U.S. failing in offshore oil safety

April 18, 2012 at 7:45 AM

WASHINGTON, April 18 (UPI) -- A near-failing grade on the safety of oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico highlights the need to pass critical reforms, a former Democratic lawmaker said.

Former members of a commission examining the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico announced, in a report, that they were encouraged by action taken by the U.S. Department of Interior to respond to any potential oil spill. It lauded the establishment of non-profit corporations tasked with deploying capping systems that would stop blown wells from leaking.

Former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., said despite action taken by the White House, Congress hasn't acted on the commission's recommendations.

"Across the board, we are disappointed with Congress's lack of action," he said. "Two years have passed since the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon killed 11 workers and Congress has yet to enact one piece of legislation to make drilling safer."

U.S. Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee, said many of the measures drafted by Republicans ran counter to Graham's recommendations.

"This report card is an important reminder of the need to pass critical reforms to protect the workers, environment and economy of the gulf that House Republicans continue to block," he said in a statement.

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., chairman of the House committee, said during testimony on high domestic energy prices that some relief would come by "increasing domestic oil production and cutting red tape."

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