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Trump Administration Weakens Post-Deepwater Horizon Offshore Drilling Safety Regs

Rule repeal will remove critical safeguards to prevent another well blowout and oil spill
Fire boat response crews battle the blazing remnants of the offshore oil rig Deepwater Horizon.

Fire boat response crews battle the blazing remnants of the offshore oil rig Deepwater Horizon.

Photo Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard
May 2, 2019
Washington, D.C. —

The Trump administration today is expected to issue a rule rolling back safety regulations designed to prevent another Deepwater Horizon tragedy. The Well Control and Blowout Preventer Rule, finalized under the Obama administration, requires real-time oversight of risky drilling operations and precautionary failsafe measures to stop a spill when things go wrong. Interior officials began re-writing the rule after President Trump issued an executive order in 2017 calling for offshore drilling controls — regarded as a “burden” by the fossil fuel industry — to be rolled back.

The following is a statement from Earthjustice Oceans Attorney Chris Eaton:

“The Trump administration is rolling back mechanisms and technology designed to protect rig workers and prevent another disaster offshore. These rollbacks are a hand out to oil company CEOs at the cost of endangering the lives of their workers and heightening the risk for another environmental catastrophe off America’s coastlines. We will use every tool we have to prevent these rollbacks.”

Earthjustice has several active cases challenging the Trump administration’s current offshore drilling operations and the unlawful expansion of offshore oil and gas leasing and exploration. Recently, Earthjustice won a challenge that struck down President Trump’s executive order to open the Arctic and parts of the Atlantic oceans to drilling. The non-profit environmental law organization has two active lawsuits challenging Gulf of Mexico lease sales and current Gulf drilling operations that threaten wildlife, human safety, and coastal communities. Earthjustice is partnering with nearly a dozen other groups to prevent seismic airgun blasting in the Atlantic Ocean, an exploratory precursor to offshore drilling that can harm or kill marine wildlife. And last December, the organization challenged the Trump administration’s approval of Hilcorp Alaska’s controversial Liberty project, the first offshore oil drilling development in federal Arctic waters.

Since taking office, the Trump administration has attempted to roll back health, safety, and environmental regulations to advance corporate and polluter interests. In response, Earthjustice has filed more than 100 lawsuits to aggressively defend the protections that make our environment healthier and our communities safer. The federal courts have been handing Trump one loss after another, ruling that the administration cannot flout the requirements of existing environmental laws in order to help the energy industry.

Contacts

Maggie Caldwell, Earthjustice, (415) 217-2084

We're the lawyers for the environment, and the law is on our side.