The American Petroleum Institute, the country’s most powerful oil and gas trade group, announced today that it is making publicly available online for the first time more than 160 safety standards. The move comes as regulators have been criticized for adopting many standards written by the industry as regulations.
As part of my series on pipeline safety, I reported that API authored all or part of 27 standards on pipeline safety that were then adopted by a key agency that oversees pipelines, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. Many of the standards were not easily accessible to the public, as copies were kept at PHMSA and API offices, but were not released online.
It’s a similar story when it comes to oil and gas drilling. Michael Bromwich, who is heading up offshore drilling activities in the Interior Department, has said the now-defunct Minerals Management Service should not have been so dependent on the oil and natural gas industry in developing standards.
In a statement, API President Jack Gerard said:
As API standards have been referenced in the federal register in rulemaking procedures, having copies available for public review in only a few locations did not meet our industry’s goal of transparency. The industry’s standards represent our commitment to safe and successful operations and practices. Wider access through online viewing platforms is part of our public commitment.
The 160 standards that will be posted online — about one-third of the total standards written by API — will include all regulations that have been adopted by reference in federal regulations and all standards that relate to safety, API says.
API will post the standards here.
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