Interior's Offshore Drilling Plan Is a Good First Step That Must Go Further, Says NRDC

WASHINGTON (January 19, 2011) -- Interior Secretary Ken Salazar detailed his plans today for restructuring government oversight of offshore drilling. Regan Nelson, senior oceans advocate for the Natural Resources Defense Council, made the following statement:

"Creating a Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement is a good first step toward strengthening the protections we need to keep our workers and waters safe.

"The department, though, needs to go further to ensure that safety and environmental concerns are insulated from the kind of political pressure that has compromised this crucial mission in the past. As planned, the new bureau would operate under the same assistant secretary who oversees leasing duties. Instead, the safety and environmental agency should report directly to the Secretary and be led by a Senate-confirmed fixed-term appointee.

"That is what the independent oil spill commission recommended last week. And that is what is needed to protect our workers, waters and wildlife."