Regulators from the Trump administration have proposed rolling back a series of offshore drilling safety measures put in place after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) has submitted a proposal to the White House budget to revise multiple safety regulations, estimating the proposed changes would save more than $900 million over the next decade and “reserve some risk-reduction measures that drillers consider burdensome.”
The proposal would roll back safety measures that were enacted by the Obama administration after the 2010 Deep Horizon disaster, returning most workplace safety standards and environmental responsibility back to the oil and gas industry.
Officials at the BSEE want to eliminate reviewing real-time production data from oil companies, which is often the first indication that an incident has occurred. Additionally, they want to roll back a requirement for inspection and approval of critical drilling equipment from third-party vendors.
The agency’s report states that continuing enforcement of those regulations “would increase procedural burdens and costs without giving rise to meaningful improvements to safety or environmental protection.”
Proposing deregulation for offshore drilling falls in line with President Trump’s broader plan to roll back regulations enacted by President Obama, and should help drive oil profits even higher thanks to a provision in the new GOP tax plan that allows for offshore drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
The 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon platform in the Gulf of Mexico, which killed 11 platform workers, was the impetus for new industry-wide safety regulations. After the initial explosion, more than 200 million gallons of crude oil (3.1 million barrels) spilled into the gulf before the leak was capped almost three months later.