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10 State Attorneys General Join Forces to Challenge Trump Administration on Offshore Regulation

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A coalition of 10 state attorneys general is challenging the Trump Administration’s plan to gut vital offshore drilling regulations inspired by the catastrophic Deepwater Horizon explosion that killed 11 workers in April 2010.

“Weakening safety regulations aimed at preventing another Deepwater Horizon disaster is dangerous and irresponsible,” Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh said in an August 7th statement announcing the coalition. “It is bad enough that the Trump Administration proposes to allow oil drilling near the Chesapeake Bay and our beaches. Reducing safety standards at the same time risks lives and endangers the natural resources we have struggled to protect.”

Trump Administration Targets Well Control Rule Finalized in 2016

Frosh and attorneys general from Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Virginia, North Carolina, Oregon, and Washington have submitted comments opposing the federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement’s (BSEE) plans to significantly revise the so-called Well-Control Rule, which was only finalized two years ago.

The Well Control regulations largely focus on blowout preventer systems that are used aboard offshore drilling platforms to prevent the uncontrolled release of oil from a well. The Deepwater Horizon disaster was blamed, in part, on a faulty blowout preventer.

The Trump Administration argues that revising the Well Control Rule will allow the United States to achieve “energy dominance” and save the industry $946 million over the next 10 years – purportedly without comprising the safety of offshore workers or the environment.

BSEE Decision to Weaken Well Control Rule Followed Single Public Forum

Before the Well Control Rule was finalized by the Obama Administration in 2016, the regulations underwent a 4-year review process consisting of investigation, studies, stakeholder input, and a public comment period.

By contrast, the BSEE’s decision to drastically alter the Well Control Rule followed a single public forum held in September 2017, as well as various unidentified “discussions” and “questions from operators.”

Frosh’s statement also points out that compliance dates for some of the Well Control regulations being targeted by the Trump Administration haven’t even arrived yet.

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