New Requirements Introduced for Meteorological Evaluation Towers
On January 13, 2014, Senator Ken Schilz introduced LB 845, legislation to repeal the current statute relating to the registration and marking of meteorological evaluation towers (MET) and to provide a new definition for METs and new requirements for registration and identification markers.
LB845 defines a MET as “an anchored structure, including all guy wires and accessory facilities, on which one or more meteorological instruments are mounted for the purpose of meteorological data collection.” The proposed identifying marking requirements for METs that are at least 50 feet, but not more than 200 feet, above the surface of the ground at the point of installation and located outside of city limits are as follows:
Paint. Paint in seven equal width and alternating bands of aviation orange and white, beginning with orange at the top of the tower and ending with orange at the base;
Marker Balls. Two or more aviation orange spherical marker balls at least 21 inches in diameter and attached to each outer guy wire connected to the tower with the top ball no more than 15 feet from the top wire connection and remaining ball or balls at least at or below mid-point of the tower on the other guy wires;
Safety Sleeve. A yellow safety sleeve installed on each outer guy wire extending seven feet up from the anchor point of the guy wire and a second yellow sleeve of the same length installed on each outer guy wire directly above the lower sleeve; and
Lights. Owners may affix a light to the highest point on the tower as additional marking.
LB 845 also requires that all identifying markings must be replaced when faded or otherwise deteriorated. The current statute provides that a MET may be lighted, marked with balls at least 21 inches in diameter, painted or otherwise modified in some manner so it is recognizable in daylight from a distance of not less than 2,000 feet. Based on the requirements above, LB 845 will remove this subjective standard and replace it with the more specific standards in the bill.
Under LB 845, owners must register METs with the Nebraska Department of Aeronautics not less than 10 days prior to installation. Current law provides that registration must take place within 30 days after installation. Both current law and LB 845 provide that registration must include the name and address of the owner and the height and location of the tower. Both also require that owners report the removal of any MET within 30 days of removal. LB 845 further provides that registration may include any other information that the Department deems necessary for aviation safety and requires that the Department make information of tower installation and removal available to the public within five business days.
In addition to any newly installed towers, LB 845 will retroactively apply to all METs installed prior to the effective date of the legislation, if enacted. Under LB 845, the owner must mark the tower as noted above within one year after the effective date of the legislation and must register the tower within 15 business days of the effective date of the legislation.
Violations of the registration and marking requirements will be a Class III misdemeanor and each day of violation will constitute a separate offense. In addition, five days after notice of violation, the Department will have the authority to remove any structures in violation at the expense of the owner.
Baird Holm will track LB 845 as the Second Session of the 103rd Nebraska Legislature progresses. The bill will have a committee hearing, likely in the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee, in early February.
For a complete copy of LB 845, as introduced, click here. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns about this bill or any other pending legislation.