Biden Administration Implements Stricter Regulations for Offshore Drilling Safety Measures


By finalizing stricter regulations for complicated devices designed to prevent catastrophic blowouts on offshore oil and gas drilling rigs, the Biden administration reversed some Trump administration policies and reverted to a more strict regulatory stance adopted after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.

The April 2010 tragedy, which claimed the lives of 11 employees and caused an estimated 130 million gallons of crude oil to spill into the Gulf of Mexico over 87 days, was mostly the consequence of a blowout preventer system failure.

In 2016, stricter offshore safety regulations were implemented; however, they were updated in 2019 by then-President Donald Trump. That action was praised by the oil sector, but ongoing litigation brought by environmental organizations followed it.

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement of the Interior Department’s new regulations include the circumstances and well pressures that the automatic well control devices must work under. 

Remotely operated underwater vehicles must be able to access and close crucial blowout preventer components. They also contain requirements and deadlines for conducting failure investigations and providing authorities with information about blowouts.

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Partial Revisions

It’s a modification, not a total undoing of the Trump administration’s measures. As an illustration, BSEE is continuing to increase the time between necessary blowout preventer inspections from 14 to 21 days.

One of the plaintiffs in the case contesting the Trump administration modifications, Miyoko Sakashita of the Center for Biological Diversity, said the new guidelines will probably end the dispute, which has been repeatedly postponed since President Joe Biden entered office.

Importantly, the regulation mandates certification and compliance with federal requirements for individuals who test and report on blowout preventers. Additionally, it mandates that BSEE receive reports of blow-out preventer failures, according to an email discussion with Sakashita.

She said that the modifications are not sufficient. “This new rule at least puts an end to industry self-policing, but that’s too low of a bar,” argued Sakashita. We can all see that we are in a catastrophe given this summer’s heat waves, wildfires, and extreme storms, therefore Biden has to proclaim a climate emergency and restrict offshore drilling.

A representative of the American Petroleum Institute berated the most recent regulatory adjustments.

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Source: abc news

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