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March 20, 2014

“The penalty for noncompliance with Washington state’s marking and lighting requirements is a misdemeanor, punishable by a minimum 24-hour jail sentence and $250 fine on the first offense.”

While the FAA has stalled in protecting aerial applicators from the hazards of unmarked meteorological evaluation towers (METs), three states continue to make strides toward protecting applicators from this dangerous safety hazard.

 

The legislatures of Washington, Oklahoma and Colorado have all passed, or are on track to pass, bills ensuring these towers are marked (all bills include marking requirements of evenly spaced aviation orange and white, marker balls and cable sleeves).

 

In Washington, both houses have passed SB 6054, a measure that would require the marking and lighting of any tower over 25 feet, one of the lowest heights of any state’s tower law. The state Senate passed the bill unanimously, and it passed the House with only one no vote. The measure is currently on Gov. Jay Inslee’s desk awaiting his signature. The penalty for noncompliance is a misdemeanor, punishable by a minimum 24-hour jail sentence and $250 fine on the first offense, with a second offense punishable by a $500 fine.

 

In Oklahoma, HB 3348 would require the marking (but not lighting) of MET towers over 50 feet effective Nov.1, punishable by a $100-per-day fine until the owner of the tower complies with the bill’s requirements. The bill passed the House unanimously and was recently marked up by the Senate Agriculture and Rural Development Committee.

 

In an effort spearheaded by the Colorado Agricultural Aviation Association, the Colorado House has passed a measure (HB 14-1216) that would require all towers between 50 and 100 feet to be marked and lighted. The Colorado Department of Transportation agreed to fund marking of its towers through its own funds, keeping the bill out of the state’s appropriations committees and easing passage. The governor’s office appears supportive of the bill, especially following the letters sent by the National Transportation Safety Board last year detailing the threats MET towers pose to aviation safety. The bill is set for a hearing in the Colorado Senate on Tuesday.

 

NAAA will keep members updated on these state efforts, as well as federal efforts on tower marking. 

 

Originally found on the NAAA’s website.

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