Thursday, September 9, 2010

Outer Continental Shelf Safety Oversight Board: Report to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar

This report of the U.S. Department of the Interior, Outer Continental Shelf Safety Oversight Board Report to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, dated September 1, 2010, presents a complex of issues and recommendations ranging from improved consistency and communication of Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement's (BOEMRE) operational policies to technology improvements and day-to-day management in the field.

Inspections and enforcement—from personnel training to the deterrent effect of fines and civil penalties—also need attention. In addition, BOEMRE must be diligent to achieve the stewardship balance between development and environmental responsibilities envisioned in its statutes.

BOEMRE responsibilities have expanded in scope and complexity to such an extent that BOEMRE must increase and develop its staff to meet new challenges. Above all, BOEMRE must pursue, and industry must engage in, a new culture of safety in which protecting human life and preventing environmental disasters are the highest priority, with the goal of making leasing and production safer and more sustainable.

Forging a new safety culture cannot be achieved by government alone. The Board recognizes that the federal agency for offshore management must carry the flag for safety culture, through its own actions, through its rules and enforcement, and through its establishment of priorities.

However, the Board believes that industry, as the lead player in offshore oil and gas development, has a pivotal role to play as well. Indeed, industry must make a widespread, forceful and long-term commitment to cultivating a serious approach to safety that sets the highest safety standards and consistently meets them.

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