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Trump Administration Set to Rollback Safety Regulations Passed After BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig Explosion

Offshore Rig Explosion Lawyer | BP Deepwater Horizon Explosion Lawyer

The U.S. regulatory agency charged with overseeing offshore drilling activity has proposed eliminating regulations enacted after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion to prevent similar disasters.

According to Reuters, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) has submitted a proposal to the White House budget office that would relax requirements to stream real-time data on oil production operators to facilities onshore, where they are available for review by regulators.

The regulator has also proposed eliminating a rule that requires third-party inspectors of critical equipment – such as the blowout preventer that failed aboard the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig – be certified by the BSEE.

Head of BSEE Claims Offshore Regulations Enacted After Deepwater Horizon Were Too Broad

The April 2010 explosion aboard BP’s Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig killed 11 workers and seriously injured 17 others. By the time the blown-out Macondo well was capped 87 days later, an estimated 3.19 million barrels of oil had spilled into the Gulf of Mexico.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the BSEE has recently been focusing on Obama-era offshore drilling regulations enacted after the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

The current head of the agency – a long-term advocate for the oil industry – claims that the regulatory response to the catastrophe had been too broad and didn’t account for the fact that other Gulf of Mexico drillers had learned from the economic fallout BP purportedly suffered in the aftermath of the explosion.

“It was obvious to me that back then there was a conclusion that it was a systemic problem, and yet I don’t believe there was evidence at the time that it was a systemic problem,” Scott Angelle told reporters in June.

Trump Administration Halts Offshore Drilling Study, Proposes Return of Scandal-Plagued Regulator

This latest attempt to undermine offshore drilling regulations follows news that the Interior Department had recently halted a study aimed at improving the way the BSEE conducts safety inspections of offshore drilling operations.

The Trump Administration has also proposed bringing back the Minerals Management Service (MMS), the scandal-plagued agency charged with offshore drilling regulation at the time of the Deepwater Horizon explosion.  The MMS was split into three separate agencies – one of which included the BSEE – after the disaster, but even before the explosion critics were concerned that it was far too conflicted to effectively oversee offshore drilling.

Other Regulations Targeted by Trump Administration

Several other industries have been targeted for regulatory rollbacks. Earlier this year, for example, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it was delaying enactment of the Chemical Disaster Rule, which was intended to prevent deadly plant and refinery explosions.

Under President Trump, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has also abandoned a proposed rule intended to prevent plant explosions and fires associated with combustible dust. OSHA proposed the rule in response to the February 2008 explosion at an Imperial Sugar refinery near Savannah, Georgia, that killed 14 workers. Thirty-eight others were injured, including many who sustained life-threatening burns.

The Administration has also proposed eliminating the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, which is tasked with investigating major chemical explosions.

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