National Oil Spill Commission Releases Final Report

Today, the Presidentially-appointed National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling (aka “the spill commission”) released its long-awaited final report on their months-long investigation into the causes of the world’s largest accidental oil spill. The report was formally rolled out during a press event this morning. You can download it here, and view a multimedia presentation summarizing the report and the Commission’s recommendations.

The news conference included a fairly lengthy Q&A with reporters that featured some thoughtful and difficult questions for the commissioners. We tweeted what struck us at the time as some of the highlights of the session. Video of the news conference, which was broadcast by C-SPAN, should be available soon according to the Commission’s website.

One of the interesting quotes, from co-chairman William Reilly, was this helpful reminder: “Spills are predictable – they’re going to happen from time to time.”

Commissioners stressed that some of their recommendations can be implemented without any new legislation or funding – an important selling point given the renewed anti-regulation, “leave business alone” mood in Congress – but when commissioner Frances Beinecke was asked for the highest-priority recommendation of the commission she didn’t miss a beat:

Adequately fund the Interior Department so they can effectively enforce the rules and regulations that govern offshore oil and gas drilling.

That sure seems like a no-brainer, but when it comes to politics you can’t assume anything. I hope Congress is paying attention.

Stay tuned – there are other investigations still underway, so this is by no means the last word on the BP spill. We’re particularly interested in what the well-respected Chemical Safety Board turns up.