GAO report released this week highlights lack of inspections, low fines, weak enforcement of even high risk wells


WASHINGTON (May 13, 2014) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, today asked the Interior Department what it has done and will do to increase well inspections and strengthen the safety regime of oil and gas drilling on public lands. The letter sent to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell comes after the release of a Government Accountability Office report that showed the Bureau of Land Management had failed to inspect thousands of “high priority” wells that could contaminate drinking water, among other criticisms of BLM’s data-gathering and oversight duties.


“Ensuring that oil and gas drilling on public lands is done to the highest safety and environmental standards should be a priority. But this report shows that much work needs to be done at the Interior Department before that priority is achieved,” said Senator Markey. “Our drilling regulators need to know that with increased drilling comes increased responsibility to protect our water, air, land, and climate.”


The full letter from Senator Markey to Secretary Jewell can be found HERE.


Then-Rep. Markey issued a report in 2012 found similar shortfalls at the Interior Dept. as the GAO report released this week, including infrequent issuances of fines from drilling violations, and tracking and enforcement of violations was erratic.