Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Trump Administration, Which Wants More Offshore Drilling, Shuts Down Study Into Its Safety

Popular
Trump Administration, Which Wants More Offshore Drilling, Shuts Down Study Into Its Safety
Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling unit on fire. Wikimedia Commons

The Trump administration, which is trying to expand offshore oil drilling, has issued a stop-work order on an independent study aimed at making the process safer.

The Interior Department's Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) ordered the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) to halt its study on Dec. 7.


"The National Academies are grateful to the committee members for their service and disappointed that their important study has been stopped," the organization said Thursday.

The intention of the 2016 study was to review and update BSEE's offshore oil and gas operations inspection program to enhance safety. The program was established after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill that killed 11 people and gushed an estimated 3.1 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, the largest man-made oil spill in history.

NASEM said that within 90 days, the stop-work order will either be lifted and work on the study can resume, or the contract to perform the study will be terminated.

BSEE spokesman Greg Julian said the study "was paused ... to allow time to ensure that there are no duplicate efforts."

But Sierra Club's Kelly Martin said the move was in line with the Trump administration's push for a major expansion of offshore drilling.

"I think this is an example of Trump demonstrating he wants to open up federal waters to more drilling at the expense of people on the planet," Martin told the Associated Press. "He is much more supportive of corporate polluters than protecting people's safety."

The Center for Biological Diversity similarly tweeted: "Can dangerous offshore oil drilling be made safer? Trump and Co. don't even want to know. Hostile to science and public safety, they're pushing for more offshore drilling and shutting down study into its safety."

This is the second NASEM study halted by the Interior Department in the last four months. In August, a study on the potential health effects for people living near surface coal mining sites in Central Appalachia was stopped pending a review of contracts by the department. The National Academies said it has not received any update on the status of that review and the study remains on hold.

“Given how important this study is to the citizens and communities surrounding these surface mining sites in Appalachia, the National Academies believe the study should be completed and are exploring options to do so. Some private donors have expressed an interest in funding the completion of the study," NASEM said.

A "trash tsunami" has washed ashore on the beaches of Honduras, endangering both wildlife and the local economy.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Long-finned pilot whales are seen during a 1998 stranding in Marion Bay in Tasmania, Australia. Auscape / Universal Images Group / Getty Images

More long-finned pilot whales were found stranded today on beaches in Tasmania, Australia. About 500 whales have become stranded, including at least 380 that have died, the AP reported. It is the largest mass stranding in Australia's recorded history.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A protest in solidarity with the Wetʼsuwetʼen's anti-pipeline struggle, at Canada House in Trafalgar Square on March 1, 2020 in London, England. More than 200 environmental groups had their Facebook accounts suspended days before an online solidarity protest. Ollie Millington / Getty Images

Facebook suspended more than 200 accounts belonging to environmental and Indigenous groups Saturday, casting doubt on the company's stated commitments to addressing the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less
The Västra Hamnen neighborhood in Malmö, Sweden, runs on renewable energy. Tomas Ottosson / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 3.0

By Harry Kretchmer

By 2030, almost a third of all the energy consumed in the European Union must come from renewable sources, according to binding targets agreed in 2018. Sweden is helping lead the way.

Read More Show Less
An Extinction Rebellion protester outside the Bank of England on Oct. 14, 2019 in London, England. John Keeble / Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

In another win for climate campaigners, leaders of 12 major cities around the world — collectively home to about 36 million people — committed Tuesday to divesting from fossil fuel companies and investing in a green, just recovery from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch