20100427150956845 by mbaram

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628 Senate Hart Oh'ice Buu ding
Washington, DC 20610
Banking, Housing, and Urban
One Gateway Center
1 111! f'l.OOR
Newark, NJ 07102
208 White Horse Pike
Suite 18-19
Barrington, NJ 08007
(856) 757-5353
United States Senate
Energy and Natural Resources
Foreign Relations
WASHINGTON, DC 20510-3005
April 27,2010
S. Elizabeth Birnbaum
Minerals Management Service
U.S. Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N. W.
Washington, D.C. 20240
I am writing to ask that the Minerals Management Service (MMS) expedite its process, stand up to
industry pressure, and finalize its proposed rulemaking to require operators to develop and implement a
Safety and Environmental Management System for all offshore oil and natural gas development on the
Outer Continental Shelf. Until the investigation is complete we have no way of knowing whether this rule
could have prevented the tragedy at the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, but if this rule can make oil rig
operations safer then we should finalize the rule as soon as possible.
I understand BP and other major oil operators have opposed this rulemaking, but given the current
tragedy unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico it seems clear that tighter safety procedures are in order. Of
course this accident is not an isolated incident. MMS has reported over 500 fires resulting in at least two
fatalities and 12 serious injuries on rigs in the Gulf of Mexico since 2006. For the safety of American
workers, for the health of coastal economies, and for the protection of our environment it is critical to
ignore industry pressure, finalize this rulemaking without delay and without watering it down.
The Safety and Environmental Management System was crafted after the MMS reviewed previous
accidents and determined that this system could address the root causes of most safety and environmental
accidents among operators on the Outer Continental Shelf. The proposed rule would require each
operator to put in place a plan to evaluate potential hazards, monitor changes to operations and how they
might affect safety or environmental integrity, and also develop procedures to continuously ensure their
equipment is safe and in proper working condition. Each operator would then be required to have an
independent third party to audit these safety procedures eveiy three years.
Such a system will never eliminate the risks of another offshore oil spill, but it is time to finalize this rule
and make it as safe as we can for now.
ert Menendlz

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