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Jan 13 2011

Presidential Oil Spill Commission Final Report

Tuesday the Presidential Oil Spill Commission released it’s final report.  Some reactions from Google News.

Oil spill panel calls for tighter federal rules, new fees for drilling

By Juliet Eilperin and David S. Hilzenrath, Washington Post Staff Writers

Tuesday, January 11, 2011; 9:16 PM

The presidential oil spill commission said Tuesday that the federal government should require tougher regulation, stiffer fines and a new industry-run safety organization, recommendations that face an uncertain future in the new Congress.

Former senator Bob Graham (D-Fla.), one of the commission’s co-chairmen, said that the Deepwater Horizon accident was “both foreseeable and preventable,” and that Congress and the administration needed to enact reforms in order to prevent a repeat of the massive BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico last year.

“I am sad to say that part of the answer is the fact that our government helped let it happen,” Graham said. “Our regulators were consistently outmatched.”

Oil spill panel calls for reforms, fees

By Juliet Eilperin and David S. Hilzenrath, Washington Post Staff Writers

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Environmental groups immediately protested that the recommendations do not go far enough, and industry groups argued that the government should stop standing in the way of offshore drilling and production.

While calling for tougher government regulation, the commission also called for the oil and gas industry to establish a “self-policing” organization that would set and enforce safety standards. In addition, it endorsed a system used in the North Sea that calls on drilling companies to assess the risks involved in a particular well and tailor their operations accordingly.

University of Maryland law professor Rena Steinzor, president of the Center for Progressive Reform, said such deference to the companies would be “tragedy compounded,” adding, “If there ever was an industry that didn’t deserve to write its own plans, it’s this one.”

The Next Oil Spill: Five Needed Mandates to Head it Off

Marianne Lavelle, National Geographic News

Published January 11, 2011

As the oil industry forges deeper into riskier waters and other frontiers, both companies and government overseers need to radically overhaul their approach to safety, concluded the U.S. commission appointed by President Obama to examine the causes of BP’s disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The seven-member commission agreed unanimously that the spill was not caused by the actions of one rogue player, but by a systemic failure born of years of complacency.

“In the past 20 years, exploration moved into deeper and deeper and riskier and riskier areas of the Gulf of Mexico, resulting in abundant revenues for private companies and the federal Treasury,” said former Florida Senator Bob Graham, co-chairman of the panel.

Oil spill’s health effects raise concern, but are unproven, commissioner says

By David Hammer, The Times-Picayune

Wednesday, January 12, 2011, 8:20 PM

But in the end, the commissioners had to admit that their recommendation that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency establish stricter monitoring of the health effects of major spills is unlikely to help those who say their work in oiled waters and marshes has raised the level of carcinogenic benzene in their bodies and caused the onset of respiratory and intestinal illnesses.

A really deep and worthwhile article.

Berms and boom were largely ineffective responses to oil spill, panel reports

Jonathan Tilove, NOLA.com

Thursday, January 13, 2011, 7:35 AM

About of a third of the way through the National Oil Spill Commission’s 400-page report, there is a 43-page chapter on the oil spill response and containment efforts that suggests that berms and boom were pretty much a bust, collecting more headlines than oil.

About what you would expect, but confirmed in more detail.

Halliburton’s Legal Fate in Gulf Spill Still Uncertain

By LAWRENCE HURLEY of Greenwire, The New York Times

Published: January 13, 2011

The release Tuesday of the federal oil spill commission’s report into the Deepwater Horizon disaster raises further questions about when Halliburton Co. will be added to the list of defendants in the federal government’s civil complaint filed last month.

The Justice Department named nine defendants, including BP PLC and Transocean Ltd., when it filed its lawsuit in the Eastern District of Louisiana, but Halliburton, which played a major role in the Deepwater Horizon drilling operation, was conspicuous by its absence (Greenwire, Dec. 15, 2010).

The government is expected to announce criminal charges relating to the spill at some point, but so far, the focus has been on civil enforcement under such statutes as the Clean Water Act and the Oil Pollution Act. All the parties involved are also named as defendants in hundreds of private lawsuits filed by individuals and businesses affected by the spill.

It’s not entirely impossible we’ll see some perp walks, these guys did murder 11 people.

Deepwater Horizon Report Raises Further Obstacles to New Alaska Oil Drilling

January 12, 2011, 2:09 PM GMT

The report, which blamed specific mistakes by BP, Halliburton and Transocean as well as wider industry failings for the oil spill, said drilling can continue in the Gulf of Mexico with improved oversight, but questioned whether anyone would be capable of dealing with a similar accident if it occurred off the coast of Alaska.

There are, “serious concerns about the Arctic oil spill response, containment, and search and rescue,” in the chief areas of offshore drilling interest-Alaska’s Chukchi and Beaufort seas-the commission said.

“Current federal emergency response capabilities in the region are very limited: the Coast Guard operations base nearest to the Chukchi region is on Kodiak Island, approximately 1,000 miles from the leasing sites. The Coast Guard does not have sufficient ice-class vessels capable of responding to a spill under Arctic conditions,” the report said.

Gulf oil disaster has changed pace for drilling permits, official says

Jonathan Tilove, NOLA.com

Thursday, January 13, 2011, 12:02 PM

Michael Bromwich said that he is asked, “when will the pace of permitting return to the pre-April 20 level, and the honest answer is, probably never.”

So maybe some good news for the environment.

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