BP Oil Spill Commission Report Recommends Reform, Calls for Strengthening State, Local Involvement

By Berndt, Carolyn | Nation's Cities Weekly, January 31, 2011 | Go to article overview

BP Oil Spill Commission Report Recommends Reform, Calls for Strengthening State, Local Involvement


Berndt, Carolyn, Nation's Cities Weekly


Earlier this month the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling released its report examining the causes of the disaster and recommending ways to improve the country's ability to respond to spills.

The panel's co-chairmen, Bill Reilly, a former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator under President George H.W. Bush, and former Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.), presented the specific findings and recommendations for regulatory and industry reform to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the House Natural Resources Committee last week.

The report concludes that industry and government were not prepared to respond to a disaster of this magnitude, noting that there had been no enhancement of safety measures or response technology since the Exxon Valdez tragedy 20 years ago.

Many of the commission's recommendations are in line with the NLC resolution, "Addressing the Response and Effects of the Deepwater Horizon BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico," particularly NLC's call for local engagement in all phases of the response.

The report states, "The response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster showed that state and local elected officials had not been adequately involved in oil spill contingency planning, though career responders in state government had participated extensively."

As a result, the report recommends, "EPA and the Coast Guard should bolster state and local involvement in oil spill contingency planning and training and create a mechanism for local involvement in spill planning and response similar to the Regional Citizens' Advisory Councils mandated by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990."

Last fall, President Obama issued an Executive Order creating the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force to coordinate the interagency and intergovernmental ecosystem restoration efforts.

The U.S. …

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