Offshore drilling just got even more dangerous

Credit: Alamy

The Trump administration just did away with numerous safeguards meant to prevent another disaster like the deadly 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil blowout, making good on its proposal from late 2017. The rollback removes safety measures such as testing of blowout preventers by government-certified inspectors and real-time data monitoring by onshore technical experts, which can be critical for rig operators in moments of crisis. For decades, testing a blowout preventer meant ensuring that it can maintain a seal, under pressure, for 30 minutes—but the Trump administration just reduced that requirement to a mere five minutes. The weakened rules could save the oil industry nearly $1 billion over the next decade, the agency estimates—but the potential costs to oil rig workers, oceans, marine life, and coastal communities would be far, far more pricey


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