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The Department of the Interior wants to reverse certain offshore oil and gas production safety rules that were rolled back by the Trump administration as part of its support for the oil and gas industry.
Some of these rules, the AP reports, were set to prevent a repeat of the blowout at the Macondo well that set the Deepwater Horizon platform on fire and caused the gravest environmental catastrophe in U.S. Gulf of Mexico oil history.
“This proposed rulemaking will help ensure that offshore energy development utilizes the latest science and technology to keep people safe,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said.
“As our nation transitions to a clean energy economy, we must commit to strengthening and modernizing offshore energy standards and oversight,” Haaland added.
Among the changes considered by the Department of the Interior is giving the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement the powers to accredit independent companies to inspect offshore platforms and equipment.
Another measure under consideration is a requirement for blowout preventers to always be calibrated in such a way as to be able to handle the maximum gas flow of a well.
“No operator can promise there won’t be another disaster like BP’s Deepwater Horizon blowout. The only way to prevent offshore drilling disasters is to permanently protect our coasts and workers from new offshore leasing,” Secretary Haaland told the AP in a statement.
The Deepwater Horizon disaster that began in April 2010 resulted in 11 deaths and the spilling of almost 5 million barrels of crude over a period of several months while attempts were made to plug the Macondo well.
The rollback of safety regulation was aimed at spurring faster growth in the U.S. oil and gas industry as President Trump had pledged to do o the campaign trail. The move prompted a lawsuit by environmental groups, who argued the rollbacks will make offshore oil and gas production riskier.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com