Trump appoints US offshore safety regulator


President Donald Trump has named Louisiana regulator Scott Angelle to oversee safety of the offshore oil and gas sector as director of the US Interior Department's Bureau of Safety and Enforcement (BSEE).

Angelle, in his new role, will help carry out BSEE's plan to reconsider an offshore safety rule, called the well control rule, that was adopted in the wake of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Trump last month signed an executive order directing his administration to reconsider that and other offshore regulations, as part of his push to boost offshore oil and gas production.

"I look forward to leading our efforts to empower the offshore oil and gas industry while ensuring safe and environmentally responsible operations," he said.

Angelle will begin serving as BSEE's director tomorrow. The position does not require US Senate confirmation.

Angelle was the secretary of the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources from 2004-12. In 2010 he served for six months as the state's interim lieutenant governor as the state was dealing with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, during which he pushed to end a temporary federal offshore drilling moratorium.

Angelle has been a member of the Louisiana Public Service Commission since January 2013. A month before he began serving that position, he was elected to the board of pipeline company Sunoco Logistics, which last month merged with pipeline company Energy Transfer Partners. Sunoco has paid Angelle about $989,000 in cash and other awards over the past four years.

The administration's plan to reconsider the well control rule has been controversial. Former US senator Bob Graham and William Reilly, who co-chaired of the national commission that investigated the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, in an 8 May letter to US interior secretary Ryan Zinke said they opposed weakening or rescinding the well control rule, which they said would increase the inherent risks of offshore drilling.