7
$\begingroup$

My weather control machine works! I dragged it out to international waters on a barge and was able to seed a moderately sized rain storm.* I'd like to start using my device in the United States for fighting drought and maybe even wildfire. The problem is that I can't figure out how to get permits. I know how to file for a NOTAM to warn airplanes about the coming storm, but I have no idea what other agencies are responsible for regulating weather machines.

Which US government agency/agencies should I ask for permission before launching a US-based test?

More information about my machine

My machine uses an advanced form of cloud seeding. I inject a substance into the atmosphere that helps them turn into rain storms. For my offshore tests, I used a blimp that was moored to my barge. I didn't use an airplane because I didn't have a way to take off and land in international waters. For my US-based tests, I could use an airplane, blimp, or rocket. I'm guessing the blimp option will require the fewest permits.

What I've found so far

It looks like I'll need to do the following things:

  1. FAA permits for flying a blimp
  2. FAA will probably want a NOTAM alerting aircraft about the weather
  3. Commerce Department needs to be informed per US law

Any idea if there are any other authorities I need to ask?

*(Maybe "weather control" is overselling its abilities, but I'd like to see you do better.)

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ I'd say about 10,000 rep should be sufficient, no...? $\endgroup$ – Qami Sep 28 '18 at 18:03
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I would guess that depends on how the machine works. Are you emitting radiation? FCC. Chemicals? EPA. Deployed by aircraft or drones? FAA. Odds are that the EPA will be somewhere in the mix. $\endgroup$ – o.m. Sep 28 '18 at 18:10
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Perhaps a bit off-topic, but the point of a drought is that there's not a lot of water. If you can battle droughts with this, where does the water come from? Did you lug it along with the machine? Does it drag the water from hundreds of kilometers out of the ground and air? $\endgroup$ – Demigan Sep 28 '18 at 18:20
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Don't ask permission, just say you are sorry. $\endgroup$ – Hosch250 Sep 28 '18 at 18:29
  • $\begingroup$ I don't know if this question is on-topic or not. Since there's no such thing as weather-making machines (of your type), there's obviiously no agencies that would claim authority over their use. This question might be POB because there's no way to judge a best answer. At a guess, without knowing more about the machine (like power draw), only the FAA would be involved and they'd laugh until you turned it on. $\endgroup$ – JBH Sep 28 '18 at 19:08
9
$\begingroup$

I'm posting this as an official answer, but it's unfair of me to do so. You already knew about this (or could have easily chased it down yourself) and I can't find or imagine anything more. I'm impressed this exists. I had no idea weather modification using any method was effective enough to require this much regulation.

Public Law 92-205, 15 USC § 330

No person may engage, or attempt to engage, in any weather modification activity in the United States unless he submits to the Secretary such reports with respect thereto, in such form and containing such information, as the Secretary may by rule prescribe. The Secretary may require that such reports be submitted to him before, during, and after any such activity or attempt. (Pub. L. 92–205, § 2, Dec. 18, 1971, 85 Stat. 736.)

and from NOAA:

P.L. 92-205, enacted December 18, 1971 (amended by Public Law 94-490, Section 6(b), October 15, 1976) requires that all non-federal weather modification activities in the United States and its territories be reported to the Secretary of Commerce. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has implemented the Act and the current reporting requirements are published in the Code of Federal Regulations (15 CFR 908).

Respondents to this data collection are operators of aircraft which engage in cloud-seeding and other related activities in an attempt to modify the weather, i.e., to increase precipitation, mitigate hail, and disperse fog. They are required to file two one-page reports annually. Each project must file with NOAA an initial report (Form 17-4) and a final report (Form 17-4A) - or an interim report on the same form if the project continues beyond December 31.

Beginning in 2000, the NOAA Forms 17-4 and 17-4A became available on the Internet at http://www.corporateservices.noaa.gov/~noaaforms/eforms/ in order for the respondents to have the capability of being able to fill out and print forms on-line. However, the forms can not be submitted electronically at this time because the forms are required to be signed by the equipment operator. The forms may be faxed to (301) 713-1459 to the attention of Karen Williams or may be mailed to the NOAA - Weather Modification Reporting Office in Silver Spring, MD. Electronic signature capability is being planned but security requirements are still to be addressed. The NOAA Forms 17-4 and 17-4A are still available by mail to those who do not have access to a computer.

Regrettably, the link is no longer active. However, the funniest part of this comes from the following statement in that report:

Note: currently a redesign of the forms is planned, as the previously fillable forms were locked by a retired employee.

Honestly! They're going to spend a ton of money redesigning forms because no one is bright enough to type "remove acrobat passwords" into Google and get any one of the bazzillions of PDF file password removal tools and just unlock the file. I've done this myself... it takes seconds. I wonder how many of my tax dollars were spent on that endeavor?

$\endgroup$
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I have this vision of a rural church where a lot of farmers are praying together for rain. Suddenly, the doors crash in and Federal agents jump in through the stained-glass windows. $\endgroup$ – David Thornley Sep 28 '18 at 21:27
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidThornley... that's the most "American Federal Government" thing I've ever heard. I love it! $\endgroup$ – JBH Sep 28 '18 at 21:40

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.