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PESA Seeks Clarity From BSEE

bseeThe Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) recently extended the comment period for a rule proposed in May for Oil and Gas and Sulfur Operations in the Outer Continental Shelf—Blowout Preventer Systems and Well Control-Revisions.

Although PESA welcomes BSEE’s proposal to revise the Blowout Preventer Systems and Well Control rule, a key objective of the rule is the well-control safety of lessees, service providers and safety contractors, including allocating responsibility for safety in offshore operations. PESA wants to ensure that the original intent of the law is maintained.

In this light, PESA recently submitted comments to BSEE on a number of operational provisions in the Well Control Rule. PESA commented that the safety and environmental requirements of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) should not be enforceable by BSEE directly against offshore contractors. PESA argued that such an interpretation would be inconsistent with the agency’s statutory authority, its long-standing policy position, and recent judicial decisions specifically addressing the question in both civil and criminal proceedings.

After many conflicting interpretations in recent years, PESA requested that BSEE clarify its position to reflect that OCSLA is not enforceable by BSEE against offshore contractors. PESA will continue to monitor the development of this important rule and will continue to advocate for the proper interpretation of the law by BSEE.

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