Department of Interior’s capitulation to oil industry pressure threatens worker safety and the environment


Washington (May 2, 2019) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), the leading Congressional investigator of the BP Deepwater Horizon explosion, released the following statement after the Trump administration today announced plans to gut safety requirements for offshore drilling, by revising the offshore drilling Well Control Rule, that had been put in place by the Interior Department following the BP spill. The Trump administration’s rollback returns the industry to self-regulation of critical safety components and undoes efforts made after the Deepwater Horizon disaster to increase safety and reduce the risk of environmental disaster. The Congressional investigations of the 2010 spill that killed eleven helped lead to the implementation by the Obama administration of critical safety requirements for offshore drilling that the Department of Interior now plans to roll back. While the Trump administration has recently abandoned plans to revise its offshore drilling Five-Year Plan, it has also pushed to massively expand offshore drilling at the same time it is rolling back these safety rules.


“Trump’s rollback of safety requirements is a recipe for drilling disaster,” said Senator Markey. “Our workers, marine ecosystems, and coastal economies should not be put at risk from oil spills or drilling. Last month marked nine years since the BP oil spill, the worst environmental disaster in American history. But instead of commemorating that tragic anniversary by preserving the rules that help prevent future offshore drilling injuries, deaths, and devastating spills, it is preserving the profits of oil companies that only values speed over safety.”


In April 2018, Senator Markey co-sponsored the Clean Coasts Act (S. 2720), which would codify offshore drilling safety measures, including the Blowout Preventer Systems and Well Control Rule and the Arctic Drilling rule.