By January 2, 2018 Read More →

Trump Administration rolling back safety rules born from Deepwater Horizon disaster

Trump administration

 Trump Administration REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Scrapping regulations will save $28.8 million a year. BP has already spent $62 billion cleaning up after Deepwater Horizon disaster

After reviewing off-shore oil and gas production safety regulations enacted by the Obama Administration after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster at the request of President Donald Trump, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) is proposing to roll back a raft of Obama-era safety rules that sought to curb accidents and pollution by oil and gas drillers operating in U.S. waters, according to a press release.

Deepwater Horizon

2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion. Image: © John Mosier/

The Production Safety Systems Rule addresses safety and pollution prevention equipment, subsea safety devices and safety device testing for the production of oil and gas resources on the U.S. outer continental shelf (OCS).

“I am confident that this revision of the Production Safety Systems Rule moves us forward toward meeting the Administration’s goal of achieving energy dominance without sacrificing safety,” said BSEE Director Scott A. Angelle.

The BSSE has proposed several changes to those regulations, including scrapping a requirement that operators certify through a third party that their safety devices are functioning properly, according to World Oil.

“By reducing the regulatory burden on industry, we are encouraging increased domestic oil and gas production while maintaining a high bar for safety and environmental sustainability,” said Angelle.

The BSSE estimates the proposed amendments would reduce industry compliance burdens by at least $228 million over 10 years, while providing the same level of safety and protection of the environment.

The $28.8 million a year that will be saved is a “paltry sum” compared to the $62 billion and counting that BP has spent so far on the Deepwater Horizon spill where cement seals and blowout preventers failed, according to USA today.

The Trump Administration scrapping the regulation that operators certify safety devices through third parties could very well lead to another Deepwater Horizon tragedy – as the regulation could have possibly prevented the tragedy.

Environmentalists blasted the move, saying it put oceans and wildlife at risk, according to World Oil.

“By tossing aside the lessons from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Trump is putting our coasts and wildlife at risk of more deadly oil spills,” Miyoko Sakashita, director of the oceans program at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement. “Reversing offshore safety rules isn’t just deregulation, it’s willful ignorance.”

“It’s time for a paradigm shift in the way we regulate the OCS,” Angelle said. “There was an assumption made previously that only more rules would increase safety, but ultimately it is not an either/or proposition. We can actually increase domestic energy production and increase safety and environmental protection.”

One out of every six barrels of oil produced in the United States is produced on the OCS.

Annual production on the OCS totals over 550 million barrels of oil and 1.3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. BSEE permits operations and conducts inspections on approximately 2,400 production platforms located in the three OCS regions: Arctic, Gulf of Mexico, and Pacific, according to BSSE.

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