"If dramatic steps are not taken, I'm afraid at some point in the coming years another failure will occur, and we will wonder why did the Congress, why did the administration, why did the industry allow this to happen again?''
Having tossed this gauntlet, Bob Graham, former U.S. senator and Florida governor, wrapped up his job co-chairing the presidential panel investigating the April 20 Deepwater Horizon explosion that killed 11 men and dumped nearly 500 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
The commission, co-chaired by William K. Reilly, a former EPA administrator, issued its complete findings Jan. 11. The panel offered recommendations to make deep-water drilling safer -- with a warning that some ``would come with costs.'' The Obama administration, Congress and Big Oil should act. This spill could have been prevented, and they have it in their power to prevent another one.
The Deepwater Horizon was the biggest oil spill in U.S. history -- and heaven help our coastal communities if it is someday superseded by an even larger one. While a lot of oil has dissipated, plenty is still settling on coral reefs and choking other marine life. It could be 20 years before we know all its ill effects.
The panel puts most blame on British Petroleum, Halliburton and Transocean -- and decades of lax federal regulation. The Interior Department's Minerals Management Service, which permitted and regulated oil and gas drilling, provided no ``meaningful industry oversight,'' said the panel. In a post-spill overhaul, its roles have been separated in the new Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement so the permitter isn't also the regulator.
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