Senate Democrats

Senate Democratic Leadership, In Letter, Urges Administration To Order Immediate Inspection Of All Offshore Oil Rigs

WASHINGTON – Today, the Senate Democratic leadership urged President Obama to order “immediate and enhanced” inspections of all offshore drilling rigs and production platforms in the United States. In their letter, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Assistant Majority Leader Richard Durbin (D-IL), Democratic Conference Vice Chair Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), Democratic Conference Secretary Patty Murray (D-WA) and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ) wrote that the inspections should not be conducted with taxpayer dollars and that the Department of the Interior should also undertake a full review of its inspection and testing process.  PDF version of this letter to President Obama is attached to this release.
 
Key Excerpts of the Letter:
 
“Together, we can help transform what you have termed a ‘cozy’ relationship between regulators and the oil industry into one in which the American people can feel confident that their safety comes first, before the oil industry’s profits.”
 
“We believe that the first step in reestablishing this trust is an immediate inspection of offshore rigs and an overhaul of all equipment testing procedures.  Until we can ensure the safety of our offshore platforms, our nation’s coastlines will be threatened by the possibility of more man-made catastrophes.”

 
Full Text of the Letter:
 
May 19, 2010
 
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
 
Dear Mr. President:
 
As the Gulf Coast continues to be threatened by the lasting effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster, we are deeply concerned that this accident could be repeated elsewhere.   While we commend you for taking quick action to inspect deepwater rigs and production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, we request that you order immediate and enhanced inspections of every offshore oil drilling rig and offshore oil production platform in United States waters that could pose a significant threat to the environment or the economy, no matter its location or depth.  In addition, such inspections should not be performed at taxpayer expense.
 
The previous inspections of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig appear to have failed to reveal multiple, critical problems with the blow-out preventer (“BOP”).  As a result, we also request that you order an immediate top-to-bottom review of all inspection and testing procedures used to evaluate all offshore drilling equipment on offshore drilling rigs and production platforms.  We need foolproof testing procedures to guarantee equipment integrity, particularly when it comes to equipment like a BOP that must act as the last line of defense against disaster.
 
Thank you for your continued leadership in this time of crisis.  Together, we can help transform what you have termed a “cozy” relationship between regulators and the oil industry into one in which the American people can feel confident that their safety comes first, before the oil industry’s profits.  We believe that the first step in reestablishing this trust is an immediate inspection of offshore rigs and an overhaul of all equipment testing procedures.  Until we can ensure the safety of our offshore platforms, our nation’s coastlines will be threatened by the possibility of more man-made catastrophes.  
 
Sincerely,
 
HARRY REID                                                         
RICHARD DURBIN                                              
CHARLES SCHUMER
PATTY MURRAY
ROBERT MENENDEZ
United States Senators

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