“Whether or not requiring drone registration is a wise policy, the rules the FAA rushed out before Christmas are unlawful,” said Berin Szoka, president of TechFreedom, a non-partisan 501(c)3 think tank.
The think tank calls the registration rule “contrary to law” of Section 336 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, which “prohibits the agency from ‘promulgat[ing] any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft … notwithstanding any other provision of law relating to the incorporation of unmanned aircraft systems into Federal Aviation Administration plans and policies.”
Szoka continues, “[The registration rules] exceed the authority Congress has given the FAA. Moreover, the agency illegally bypassed the most basic transparency requirement in administrative law: that it provide an opportunity for the affected public to comment on its regulations. That means the FAA could not fully consider the real-world complexities of regulating drones. Thus, the FAA’s rules could lead to a host of unintended consequences.”
Tom Struble, policy counsel at TechFreedom, explains that a public comment period ensures that “regulation doesn’t do more harm than good.”
This is the second lawsuit that has been filed. One would guess this adds to the complexity to the Reauthorization Bill. As people have suggested all along, it seems that the FAA has gotten either very bad or quite cavalier legal advice – perhaps the drones are coming home to roost?