SeaTechnology Magazine: 2016 – An Obama Administration Race to the Finish Line

RandallLuthi_webSeaTechnology Magazine | January 2016 | Randall Luthi

The 2016 elections will not only bring voters to the polls to decide the makeup of Congress and the White House, but will also set the mark for when the Barack Obama Administration must finish their regulatory initiatives. For this lame duck administration, there is no guarantee that the next administration, regardless of party, will finish their work. Generally, unfinished regulations are left in limbo and eventually drift off the radar and into regulatory purgatory. To avoid this fate, OMB establishes a date by which proposed regulations must be submitted; usually that date is in August or September.

Frustrated by Congress on many fronts, the Obama Administration has turned to the regulatory scheme to promote its goals and to establish its legacy. Many are major rule-makings that have been in development for years, and the agencies will be working overtime to see they are submitted by the published deadline. Some pending regulations are of direct concern to the offshore energy industry. So, buckle up and prepare for a knuckle-whitening ride through the federal regulatory race to the finish line.

Regulatory Actions

The proposed well control rule has received widespread attention and is seen as a crown jewel in the administration’s offshore regulatory proposals. Industry concerns over whether or not the proposed rule will ultimately improve drilling safety successfully led to follow-up technical meetings with the federal agencies, and industry has requested continued dialog before proceeding with the final rule. Congress has also held hearings on the proposed rule. It is very unlikely, however, that the administration will let this proposal fall behind schedule. At the time of this writing, the final rule is expected in the first half of 2016.

Read full op-ed here.

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