US Senators introduce Clean Coast Act to codify safety rules for offshore drilling

Two Democratic US Senators from the state of Washington have introduced a bill to codify into law some rules for offshore drilling safety that were brought in after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Senior Senator Patty Murray and junior counterpart Maria Cantwell tabled the Clean Coast Act. Fourteen other Democratic Senators plus one Independent (Bernie Sanders) co-sponsored the Act, which aims to protect coastlines from terrible oil spills like Deepwater Horizon.

Cantwell is the ranking member on the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

Friday was the eighth anniversary of the 20 April 2010 Deepwater Horizon catastrophe when an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico exploded, killing 11 crew and injuring 17.

Oil subsequently gushed from the uncapped well for nearly three months. It was the worst such spill in US history.

The Clean Air Act is an attempt to codify regulations such as the Blowout Preventer Systems and Well Control Rule and the Arctic Drilling Rule, both of which were brought in by the Department of the Interior in 2016 in response to Deepwater Horizon. Both provided criteria for safety in offshore drilling.

In April last year US President Donald Trump issued an executive order entitled “Implementing an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy”, which called for both those rules to be reconsidered in order to prioritize oil and gas exploration and production.

Fear that those safeguards would be rolled back led Senators Murray and Cantwell to introduce their bill.

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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