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Politicals Cut Staff Objections From Offshore Drilling Safety Rollback

“Revisions of key memos could undermine federal regulator’s defense of rule changes, legal experts say”

“WASHINGTON — As the offshore oil industry’s federal regulator completed its overhaul of a major well-drilling safety rule in 2018, the agency’s director picked up the phone to a staff engineer to order up some changes.

Scott Angelle, director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, told the engineer to delete language from memos showing that the changes would contradict guidance from the agency’s own engineers, according to emails and memos reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

The memos were subsequently revised but with no indication that Mr. Angelle had personally ordered the changes, the records show.

Among the details stripped: a note that agency staffers wanted “no change to the testing frequency” of critical safety equipment and that the staff “does not agree with industry” that an industry-crafted protocol for managing well pressure was sufficient in all situations, the records show.”

Ted Mann reports for the Wall Street Journal February 26, 2020.


“Political Appointees Urged Rollback Of Deepwater Horizon-Inspired Safety Regs Over Staff Objections: Report” (The Hill)