RAMS ON THE EDGE, Saturday October 7

Obituary: Evelyn T. Hambleton of Runnemede

NJ Sierra Club: Trump Eases Offshore Drilling Safety Rules for Big OIL  


(BOEM)Ocean Confidence is a semi-submersible deep-water drilling rig used in the Gulf of Mexico (image courtesy of https://ctmirror.org/


The New Jersey Sierra Club (NJSC) released a statement on Friday, September 28 about the Trump administration rolling back a critical offshore drilling safety rule due to unnecessary burdensome on oil and natural gas companies.

According to the NJSC, "These safety rules were put in place after the horrific Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion happened in 2010 that killed 11 people and spilled over 40,000 gallons of oil a day off the Louisiana Coast. Trump will remove the mandate that independent third parties certify safety devices for effective operation in the most extreme conditions, allowing oil company employees to examine devices themselves and document the process. The Administration will change 84 of the 484 provisions of the rule, saving 13$ million for gas and oil companies.

“The Trump Administration is jeopardizing our safety for the sake of Big Oil and by reversing important offshore drilling safety rules. These rules will help prevent tragic accidents such as the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion off the coast of Louisiana eight years ago. We could see a major environmental disaster because of Trump’s reckless plan to not only open our coasts to drilling but reversing these important safety measures,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “We cannot risk a similar incident to Deepwater Horizon happening here. If this catastrophe had happened 50 miles off of New Jersey, it would affect the entire coast and directly impact the area from Cape May to Barnegat Light.”


"The new 176-page rule 2016 safety rules remove a requirement for independent verification of safety measures and equipment used on offshore platforms. It also removes a requirement that oil companies design their equipment to function in “most extreme” scenarios involving weather, high heat, strong winds or high pressure from within the undersea oil wells, which was a key factor in the deadly 2010 blowout. And it removes a requirement that professional engineers certify the safety of the design of some pieces of offshore drilling equipment for new wells.


What makes a spill even more likely is the Trump Administration getting rid of safety regulations that would prevent a spill like Deepwater Horizon. The soil slick from the Deepwater Horizon explosion covered more than 880,000 acres, or the size of the New Jersey Pinelands. Drilling anywhere in the Mid-Atlantic would directly put our coasts at risk. We need to stand up to continue to protect our coasts because one quart of oil pollutes a million gallons of water, so this is a serious threat,” said Tittel.

"In April, New Jersey passed a law that prohibits offshore drilling in State waters and issuance of DEP permits and approvals for activities associated with offshore drilling. Offshore drilling is part of the Interior Department’s review of federal offshore policies under the Trump Administration.

“The New Jersey law that prohibits drilling in state waters will help prevent tragic accidents such as the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion. This is an important step to protect our coasts from the Trump Administration. We need it to become a national model because if enough bills passed laws like this, they would have nowhere left on the Eastern Seaboard to bring in oil. That’s why states like New York and Maryland need to follow suit so we can create a wall against oil coming onshore,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “The Sierra Club has already filed a lawsuit against this senseless proposal that will defend our safety, ecosystem, fisheries, and coastal economies from Trump’s dangerous and greedy action. It’s more important than ever that we protect our coasts because they are being directly threatened by the federal government.”