Lehrner also wrote, “President Obama has begun to implement some of these recommendations. I applaud his proposal to increase funding for the Department of Interior’s oversight of offshore drilling, the initial restructuring of the agencies that monitor offshore drilling, and the regulatory changes adopted since the disaster.
But the commission called for reforms that go beyond these steps. It is time for President Obama to commit to undertaking all the recommendations for how to prevent another oil disaster. NRDC views the following steps as particularly critical:
- Create an independent offshore safety authoritythat is insulated from the pressure to increase oil production and maximize lease sales.
- Strengthen the role of science and the interagencyconsultation in the Outer Continental Shelf decision-making process. NOAA, the nation’s lead civilian ocean agency, must identify areas that should be excluded from lease sales because of their high ecological importance or sensitivity.
- Update the EPA’s dispersant testing protocolsand require more comprehensive testing prior to listing or pre-approving dispersant products.
- Improve oil spill response plans, and verify that the industry can actually deliver on containment and clean-up methodologies.
- Develop and implement Arctic federal researchto provide a foundation of scientific information on the Arctic ecosystem; right now, we only have a narrow slice of data, focusing on just a few species at only certain times of year. “
Lehrner also adds, “These transportation solutions are critical. We must make offshore drilling safer, and the commission’s recommendations will do that. But we must also reduce the need to drill for oil in every riskier conditions—like the deepwater. The best way for President Obama to mark the anniversary of the BP disaster is to take concrete steps to do both.”
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