This week, a federal commission released its report on the causes of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and what can be done to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., said Wednesday that he was already working on legislation that would address one of those recommendations — raising the limit on the amount of damages for which companies responsible for spills can be held liable.
The Hill has reported that the new Republican majority in the House responded coolly to the report: House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings, R-Wash., said, without providing many specifics, that some of the ideas “deserve real consideration,” while those that could “cost American jobs, or delay future energy production will be viewed skeptically in both the House and Senate.”
Commissioners, including co-chairman and former Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., said they plan to press Congress to act during testimony later this month.
“It will override an ideological preference for less government, less government intrusion, less government cost,” Graham told reporters at the press conference Tuesday announcing the commission’s report.
“Members of Congress understand that this is not just a typical example of government regulating a private enterprise. This is government regulating land that the people of the United States own,” Graham added, noting this recognition will prompt an “exception” to opposition to additional regulation.
Ultimately it could be up to the Obama Administration to implement some of the measures, like strengthening the Interior Department’s oversight of the industry. The commission’s report says the department relied too heavily on the American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, in developing its safety standards, which “undermined the entire federal regulatory system”:
The co-chairmen of the spill commission made it clear Tuesday that a number of their recommendations could be implemented without congressional approval. And they made that case Tuesday afternoon to Obama at a White House meeting with key administration officials.
It’s unclear whether the Obama will move on the recommendations, but E2 reported late Tuesday that the president instructed his staff to analyze the commission’s suggestions.