Addressing the Regulatory Collapse Behind the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Implementing a 'Best Available Technology' Standard for Deepwater Oil Exploration Safety and Cleanup Technology
Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge - Paul M. Hebert Law Center; Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge - Louisiana Law Review
February 23, 2011
Journal of Environmental Law & Litigation, Vol. 26, No. 535, 2011
The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill was not only a failure by the oil industry, but the entire offshore oil and gas exploration regulatory scheme. The oil spill and its dire consequences call for a reformulation of the regulatory regime governing oil and gas exploration in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA). My article calls for a reformed regulatory scheme based on the implementation of a best available technology (BAT) standard for deepwater oil exploration safety technology to prevent future major oil spills. In addition, I call for reactive measures that implement a BAT standard for cleanup technology that adequately respond to future oil spills in OCS.
I argue that Congress should amend OCSLA and charge the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement with the responsibility of promulgating BAT standards for offshore oil and gas exploration safety technology and cleanup procedures. To implement the new regulatory scheme, I apply the BAT standard found in the Clean Water Act within the context of offshore oil and gas exploration. Finally, I advocate that Congress statutorily prohibit certain variances that have curbed the effectiveness of the Clean Water Act’s BAT standard in the proposed regulatory scheme under OCSLA.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 37Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: March 1, 2011 ; Last revised: June 4, 2012
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