Jan 11, 2011: Markey Statement on Oil Spill Commission Report

Congressman Will Introduce Legislation Reflecting Commission’s Recommendations

WASHINGTON (January 11, 2011) – On time and under budget, the independent commission to investigate the Gulf of Mexico oil spill delivered its final report today on the disaster, and made recommendations to enhance oversight and reform the operations of the offshore oil extraction industry.

Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), who led a key Congressional investigation into the BP spill last year and co-authored the first legislation to establish an independent spill investigation, announced that he will introduce legislation reflecting the commission's recommendations combined with additional legislation co-authored by Rep. Markey which passed the House in August. Final enactment of that legislation was blocked by Senate Republicans.

Because systemic safety and oversight issues regarding the offshore oil industry persist, if we do not enact reforms, there will likely be repeats of this disaster,” said Rep. Markey, who is the Ranking Democratic Member on the House Natural Resources Committee. “The spill commission's independent assessment of America’s worst oil spill must lead to reforms, and today's release of the commission's report needs to end the objections that Republican leaders in Washington have raised to legislative action. Some key Republican leaders previously have said that we should wait for the results of this investigation before passing legislation to respond. The results are now in and now it is time for action.”

The major findings and recommendations from the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling mirror many of those included in legislation that House Democrats passed through the House last year on a largely party-line vote. Rep. Markey will introduce this legislation in the coming weeks, and it will reflect both the recommendations made today, and portions of the legislation passed in the fall.

Many of the commission’s recommendations were included in legislation completed by Democrats in the House during the last Congress. This new report will improve and bolster the long-overdue reforms needed to keep our offshore oil industry operating in a safe and responsible manner,” said Rep. Markey.

Rep. Markey, along with Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.), were the first to call for the creation of a spill commission, and co-authored legislation to provide it with subpoena power, which was overwhelmingly passed by the House but blocked by Senate Republicans. Rep. Markey also provided the spill commission with numerous documents and other correspondence developed during his congressional investigation, and some of these are included in the final report released today, especially related to the flow rate of the well and excessive use of dispersants.

The Natural Resources Committee will soon host the co-chairs of the Oil Spill Commission, and Rep. Markey will push for more investigative hearings into the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

I am encouraged that the Natural Resources Committee will hold its first hearing to focus on the Spill Commission's recommendations,” said Rep. Markey. “I hope that this hearing will be followed by others so that we can hear from the oil industry and the adminstration, and that the Natural Resources Committee will take up the legislative reforms that we need to respond to this disaster.”