Obama Administration To Split Drilling Oversight From Revenue Collection

The Obama administration yesterday announced reforms in the Department of the Interior’s Minerals Management Service (MMS), as a result of the Gulf oil spill.

The primary initiative is to split drilling oversight within the MMS away from revenue collection and the granting of drilling leases. 

"The job of ensuring energy companies are following the law and protecting the safety of their workers and the environment is a big one, and should be independent from other missions of the agency," said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

Other reforms are intended to provide federal inspectors more tools, more resources, more independence, and greater authority to enforce laws and regulations that apply to oil and gas companies operating on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).  

The reforms are the first of several potential changes the Department of the Interior is considering. Salazar is conducting a 30-day safety review at the request of President Obama and has assembled an Outer Continental Shelf Safety Oversight Board to provide recommendations for improved management and oversight of OCS operations.

The Obama Administration is also submitting oil spill response legislation to Congress proposing an additional $29 million for inspections, enforcement, studies and other activities. MMS’s budget for inspections for Fiscal Year 2010 is $23 million.

The legislation also would eliminate a 30-day congressionally-mandated deadline for the Minerals Management Service (MMS) to act on exploration plans that oil and gas companies submit. Changing this 30-day mandatory deadline to a 90-day timeline that can be further extended to complete environmental and safety reviews, as needed, would provide MMS more time to conduct additional environmental analysis on an exploration plan, the administration said.

(Visited 3,637 times, 1 visits today)

Post Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.