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Public Statements

Letter to The Honorable Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior, United States Department Of The Interior

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Menendez Calls For Federal Investigation Into U.S. Operations Of Oil Drilling Company Involved In Australia Spill

Energy Committee to hold hearing tomorrow on coastline drilling

U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, today sent a letter to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar urging an investigation into the safety and extent of Seadrill Limited operations along U.S. coastline. Seadrill was the drilling contractor on the oil rig off the coast of Australia that recently failed, causing one of the worst environmental disasters in Australia's history. According to their website, Seadrill currently has at least one rig in the Gulf of Mexico.

In his letter, Menendez raises concerns about the possibility of oil spills, even where the latest drilling technology is employed. Tomorrow, the Energy Committee will hold a hearing on coastline drilling.

"We have heard much conjecture by industry that oil drilling accidents cannot happen here in the United Sates because the technology is too advanced," wrote Menendez. "As a firm that is considered an international leader in drilling, with what is considered one of the "most modern fleets in the world" -- Seadrill has proven that accidents do, in fact, happen. It remains unclear exactly what caused the accident in the Timor Sea, and pending a comprehensive investigation being conducted by Australian authorities, it is clear that we must do all we can to ensure that this kind of tragedy is not repeated on our coasts.

"It is imperative that we understand the extent of Seadrill's operations here in the United States and ensure they are operating as safely as possible. I therefore request a full investigation of this firm and a careful review of Seadrill's compliance with American safety standards."

November 18, 2009

The Honorable Ken Salazar
Secretary, US Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20240

Dear Secretary Salazar:

I am writing to inquire about the domestic offshore energy production activities of the Norwegian-based multinational drilling company called Seadrill Limited ("Seadrill"). As you are aware, Seadrill is the operator of the Australian oil rig that blew out, spilled millions of gallons of oil for over 10 weeks, and then caught fire before finally being plugged on November 3. This spill in the Timor Sea was one of Australia's worst environmental disasters in history. We know that Seadrill is operating at least one rig in the Gulf of Mexico and therefore I am requesting a full investigation of Seadrill and its activities in American waters, so that a similar accident is not repeated here at home.

We have heard much conjecture by industry that oil drilling accidents cannot happen here in the United Sates because the technology is too advanced. As a firm that is considered an international leader in drilling, with what is considered one of the "most modern fleets in the world" -- Seadrill has proven that accidents do, in fact, happen. It remains unclear exactly what caused the accident in the Timor Sea, and pending a comprehensive investigation being conducted by Australian authorities, it is clear that we must do all we can to ensure that this kind of tragedy is not repeated on our coasts.

It is imperative that we understand the extent of Seadrill's operations here in the United States and ensure they are operating as safely as possible. I therefore request a full investigation of this firm and a careful review of Seadrill's compliance with American safety standards.

Thank you and I look forward to continue working with you to protect our oceans and coasts.

Sincerely,

Robert Menendez
United States Senator


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