New safety rules for US offshore drilling slammed

Republican members of the US House of Representatives on Tuesday turned a House Committee hearing on Natural Resources into a platform for bashing government plans to tighten offshore drilling standards, according to the Associated Press.

The occasion was a so-called field hearing of the committee – meaning a hearing held away from Washington. In this instance it was held in New Orleans, and only Republicans were in attendance.

That location was of significance to the matter at hand, however, as the Obama administration’s tougher rules were made necessary by the terrible 2010 Deepwater Horizon rig explosion and huge oil leak, which happened offshore Louisiana.

The Interior Department is preparing to release new standards which will be aimed at flaws in the rules covering blowout preventers – the equipment perceived to have failed so badly at containing and plugging the BP well five years ago.

Republicans argue the new rules constitute excessive government interference, will cost the industry too much to enforce, and are not even proven to improve safety as claimed.

The 2010 calamity at the Macondo Prospect left 11 men dead and pumped millions of gallons of crude into the Gulf of Mexico.

Donal Scully

With 28 years experience writing and editing for newspapers in the UK and Hong Kong, Donal is now based in California from where he covers the Americas for Splash as well as ensuring the site is loaded through the Western Hemisphere timezone.
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