to the facility.
C. This section shall not apply to conduct committed by:
1. The federal government, the state or a political subdivision of the state; 2. A person under contract with or otherwise acting under the direction or on behalf of the federal government, the state or a political subdivision of the state; 3. A law enforcement agency; 4. A person under contract with or otherwise acting under the direction or on behalf of a law enforcement agency; 5. An owner or operator of the critical infrastructure facility; 6. A person under contract with or otherwise acting under the direction or on behalf of an owner or operator of the critical infrastructure facility; 7. A person who has the prior written consent of the owner or operator of the critical infrastructure facility; 8. The owner or occupant of the property on which the critical infrastructure facility is located or a person who has the prior written consent of the owner or occupant of that property; or 9. An operator of an unmanned aircraft that is being used for a commercial purpose, if the operator is authorized by the Federal Aviation Administration to conduct operations over that airspace.
D. Any person in violation of this section may be civilly liable for damages to the critical infrastructure facility to include, but not be limited to, damage to property, the environment or human health. Added by Laws 2016, c. 313, § 1, eff. Nov. 1, 2016.