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U.S. Fails to Improve Offshore Drilling Regulation and Safety

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Oceana Report Card Gives Industry and Government Failing Grades


April 17, 2012
Washington
Contact:
Dustin Cranor ( [email protected] | 954-348-1314, 954-348-1314 (cell))




To commemorate the second anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, international ocean conservation group Oceana issued a report card today that shows how the United States government and the oil and gas industry have failed to effectively improve the regulation and safety of offshore drilling in the two years since the worst accidental oil spill in world history. According to the report card, even where actions were taken, Oceana found the efforts to be “woefully inadequate.”

“Politics continues to triumph over common sense. It’s outrageous that so little progress has been made to make offshore drilling safer,” said Jacqueline Savitz, senior campaign director at Oceana. “It appears that the government has done little more than require actions that were already being done voluntarily, even on the ill-fated rig – it’s as if they are letting the industry regulate itself.”

In the report, Oceana analyzes the progress made towards reaching the key recommendations of several high-level commissions and panels established in the aftermath of the spill, primarily the Presidentially-appointed National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling (the National Commission) and the National Academy of Engineering. Out of the nine categories of recommendations put forth by the National Commission such as improving the safety of offshore operations and safeguarding the environment, government and industry received six failing grades from Oceana. In three areas, the government received “D” grades, indicating that efforts were made, but that they were unsatisfactory overall. The report gives additional detail about specific actions evaluated in each category.

Category of Recommendations (from the National Commission)

Grade

Improving the safety of offshore operations: government’s role

D

Improving the safety of offshore operations: industry’s role

F

Safeguarding the environment

D

Strengthening oil spill response, planning and capacity

F

Advancing well-containment capabilities

F

Overcoming the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon spill and restoring the Gulf

D

Ensuring financial responsibility

F

Promoting Congressional engagement to ensure responsible offshore drilling

F

Moving to frontier regions

F

“Both industry and government get ‘F’s’,” Savitz added. “Without stronger regulations, and better inspection and enforcement, oil companies will continue to put profits over safety and there will be more problems. It’s not a matter of whether there will be another oil spill, but when.”

For more information about Oceana’s campaign to stop new offshore drilling, please visit www.stopthedrill.org.

About Deepwater Horizon Oil Disaster:

On April 20, 2010 the world watched as BP lost control of a well it was drilling using the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. For the next 87 days, 200 million gallons of oil poured into the ocean, devastating the region’s environment and economy, including fisheries and tourism. The spill also claimed the lives of 11 individuals and injured many more, and hundreds of sea birds, turtles, dolphins and other sea life were also killed. Two years later, the impacts of the oil to deep sea corals and other less visible animals and plants are still being uncovered.