Unmanned Aircraft Systems/Drones: Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality Notes Use in Environmental Protection Mission

August 30, 2018

By: Walter G. Wright

Category: Arkansas Environmental, Energy, and Water Law

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The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (“LDEQ”) recently noted the addition of unmanned aircraft systems (also known as “drones”) as a tool in the agency’s environmental protection mission. See LDEQ Newsletter – Issue No. 78 (July 2018).

LDEQ states that three drones are currently employed by the agency.

The aerial abilities of drones are currently being used by LDEQ in agency activities such as:

  • Surveillance
  • Enforcement
  • Permit Support Documentation
  • Waste and Landfill Inspections
  • Legal Dumping of Chemicals, Oil or Waste Tires
  • General Emergency Response Functions Involving Facility Discharges, Train Derailments, Truck Accidents, Oil Spills
  • Investigations of Unusual Events

Two examples cited by the agency in which drones were used include:

  • Deployment over a section of the Mississippi River to document an oil spill occurring near the French Quarter
  • Providing responders the ability to view a flooded field in a Parish

LDEQ states that additional drones may be obtained with capabilities such as:

  • Thermal camera
  • Air monitoring and air sampling functions
  • A multispectral camera
  • Optical gas imaging (for detection of leaks)
  • Light Detection and Ranging

A link to LDEQ’s newsletter with the article discussing the use of drones can be downloaded here.

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