The Center for Biological Diversity filed a notice on Tuesday of its intent to sue the federal government for allowing offshore oil production in the Beta oilfield to operate under outdated drilling plans written as early as the 1970s. The filing notes that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has failed to review and require revision of the plans since they were approved.
The notice letter, a prerequisite to filing a lawsuit, explains that, under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, the bureau has a duty to review and revise drilling plans when there have been changes.
According to the Center, federal regulators have not required updated drilling plans for the Beta field’s platforms – constructed in the early 1980s – even though the plans indicated that the offshore platforms would wind down production in 2007 and be decommissioned more than a decade ago.
The notice comes a month after the oil spill off the coast of California that leaked about 25,000 gallons of oil into the ocean.
“Biden officials need to update these plans and lay out a schedule for shutting down these aging platforms,” said Kristen Monsell, legal director of the Center’s Oceans program. “We’ve seen spill after spill in our coastal waters, and offshore drilling is utterly at odds with any serious effort to fight the climate emergency. We need these rusty relics out of our oceans.”