Administration Finalizes its Plans to Scale Back Offshore Drilling Regulations

Oct 5, 2018

The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement recently finalized its proposal to scale back offshore drilling regulations that were implemented following the Deepwater Horizon explosion in 2010. These rollbacks come as part of President Trump’s plans to encourage domestic energy production.

The New York Times reports that some of the biggest changes in the new proposal include:

  • The elimination of a provision requiring independent verification of safety measures and equipment used on offshore platforms;
  • The elimination of the need for a professional engineer’s certification of the safety of the design of some pieces of offshore drilling equipment for new wells;
  • The elimination of a requirement that oil companies design their equipment to function in “most extreme” scenarios involving weather, high heat, strong winds or high pressure from within the undersea oil wells.

The new rules themselves explain that the old regulations “created potentially unduly burdensome requirements for oil and natural gas production operators on the Outer Continental Shelf, without meaningfully increasing safety of the workers or protection of the environment.” However, the new rule “supports the administration’s objective of facilitating energy dominance by encouraging increased domestic oil and gas production and reducing unnecessary burdens on stakeholders, while ensuring safety and environmental protection”

The new rule will be published in the Federal Register in the coming days.

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