Obama administration proposes new safety regulations for offshore oil and gas development

Obama administration proposes new safety regulations for offshore oil and gas development

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Nearly five years after the Deepwater Horizon blowout and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement released proposed well control regulations for offshore oil and gas development. The proposal is based on recommendations from investigations by a number of government agencies, commissions and committees into what caused the blowout and how to improve well design, well control equipment and emergency response procedures. The proposal includes improvements for blowout preventer technologies and reliability, well design and control, spill containment and real-time well monitoring.

Friends of the Earth climate campaigner Marissa Knodel issued the following response:

It is disappointing that the Obama administration concluded that safe and responsible offshore oil and gas development is possible, but it’s hardly surprising given the administration’s “all of the above” energy policy. Despite a series of spills and accidents, President Obama continues to pursue offshore leases in the Gulf of Mexico, Arctic Ocean and, for the first time, the mid- and south-Atlantic Ocean. If President Obama insists on offshore drilling, then stricter safety regulations are definitely in order.

That said, no safety regulations will fix the fact that only 25 percent of the spilled oil from Deepwater Horizon was recovered, burned, or chemically dispersed, leaving 75 percent unaccounted for. No safety regulations will address the systemic failure of Big Oil and government regulators to implement existing safety regulations and protocols. Most importantly, no safety regulations will mask the reality that in order to avoid climate catastrophe, 80 percent of the world’s remaining fossil fuels must stay in the ground. The lesson the Obama administration should have learned from Deepwater Horizon is that that only way to keep oil out of our environment is to keep it in the ground.


Expert contact: Marissa Knodel, (202) 222-0729, [email protected]
Communications contact: Kate Colwell, (202) 222-0744, [email protected]


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