Ensuring Adequate Resources



The Commission made 5 recommendations pertaining to ensuring both that the government would have sufficient resources to support proper oversight of offshore drilling and that there would be adequate funds to respond to spills:


The offshore energy industry should pay the costs associated with its regulatory oversight, just like other regulated industries do.  This includes the costs of agencies such as the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement charged with overseeing the offshore energy operations  ensuring their safety and compliance with environmental protection requirements  and also the incremental costs of other agencies that are also involved in overseeing offshore operations.


Congress should significantly increase the liability cap and financial responsibility requirements for offshore facilities.


Congress should increase the limit on per-incident payouts from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund.


The Department of the Interior should enhance auditing and evaluation of offshore drilling activities by individual participants (operators, drillers, other service companies) when determining their financial responsibility levels.


Congress should increase and maintain its awareness of the risks of offshore drilling by designating specific subcommittees to oversee offshore safety and environmental risks, by requiring the Department of the Interior and its Inspector General to submit annual reports to Congress on the subject, and by requiring appropriate congressional committees to hold annual oversight hearings on the state of technology and safety.