U.S. Interior Dept. grounding Chinese-made drones, but will allow for emergency uses

U.S. Interior Dept. grounding Chinese-made drones, but will allow for emergency uses

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt testifies before a House Appropriations Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing on the Interior Department's FY2020 budget request on Capitol Hill

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Interior Department is grounding its fleet of about 800 Chinese-made drones but will allow their use for emergency situations, the department said.

U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt issued an order Wednesday affirming a temporary cessation of non-emergency operations that was adopted in October as it ensures "cybersecurity, technology and domestic production concerns are adequately addressed," the department said. The order allows for approved situations for emergency purposes, such as fighting wildfires, search and rescue, and dealing with natural disasters that may threaten life or property." Bernhardt also ordered in October a halt to additional Interior purchases of Chinese-made drones.

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(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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