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July 6, 2016

Federal Update: Three issues
I.    FAA Recognizes Local Authority in New Drone Regs
II.   Help Shape National Broadband Policy
III. EPA Announces Brownfields Funding Availability

Dear Mayor:

Here is an update on some Federal matters of interest to New Jersey municipal officials.

I.  FAA Recognizes Local Authority in New Drone Regulations
In a win for local governments and local decision-making authority, new rules issued last week by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on unmanned aviation systems (UAS), commonly known as drones, recognize that municipal leaders should play a role in regulating how, when and where drones operate in their communities. The new rules put in place a number of new regulations, including hours of operation, height and line of sight requirements.

The rules come at a time when local governments have been under attack by broad federal and state-level efforts to preempt local authority. In the final rule, the FAA stated that the agency was "not persuaded that including a preemption provision in the final rule is warranted at this time," concluding that "certain legal aspects concerning small UAS use may be best addressed at the state or local level."

For more information on the final rule, click here.

II. Help Shape New Community Connectivity Broadband Initiative

BroadbandUSA, a program within the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), is seeking local officials to provide feedback on and shape the future of its new Community Connectivity Initiative. The Community Connectivity Initiative is intended to provide local and tribal governments with tools to assess their own readiness to improve broadband connectivity, make goals and plan for the future, and access technical assistance and guidance from federal agencies and peers.

Over the next year, BroadbandUSA will conduct a series of webinars to shape the future of the Community Connectivity Initiative and test the tools available to communities. Participants in these webinars will get the latest updates on the initiative, review the existing assessment tools and help to determine what customized resources will be available to participating communities.

These webinars are open to any community leader interested in expanding broadband access and adoption for their residents. To participate in one or more click here

III. EPA Announces Availability of Funding for Brownfields Planning Grants

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is accepting proposals from eligible entities who wish to develop an area-wide plan for brownfields assessment, cleanup, and subsequent reuse. The proposal submission deadline is August 10.

This funding is for research and/or technical assistance activities directed to one or more brownfield sites located in a specific area. Proposals must include an area-wide plan that consists of specific implementation strategies. EPA anticipates awarding approximately 20 projects in total, funded at up to $200,000 each. For more information and to apply for funding, click here.

If you have any questions on any of these matters, contact Jon Moran at or 609-695-3481, ext. 121.


Michael Darcy, CAE
Executive Director



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