The Presidential commission that investigated the Gulf oil spill blasted Congress for inaction last month as it issued a report card on industry government response to the massive BP oil spill. The Presidential panel has reformed itself as Oil Spill Commission Action and has received money from a foundation set up by the founders of Wal-Mart. But much of its work is being done on a volunteer basis. It’s not clear how long the group will stay together. It was reported that no decisions have been made in that regard. Florida Sen. Bob Graham, who co-chaired the Presidential commission, had this to say about Congress:
Across the board, we are disappointed with Congress’s lack of action. Two years have passed since the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon killed 11 workers, and Congress has yet to enact one piece of legislation to make drilling safer.
Congress earned a “D” from the seven former commissioners, who have reunited to press for action to improve drilling safety. The group accused Congress of failing to provide either leadership or financial support for safety improvement efforts. Congress’s failure to act stands in contrast to the Obama Administration, which has made important safety advances. Even the oil industry fared better than Congress in the report.
The Interior Department, which oversees offshore drilling, has taken a series of steps to improve safety and environmental protection, including separate leasing and environmental review functions from regulatory oversight. The oil industry improvements include installation of capping stacks in the Gulf of Mexico that can be used if an underwater well experiences a blowout. There were no capping stacks in place when the Deepwater Horizon disaster occurred in April 2010. Interestingly, another group, the conservation group Oceana, in a separate report gave Congress an “F.”
Only one proposal appears to have a chance in Congress. That’s a bill that would divert 80% of the water pollution fines from the disaster to Gulf Coast states affected by the spill. So far that proposal has been held up in the GOP-controlled House. It is critically important for that legislation to pass.
Source: Claims Journal
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