Carper Statement on the Trump Administration’s Rollback of Offshore Drilling Safety Standards

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW), released the following statement after the Trump Administration finalized a rule that rolls back critical Obama-era safety standards for offshore oil and gas drilling. The Obama-era “Well Control Rule” was informed by Deepwater Horizon task force recommendations and adopted in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon tragedy.

“Nine years ago in the Gulf of Mexico, an industrial accident of unprecedented proportions took 11 lives and went on to become one of our country’s worst-ever environmental disasters. For 87 days, the world watched as three to four million gallons of oil spilled into the Gulf, devastating natural habitats and ecosystems and causing billions of dollars of damage to local tourism and fishing industries.

“In the months after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the Obama Administration charged a task force to thoroughly examine the circumstances leading up to the accident. The National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling uncovered a myriad of management oversights and systemic vulnerabilities that led to the catastrophe, including the lack of a ‘culture of safety’ within the industry. In response to those findings, the Obama Administration put in place commonsense safeguards to help ensure that another disaster like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill could never happen again.

“Alarmingly, the rollback finalized by the Trump Administration today flouts the plain findings of the Deepwater Horizon task force — it blatantly ignores the lessons learned of an entirely preventable disaster. It ignores the incredible risks posed by an improperly managed and irregularly inspected offshore oil rig. It ignores the dire economic and environmental consequences of an oil spill.

“It’s been said that those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it, and I fear this rollback willfully ignores the lessons learned from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.”

Senator Carper also continues to oppose the Trump Administration’s plan to expand offshore oil and gas drilling in the Atlantic Ocean, which would put coastal communities in Delaware at risk. Delaware’s beaches draw in $6.9 billion each year and support 10 percent of the state’s workforce.