Feds announce plan to revise effective offshore well-safety rule

Apr 27, 2018

The U.S. Department of the Interior proposed revising a well-safety rule just one week after the eighth anniversary of the BP Deepwater Horizon tragedy that led to the rule's implementation.

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Weakening of the rule would endanger workers, raise risk of major oil spills

Just one week after the eighth anniversary of the deadly BP Deepwater Horizon catastrophe, the U.S. Department of the Interior today proposed revising an offshore well-control rule that prevents blowouts. This rule was put in place by the Obama administration after BP’s disastrous April 2010 well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico which could not be controlled for 87 days.

In response, The Wilderness Society issued the following statement from Lois Epstein, an Alaska-licensed engineer and Arctic program director for the organization. She also served on the offshore technical committee established by Interior after the Deepwater Horizon tragedy:

“Thanks to the existing rule, incidents involving loss of well control have fallen from eight in 2013 to zero last year. The rule works, and is vital to safer offshore operations. Weakening it would not only increase the risk of environmental disaster—it could cost lives.

“This is a prime example of the Trump administration caving into pressure from the oil industry’s worst operators,” Epstein added. “Rules shouldn’t be changed just because they were written by the previous administration, and it is irresponsible for the Interior Department to chip away at protections for workers and the environment.”



The Wilderness Society is the leading conservation organization working to protect wilderness and inspire Americans to care for our wild places. Founded in 1935, and now with more than one million members and supporters, The Wilderness Society has led the effort to permanently protect 109 million acres of wilderness and to ensure sound management of our shared national lands. www.wilderness.org.