June 8, 2017
Trump and Zinke Must Disavow Plans to Re-Create Troubled Offshore Drilling Agency
Statement of Tyson Slocum, Director of Public Citizen’s Energy Program
Today’s Bloomberg News report that President Donald Trump and U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke are considering re-creating the ineffectual and corrupt structure of America’s offshore oil drilling regulator would be a disaster for environmental and worker safety. Both Trump and Zinke must immediately renounce such an action.
In the years leading up to the April 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon disaster, the offshore oil regulator – the U.S. Minerals Management Service – was plagued with rampant scandals fed by too-cozy relationships with the oil industry. It was for this reason that the independent National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling specifically recommended splitting the agency’s safety regulation and oil leasing functions. The Obama administration acted on this and other commission recommendations.
We cannot afford a return to the days when structural failures of agency design allow oil companies to get a free pass. President Trump and Secretary Zinke must immediately and forcefully reject any effort to merge Interior’s safety and leasing operations.