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Trump Administration Halts Review of Offshore Oil Rig Safety Inspections

The Trump administration ordered the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to halt a review of offshore oil and gas platform inspections, BuzzFeed News reports.

The stop-work order was issued by the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement on December 7th. The National Academies committee conducting the study held its first meetings in October of this year.

In a statement Thursday morning, the National Academies said that it was "disappointed that their important study has been stopped," but also noted that the bureau has up to 90 days to either allow the study to resume or terminate the contract entirely.

The study would have provided the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement—which was created in the wake of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster to oversee, among other things, offshore worker safety—with recommendations for improvements to the bureau's inspection program.

This marks the second time this year the Trump administration has put a stop to a National Academies study of an extractive industry. In August, the Department of the Interior halted a study of the health effects of pollution from mountain-top mining.

"Given how important this study is to the citizens and communities surrounding these surface mining sites in Appalachia, the National Academies believe the study should be completed and are exploring options to do so," the group said on Thursday. "Some private donors have expressed an interest in funding the completion of the study."