By Natural Resources Defense Council
Ten environmental groups, including NRDC, sued the Trump administration today for weakening safety standards on offshore oil rigs that were put in place after the deadly Deepwater Horizon blowout—a disaster that killed 11 rig workers and spilled hundreds of millions of gallons of raw crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico, killing wildlife and decimating the area’s seafood and tourism industries.
The lawsuit argues that the U.S. Department of the Interior disregarded the extensive evidence and expert findings that informed the original rule. It also argues that the agency failed to consider offshore safety and the environment.
“The well control rule was one of the most important measures we took, as a nation, to reduce the risk of another BP-style disaster at sea,” says Bob Deans, director of strategic engagement at NRDC. “Weakening those protections to boost industry profits puts our workers, waters, and wildlife at needless risk.”
The Trump administration’s revised safety rule weakens performance requirements for blowout preventers—which failed in BP’s 2010 spill—and guts safety equipment testing and inspection standards. It also allows the grandfathering in of existing rigs into outdated blowout preventer standards.
“We’re fighting to restore these commonsense safeguards,” Deans says, “and standing up for all they protect.”