Bingaman on the Joint Investigation Report

September 14, 2011
05:03 PM
Senator Jeff Bingaman, Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, today welcomed the final report of the Deepwater Horizon Joint Investigation Team as a timely reminder of the importance of federal regulation and enforcement over the complex activities involved in offshore energy production.  He released the following statement:
“It is impossible to read this report without being struck by the extreme difficulty and complexity of producing oil and gas thousands of feet below the sea floor, and of the dire consequences to all Americans of these companies’ failure to maintain safe operations.  While the industry must be held responsible for ensuring the safety of its operations, this report also is a reminder of the critically important role played by the agency responsible for overseeing the safety of these operations.
“This report concludes that specific regulations were violated by the companies involved and recommends more stringent regulation to ensure safe operations.  I am glad that the Department of the Interior already has taken many of the steps recommended by the Investigation, including reorganization of the agency responsible for oversight of these operations and issuance of more stringent safety rules. 
“A key issue going forward, though, is whether Congress will provide the funding needed by regulators to enforce these safety rules and to prevent violations such as the ones that caused the Deepwater Horizon disaster.  As Deepwater Horizon has demonstrated, the costs to the country of unsafe oil and gas operations – in human and in economic terms – are enormous.”          
The panel was convened days after the Deepwater Horizon accident by the Secretaries of the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of the Interior.  The panel had significant investigative tools available, hearing from over 80 witnesses and issuing 90 subpoenas for over 400,000 pages of evidence.  Its report provides significant detail about the causes of the blowout of the Macondo well, and finds evidence of several regulatory violations by the companies involved.  It also provides detailed recommendations for prevention of such accidents in the future.  
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