"Interior Dept Gives Rules Drafted by Oil Industry Force of Law"

"As the Trump Administration seeks to loosen rules governing offshore drilling, it has proposed adopting safety standards written by the American Petroleum Institute (API), an advocacy group for the oil and gas industry.

The window for the public to comment on the Interior Department’s proposed rewrite of federal drilling safety rules closed on Monday. But anyone trying to assess the Administration’s plan and offer informed input would have found that API largely controls how the public can access the standards that would take on the force of law if the proposed rule is finalized.

In the official legal notice by the Interior Department laying out the rulemaking proposal on drilling safety for the public, the text of the copyrighted API standards is nowhere to be found. Instead of including the API standards in the notice, the Interior Department bureau that oversees offshore drilling merely referred to them and described some of their contents. In legal jargon, it incorporated the standards by reference.

The notice explains that hard copies and printable versions of the API standards “are available for purchase from API,” and it provides an API web address for purchasing them."

David S. Hilzenrath reports for the Project on Government Oversight August 7, 2018.

Source: POGO, 09/05/2018