After Trump Cozies Up to Drone Corporations, Expect More Gutting of Safety Standards

June 22, 2017

After Trump Cozies Up to Drone Corporations, Expect More Gutting of Safety Standards

Statement of Robert Weissman, President, Public Citizen

Note: President Donald Trump is meeting today with CEOs of drone companies. The meeting comes as policymakers discuss how to regulate drones in U.S. airspace and whether to privatize air traffic control. Since Trump was elected, he has met with more than 200 corporate executives; see Public Citizen’s April report.

Today’s meeting between President Trump and drone company CEOs is a reminder of the president’s profound subservience to the corporate class. The drone CEOs join the hundreds of corporate executives who have swamped Trump and served as informal focus groups for the administration’s disastrous deregulatory agenda.

If Trump’s drone meeting follows the same pattern we have seen with Trump’s previous meetings with the automotive, pharmaceutical, fossil fuel and other corporate sectors, we should soon expect an announcement gutting safety, privacy and air traffic regulations for the drone sector – a win for the corporate sector and a loss for the public.

Donald Trump may drone on about regulation, but blocking and repealing safety standards makes us weaker as a nation and ensures we will suffer from otherwise preventable tragedies in the future.

As for drone technology itself, it offers many potential social benefits and raises many new challenges and concerns. But what’s certain is that the immediate and serious safety and privacy issues surrounding drones should not be swept under a deregulatory rug.