Dem senator will try to block Trump from changing offshore drilling rules

Dem senator will try to block Trump from changing offshore drilling rules
© Victoria Sarno Jordan

A Democratic senator plans to use the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to block President TrumpDonald John TrumpDems flip Wisconsin state Senate seat Sessions: 'We should be like Canada' in how we take in immigrants GOP rep: 'Sheet metal and garbage' everywhere in Haiti MORE from overturning safety rules put in place after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster in 2010.

Florida Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonSenate campaign fundraising reports roll in Week ahead: Tech giants to testify on extremist content Puerto Rico's children need recovery funds MORE (D) said on the Senate floor Wednesday that he will use the CRA, which Republicans have used to dismantle many Obama-era regulations under the Trump presidency, to block the administrations's proposed rule changes. The law allows for an expedited review to overturn a regulation by resolution.

“The BP spill devastated my state's economy and 11 people lost their lives,” Nelson said in remarks reported by the Washington Examiner. “That's why I plan to subject this misguided rule to the Congressional Review Act.”

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One of the changes proposed by the Interior Department's Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement would reduce the authority of third-party safety inspectors to review documents related to oil rig operations and reduce the requirement that certified engineers review safety equipment plans to require the review of only the “most critical documents.”

At least 4.9 million barrels of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico starting in April 2010 after an equipment failure at BP's Deepwater Horizon oil rig. Seventeen people were injured in the resulting disaster.

In 2011, the U.S. government released a report faulting BP as well as rig operator TransOcean and contractor Halliburton for the disaster. In 2015, BP paid out $18.7 billion in fines over the incident, which became the largest corporate settlement in history.

The senator cannot introduce the CRA to overturn the Trump administration's proposed changes until they are finalized, following a 30-day public comment period that began on Friday.

Nelson's use of the CRA is unlikely to succeed without wide public support, as it would require Trump's signature to overturn the new rules.