Drones in Wyoming?

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Drones in Wyoming? (Photo courtesy of Flickr user Illetirres)
Drones in Wyoming? (Photo courtesy of Flickr user Illetirres)

A newly uncovered document from the Federal Aviation Administration shows that 81 governmental entities have requested permission to operate drones above American soil. But could they be coming to Wyoming? Sheridan Media's Chris Foy has the story.

One group in Wyoming, the U.S. Department of Energy, already operates a helicopter drone to collect data related to fugitive carbon and methane emissions.

Calvin Thompson, an investigative journalist with the Wyoming Liberty Group, says the federal government has used military drones, different from the emission monitoring drone in Wyoming, to kill American citizens overseas.

Thompson says the Department of Energy's drone here in Wyoming is currently active, which means it's authorized to fly but doesn't necessary mean it is. He says drones can and have been used for different purposes other than gathering scientific measurements.

Wyoming House Bill 242 - the Unmanned Surveillance Act - would have required law enforcement to obtain a search warrant to use an unmanned drone for surveillance on citizens. Thompson says that bill was shot down during this year's general session.

But what's next, drones flying over major cities across the nation?

Thompson says while drones have only recently been flying in Wyoming's skies, citizens in cities like Charlottesville, Virginia have convinced legislators to ban the use of drones. He says he hopes Wyoming residents can learn from that example.

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