Assembly Majority Floor Leader Chris Holden Introduces Legislation to Protect Wildlife From Drones

Friday, February 19, 2016

Sacramento, CA – Assembly Majority Floor Leader Chris Holden introduced legislation, AB 2148, to protect wildlife from drones. The bill provides the National Resources Agency the ability to develop regulations regarding drone use on publically managed lands.

“There’s no denying the rapidly increasing number of drones in public spaces,” said Assembly Majority Floor Leader Chris Holden. “Now is the time to take preventative steps to protect California’s wildlife and natural habitats before it becomes a problem.”

Recent isolated incidents have shown that drone use in close proximity to wildlife can have serious impacts. In 2014, a drone was determined to be the cause of a 2014 stampede of bighorn sheep that separated mothers from their calves, prompting the federal government to ban drones in all National Parks, and a study by scientists at the University of Minnesota showed that close flying drones caused elevated heart rates in bears.

“While drones can be advantageous to scientific research, I’m concerned about wide-spread recreational users who may be unaware of the negative impacts on wildlife,” said Holden.

By requiring the development of a unified regulatory system, AB 2148 strives to create a cohesive, statewide system of rules governing the use of unmanned drones on public lands. The regulations can include conditional use or outright prohibitions when necessary to protect the safety of wildlife, natural habitats or visitors.