Trump Administration Eases Safety Rules for Offshore Drilling

May 6, 2019 AT 7:55 AM

By Associated Press

The Trump administration moved Thursday to give oil and gas companies more flexibility in meeting safety requirements imposed after the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon explosion, which killed nearly a dozen people and was the worst offshore oil disaster in U.S. history.

The revised rules, which govern safety standards at offshore wells, come as the administration pushes to expand drilling off the U.S. coast, although court challenges and opposition from many coastal states have slowed its efforts.

The new safety changes were sought by the industry but fiercely challenged by environmentalists.

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said in a statement the administration was acting to eliminate "unnecessary regulatory burdens while maintaining safety and environmental protection offshore."

Officials picked Louisiana's Port Fourchon, a hub for drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, to announce the changes. Port workers in hard hats and reflective safety vests applauded speakers' calls for easing regulations.

"We're more open to invention," Scott Angelle, a safety regulator at the Interior Department, told the crowd. "We tell them what to do," he said. "How they do it is up to them."

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