Mar 16 2011
WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) participated in the Environment and Public Works Committee hearing "Report to the President from the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling."
A copy of Sen. Carper's remarks, as prepared for delivery, follows:
"Next month will be the one-year anniversary of the tragic explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that claimed 11 lives and resulted in the largest oil spill in our nation's history, leaking over 200 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
"The significance of the loss of life that day will never be diminished, and I ask today that we all remember our fellow Americans whose lives were lost.
"In the last several months, we have learned a great deal about what did and an even greater deal about what did not work in preventing the Deepwater Horizon accident from occurring and in our response efforts.
"Our two witnesses here with us today were co-chairs of the President's National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, which released its findings in January of this year.
"One of my favorite sayings is – if it's not perfect, make it better. I think that our witnesses today would agree that there is a lot that is far from perfect on both the regulatory side and the business side of our country's oil and gas operations. And there is a lot we can – and must – do better.
"Now, some of those steps to make things better have already been taken in the wake of the oil spill. On the regulatory side, the Department of the Interior has separated the responsibility of offshore oil and gas leasing from the responsibility of ensuring safety and that of revenue collection, creating separate entities to independently manage each responsibility. These have been important steps in reforming the regulatory framework of offshore oil and gas operations.
"I welcome such reforms and the commitment by this Administration to act quickly in creating real change that will better protect our country from future oil spills and make safer our oil and gas operations.
"But I suspect that there is still more that we can do to ensure that future oil spills do not occur. I look forward to today's hearing to learn of more specific steps that we can take here in Congress to make sure that we are doing our absolute best to protect our citizens from future oil spills.
"In particular, I think that we can further improve our environmental review processes so that our assessments of the environmental impacts of oil and gas operations ensure greater levels of protection.
"I will also be looking to today's hearing to provide insight into what we should do about the per incident payout limit on the Oil Spill Trust Fund, an issue that Congress must still address.
"Lastly, I would like to add that while oil and gas will undoubtedly remain part of our country's energy supply for the foreseeable future, last year's tragic accident has underscored something that I have believed for years – the need to reduce the amount of oil and gas that we consume in our country and the need to invest in alternative sources of energy.
"I look forward to working with my colleagues here in Congress and with the Administration to make sure that we are also doing all we can to more efficiently use our oil and gas resources and to find ways to create a more sustainable energy future."