Coast Watch: Unlearning the Lessons of Deepwater Horizon

Coast Watch: Unlearning the Lessons of Deepwater Horizon

Just eight years after the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil drilling disaster, the Trump Administration is proposing to undo one of the most important rules designed to prevent other oil well blowout catastrophes in the future.

The federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) is proposing to roll back these critical safeguards. This would effectively unlearn the lessons which came from seeing over 200 million gallons of crude oil foul the Gulf of Mexico’s marine environment.

This rollback has been in the works at the Trump BSEE since last year. Just last week, BSEE published their final proposed revised rule, with a public comment deadline of August 6.

Proposed changes weakening the rule include removing the requirement that blowout prevention equipment inspectors be certified by BSEE, greatly reducing safety criteria for testing of the equipment, and reducing the required frequency of safety testing. Critics of the changes say that they take oil industry regulation back to the culture and mindset that produced the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

The Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) is submitting a comments letter opposing the weakened rule on behalf of a number of concerned citizen groups. NCLCV has signed on to the SELC-prepared comments.

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