The President’s Oil Spill Commission, who was charged with determining the cause of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster and making recommendations to guard against future oilspills, released their report today.
The report is a scathing indictment of the industry for failing to have adequate response plans in place for rig blow outs and of the government for decades of lax oversight. The report makes it clear that the Deepwater Horizon spill is not an isolated incident, but the result of a systemic failure of the management and oversight of the offshore oil drilling industry.
Further, the report makes clear current practices put us in dire risk of another spill and calls for serious reform of the governments oversight of the oil industry. The report’s conclusions can be summarized in three broad categories: managerial foul-ups, systemic failure and regulatory weakness. The report also suggests that the liability cap for oil spills should be dramatically increased and that most of the mitigation funding for the spill go the Gulf for restoration.
A more thorough summary of the recommendations can be found here
The report makes it clear that Obama’s decision to prohibit leases in the continental US is a wise decision and is necessary to avoid another spill of this magnitude along our coasts.
See the statement released by Environment America and the Surfrider Foundation here.
More on the Oil Spill Commission and the full report can be found on their official site here.
More stories on the commission report:
Failure in the Gulf
Oil and Gas Journal – Spill panel: More government, industry reforms needed
Panel Spreads Blame For BP Oil Rig Explosion
Why have a disaster plan if your technology is 100% safe?
Apparently, that was the attitude the oil industry who seem to believe that the most important technology needed for a disaster plan is a xerox machine.
You think we are kidding?
At today’s congressional hearing, Congressman Markey quipped, the only technology the companies seemed to be relying on in these plans was a Xerox machine.
Crude oil contains a brew of substances dangerous to human health, including chemicals such as benzene that are known to cause cancer in humans, and others that are toxic to the brain and central nervous system, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
“There is overwhelming evidence that many of the compounds found in crude oil are dangerous,” said James Giordano, director of the Center for Neurotechnology Studies at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies in Arlington, Va.
A lot of the hazard will depend on the degree of exposure — placing cleanup workers, not surprisingly, at the highest risk. Brief contact with crude oil is not considered harmful, but sustained exposure or high enough doses of the chemicals can sicken people rapidly, said Dr. Cyrus Rangan, assistant medical director for the California Poison Control System.
“If you breathe them or ingest them or absorb them through skin they can cause headaches, fatigue, dizziness, even changes in mental status,” Rangan said. “The severity depends on how much you are exposed to. The longer you out there and being exposed, the higher the risk.”
If you are considering getting involved with any clean up activities associated with the Gulf oil spill, please read our Oil Spill Volunteer Toolkit first.