10:58 PM

For Immediate Release

Trump Administration Rolls Back Offshore Drilling Safety Rules

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), an agency in the Department of the Interior, announced a new Well Control and Blowout Preventer Rule today, rolling back more stringent offshore drilling safety standards implemented in response to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon catastrophe. In the name of “streamlining” and “reducing burdens” on energy development, BSEE has repealed safety requirements that were put in place by the Obama administration in 2015–16 on the advice of expert commissions that investigated the human and technical failures that led to that disaster. Among other issues, this new rule removes the requirement that independent, certified organizations inspect and verify the integrity of well control equipment, instead allowing drillers to self-inspect and report problems to the agency. It also removes the requirement for all drilling operations to use upgraded blowout preventers, the critical piece of equipment that failed on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig.

Jane Davenport, an attorney at Defenders of Wildlife, issued the following statement:

“Offshore drilling for oil is a risky and dirty business, threatening human life and wildlife alike. When the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded, it killed 11 workers and injured 17 more. More than 200 million gallons of oil gushed into the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days before the well could be capped. The oil spill affected the food web at every level, killing untold numbers of marine mammals, sea turtles, birds, and fish and devastating the fishing and tourism industries that rely on healthy and abundant ocean ecosystems.

“Now, to appease the oil and gas industry, the Trump administration has thrown out the safety regulations that could help prevent another Deepwater Horizon. We will continue to fight these new rules that put our oceans and the wildlife that depend on them at risk.”

Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With over 1.8 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit Newsroom.Defenders.org and follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews.