Six AGs Submitted Comments Calling on Interior Department to Strengthen Protections against Offshore Oil and Gas Spills

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh led a coalition of six attorneys general in comments on proposed changes to the “Well Control Rule” by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) at the Department of the Interior. The Well Control Rule, first adopted in 2016, puts in place certain requirements that prevent oil and gas spills in offshore operations, but the rule was weakened in 2019 during the Trump administration. In their letter, before addressing the proposed regulations, the AGs first emphasized the importance of moving away from reliance on offshore oil and gas in order to avoid catastrophic spills such as the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010, and, more generally, to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The AGs then provided specific recommendations for how BSEE should strengthen the rule, such as by requiring operators to report equipment failures directly to the agency and install certain equipment to increase safety and facilitate intervention if a spill does occur.