US Senators Maria Cantwell, the Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, and Patty Murray introduced the Clean Coast Act. This is a legislation which aims to address key safety recommendations made after the Deepwater Horizon disaster, to protect the US coasts from oil spills.
The Deepwater Horizon accident resulted in the deaths of 11 members of the crew and the injury of 17 others. Oil was spilled into the ocean for nearly three months, causing the largest offshore oil spill disaster in the history of the US.
In April 2017, President Trump issued Executive Order 13795, “Implementing an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy,” calling the Department of the Interior to reconsider the Blowout Preventer Systems and Well Control Rule and the Arctic Drilling Rule, in order to encourage and prioritize oil and gas exploration and production.
The Clean Coast Act codifies the Blowout Preventer Systems and Well Control Rule and the Arctic Drilling Rule.
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Blowout Preventer Systems and Well Control Rule:
- Safeguards like minimum requirements for the design, manufacture, repair, and maintenance of blowout preventers;
- Dual shear rams for deepwater blowout preventers;
- Real-time monitoring capability for high-risk drilling activities;
- Criteria for safe drilling margins consistent with recommendations arising out of the Deepwater Horizon tragedy.
Arctic Drilling Rule:
- Safeguards for drilling activities in the US Arctic Outer Continental Shelf, such as requiring access to appropriate containment and response equipment;
- Ability to drill a relief well within the same season;
- Capability to predict and respond to ice conditions and adverse weather.