On the other side are drone developers and lawmakers whose states stand to benefit from a new sector in the economy. The type of drones at issue here are not the Predator and other armed drones that launch lethal strikes on suspected terrorists abroad. Rather, the FAA authorized the six test sites to research how commercial drones can eventually be introduced into U.S. airspace.
Think Amazon, and its ambitious goal of one day employing drones to deliver packages.
The FAA does not currently allow commercial use of drones, but it is working to develop operational guidelines by the end of 2015, although officials concede the project may take longer than expected.
Testing on the six drone sites could start soon, and is slated to continue at least until February 2017.
Officials say that these research sites, as well as the expansion of a commercial drone industry, could bring an economic windfall.
In Nevada, officials predicted thousands of jobs, as well as $2.5 billion in economic impact -- and $125 million in state and local tax revenue. A 28-member team competed for the bid, including the Nevada National Guard and a company called Drone America.
Alaska, New York, North Dakota, Texas and Virginia were also selected as testing sites.