The Trump administration is undoing the safety and environmental regulations put in place by President Obama after the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon disaster that killed 11 people and, for weeks, dumped millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, amounting to the worst oil spill in U.S. history. The catastrophic environmental event killed nearly 1 million birds along the Gulf Coast and led to BP paying $18.7 billion in civil penalties and damages. According to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, the regulatory changes will save extraction companies some $288 million over 10 years.
The 2016 rules implemented by the Obama administration focused on trying to ensure the safety of drilling equipment, several pieces of which failed during the Deepwater Horizon spill. It also shut off certain portions of the American coastline from drilling. From the New York Times:
The Obama-era rules, written in 2016, tightened controls on blowout preventers, devices that are intended to stop explosions in undersea oil and gas wells, and called for rig operators to have third parties certify that the safety devices worked under extreme conditions. In the Deepwater Horizon spill, a supposedly fail-safe blowout preventer failed after a section of drill pipe buckled.
President Trump showed his intent to undo drilling restrictions and safety regulations for offshore drilling in an executive order this April. The Department of Interior is publishing the proposed rule changes Friday.
Short article, no more at link: https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2017/12/trump-is-ending-safety-regulations-enacted-after-catastrophic-deepwater-horizon-oil-spill.html
Smoke rises from a controlled burn May 19, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico.
U.S. Coast Guard/Getty Images
LONDON/MOSCOW - Russian tankers have supplied fuel to North Korea on at least three occasions in recent months by transferring cargoes at sea, according to two senior Western European security sources, providing an economic lifeline to the secretive Communist state.
The sales of oil or oil products from Russia, the worlds second biggest oil exporter and a veto-wielding member of the United Nations Security Council, breach U.N. sanctions, the security sources said.
The transfers in October and November indicate that smuggling from Russia to North Korea has evolved to loading cargoes at sea since Reuters reported in September that North Korean ships were sailing directly from Russia to their homeland.
Russian vessels have made ship-to-ship transfers of petrochemicals to North Korean vessels on several occasions this year in breach of sanctions, the first security source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters.
A second source, who independently confirmed the existence of the Russian ship-to-ship fuel trade with North Korea, said there was no evidence of Russian state involvement in the latest transfers.
The US Department of the Interior moved quickly Thursday to rescind an Obama-era rule regulating hydraulic fracturing on federal and Indian lands after a court declined to hear further appeals filed by Native American and environmental groups to try to keep the rule in place.
On Thursday, Interior's Bureau of Land Management released a notice of its intent to publish a final rule in the Federal Register Friday, formally stripping away the fracking rule. The rule had been scheduled to go into effect in 2015, but was never implemented because of court challenges by energy industry groups and several oil- and natural gas-producing states.
"With this final rule, the BLM is rescinding the 2015 rule because we believe it imposes administrative burdens and compliance costs that are not justified," the BLM notice said.
As part of his policy to reduce regulations on the energy industry, President Donald Trump vowed to rescind the rule, which would have updated the BLM's regulations for fracking on federal and Indian lands for the first time in 30 years.
On Wednesday, a three-judge panel of the 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals denied a request by the Indian tribes and environmental groups to have the full court hear their appeal of a lower court's decision to reject the case.
Hasan Minhaj rounds up some of the most outrageous punditry from the past year, including Rachel Maddow's tax return fake-out and Tomi Lahren's vitriolic takes.
Dave Chappelle To Trump Supporters: He's Fighting For Me, Not You - The Beat With Ari Melber - MSNBC
Ari Melber looks at the year in late night comedy and Dave Chappelle reveals a sad scene at SNL on election night.
This year the President attacked... pretty much everyone.
By now, its no secret that the sweeping tax reform package approved by Congress last week includes a bunch of provisions that help the oil and gas industry. As the Washington Post reported, cutting the corporate income tax rate alone will likely add $1 billion to the profits of U.S. oil and gas exploration and production firms. Oil refining companies stand to do even better, according to one analyst who estimated that those companies earnings per share will increase by an average of 23 percent. The tax bill also opens up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, the largest wildlife refuge in America, to drilling.
But theres also something to be said about what the tax bill didnt change: the billions of dollars in permanent, century-old tax subsidies for the fossil fuel industry. According to Oil Change International, the U.S. federal government provides a combined $14.7 billion in various annual subsidies for the fossil fuel industry, the vast majority of which remained untouched in the tax bill. And while the majority of those subsidies favor the oil and gas industry, 20 percent go toward incentivizing coal consumption and production. Whats more, the effective tax rate for coalwhich is less than 1 percentstays the same. In other words, the government still sacrifices billions in revenue every year to prop up coal, an industry that most energy analysts agree is dying.
The coal industry fares incredibly well [with the tax bill], said Janet Redman, the U.S. policy director of Oil Change International. None of the handouts that they get now are taken away. They chug ahead with every tax break theyve enjoyed last year, the year before, and some that have been in the books for decades. Theyve lost nothing.
The coal industry does lose something, though its fairly small. The tax bill eliminates Section 199 of the U.S. tax code, which allows companies to deduct income attributable to domestic production activities. That means there will be no more so-called domestic manufacturing deduction for mining, which allows mining companies to claim a tax break intended for the manufacturing of goods. That subsidy cost the government about $45 million last year, according to the groups most recent report on fossil fuel subsidies.
(Reuters) - A U.S. regulator has proposed rolling back safety measures put in place after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which would reduce the role of government in offshore oil production, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.
The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), which regulates offshore oil and gas drilling, proposes relaxing requirements to stream real-time data on oil production operators to facilities onshore, where they are available for review by regulators, the Journal reported.
The BSEE has also proposed cutting a provision requiring that third-party inspectors of critical equipment - such as the blowout preventer that failed in the Deepwater Horizon case - be certified by the BSEE, the Journal reported.
The agency had sent its proposal to the White House budget office, the newspaper reported.
Reuters could not independently verify the proposals, which the Journal said have not yet been made public.
FILE PHOTO: A hard hat from an oil worker lies in oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on East Grand Terre Island, Louisiana June 8, 2010. REUTERS/Lee Celano/File Photo
BILLINGS, Mont. U.S. officials have approved a 60-million ton expansion of a southeastern Montana coal mine that serves one of the largest power plants in the western United States, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinkes office said Friday.
The approval will extend the life of Westmoreland Coal Companys Rosebud Mine by 19 years and adds 10.5 square miles (27 square kilometers) to the 40-square-mile (104-square kilometer) strip mine, Zinke spokeswoman Heather Swift said.
The move comes as Westmoreland has seen its stock price plummet over the past year, prompting speculation the Englewood, Colorado-based company could be headed for bankruptcy.
Chief Executive Officer Kevin Paprzycki stepped down last month shortly after Westmoreland reported a $107 million loss through the first three quarters of 2017.
This photo taken May 25, 2013, shows an aerial view of Colstrip power plants 1,2,3 & 4 and the Westmoreland coal mines near Colstrip, Mont. U.S. officials have approved a 60-million ton expansion of a southeastern Montana coal mine that serves one of the largest power plants in the western United States, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinkes office said Friday, Dec. 22, 2017. The approval will extend the life of Westmoreland Coal Companys Rosebud Mine by 19 years and adds 10.5 square miles to the 40-square-mile (104-square kilometer) strip mine, Zinke spokeswoman Heather Swift said.
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