"Workers and wildlife will pay a terrible price if these rollbacks are finalized," Center for Biological Diversity’s Ocean Program Litigation Director Kristen Monsell said in the release on Friday. "The next offshore oil disaster is inevitable, especially if the Trump administration keeps ignoring Deepwater Horizon’s lessons."
According to Interior Department’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) press release, the US is introducing revised offshore drilling safety rules to ease the regulatory burden on oil companies.
"BSEE reviewed the existing regulations in response to Executive and Secretary’s Orders instructing it to identify ways to reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens while ensuring that offshore oil and gas drilling operations are conducted in a safe and environmentally responsible manner," the release said on Friday.
The BSEE targeted around 18 percent of 342 provisions within the 2016 Well Control Final Rule for modifications, the release added.
"The proposed revisions would amend the testing protocol for blowout preventers, modify capability requirements for remotely operated vehicles, remove duplicative verification requirements, and codify recent revisions to industry standards," the release said.
President Donald Trump issued in April Executive Order 13795, "Implementing an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy," directing the Department of the Interior to reconsider the Blowout Preventer Systems and Well Control Rule and the Arctic Drilling Rule in an attempt to rewrite safety standards in favor of industry interests.
Monsell explained that regulations adopted after BP’s catastrophic failures in the Gulf of Mexico were not strong enough to begin with, adding that "to rescind those rules is reckless beyond words."
The proposed changes would delete or amend several provisions of the rule focused on the standard for blowout preventers, devices used to monitor and seal oil and gas wells when operations go wrong, the release said.
The proposed changes would also eliminate the requirement that the Bureau uses to certify third parties that inspect offshore safety equipment and allow industry more flexibility in their use of real-time monitoring of deep-water drilling operations, the release added.