Buchanan Slams Weakening of Offshore Oil Safety Rules
Calls Decision “Reckless and Unacceptable”
“Have We Learned Nothing From the Deepwater Horizon Disaster?”
WASHINGTON – Congressman Vern Buchanan, co-chair of Florida’s congressional delegation, denounced the Trump administration’s announcement today that it intends to move forward with plans to weaken offshore oil safety regulations.
“Any undermining of these safety protocols is reckless and unacceptable,” Buchanan said of the Interior Department’s effort to roll back some of the safety regulations adopted after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico.
“Have we learned nothing from the worst environmental disaster in American history?” the Congressman asked. “These safeguards should remain in place.”
Buchanan said “lifting what the Interior Department calls burdensome regulations for oil companies is hardly worth the risk of destroying Florida’s economy and environment.”
Interior’s plan would alter 44 provisions and delete 15 provisions in the Well Control Rule enacted under President Obama, according to Bloomberg news. One of the rollbacks, for example, would lift a requirement that independent inspectors who test blowout preventers be certified by the government. Another calls for loosening rules on real-time monitoring of offshore oil rigs.
Buchanan led a bipartisan group of 21 Florida members of Congress who sent a letter in January to the Trump administration opposed to any rollback of oil rig safety regulations.
Buchanan also is a longtime opponent of allowing drilling off Florida’s Gulf Coast and has introduced with Rep. Wasserman Schultz legislation to protect Florida’s coastlines from devastating oil spills. The Marine Oil Spill Prevention Act would extend by five years a ban on oil drilling off much of Florida’s Gulf Coast until 2027. The current moratorium, which prohibits oil drilling within 125 miles off most of Florida’s Gulf Coast, is set to expire on June 30, 2022.
Buchanan opposed an Interior Department plan to expand offshore drilling operations off the coast of Florida including in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico.