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Expressing Support For Strengthening Safety Standards for Offshore Blowout Preventers and Emergency Shutoff Equipment

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. INSLEE. Mr. Speaker. I rise today to once again to introduce the Offshore Drilling Safety Improvement Act.

As we rapidly approach the one-year anniversary of the catastrophic Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which killed 11 workers and dumped hundreds of millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, we must confront the fact that Congress still has yet to pass comprehensive safety reform for offshore oil drilling. A year after toxic sludge drenched the Gulf beaches, communities are still suffering from economic ramifications of the loss of tourism and fishing.

Last year, after numerous congressional hearings and months of hard work, the House passed the Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic, CLEAR, Act, a comprehensive approach to make sure American jobs and coastlines are protected. Among other beneficial improvements, the CLEAR Act included important provisions requiring better technology on blowout preventers and other commonsense safety reforms. Unfortunately, the bill did not make it through the Senate, and over the last few months the House has yet to pass similar legislation.

That is why I am once again, with bipartisan support, introducing the Offshore Drilling Safety Improvement Act. This act strengthens the standards for safety equipment on offshore oil rigs by requiring the use of the best available technology for blowout preventers and emergency shutoff equipment. It will also require the Administration to consider independent and reputable science and expertise when determining appropriate equipment. It is one vital piece of the larger, comprehensive effort to create a regulatory system that protects American jobs, coasts, and communities.

We may never know for sure what exactly caused the disastrous leak but we do know that we must work together to protect our shores and local economies from future spills. Other countries around the world require more comprehensive emergency safety equipment. It is time that, in the places we decide to drill, we are using the best safety equipment available.

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