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Trump administration eases offshore drilling safety rules

May 2, 2019 05:51 PM

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt cites the elimination of 'unnecessary regulatory burdens'

Response crews fight the fire on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in April 2010. Eleven of the 126 crewmembers aboard the rig were killed and 16 were injured.

U.S. Coast Guard photo

Response crews fight the fire on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in April 2010. Eleven of the 126 crewmembers aboard the rig were killed and 16 were injured.

(WASHINGTON) — The Trump administration on Thursday announced final plans to ease oil and gas drilling rules that were originally established as a response to the deadly 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, The Hill reported.

The move will remove some of the safety mandates placed on the oil and gas industry under former President Obama, which industry members argued were too burdensome and cost prohibitive.

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt announced the rule revision in Port Fourchon, La., a major location for Gulf of Mexico drilling. He called the rule change an elimination of "unnecessary regulatory burdens while maintaining safety and environmental protection offshore."'

Proposed safety changes to the Interior Department’s Well Control Rule include loosening requirements for real-time monitoring of offshore drilling operations and easing requirements for companies to hold third-party certifications of easy access emergency equipment, to be used in the case of explosions or oil and gas leaks from wells.

The requirements revised under the new rule were finalized in 2016 as a response to the BP oil spill, the largest in U.S. history. The safety mechanisms were established over the course of six years by investigators who looked into BP’s well failure.

The rig explosion in 2010 killed 11 workers and led to the spewing of more than 200 million gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico over 87 days.

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