Washington State Agency Looks to Restrict Drones over Certain Areas


For the purpose of protecting public safety, the Washington State Department of Enterprise Services (DES) says it plans to develop rules that would restrict the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) over certain areas.

DES is looking to restrict UAS on the 486-acre Capitol Campus in Olympia; satellite campuses in Lacey and Tumwater; and other DES-owned properties in Cowlitz, King, Pierce, Skagit, Thurston and Yakima counties.

DES says the rule would apply to all types of unmanned aircraft, including remote-control model aircraft and drones used for both business and recreational purposes. It is not intended to apply to UAS used for emergency response by law enforcement and other first-response agencies, such as local fire and health departments and state and federal environmental protection agencies.

Before drafting a rule, DES is seeking public input and will hold at least four workshops to get input from interested stakeholders.

The department says its concerns include potential public safety risks for people below or in a UAS flight path, a risk of interfering with emergency response activities on Capitol Campus or at DES-owned properties, and potential disruption of state business by UAS activity.

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