Lawmaker Introduced Legislation Reflecting Recommendations of BP Oil Spill Commission; Republicans in Congress Continue to Block Reforms

WASHINGTON (July 24, 2012) – Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee and leading investigative force in Congress during the BP oil spill, released the following statement after the Chemical Safety Board (CSB) issued a new report that found companies such as BP and Transocean, federal regulators and other oil industry interests failed to examine critical leading safety indicators, including checks on critical safety equipment and response to well control events, recommended in the wake of the 2005 BP Texas City refinery disaster. These indicators may very well have been “precursors” to the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster, says the report.
“Today’s report by the Chemical Safety Board reveals that BP failed to learn the right lessons from the 2005 Texas City Refinery blast, leading to the even more disastrous BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

“As one of the House Members who has long supported having the CSB conduct this study and pressed the oil industry and federal regulators to cooperate with the agency and comply with its information requests, I believe we need to convene oversight hearings on this important report. We need to ensure that BP and the rest of the oil and gas industry are instituting a safety culture that will prevent such disasters from ever recurring.  The CSB report suggests that, all too often, industry is looking at the wrong indicators for what risks a major accident.  That is a disturbing conclusion that our Committee needs to look at very closely.

“Just as importantly, we need to put new laws on the books that codify the safety reforms adopted by the Interior Department in the aftermath of the oil spill, and also do what regulators cannot do by themselves – increase the liability cap for such accidents, increase civil penalties, and ensure a steady funding stream for federal offshore safety regulators so they can do their job.  Democrats have offered repeated amendments to achieve this, but unfortunately the Republican majority that controls the House has defeated these efforts.  I urge them to reconsider their opposition so that Congress, like BP, is not later accused of failing to learn the right lessons from the Deepwater Horizon disaster.”