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6:38, 29 December 2017

U.S. to Roll Back Security Guidelines Developed Following Deepwater Horizon Spill


U.S. to Roll Back Safety Guidelines Designed Soon after Deepwater Horizon Spill

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WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is poised to roll back offshore drilling safety regulations that were place in place after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster in the Gulf of Mexico that killed 11 people and caused the worst oil spill in American history.

A proposal by the Interior Department’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, which was established after the spill and regulates offshore oil and gas drilling, calls for reversing the Obama-era regulations as element of President Trump’s efforts to ease restrictions on fossil fuel organizations and create a lot more domestic energy production.

Performing so, the agency asserted, will reduce “unnecessary burdens” on the power industry and save the business $228 million over ten years.

“This proposed rule would fortify the Administration’s objective of facilitating power dominance” by encouraging elevated domestic oil and gas production, even as it strengthens security and environmental protection, the proposal says.

In April Mr. Trump signed an executive order directing the Interior Division to “reconsider” numerous oil rig safety regulations. Ryan Zinke, the interior secretary, at the time did not specify which specific equipment regulations would be reviewed, saying only the review would apply “from bow to stern.”

The agency will officially publish its proposed rule in the Federal Register on Friday and give the public 30 days to comment on the program.

“By lowering the regulatory burden on market, we are encouraging improved domestic oil and gas production whilst sustaining a higher bar for safety and environmental sustainability,” Scott A. Angelle, director of the safety bureau, mentioned in a statement.

Market groups like the American Petroleum Institute have lengthy opposed the safety rules, calling them “flawed and costly.” The fossil fuel interest group warned in 2015 that the regulations would minimize capital investment in the Gulf by $four billion a year and threaten 50,000 industry jobs.

The National Ocean Industries Association, which also represents domestic offshore energy firms, welcomed the move.

“The proposed revisions to the Production Security Systems Rule mark an integral step in the regulatory reform promised by President Trump,” Randall Luthi, the group’s president, said in comments released on Thursday. “This ‘second bite at the apple’ supplies an opportunity for further dialogue, discussion and debate to assure the nation’s offshore power sources are created safely and expeditiously,” Mr. Luthi mentioned.

The Obama-era guidelines, written in 2016, tightened controls on blowout preventers, devices that are intended to stop explosions in undersea oil and gas wells, and called for rig operators to have third parties certify that the safety devices worked beneath extreme conditions. In the Deepwater Horizon spill, a supposedly fail-protected blowout preventer failed right after a section of drill pipe buckled.

Practically one million coastal and offshore seabirds are estimated to have died in the spill, which spewed four.9 million barrels of oil into the sea. The accident led to the biggest environmental settlement in the nation’s history, with the oil giant BP agreeing to pay $18.7 billion in civil penalties and damages to the federal government and affected states.

Environmental groups warned that reversing the security measures would make the United States vulnerable to yet another such disaster.

“Rolling back drilling security requirements although expanding offshore leasing is a recipe for disaster,” Miyoko Sakashita, director of the oceans program at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement. “By tossing aside the lessons from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Trump is putting our coasts and wildlife at risk of far more deadly oil spills. Reversing offshore safety rules isn’t just deregulation, it is willful ignorance.”

A version of this report seems in print on , on Web page A12 of the New York edition with the headline: U.S. to Finish Security Rules Place in Spot By Gulf Spill. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

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Published at Fri, 29 Dec 2017 04:41:53 +0000


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