Commission on BP Oil Spill Calls for Tougher Regulations

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"The commission is clear: Not only are more spills of this magnitude entirely possible, but taxpayers and coastal communities remain financially exposed. We cannot continue to coddle oil companies by protecting them when they destroy livelihoods," Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said. "The bottom line is that what we enact must ensure that if an oil company spills, taxpayers do not pay a dime for cleanup or economic damages and coastal families are made financially whole."

The American Petroleum Institute lauded the commission's recommendation for increasing funding for a federal safety agency but criticized the commission for casting doubt on the industry as a whole based on one incident.

"This does a great disservice to the thousands of men and women who work in the industry and have the highest personal and professional commitment to safety," Erik Milito, API Upstream Director, said.

Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., believes the recommendations do not adequately take into account the impact the spill had on all states along the Gulf of Mexico.

"The commission's report seems to favor funding for Louisiana to the detriment of the other four affected Gulf States. Clearly, Alabama's damage should be considered equally in restoration efforts and recovery efforts should not focus on the damage experienced by only one state," Shelby said in a statement.

"It is imperative that the administration not use this disaster simply to create further bureaucracy and red tape without improving safety and efficiency. The ultimate goal must be to restore the Gulf community, not use the spill to further political agendas."

But as Sen. Graham pointed out, the oil industry and government are responsible for ensuring another catastrophe like the BP oil spill does not happen again.

"If dramatic steps are not taken, at some point another failure will occur, and we will wonder why did the Congress, why did the administration, why did industry, why did the American people allow this to occur?"

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