DOI Officials Suppressed Scientist’s Concerns on Oil Rig Worker Safety

Published Mar 6, 2020

What happened: A political appointee at the Department of the Interior (DOI) suppressed the objections of engineers on a rule that rolled back protections for the safety of offshore oil rig workers. When DOI engineers expressed concerns about the rule in memos, the director of the DOI’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) ordered the engineers to delete those sections from the memos.

Why it matters: The issues raised by the DOI engineers are in line with what previous scientific evidence has suggested, that efforts to inspect and monitor offshore oil rigs protect the safety of workers and diminish the possibility of a catastrophe like the Deepwater Horizon explosion from 2010. The DOI is failing to incorporate the best available science into their rulemaking process by ignoring their own scientists and is thus failing to grant the public their lawful right to be informed.

Learn more about how the Trump administration has sidelined science and worker safety issues on offshore oil rigs.