PNS Daily Newscast - April 22, 2019 

The vigilante accused of holding migrants at border to appear in court today. Also on our Monday rundown: The US Supreme Court takes up including citizenship questions on the next census this week. Plus, Earth Day finds oceans becoming plastic soup.

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Earthjustice Says New Oil Drilling Rules Don't Go Far Enough

October 4, 2010

HARTFORD, Conn. - New rules for offshore drilling are effective immediately. That decision was announced by the Department of Interior on Sept. 30 in response to the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico. The agency says the new regulations govern blowout preventers, safety certification, well design, emergency response and worker training in an effort to prevent another drilling disaster and to protect the coastline.

However, David Guest, managing attorney for Earthjustice, says the new rules don't address the whole problem.

"Those really aren't new safety rules. It was a systemic management problem; it was a complete failure to make the system to protect the safety work. Making a list of the things that went wrong and saying don't do those again is not good enough."

Oil companies complain that the new regulations are too time-consuming and expensive, but they are also eager to get the 33 idled deep-water rigs back up and running when the current moratorium on drilling is expected to be lifted on Nov. 30 or sooner.

The Department of Interior did not address the moratorium in this decision, but Guest says the agency should fix the safety issues before lifting the ban on deep-water drilling.

"If a 747 crashed because of a mechanical failure, you would expect the government to ground the whole 747 fleet until we were sure that we knew exactly what caused it and that was never going to happen again. I don't see how this is any different."

Guest says a six-month moratorium is not unreasonable, and perhaps should be extended.

"I'd like to see a top-to-bottom analysis of every possible risk, a look at models in other countries, and then adoption of every appropriate safety measure. They make billions of dollars out of these wells, and it costs the public tens of billions when something goes wrong, as we just saw."

The agency is also undertaking a new environmental assessment of the impact of oil drilling on the gulf ecosystem, which Guest says is long overdue. He says a more complete analysis of safety issues is needed, along with tougher regulations, because the cost of another crisis is too high.

Melinda Tuhus, Public News Service - CT