Carper Blasts EPA Decision to Abandon Commitment to Establish Additional Rules to Protect the Public From Oil and Toxic Spills

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, issued the following statement in response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to abandon a 2017 rule preventing hazardous spills at vessel sites and industrial sites, and to renege on a court order to establish additional rules to protect the public from hazardous substances from vessels, and onshore and offshore facilities.

“Not only does President Trump want to drill off the coast of Delaware, his EPA now wants to make it even less safe to do so. Delaware is home to 28 miles of coastline that includes beautiful beaches and businesses that are the backbone of our state’s economy – from fishing, to tourism and recreational activities, all of which depend on a healthy coast. Delaware’s beaches alone bring in $6.9 billion each year and support 10 percent of our state’s workforce. An oil spill off our coast would be devastating to both the health of our waters and our economy.

“We all remember the Deepwater Horizon disaster, and we saw that oil spills do not respect state boundaries. A spill anywhere along the East Coast is a threat to Delaware’s coast. Today’s decision is a reminder that those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.

“This is more of the same from an EPA Administrator who time and time again dismisses the law and sides with polluters over the health and safety of the American people. The EPA should honor the court order issued to it, which called on the agency to propose rules that would prevent devastating oil spills and protect vulnerable coastal communities and the public’s health.”

In July 2015, the Environmental Justice Health Alliance (EJHA), People Concerned About Chemical Safety and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) sued the EPA for failing to prevent hazardous spills from onshore and offshore vessel facilities. In February 2016, EPA agreed to a court-ordered settlement to propose “hazardous substance spill-prevention rules” for industrial vessel sites by June 2018 and to issue a final rule in 2019.