Aug 18, 2011: Markey: Shell UK Oil Spill A Reminder of BP Disaster, Need for Safety Legislation

Lawmaker is principal force in Congress pushing for oversight of the BP oil spill and response

WASHINGTON (August 18, 2011) – As Dutch Royal Shell today admitted the worst oil spill in the United Kingdom in a decade could be four times greater than it is now, Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), the Ranking Member of the House Natural Resources Committee, which has jurisdiction over offshoredrilling, issued the following statement. Shell has yet to disclose the cause of the spill and delayed for three days issuance of a public statement about the leak after it informed British authorities. Shell Oil has recently won approval from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) to begin drilling exploration in the Beaufort Sea in the U.S. Arctic.

“It has only been a year since the Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico was capped, bringing an end to the worst oil spill in America’s history. Unfortunately, we are experiencing another summer in which we watch a worst of its kind oil spill that wasn’t supposed to happen. Shell’s response to the UK North Sea oil spill calls into question the company’s ability to deal quickly and with transparency to the potential for a blowout and worst-case scenario in the Beaufort Sea, especially when drilling in the challenging conditions of the Arctic. This is yet another tragic reminder that we need to immediately pass oil drilling safety legislation in the U.S.
“Unfortunately, the Republican House majority continues to ignore the common-sense safety recommendations made by the independent bipartisan Commission that studied the causes of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster. They have failed to take action on H.R. 501, the ‘Implementing the Recommendations of the BP Oil Spill Commission Act of 2011', which I introduced in January. Similar legislation passed theHouse in the previous Congress, and its provisions largely mirror the key recommendations of the Commission.
“Rather than watch history continue to repeat the worst of itself with more environmental catastrophes, we need to immediately implement the safety reforms that will prevent another spill in U.S. waters.”