Quantcast
Trump Watch
Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling unit on fire. Wikimedia Commons

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

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.

Show Comments ()
Sponsored
TAFE SA TONSLEY / Flickr

Worldwide Clean Energy Investments Hit $333.5 Billion Last Year

Global investment in renewable energy hit $333.5 billion in 2018, the second-highest on record, according to a new analysis from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

That's a 3 percent jump from 2016 and 7 percent short of the $360 billion record set in 2015.

Keep reading... Show less
Renewable Energy

How Blockchain Could Boost Clean Energy

By Jeremy Deaton

Bitcoin, the much-hyped cryptocurrency, made headlines recently for driving a surge in power use. Around the globe, digital entrepreneurs are 'mining' bitcoins by solving complex math problems, using supercomputers to get the job done. Those supercomputers use a ton of power, which largely comes from coal- and gas-fired power plants spewing gobs of carbon pollution.

But while hackers wreak havoc on the climate, blockchain, the bleeding-edge technology behind bitcoin, could one day help clean up the mess. Climate wonks say blockchain has a role to play in the clean-energy economy, helping homeowners sell electricity, allowing businesses to trade carbon credits, and making it easier for governments to track greenhouse gas emissions.

Keep reading... Show less
Abdallah Issa / Flickr

Post-Fire Landslide Problems Likely to Worsen: What Can Be Done?

By Lee MacDonald

Several weeks after a series of wildfires blackened nearly 500 square miles in Southern California, a large winter storm rolled in from the Pacific. In most places the rainfall was welcomed and did not cause any major flooding from burned or unburned hillslopes.

But in the town of Montecito, a coastal community in Santa Barbara County that lies at the foot of the mountains blackened by the Thomas Fire, a devastating set of sediment-laden flows killed at least 20 people and damaged or destroyed more than 500 homes. In the popular press these flows were termed "mudslides," but with some rocks as large as cars these are more accurately described as hyperconcentrated flows or debris flows, depending on the amount of sediment mixed with the water.

Keep reading... Show less
The most notable observation from the count was DeMartino's sighting of the golden crowned kinglet, but in general volunteers found the same species they normally do. (Photo above is of a golden crowned kinglet, but not the one DeMartino spotted.) Melissa McMasters

Birders Get a First Look at How 2017 California Wildfires Affected Wildlife

By Matt Blois

A neighbor knocked on Rick Burgess's door at about 9:30 p.m. to tell him a fire was coming towards his home in Ventura, California. When he looked outside he saw a column of smoke, and the hills were already starting to turn orange. He loaded up his truck with a collection of native plants he was using to write a countywide plant guide, and barely had enough time to get out.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
A learning garden from Kimbal Musk's nonprofit called Big Green. The Kitchen Community

Elon Musk's Brother Wants to Bring #RealFood to 100,000 Schools Across America

Kimbal Musk's nonprofit organization, The Kitchen Community, is expanding into a new, national nonprofit called Big Green, to build hundreds of outdoor Learning Garden classrooms across America.

Learning Gardens teach children an understanding of food, healthy eating and garden skills through experiential learning and garden-based education that tie into existing school curriculum, such as math, science and literacy.

Keep reading... Show less
Drilling fluids spilled into Ohio wetlands during construction of the Rover Pipeline in April. Sierra Club

Rover Pipeline Spills Another 150,000 Gallons of Drilling Fluid Into Ohio Wetlands

Energy Transfer Partners' troubled $4.2 billion Rover pipeline has spilled nearly 150,000 gallons of drilling fluid into wetlands near the Tuscarawas River in Stark County, Ohio—the same site where it released 2 million gallons in April.

The 713-mile pipeline, which will carry fracked gas across Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and Michigan and Canada, is currently under construction by the same Dallas-based company that built the controversial Dakota Access pipeline.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

Large Dams Fail on Climate Change and Indigenous Rights

Brazil has flooded large swaths of the Amazon for hydro dams, despite opposition from Indigenous Peoples, environmentalists and others. The country gets 70 percent of its electricity from hydropower. Brazil's government had plans to expand development, opening half the Amazon basin to hydro. But a surprising announcement could halt that.

Keep reading... Show less
Jim Henderson / Wikimedia Commons

World's Largest Money Manager: Companies Must Respond to Social and Climate Challenges

The world's largest publicly traded companies must take a more active role in solving social issues or face blowback from investors, the CEO of BlackRock said Tuesday.

"To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society," Laurence Fink wrote in his annual letter to CEOs of companies in which BlackRock invests. BlackRock is the world's largest money manager, with more than $6 trillion in assets.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!