Final summer time, I wrote concerning the Trump administration’s misguided try to weaken the 2016 Arctic Drilling Rule, a federal regulation designed to guard the Arctic Ocean from the possibly catastrophic impacts of exploratory oil drilling. Sadly, the 2016 Arctic Drilling Rule—and all of its necessary protections and safeguards rule—remains to be below menace.
As President Biden assumed workplace in January, the earlier administration was nonetheless within the means of making an attempt to weaken the 2016 Arctic Drilling Rule. Whereas President Biden has already taken necessary and much-needed actions to guard our ocean, he hasn’t but acted to cease the Trump administration’s effort to roll again the safeguards put in place by the 2016 Arctic Drilling Rule. Actually, earlier this month, the Division of the Inside prolonged a public remark interval on the Trump administration’s proposal to weaken the Rule.
Be part of me in telling the Inside Division to reject the Trump administration’s roll-backs to the 2016 Arctic Drilling Rule.
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Given the gravity, quantity and tempo of occasions in latest months, it’s in all probability secure to imagine the Arctic Drilling Rule has not been within the forefront of your thoughts. In case you want a fast refresher…
The Arctic Drilling Rule was developed after—and integrated classes from—the 2010 Deepwater Horizon catastrophe within the Gulf of Mexico and Shell’s calamity-plagued effort to conduct exploration drilling within the U.S. Arctic in 2012. It created security and environmental safety requirements particularly tailor-made to the tough working situations of the Arctic Ocean. Amongst different issues, it required would-be drillers to develop an built-in operations plan and have particular spill containment gear on-site and prepared for deployment. It additionally mandated seasonal drilling restrictions to assist guarantee sea ice doesn’t adversely have an effect on spill prevention and response.
The Trump administration proposal would strip away many of those necessary safeguards and make it extra inviting for oil firms to drill for oil in a distant area with unpredictable sea ice, mercurial climate and restricted infrastructure for incident response. At a time when we have to shift away from polluting fossil fuels towards renewable vitality sources, an invite to conduct dangerous drilling in Arctic waters can be precisely the unsuitable strategy.
Fortunately, the Biden administration can nonetheless put a cease to those pointless and counterproductive adjustments. As a result of the Trump administration didn’t finalize its effort to weaken the 2016 Arctic Drilling Rule, President Biden’s Division of the Inside can merely withdraw the Trump administration’s proposed rule. That might be sufficient to maintain the unique 2016 Arctic Drilling Rule in place, together with all its vital safeguards.
Many environmental protections didn’t survive the previous 4 years. The Trump administration weakened different offshore drilling security guidelines, gutted guidelines that implement the Nationwide Environmental Coverage Act, undermined local weather coverage and attacked scores of different guidelines designed to safeguard public well being and the setting. It’s not too late to undo this harm, however it is going to take time—and we’ll want your voice and assist to make it occur.
You may get began proper now, by telling the Division of the Inside to reject the Trump administration’s proposed roll-backs to the 2016 Arctic Drilling Rule. After that, we’ll roll up our sleeves and get to work on the remaining.