Monday, April 25, 2011

Federal Oil and Gas: Interagency Committee Needs to Better Coordinate Research on Oil Pollution Prevention and Response -- GAO

This Government Accountability Office report (GAO-11-319), dated March 25, 2011, finds that "Congress passed the Oil Pollution Act in 1990 (OPA). Among other things, OPA established the Interagency Coordinating Committee on Oil Pollution Research (interagency committee) to coordinate an oil pollution research program among federal agencies, including developing a plan, having the National Academy of Sciences review that plan, and reporting to Congress on the interagency committee's efforts biennially. The 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and fire led to the largest oil spill in U.S. history, raising new concerns about the effects of oil spills." The GAO recommends that "In order to better identify oil pollution risks, determine research priorities, and coordinate research efforts, the Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard should direct the chair of the interagency committee to evaluate the contributions of past research to current knowledge on oil pollution prevention and response and report the results of these evaluations, including remaining gaps in knowledge, in its biennial reports to Congress."

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