DOI Lets Offshore Oil Companies Off the Hook from Safety Testing

What happened: Politico obtained data under the Freedom of Information Act showing that, in a two-year period, the Department of Interior’s (DOI) Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) had given offshore oil drillers 1,679 waivers to regulations that tested the safety of equipment. More than a third of the waivers were for engineering testing procedures for blowout preventors, the device that failed to seal off BP’s well when it erupted in 2010 and killed 11 workers during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The testing procedures, as dictated in the Well Control Rule, stipulates how often a blowout preventer should be tested, how long each test should last, and the parts that should be inspected.

Why it matters: BSEE is allowing scientific evidence to be sidelined in safety protocols by granting waiver after waiver from the Well Control Rule. When the Trump administration decides that evidence-based methods to promote safety are not important, the administration endangers not only the life and safety of workers but also increases the risk of another deadly oil spill occurring and devastating the environment.

Learn more about how the Department of the Interior is granting waivers to offshore oil companies and thereby stopping the implementation of commonsense testing procedures that could save lives.

Last Revised Date: 

March 13, 2019