Apache Corporation used the Reeves County Sheriff’s Department to arrest drone pilot Chancellor Alex Glover-Herzog for flying over “critical infrastructure”
Glover-Herzog received to warnings for flying over private property
Glover-Herzog was arrested after Reeves County Sheriff’s Department showed up at camp with a warrant
According to the Patriot Act of 2001 the facilities Glover-Herzog are critical infrastructures
Last week drone pilot Chancellor Alex Glover-Herzog was shocked when he was arrested for flying his drone over an area owned by Apache Corporations.
Apache Corporations is an international oil producing powerhouse. In 2016, they were producing 521,000 barrels of oil a day. Their production comes from the United States, Canada, Egypt, and the North Sea.
A Brief Look at Apache Corporation
In 1954, Apache Oil Corporation was founded in Minneapolis, Minnesota, by Truman Anderson, Raymond Plank, and Charles Arnao. The company started with $250,000 in funding, but in 2015, the company sold its assets to Western Australia for $2.1 billion.
On June 1, 2013, Apache Corporation was responsible for 60,000 barrel toxic waste spill. The spill was said to be one of the largest of such disasters in the history of North America. The spill stemmed from an Apache pipeline in northern Alberta, Canada that ruptured.
A heavily corroded natural gas pipeline explosion at Apache Corporation’s Varanus Island processing hub on June 3, 2008, led to the 2008 Western Australian gas crisis. Gas supply from the plant was partially restored in August of 2008 and was only at 85% by December of 2008. The Australian government was forced to drop charges against Apache Corporations due to a technicality.
Reeves County, Texas
Now, in Reeves County, Texas, we are already beginning to see a repeat of Standing Rock in regards to drone pilots facing persecution and local law enforcement serving a dominant oil company instead of the people. Glover-Herzog has become an eye in the sky for a camp in the area that stands against the fracking being conducted by Apache Corporation in the area.
On April 20, 2017, a Reeves County Sheriff’s Deputy detained Glover-Herzog for flying his drone over private property. The deputy was off-duty, but doing private security for Apache Corporation. You would not be able to tell that he was off-duty as he was dressed in his Reeves County Sheriff’s Department uniform, was wearing his badge and service pistol, and driving his patrol car.
The deputy detained Glover-Herzog until an on-duty deputy was able to arrive and issue a warning for flying over private property. If you think that an oil company using the local law for security is a conflict of interest, you are right. That is why Reeves County Deputies will no longer be able to contract out through the oil and gas industry.
Two videos show the harassment that Glover-Herzog was receiving from local law enforcement on behalf of Apache Corporation. One video is from Glover-Herzog’s drone, and the other from his phone.
Glover-Herzog received two warnings for flying his drone in the area. He thought that was the end of it until Reeves County Sheriff’s Department showed up at the front gates of the camp with a warrant for his arrest.
Glover-Herzog now faces four charges of operating an unmanned aircraft over “critical infrastructure.” The question of flying drones over private property is one that has yet to be answered.
If Glover-Herzog launched his drone off of private property or landed it, it is a case of trespassing. However, airspace is argued to be regulated by the FAA alone. In other words, when you signed your lease, you did not sign a lease for the airspace above your property.
Senate Bill 9 and the Patriot Act of 2001
As far as taking pictures of critical infrastructure, this is not the first time this argument has been brought up. Right now West Virginia is attempting to pass Senate Bill 9, which would make it illegal to use a drone to take videos or pictures of oil and gas “critical infrastructures.”
The reason that West Virginia is attempting to pass Senate Bill 9 is that drone laws do not exist to prevent them from being used to keep an eye on sheisty oil and gas companies. In Standing Rock, drones became one of the best ways to get footage out to the public showing what Dakota Access was doing, including continuing construction during times that they were ordered to stop.
At the same time, due to the Patriot Act of 2001, critical infrastructures are defined as, “systems and assets, whether physical or virtual, so vital to the United States that the incapacity or destruction of such systems and assets would have a debilitating impact on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination of those matters.”
Drone pilots around the country are going to have many fights ahead of them. Especially drones used by media and civilians to document wrongdoings by both powerful corporations and our government. For now, it seems that the oil and gas industry will lead the fight against drone pilots around the country.