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July 26, 2011 at 7:49 AM
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WASHINGTON, July 26 (UPI) -- A draft bill circulated by the chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee would create three new agencies tasked with overseeing offshore drilling.

U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, in a proposal aims to abolish the Minerals Management Service and create three agencies in its place. His measure would also establish a new undersecretary of energy, lands and minerals.

"Following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, it's evident that changes need to be made to the organization and structure of the federal government's offshore energy agencies," said Hastings in a statement. "Reforms must increase accountability, improve efficiency, promote safety and ensure the highest ethical standards of employees."

An additional proposal is for the creation of an advisory board overseeing work on the Outer Continental Shelf. It would also require employees conducting safety inspections to have at least three years' of experience in the energy sector and an accompanying degree.

Hastings said the reforms help expand domestic energy production while ensure that activity is conducted safely. He hasn't scheduled a hearing on the proposal.

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