9 Years After Deepwater Horizon Explosion, Offshore Drilling Remains “Dirty and Dangerous”
Nine years after the Deepwater Horizon explosion tragically killed 11 workers and seriously injured 17, a new report suggests offshore drilling remains “dirty and dangerous” thanks to lax oversight that has only grown worse since President Trump took office.
As a Top Offshore Injury Lawyer, Ryan Zehl has successfully represented thousands of workers injured or tragically killed in accidents and explosions off the coasts of Texas and Louisiana.
Deficiencies in Offshore Drilling Oversight
According to an analysis of public documents conducted by the environmental group Oceana, 6,500 oil spills occurred in U.S. waters between 2007 and 2017.
The nation’s offshore drilling industry had the highest reported rate of fatalities among its international peers when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig blew up. Between 2003 and 2013, the rate of worker deaths in the U.S. oil and gas industry (both onshore and offshore) was an average of 7 times higher compared to other U.S. workers in general.
Last year, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) had just 120 inspectors on hand to conduct more than 20,000 annual offshore inspections. The agency continues to rely heavily on industry-written safety standards, frequently grants exemptions to its offshore drilling requirements, and caps civil penalties at just $44,675 per day per violation.
“That’s a rounding error when you know that operating costs can be about $1 million per day,” Diane Hoskins, Oceana’s campaign director, told CNN. “Fines need to be higher.”
President Trump Urged to End Offshore Drilling Expansion
Since taking office, President Trump has signed executive orders to allow drilling in the Arctic and along the Atlantic Coast. His administration has also weakened or repealed many of the vital safety regulations put in place by his predecessor to prevent a repeat of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
Oceana is calling on the Trump administration to end all expansion efforts and abandon its campaign to undermine offshore drilling regulations. The group also demanded that the BSEE step up enforcement and urged Congress to substantially increase financial penalties to deter dangerous behavior and corner-cutting at offshore operations.
“Less safety and more drilling are a recipe for disaster,” Hoskins said. “President Trump must drastically reverse course in order to prevent another BP Deepwater Horizon-like disaster. We should not be expanding dirty and dangerous offshore drilling to new areas when there’s overwhelming bipartisan opposition.”
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