The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Kate Fried, Food & Water Watch: (202) 683-4905, kfried(at)fwwatch(dot)org

Food & Water Watch Calls on Feds to Shutter all BP Deepwater Drilling in the Gulf Until Proven Safe

Policy Recommendations Outline Suggested Reforms of Offshore Oil Industry


In the wake of the large-scale devastation afflicted on the Gulf of
Mexico and Gulf Coast communities by the Horizon oil spill, the national
consumer advocacy group Food & Water Watch today announced a new
set of policy recommendations to prevent future similar catastrophes and
to overhaul the federal government's oversight of the offshore oil and
gas drilling industry.

The organization's seven-point plan calls for:

  • Immediately closing BP's Atlantis project as well as its estimated
    17 other deepwater drilling production operations in the Gulf of Mexico
    until an independent third party has proven that they are operating with
    complete sets of engineer-approved drawings for their above and
    below-sea components, as required by law.
  • Inspecting the more than 141 deepwater oil producing projects
    operating in the Gulf of Mexico for complete engineer-approved
  • Debarring BP from any future contracts with the federal government.
  • Removing the new bureau of Safety and Environment Enforcement from
    the auspices of the U.S. Mineral Management Service (MMS) and reforming
    it as an independent agency organized to protect worker safety and
    marine environments.
  • Eliminating the liability cap on damages paid by oil companies.
  • Evaluating EPA's National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution
    Contingency Plan regulations and statutes, including the process by
    which dispersants such as COREXIT9500A are allowed to be used.
  • Ensuring that the recently announced Presidential Commission, which
    is investigating everything from the causes of the spill to the safety
    of offshore oil drilling and the functioning of government agencies that
    oversee drilling, remains independent of industry influence.

"The current state of emergency in the Gulf of Mexico, combined with
the fact that BP's Atlantis platform continues to operate without a
large percentage of necessary engineer-approved documents for its
below-water components, illustrates the need for a drastic revamping of
the regulatory environment governing the offshore oil industry," said
Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. "Because
the U.S. cannot afford another oil spill in its waters, the federal
government needs to enact policy reforms such as the ones we recommend
to protect Americans from future calamities afflicted by this reckless,
profit-hungry industry."

Food & Water Watch mobilizes regular people to build political power to move bold and uncompromised solutions to the most pressing food, water, and climate problems of our time. We work to protect people's health, communities, and democracy from the growing destructive power of the most powerful economic interests.

(202) 683-2500