By JANET McCONNAUGHEY
Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Environmental groups are challenging what they view as the Trump administration's decision to weaken critical safety rules created after the nation's worst offshore drilling disaster.

National groups including Earthjustice and the Sierra Club and groups on the Gulf and Carolina coasts filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday in San Francisco.

They say the federal agency created to oversee offshore drilling safety acted before some rules took effect.

Spokeswoman Tiffany Gray said the agency cannot comment on pending litigation.

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said in March that the changes would eliminate unnecessary regulation while keeping safety and environmental protection.

The rules were imposed after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion, which killed 11 workers and spewed an estimated 130 million gallons (493 million liters) of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

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