Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), chair of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, released a report on the Obama administration’s handling of the response to last year’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The report is a culmination of an investigation Rep. Issa launched into the Deepwater Horizon accident, which killed 11 people and spilled five million barrels of crude into the Gulf. In a statement on the committee's website, Issa wrote, "The mosaic of evidence presents a troubling picture: much of the suffering and loss from the spill was made worse by poor decisions of administration officials."
The report titled “The BP Oil Spill Recovery Effort: The Legacy of Choices Made by the Obama Administration” criticized the President’s handling of immediate response and regulatory efforts to prevent another spill.
The report says the Obama administration should have used the Stafford Act to take federal control of the response instead of giving control to BP, the oil company who contracted the Deepwater Horizon to drill oil at the Macondo site.
The report also criticizes the administration’s moratorium to deepwater drilling. The report says, “According to many in the industry, this declaration provided little relief.” Issa says the moratorium, which was lifted in October 2010, was “replaced by a ‘permitorium,’” the slowing of permits issued for deepwater oil drilling.
According to the report, before the spill a permit took two weeks to obtain, but since the spill 13 months ago, seven permits have been issued.
One of the witnesses, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour (R), who recently announced that he will not run for president, said the moratorium had a devastating impact on the economy. It was a “huge economic loss,” Barbour said.
The report also found that “some post-oil spill drilling regulations are extremely burdensome but have no relevance to safety.”
Democrats on the committee have not yet endorsed the report and will vote within ten days to determine if they will do so.
Also testifying was Craig Taffaro, President, St. Bernard's Parish, Louisiana; Bill Williams, Commissioner of Gulf County, Florida; Frank Rusco, Director of Energy and Science Issues at the Government Accountability Office; and Cory Kief, President of Offshore Towing, Inc.