Federal Regulators Consider Expanding Authority Over Offshore Contractors

New Orleans, La. – The director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is telling oil industry representatives meeting at the Baker Institute at Rice University that new regulations aren't holding up offshore operations. Michael Bromwich says there are still unanswered questions about containing an accident.

"It would simply be irresponsible to approve new deepwater drilling before we have an answer to the simple but compelling question, what if there was a blowout, how would you control it? How would you deal with it so it doesn't produce a massive spill that pollutes the Gulf and soils its beaches?"

Bromwich is dismissing statements that BP's Deepwater Horizon blowout in April was a fluke.

"Evidence developed by the president's commission convincingly refutes the notion that the Deepwater Horizon was a one in a million event. They identify in their report 79 loss of well control accidents in the Gulf between 1996 and 2009. That's 79 - not one in a million."

Bromwich says the Interior Department is conducting the biggest reform of oil-industry oversight in U-S history. But he says he expects lease sales to resume for the Gulf of Mexico before the end of this year.
For WWNO, I'm Eileen Fleming