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Second Big Bend, Texas Rejection In A Month Of Drone Testing

For the second time in one month, a local Texas government in our area has rejected the Federal Aviation Administration's plans to test surveillance drones in Texas airspace.

County Commissioners in Presidio County, Texas voted unanimously December 17 that drone testing  will not be even considered unless a patchwork of federal agencies working with the FAA can prove drones are safe.

The FAA is trying to meet a congressional mandate to integrate drones into U.S airspace by September 2015.   Project proponents believe any safety concerns are trumped by the information drones can gather without risking the lives of pilots.

Drones have been used to measure the damage following Japan's nuclear disaster, to survey forest fires in the U.S. and on rescue missions.

On rare occasions, the FAA has  granted police agencies permission to use drones for intelligence gathering missions so that the safety of police officers is not put at risk.

Fronteras Desk reported last month on a similar anti-drone resolution passed by the City Council of Alpine, Texas, in adjoining Bewster County.

Marfa Public Radio and West Texas Public Radio are members of the largest NPR station collaborative in the United States, Fronteras Desk which broadcasts weekdays across the southwest on 10 leading NPR stations.

The City Council there cited similar economic and safety concerns to those voiced by county commissioners in Presidio County.

The FAA, along with its academic partner in the testing program, Texas A & M in Corpus Christi, wants to use the skies of west Texas to test drones.

Their reasoning is that the lack of commercial traffic and vast open space there, along with a low population, represent an ideal testing location.