Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Now imagine that a similar drone is used by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to fly over feedlots. The EPA drone spends its flying hours, not looking for sick or stray cattle, but instead looking for Clean Water Act violations. The drone flies over pens, counts cattle to make sure numbers do not exceed permitted amounts and checks for visual evidence of runoff from pens into nearby creeks or streams. If a problem is found, the drone takes pictures for evidence and alerts state or federal officials to come to the feedlot for an inspection.
As is often the case with new technology, beneficial uses are often accompanied by nefarious uses. The promise for drones raises a lot of legal questions about how drones will ultimately be used.
Wednesday, January 1, 2014
1. Clean Air Act Targets Farmers. Congress passed the Clean Air Act in 1970 to clean up the nation’s air. The low hanging fruit of air pollution—power plants, industrial factories, trucks and automobiles-- have been under scrutiny ever since. The EPA is looking for ways to further reduce air pollution in the US, and farms will be next. Large grain dryers (producing particulate matter) and anaerobic digesters (producing carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and methane) will be part of this new frontier for the Clean Air Act.