BP Oil Spill Commission Final Report: Spend More Money On Regulation
The report faults BP and its contractors Transocean and Halliburton for cutting costs at the expense of safety, suggesting market-based enforcement of regulations won't work. Instead, the commission calls on Interior Secretary to create an independent offshore drilling oversight group under his authority.
The new group would “supplemented by a ‘risk-based’ regulatory approach” that forces offshore oil-and-gas companies to demonstrate that they have “evaluated all of the risks associated with drilling a particular well (or other operation), and are prepared to address any and all risks pertaining to that well.”
The source of the new funding is left open, but the report does call for raising some fines.
The panel concluded that the oil spill was caused by "preventable human and engineering failures were the immediate causes" and "was almost the inevitable result of years of industry and government complacency and lack of attention to safety."
The report calls for:
- a better-trained staff of regulators
- increasing the liability cap companies face for oil spills beyond the current one of $75 million (BP waived its right to the limit its payout to the cap after last year's spill.)
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration approval of where and how oil drilling takes place
- 80 percent of fines paid by BP go to restoring the environment, though reports have suggested the environmental impact of the spill have been less than originally feared
- more funding for the Coast Guard, so they can more efficiently respond to oil spills
The commission two co-chairs William Reilly and former Sen. Bob Graham will testify about the report before the House Natural Resources Committee on Jan. 26.