The Trump administration on Friday proposed to rewrite or kill rules on offshore oil and gas drilling that were imposed after the deadly 2010 rig explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The proposed rollbacks by the Interior Department's Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) are meant to help fulfill President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Democrat slams Donald Trump Jr. for "serious case of amnesia" after testimony Skier Lindsey Vonn: I don't want to represent Trump at Olympics Poll: 4 in 10 Republicans think senior Trump advisers had improper dealings with Russia MORE's promise to ease regulations on the production of fossil fuels and support his goal of "energy dominance".
BSEE said the amendments would save the oil and gas industry $33 million annually and would not compromise safety, the environment or worker protections.
The proposed rule would amend federal regulations - specifically, Title 30, Part 250, Subpart H, which covers oil and gas production safety systems. These rules require operators to use third parties to verify the safety of subsea equipment and set design requirements for safety systems, among other obligations.
The Obama administration imposed tougher rules a year ago in response to the 2010 explosion on a drilling rig called the Deepwater Horizon and used by BP.
A division of the Interior Department published the proposed change Friday in the Federal Register.
Oil industry groups have complained about the potential cost of complying with the rules and predicted they would threaten thousands of jobs.
"Rolling back drilling safety standards while expanding offshore leasing is a recipe for disaster", Miyoko Sakashita, director of the oceans program at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement. He said that the regulations had not been in place long enough to determine if they were burdensome on industry.
The National Ocean Industries Association, which represents United States offshore energy companies, praised the move.
Randall Luthi, president of the National Ocean Industries Association, said in a statement that the Trump administration's rollback was a step toward regulatory reform. It also does away with a regulation that requires oversight agencies to certify the companies that do work like install the blowout preventers that failed on the Deepwater Horizon. "Reversing offshore safety rules isn't just deregulation, it's willful ignorance".
Almost one million coastal and offshore seabirds are estimated to have died in the spill, which spewed 4.9 million barrels of oil into the sea.