Trump’s Risky Offshore Oil Strategy

In Environment On

Seven years ago, a BP oil well blew out off Louisiana, causing the Deepwater Horizon drill rig to explode, killing 11 workers and releasing several million barrels of toxic crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

As co-chairmen of the bipartisan National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, we investigated the causes of the disaster and examined the offshore drilling industry to identify ways to reduce the risks it poses to workers, the public and the environment. Although Congress has refused to enact any of the commission’s safety recommendations, the Department of the Interior adopted many of them after extensive input from industry, government and the public.

President Trump’s April 28 executive order on offshore energy threatens to abolish these safety improvements and, as he put it, start “the process of opening offshore areas” to energy exploration. He took a further step last week to expand oil and gas extraction in the environmentally sensitive outer continental shelf. The commission members are unanimous in their view that the actions proposed in the president’s executive order are unwise.

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