Oil industry has roadmap to preventing future spills

Published 10:16 am Thursday, January 20, 2011

With the release Tuesday of its final report, the president’s commission on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has offered Congress and the White House a reasonable corrective course on deepwater drilling.

The accident that killed 11 workers and spilled more than 200 million gallons of oil into the gulf was foreseeable and preventable, the panel concluded.

And a similarly disastrous blowout will happen again unless the government and the oil and gas industry adopt tougher regulatory and operational rules to fix the systemic problems uncovered by investigators.

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Among other recommendations, the commission proposes an independent safety agency within the Department of Interior, more funding for the agency that oversees offshore drilling and a higher cap than the current $75 million liability for spills.

It is unfortunate the commission did not have the subpoena power to delve deeper into other aspects of the accident, such as why the blowout preventer failed on the rig. All the same, the report has exposed systemic failures in offshore drilling serious enough to support the urgent call to tighten oversight of the industry.

Akron Beacon Journal