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The Latest: Feds issue new, tougher offshore drilling rules


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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Latest on new federal rules on offshore oil and gas drilling safety (all times local):

1 p.m.

The Obama administration has issued new rules to make offshore oil and natural gas drilling equipment safer and to reduce risks in digging wells, but the oil industry is blasting those rules as unnecessary and costly.

The rules were published Thursday by the Interior Department, nearly six years after the catastrophic blowout of a BP well in the Gulf of Mexico killed 11 workers and injured many others. The out-of-control leak dumped millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf.

The rules take aim at blowout preventers, massive valve-like devices meant to prevent oil and gas from escaping when a driller loses control of a well. The device failed in the BP spill.

Industry leaders warn the rules could make it too costly to drill in some places.

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9:50 a.m.

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board says drilling companies in U.S. waters should be required to work more closely with rig workers and regulators, as they do in Norway and the United Kingdom, to reduce the risk of accidents.

The Chemical Safety Board investigates major industrial accidents. It is concluding a long-running probe into the catastrophic blowout of a BP well six years ago in the Gulf of Mexico that killed 11 workers and injured many others.

The agency issued its safety recommendations Wednesday afternoon.

Since the BP disaster, regulators have forced the industry to comply with new safety rules. But the CSB called this "performance-based" protocol weak. It also said the regulations fail to cover contractors, a major segment in offshore work.

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