The Trump administration moved to cut offshore drilling safety regulations created after the BP oil spill in 2010, The Huffington Post reports.
The Interior Department will eliminate key regulations that were adopted in the wake of the biggest oil spill in American history.
In 2010, the Deepwater Horizon ultra-deepwater drilling rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico off the shore of Louisiana. The explosion killed 11 people and the uncapped rig spilled roughly 210 million gallons of gas into the Gulf.
The Department’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said in a document describing the changes that scrapping the rules will “reduce certain unnecessary regulatory burdens.”
The proposals in the document would save corporations $288 million over the next decade according to the department’s estimates.
“I am confident that this revision of the Production Safety Systems Rule moves us forward toward meeting the administration’s goal of achieving energy dominance without sacrificing safety,” Scott Angelle, who heads the Safety and Environmental Enforcement division, said in a statement.
Via Huffington Post:
Changes involve loosened rules for safety and pollution prevention equipment, undersea safety devices and device testing, according to BSEE’s statement. Among the most significant of the proposed changes is dropping a requirement that safety and pollution prevention equipment be inspected by certified independent auditors.
The safety measures were adopted by the Obama administration in 2016 following an analysis of what went wrong in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster when a well blew up in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 workers and spewing 200 million gallons of oil. The spill killed countless marine animals and exposed Gulf Coast residents to toxins. Serious environmental damage continues to this day.
Trump ordered Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to review the safety rules in April.
The proposal comes a week after the Interior Department and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement abruptly killed a safety study of offshore drilling being conducted by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine.
The proposed move has come under fire from environmental groups.
Miyoko Sakashita, the head of the oceans program at the Center for Biological Diversity, called the proposal “willful ignorance.”
“Tossing aside the lessons from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Trump is putting our coasts and wildlife at risk of more deadly oil spills,” Sakashita said in a statement.
The move comes just days after Trump signed a Republican tax cut for the rich bill that also incomprehensibly included a provision opening Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling and an executive order that shrunk two national monuments, Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante, to presumably allow energy companies to drill there as well.
“Drilling for oil in the Arctic is an accident waiting to happen,” said Kristen Monsell, the oceans legal director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The Trump administration is risking a major oil spill by letting this foreign corporation drill in the unforgiving waters off Alaska. Offshore drilling threatens coastal communities and wildlife and will only push us deeper into the climate crisis.”