After the 2010 Gulf oil spill, the Obama administration broke the scandal-plagued federal agency that policed offshore drilling into separate bureaus.
Now, the Trump administration is considering putting it back together again.
The change, described by Interior Department officials and lobbyists familiar with the deliberations, would combine two agencies: one that enforces regulations on offshore drilling safety and another in charge of leasing offshore tracts. Keeping those roles separate was a key recommendation of a presidential commission that investigated the Deepwater Horizon blast that killed 11 men and sent oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico for months.
Merging the bureaus could send a signal that Interior is easing off on enforcement, right as President Donald Trump expands areas available for offshore oil drilling, according to Bob Graham, a former Florida senator who led the commission.
“I have heard no indication of why we’re doing this,” Graham said in an interview. “It’s just 7 years after this enormous disaster—and this was one of the key steps in at least mitigating the chances of a repetition.”