Oil Spill Commissioners Ask for Legislation Implementing Recommendations

For Immediate Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Oil Spill Commission members, Dr. Don Boesch and Terry Garcia, asked two House Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittees to legislate recommendations made by the Oil Spill Commission that investigated the causes of BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster.  The Commission’s report, released one month ago, contains dozens of important recommendations for industry and the government.

Mike Gravitz, Oceans Advocate of Environment America said the following: 

“Protecting our oceans must be the highest priority and this Administration is moving in that direction. Environment America maintains that there is no way to conduct offshore oil drilling safely. We need to transition off oil. Until we do, we support many of the recommendations made by the Commissioners today.  

“The Oil Spill Commission produced a remarkably insightful and useful report to fix both the industry and government’s approach to this business.  The report clearly states that if we want to reduce the likelihood of another BP-like catastrophe, Congress must pass legislation bringing the key recommendations into law. 

“I hope today’s hearings don’t show Congress backpedaling from a real response to the largest oil spill in U.S. history. The American people, especially those in the Gulf, rightly expect Congress to reduce the likelihood of the next big oil spill and have a liability system in place to pay for the inevitable damage to lives, livelihoods and the environment. 

“Especially important are: eliminating the cap on liability for economic damages from spills; providing more resources and time for permit reviews, environmental analysis, inspections and enforcement; giving a formal role to NOAA – the nation’s ocean agency – in determining whether and where to allow offshore leasing; and more independence for environmental reviews within the Department of Interior. 

“Big Oil is engaged in a campaign of big whining despite its huge profits. They should focus their efforts on compensating the people of the Gulf and ensuring that while dirty drilling continues it is conducted as safely as possible.”