Deepwater Horizon Regulations Rolled Back
Last Thursday, the White House eased safety rules for offshore drilling rigs created after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. The administration claimed that loosening regulations will provide a boost in energy production. The initial regulations were originally put in place by the Obama administration in 2016.
The reversal to the rules will be effective on December 27, 2018. The regulations were made in response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster that killed 11 workers and injured dozens more. The accident was the worst environmental disaster in United States history. Arnold & Itkin represented more than one third of the crew that survived the accident.
How the Rules Have Changed
The rule will change safety standards for actively productive gas or oil wells. As of December 27, there will be loosened requirements for third-party safety inspections, changes regarding when operators are required to notify the government about beginning production, and fewer requirements for reporting equipment failures. According to the Interior Department, the rules placed “unduly burdensome requirements for oil and natural gas production operators on the Outer Continental Shelf without meaningful increasing safety of the workers or protection of the environment."
However, the Center for Biological Diversity disagrees with this assessment. Miyoko Sakashita, oceans program director for the CBD, specifically criticized the relaxation of third-party inspection requirements. The Deepwater Horizon disaster was caused in part by operator failure to maintain drilling equipment on the rig, which an inspection could have prevented.
“In a time when there is this tremendous push to expand offshore oil and gas drilling, if anything we need to be tightening up regulations and making it safer rather than rolling back regulations for industry safety,” Sakashita said to the Seattle Times. “We’ve seen in the past that just allowing the industry to regulate itself is not an effective way to prevent oil spills and protect the safety of workers, so it’s important to have the third-party oversight.”
The offshore accident attorneys at Arnold & Itkin hope that this rollback will not trigger any accidents such as what we saw in 2010. If you've been injured in an oil rig accident, speak with us. Call (888) 346-5024 for a free consultation.