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U.S. Coast Guard crews work to put out a fire during the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. (Photo: U.S. Coast Guard)

'Recipe for Disaster': Trump Guts Offshore Drilling Rules Put in Place After Deepwater Horizon Spill

"We should be implementing new safety reforms, not rolling back the few safety measures currently in place."

Jake Johnson

Just two weeks after the nine-year anniversary of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster—the largest ocean oil spill in U.S. history—the Trump administration on Thursday moved to dismantle offshore drilling regulations aimed at preventing another catastrophic leak.

"These rollbacks are a hand out to oil company CEOs at the cost of endangering the lives of their workers and heightening the risk for another environmental catastrophe."
—Chris Eaton, Earthjustice

The White House's revised Well Control Rule—which could save the fossil fuel industry close to a billion dollars over the next decade—was unveiled by Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, a former oil lobbyist who advocacy groups have described as a "walking, talking conflict of interest."

Diane Hoskins, campaign director at Oceana, called the Trump administration's move "a major step backward in offshore drilling safety."

"Gutting the few offshore drilling safeguards established in wake of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster is reckless and wrong," Hoskins said in a statement. "More drilling and less safety is a recipe for disaster. We should be implementing new safety reforms, not rolling back the few safety measures currently in place."

The rule will go into effect 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register, which could happen as early as Friday.

According to the New York Times, one of the major components of the Trump administration's plan "is a significant reduction in the requirement for oil companies to test fail-safe devices called blowout preventers, which are intended to be a last line of defense against disasters like Deepwater Horizon."

The White House's revisions also included slight tweaks to the language of existing regulations that environmentalists warned could have massive effects.

As the Washington Post reported: "Safety-bureau regulators removed a key word from language describing the level of down-hole pressure the agency requires operators to maintain in a given well to avoid an accident. The word it removed is 'safe.'"

Chris Eaton, oceans attorney with Earthjustice, said his organization "will use every tool we have to prevent these rollbacks."

"The Trump administration is rolling back mechanisms and technology designed to protect rig workers and prevent another disaster offshore," Eaton said in a statement. "These rollbacks are a hand out to oil company CEOs at the cost of endangering the lives of their workers and heightening the risk for another environmental catastrophe off America's coastlines."


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'We Need Action': Biden, Democrats Urged to Protect Abortion Access in Post-Roe US

"The Supreme Court doesn't get the final say on abortion," Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Tina Smith wrote in a new op-ed.

Kenny Stancil ·


Motorist 'Tried to Murder' Abortion Rights Advocates at Iowa Protest, Witnesses Say

Although one witness said the driver went "out of his way" to hit pro-choice protestors in the street, Cedar Rapids police declined to make an arrest.

Kenny Stancil ·


'A Hate Crime': Oslo Pride Parade Canceled After Deadly Shooting at Gay Bar

A 42-year-old gunman has been charged with terrorism following what Norway's prime minister called a "terrible and deeply shocking attack on innocent people."

Kenny Stancil ·


'We WILL Fight Back': Outrage, Resolve as Protests Erupt Against SCOTUS Abortion Ruling

Demonstrators took to the streets Friday to defiantly denounce the Supreme Court's right-wing supermajority after it rescinded a constitutional right for the first time in U.S. history.

Brett Wilkins ·


80+ US Prosecutors Vow Not to Be Part of Criminalizing Abortion Care

"Criminalizing and prosecuting individuals who seek or provide abortion care makes a mockery of justice," says a joint statement signed by 84 elected attorneys. "Prosecutors should not be part of that."

Kenny Stancil ·

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