Letter – Drilling in a War- Trump rollbacks on offshore drilling regulations

The Trump administration wants to roll back some of a wide-ranging Obama-era regulation that was meant to improve the safety of offshore oil and natural gas drilling. These regulations were implemented after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster that killed nearly a dozen people and led to an oil leak that spewed for months. The blowout released approximately 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico; fouled beaches and coastal wetlands from Louisiana to the Florida panhandle; killed birds, fish and marine mammals; and devastated the recreation and fishing-based economies of the Gulf States.

“This is a one two punch to the Jersey Shore rolling back protections for oil drilling while try to open our coast for drilling. These rollbacks will make spills more likely. President Trump’s dangerous and greedy actions will seriously threaten our $38 billion coastal economy, destroy our ecosystem and fisheries, while harming people who live along the coast. Not only is he going to open up areas for offshore drilling, he is also eliminating safety rules to protect us from. While seismic testing might be the battle, the war is offshore drilling, said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.”

Some of the changes include easing rules that require the streaming of real-time data of oil production operations to facilities onshore, which allows regulators to see what is going on.

“One quart of oil pollutes a million gallons of water, so this is a serious threat. Oil spills have the ability to cause devastating and irreparable impacts to entire ecosystems. Infrastructure for offshore drilling can severely damage beaches, wetlands, and coastal habitats. Along with the risks a massive spill could bring to the Atlantic coastline, offshore drilling also undermines efforts to explore other clean energy resources,”said Jeff Tittel. 

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement would eliminate a provision requiring third-party inspectors of certain safety equipment — such as a blowout preventer device — be certified by BSEE. The bureau officially will publish its proposed rule changes today in the Federal Register, opening a 30-day public comment period.

“Implementing these rollbacks is reckless and dangerous. The President is clearly working for the fossil fuel industry over the American people. His actions will increase dirty fuels, while risking the health of our people and the planet. We cannot drill ourselves into energy independence. We have to explore new technologies for wind and wave power and remove obstacles that stand in the way of clean energy. We should be focusing on promoting safe and renewable energy like wind power and not opening up the Atlantic to drilling,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.