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Tuesday
Jan112011

Commission on BP Spill Calls for Tougher Regulations

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A "fundamental reform" of the oil industry and government regulations is needed to ensure that another incident like the BP oil spill doesn't occur, according to the president's National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.

In a report released Tuesday, the commission attributed the causes of the largest oil spill in U.S. history to a "culture of complacency," leading to human errors, engineering mistakes and mismanagement by BP, Halliburton and Transocean as well as a lack of stringent offshore drilling regulation.

The commission recommended the creation of a safety agency within the Department of Interior that would oversee all aspects of offshore drilling and bring regulation of the industry in line with the 21st century.

Funding for this agency would come from fees attached to the leases for offshore drilling in public waters. The commission called on Congress to boost funding and training for the Department of Interior to ensure that appropriate and serious oversight is exercised.

The commission also proposed the creation of a safety institute led by leaders in the oil industry to ensure best standards and practices are carried out; raising the current liability cap of $75 million for offshore drilling accidents; and the allocation of 80 percent of the funds collected from the BP oil spill to restoration efforts in the Gulf of Mexico.

The seven-member panel unanimously approved the 15 recommendations included in the report. Many of the recommendations will require action by Congress, but the administration may also implement some of the recommendations through executive order.

Members of the commission, including co-chairs former Sen. Bob Graham and William Reilly, former head of the Environmental Protection Agency, will testify before Congress on January 26.

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