Today marks the two-year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. On April 20, 2010, the oil rig exploded, killing 11 workers. The platform soon collapsed beneath the water's surface, but over the course of the following 87 days, more than four million barrels of oil spewed from the blown-out Macondo well, coating nearly 1,000 miles of Gulf coastline and temporarily closing more than 88,000 square miles of some of the nation's most productive fishing grounds.
The Deepwater Horizon tragedy was a wake-up call, but some of my colleagues seem to have missed the sound of the alarm. In the two years since the disaster, I have offered bills to implement the safety recommendations of the National Commission on the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. I also have introduced the Big Oil Bailout Prevention Act to make sure that oil companies pay the full cost of damages resulting from future oil spills. Unfortunately, the Republican majority has refused to allow these much-needed reforms to be considered by the House of Representatives.
We owe the families of those killed two years ago a serious examination of the lessons learned in order to ensure that the ongoing drilling in the Gulf is as safe as possible. We owe the families and workers who depend on the coastal resources of New Jersey and elsewhere a promise that a similar accident will never take place off of their shores.