Department Of The Interior Expands Areas Available For Offshore Drilling To Nearly All U.S. Waters, Loosens Offshore Drilling Safety Rules
On January 4, 2018 the Department of the Interior announced an expansion of approved offshore drilling areas “in nearly all U.S. waters, the single largest expansion of offshore oil and gas leasing ever proposed by the federal government.” This expansion is part of a revised 5 year plan for offshore drilling and fossil fuel production.
“Planning areas in the Pacific Ocean and the eastern Gulf of Mexico are included in the new plan, as well as more than 100 million acres in the Arctic and along much of the Eastern Seaboard. Former President Obama placed the latter two regions under a drilling moratorium in the last weeks of his presidency.”
This plan is the result of an Executive Order signed by President Trump in April, 2017 directing “Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to review a five-year plan in which President Obama banned drilling in parts of the Pacific, Arctic, and Atlantic Oceans.”
The Department of the Interior also has proposed (on December 28, 2017) to eliminate a rule created after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, that “tightened controls on blowout preventers, devices that are intended to stop explosions in undersea oil and gas well, and called for rig operators to have third parties certify that the safety devices worked under extreme conditions. ” A failed blowout preventer was the cause of the Deepwater Horizion oil spill.