Thursday, January 27, 2011

Graham and Reilly Report to Congress on Deepwater Horizon

The Co-Chairs of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling (Bob Graham & William Reilly) testified (attachments) before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday, January 26 at 9:30 a.m. to discuss the Commission Report, which concluded that:

 The explosive loss of the Macondo well could have been prevented.

 The immediate causes of the Macondo well blowout can be traced to a series of identifiable mistakes made by BP, Halliburton, and Transocean that reveal such systematic failures in risk management that they place in doubt the safety culture of the entire industry.

 Deepwater energy exploration and production, particularly at the frontiers of experience, involve risks for which neither industry nor government has been adequately prepared, but for which they can and must be prepared in the future.

 To assure human safety and environmental protection, regulatory oversight of leasing, energy exploration, and production require reforms even beyond those significant reforms already initiated since the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Fundamental reform will be needed in both the structure of those in charge of regulatory oversight and their internal decision-making process to ensure their political autonomy, technical expertise, and their full consideration of environmental protection concerns.

 Because regulatory oversight alone will not be sufficient to ensure adequate safety, the oil and gas industry will need to take its own, unilateral steps to increase dramatically safety throughout the industry, including self-policing mechanisms that supplement governmental enforcement.

 The technology, laws and regulations, and practices for containing, responding to, and cleaning up spills lag behind the real risks associated with deepwater drilling into large, high-pressure reservoirs of oil and gas located far offshore and thousands of feet below the ocean’s surface. Government must close the existing gap and industry must support rather than resist that effort.

 Scientific understanding of environmental conditions in sensitive environments in deep Gulf waters, along the region’s coastal habitats, and in areas proposed for more drilling, such as the Arctic, is inadequate. The same is true of the human and natural impacts of oil spills.
The purpose of the hearing was to review the report and recommendations, including any recommendations for legislative action, issued by the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling.  The hearing was held in Room 325 of the Russell Senate Office Building. (U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources).
View Senate Archive Webcast
They testified before the House Natural Resources Committee (1324 Longworth HOB) at 2 p.m.
View House Archive Webcast

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