Trump rolls back offshore safety rules

Trump rolls back offshore safety rules born from BP’s Macondo disaster

The Trump administration is rolling back offshore drilling rules put in place after the 2010 Macondo well blowout and resulting Deepwater Horizon disaster killed 11 workers and spewed millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.


In April President Donald Trump ordered Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to review a raft of Obama-era safety rules which sought to curb accidents and pollution by oil and gas drillers operating in US waters. On the 28th December, the agency proposed several changes to those regulations, including scrapping a requirement that operators certify through a third party that their safety devices are functioning properly.


The changes will save companies at least US$288 million over ten years, according to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.


“By reducing the regulatory burden on industry, we are encouraging increased domestic oil and gas production while maintaining a high bar for safety and environmental sustainability,” agency Director Scott Angelle said in a statement.


President Obama put the safety rules in place late last year, after six years of analysis following the 2010 BP oil spill, in which a well blew out in the Gulf of Mexico. The proposed changes include revisions to safety system design requirements and equipment failure reporting requirements.


Environmentalists blasted the move, saying it put oceans and wildlife at risk. “By tossing aside the lessons from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Mr Trump is putting our coasts and wildlife at risk of more deadly oil spills,” Miyoko Sakashita, director of the oceans programme at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement. “Reversing offshore safety rules isn’t just deregulation, it’s wilful ignorance.”