Arnold & Itkin LLP Supports Decision to Allow Deepwater Drilling to Resume

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Focus on offshore worker safety should be top priority, say Arnold & Itkin lawyers Kurt Arnold and Jason Itkin.

Preventing offshore oil rig accidents and protecting platform workers should be the first priority.

Texas maritime lawyers Kurt Arnold and Jason Itkin say lifting the ban on deepwater drilling can’t happen soon enough for idled offshore workers in the Gulf of Mexico. At the same time, they welcome a greater focus on worker safety on offshore rigs to prevent future loss of life.

“When energy companies actually return to drilling in deepwater, exploration for offshore oil and gas will still remain dangerous work,” said Arnold, a partner in Arnold & Itkin LLP, a Houston law firm that represents offshore workers injured in maritime-related personal injury accidents. “Preventing offshore oil rig accidents and protecting platform workers should be the first priority.”

The Obama administration announced Tuesday that it is lifting the moratorium on deepwater drilling that was imposed after the BP Deepwater Horizon exploded in April, killing 11 workers and spilling millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf.

Before returning to deepwater drilling, oil companies will have to submit applications showing that they have met tighter federal standards for well design, blowout prevention, safety certification and worker training.

The moratorium affected 33 deepwater drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.

“Far too many Gulf Coast workers have already lost their lives and suffered serious injuries as a result of negligence in offshore oil operations,” said maritime lawyer Jason Itkin, a partner in Arnold & Itkin LLP. “More safety inspectors are needed to make sure the industry sticks to the new rules and to spot lax safety procedures before they become tragedies.”

In announcing the decision to unfreeze deepwater drilling, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said there had been significant progress in recent months to enhance the safety of future drilling operations. In addition to the new drilling safety rules, Salazar said he anticipated the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management would propose rules for additional safety measures including redundant ramshears, remote activation of blowout preventers and additional instrumentation and sensors on blowout preventers.

About Arnold & Itkin LLP

The maritime accident lawyers at Arnold & Itkin LLP, a personal injury law firm based in Houston, Texas, understand the complexities and legalities of maritime law and have a successful track record of verdicts and settlements in favor of maritime workers. The law firm provides legal guidance on all aspects of maritime law and the benefits offshore workers are entitled to under the Jones Act, the Death on the High Seas Act, the principle of maintenance and cure, or the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act.

Arnold & Itkin LLP handles maritime claims at port cities along the Gulf Coast in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The firm can be contacted toll free at (866) 222-2606 or through its website.

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