The federal panel investigating the BP oil spill opened their deliberations to public discourse today. The discussions continue tomorrow, and can be viewed live here.
The big news came from panel co-chairman William K. Reilly who, in previewing the commission’s upcoming recommendations, discussed the creation of an industry group to self-police lagging oil companies, similar to the group that exists in the nuclear industry. The proposed group would ensure that safety regulations were closely followed and would be completely self-financed by oil exploration ventures.
From the NY Times:
[Reilly] said it was in the self interest of the oil and gas industry to create an institute that will ensure, as he put it, “that the laggards in safety and environmental stewardship can be brought up to a higher standard by their peers.”
He added, “We are not dealing here with a sick or failing or unsuccessful industry, but with a complacent one.”
Mr. Reilly said the industry needed to adopt a new safety culture. But he also said that government needed to improve a regulatory system that he said had “failed utterly” to keep up with advances in deepwater drilling technology. He said the commission was likely to recommend regulatory reforms that go beyond those already being put into effect by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, and that the panel would ask Congress and industry to help fund the changes.
It will be interesting to see whether the industry giants decide to spend the money to police themselves. Such a measure could help ensure panels such as this are not needed in the future. There is no word yet on how the proposal will be received by the industry.
Full details of the commission can be viewed here.
Submitted by Patrick McQueen