Offshore Accidents

In mid March of this year, Trump opened “all available” areas in the Gulf of Mexico to oil drilling. Following Trump’s public statement, The Department of the Interior explained that it plans to lease all unused federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico for offshore oil drilling. In fact, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says the Department’s five-year leasing plan includes 73 million acres off the coast of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.

This plan, intended to “make the United States energy independent,” marks a vast departure from the nation’s energy strategy under the Obama administration. During both of Obama’s terms, the U.S. government refrained from leasing most of the Arctic Ocean and all of the Atlantic Ocean. Though the Obama administration heavily considered offshore drilling in those areas, it ultimately folded to pressure exerted by various environmental activists.

In a recent statement, Secretary Ryan Zinke asserted that “the Gulf is a vital part of [the government’s] strategy to spur economic opportunities for industry, states, and local communities, to create jobs and home-grown energy and to reduce [the nation’s] dependence on foreign oil.” Indeed, the Gulf of Mexico has heavily contributed to the nation’s economy in the past: Exxon alone has invested over $20 billion in Gulf Coast states to boost its petrochemical refining operations since it first entered the region in 2013. At present, Exxon’s investments sustain more than 45,000 construction and manufacturing jobs with salaries ranging from $75,000-$125,000. However, as the offshore accident attorneys at Williams Kherkher point out, these jobs are often high liability in nature since they require long hours and the handling of heavy machinery.

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