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US Government Mismanagement of Oil, Gas Resources Threatens More Disasters

© AP Photo / Orlin WagnerOil field workers drill into the Gypsum Hills near Medicine Lodge, Kan.
Oil field workers drill into the Gypsum Hills near Medicine Lodge, Kan. - Sputnik International
The US Department of the Interior has failed to correct major problems in its oversight of oil and gas extraction, potentially threatening more disasters like the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon rig explosion, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report said.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The Bureau's ongoing restructuring of its environmental compliance program reverses actions taken to address post-Deepwater Horizon incident concerns, and risks weakening its environmental compliance oversight capabilities.

"The Department of the Interior's Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement’s (BSEE) ongoing restructuring has made limited progress in enhancing the bureau's investigative capabilities," the report, issued on Monday, admitted.

The Bureau continues to rely on pre-Deepwater Horizon incident policies and procedures and has not completed a policy outlining investigative responsibilities or updated procedures for investigating incidents, the GAO pointed out.

"The use of outdated investigative policies and procedures is a long-standing deficiency. Post-Deepwater Horizon incident investigations found that Interior's policies and procedures did not include requirements for planning investigations [and] gathering and documenting evidence."

The Deepwater Horizon was an ultra-deep water drilling rig that exploded while operating at the Macondo prospect in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010 killing 11 crewmen. The oil well gushed out of control for weeks causing the largest oil spill in domestic waters in US history.

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