Marilyn Heiman, director of the Pew Environment Group's offshore energy reform efforts, issued the following statement on the final report issued by the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill:
“The United States should aspire to be the world's leader in safe drilling standards, spill prevention and response, but the commission's report makes clear that we are not. Congress and the administration can make energy exploration far safer by using the commission's recommendations as a road map.
“The commission has shown us that the rules governing how we produce oil and gas off our coasts are dangerously outdated, and oversight of drilling has been extremely lax. Funding for more inspectors and training is crucial to preventing future spills. Even during a time of budget reductions, this is not a place to cut corners when worker safety and the health of our oceans are at stake.
“We should not be complacent. Offshore drilling involves some of the most advanced technology on earth, yet spill prevention, containment and cleanup technologies have not kept pace. Strong standards for oil spill response planning must be in place wherever drilling is approved. Such standards must be regularly verified with inspections and capability demonstrations.
“These reforms are especially critical as the oil and gas industry is planning to explore in frontier areas such as the U.S. Arctic Ocean, where remoteness, extreme weather and ice conditions make cleanup extremely challenging. We cannot allow spills in our oceans and along our coastlines to be treated as just another cost of doing business. Americans from the Gulf to the Arctic expect and deserve far better stewardship of the oceans.”
The Pew Environment Group's offshore energy reform work is now a part of Pew's Arctic Ocean Program.