Interior Dept. issues new rules to prevent another BP disaster

Interior Dept. issues new rules to prevent another BP disaster

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The day after a critical report on offshore oil safety, and the Obama administration unveils new rules that they say will go a long way in preventing another BP-type disaster.

The new rules include a new standards for blowout preventers.

"We are enacting requirements for double shear rams on deepwater rigs," said Brian Salerno with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

That requirement should double the chance that a blowout preventer will be able to seal off a ruptured line and prevent the leakage that occurred during the BP disaster when the blowout preventer failed.

"This will reduce the possibility of a non-severable joint and increase the likelihood that a well can be shut in during an emergency," said Salerno.

The new federal rules come on the heels of a scathing report from the Chemical Safety Board, which said little has changed since the BP disaster.

"More needs to be done for industry to control future hazards," said Cheryl Mackenzie with the U.S. Chemical Safety Board.

The board's report refers to more human involvement in managing drilling risks and less reliance on documentation of regulatory compliance.

"There has to be more attention paid to human factors in the work that's being done offshore," said Mackenzie.

The U.S. Department of Interior on Thursday addressed that concern with a promise of more oversight.

"We've included a requirement for companies to do more real-time monitoring," said Salerno.

The Department of Interior said it's new rules will also require more third-party review  of an industry it says remains vital to the health of the U.S. economy, in spite of potential hazards.

The new Department of Interior rules also call for inspections of new blowout preventers every 14 days.

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