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Oil Spill Commission Mulls Stepping Up Environmental Reviews

Publication Date: 
August 25, 2010
Source: 
Houston Chronicle Blog
Author: 
Jennifer Dlouhy

Professor Meg Caldwell, who testified before the National Commission on BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, is quoted on the use of environmental reviews in the regulation of offshore drilling. Jennifer Dlouhy of the Houston Chronicle filed this story:

A top science adviser and the head of an ocean agency told the presidential commission investigating the oil spill today that the agency was not consulted over President Obama's decision to expand offshore drilling this spring.

Nancy Sutley, the head of the White House-based Council on Environmental Quality, said the group "had not been specifically asked for anything" before a new drilling blueprint was unveiled in March.

...

Meg Caldwell, executive director of the Center for Ocean Solutions at Stanford University, urged more robust environmental studies at every stage of the drilling approval process, including the completion of so-called "environmental impact statements" before the government approves companies' exploration plans.

If the studies build on previous assessments rather than repeating the same work, they would not have to be onerous or especially time-consuming, Caldwell said.