The Trump administration unveiled on Thursday its final plan to roll back offshore drilling safety measures put in place by the Obama administration.
After the environmental disaster brought by the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the Obama-era plan generated concern among environmentalist groups. The incident was qualified as the most severe in the history of the United States. Activists are warning about the potential risks of this plan to workers’ safety and the environment.
The changes are projected to save oil and gas drillers at least $1 billion over 10 years, according to an Interior Department spokeswoman.
Different safety measures are being considered
Officials of the Trump administration announced the final revised rule at an event in Port Fourchon, a Louisiana seaport that services over 90 percent of the Gulf of Mexico’s deepwater oil production.
Last year, the agency’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement proposed revisions to the 2016 offshore well control rule. It required real-time monitoring of operations and certification by third parties of emergency devices, among other measures.
Scott Angelle, head of BSEE, said in an opinion piece in Louisiana’s The Advocate newspaper that the agency had revised 68 of 342 provisions of the Obama administration’s well control rule, and put forward a “safer, smarter improved rule.”
— BSEE (@BSEEgov) 2 de mayo de 2019
The revised rule reflects changes sought by the oil and gas industry. It suggests that the Obama-era rules imposed financial burdens that would curtail future development and production. Environmental groups warned that relaxing the well control rule was reckless and another example of the Trump administration catering to industry demands.
The BP Macondo well blowout and fire on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig on April 20, 2010 killed 11 workers and cost billions of dollars for Gulf Coast restoration.
The Obama administration had created a task force to examine the causes of the accident, and those findings were key in the formulation of new safety rules for workers and for environmental protection.
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