Skip to Main Content

Biden Administration Eyes Tighter Regulation on Offshore Drilling

Texas Offshore Injury Lawyer | Biden Eyes Stronger Offshore Drilling Regulations

President Joseph Biden is eyeing stricter regulations on offshore drilling operations, a stance that will likely lead to the reversal of many Trump-era rollbacks.

Federal Agency Will Review Trump’s Weakened Well Control Rule

According to E&E News, the newly installed administration has ordered federal agencies to review recent regulations for their impacts on the climate and environment, including the former president’s move to weaken offshore drilling regulations put in place after the deadly Deepwater Horizon explosion in April 2010.

Known collectively as the Well Control Rule, these regulations were developed by the Obama administration in order to prevent a repeat of that horrific catastrophe. Among other things, the rule set stronger standards for blowout preventers, the safety equipment that failed on the Deepwater Horizon just before the explosion.

In December 2018, the Trump administration finalized a revision that weakened the Well Control Rule in several key areas, including:

  • Rescinded a requirement for independent verification of safety measures and equipment used aboard offshore platforms.
  • Removed a requirement that offshore equipment be designed to function in the “most extreme” conditions involving weather, high heat, strong winds, or high pressure from within an undersea well.
  • Eliminated a requirement that professional engineers certify certain pieces of offshore drilling equipment for new wells.

Trump Enacted Industry “Wish List” to Achieve “Energy Dominance”

At the time, the Interior Department’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement characterized the Obama-era regulations as “unduly burdensome.” The agency also asserted the rollback would facilitate the Trump administration’s goal of “energy dominance” without jeopardizing worker or environmental safety.

But critics sharply disagreed, claiming the revisions were reflective of a “wish list” sought by the oil and gas industry.

“It’s madness to expand dangerous offshore drilling while making it even less safe. This reckless administration is risking catastrophic oil spills along every U.S. coastline,” Miyoko Sakashita, ocean program director at the Center for Biological Diversity, said after the new rules were finalized. “By willfully ignoring Deepwater Horizon’s lessons, Trump is displaying disdain for even modest environmental protections.”

Biden Administration Prioritizing Climate Change Fight

Since the Inauguration, President Biden has signed several other executive actions aimed at reversing the Trump administration’s efforts to boost offshore and onshore drilling, including a plan to overturn weakened efficiency standards for buildings and appliances and place a temporary moratorium on oil and gas leasing in the Arctic.

Just yesterday, the president signed orders that:

  • Block new leases for oil drilling on federal lands and waters
  • Require a review of fossil-fuel subsidies
  • Mandate federal agencies to consider climate change in everything from government purchases to financial regulations
  • Direct intelligence agencies to estimate how climate change affects national security

According to a White House Fact sheet, the new president also ordered federal agencies to buy electric and other zero-emission vehicles and renewable power as a way to “leverage the federal government’s footprint and buying power to lead by example,”

All of the actions were met with applause from environmentalists.

“The era of putting polluters’ profits first is over,” said Josh Axelrod, senior advocate for the nature program at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “We can’t lock our children and grandchildren into decades more of the dirty fossil fuels of the past and all the hazards and harms they bring to our public lands, oceans, and coastal communities.”

Undefeated Offshore Explosion Lawyers: Call 1-888-603-3636 or Click Here for a Free Consultation.

Having won billions for our clients, including workers injured or tragically killed aboard oil rigs and drilling platforms off the coasts of Texas and Louisiana, our Undefeated Offshore Explosion Lawyers have the resources and knowledge to ensure that our clients and their families are fully compensated for all of their injuries and losses.

If you or someone you love were hurt in connection with an offshore drilling accident or explosion, call 1-888-603-3636 or click here to send us an email through our “Contact Us” form.

All consultations are free, and because we only work for a contingency fee, you won’t pay us anything unless we win your case.