Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Selected Issues for Congress [July 31, 2010]   [open pdf - 893KB]

"On April 20, 2010, an explosion and fire occurred on the 'Deepwater Horizon' drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico. This resulted in 11 worker fatalities, a massive oil release, and a national response effort in the Gulf of Mexico region by the federal and state governments as well as BP. Based on estimates from the Flow Rate Technical Group, which is led by the U.S. Geological Survey, the 2010 'Deepwater Horizon' spill is the largest oil spill in U.S. waters. The oil spill damaged natural resources, causing some regional economic impacts. In addition, questions have been raised as to whether offshore regulation of oil exploration has kept pace with the increasingly complex technologies needed to explore and develop deeper waters. […] Several issues are developing for Congress as a result of the 'Deepwater Horizon' incident. Questions include: What lessons should be drawn from the incident? What technological and regulatory changes may be needed to meet risks peculiar to drilling in deeper water? How should Congress distribute costs associated with a catastrophic oil spill? What interventions, if any, may be necessary to ensure recovery of Gulf resources and amenities? What does the 'Deepwater Horizon' incident imply for national energy policy, and the trade-offs between energy needs, risks of deepwater drilling, and protection of natural resources and amenities? This report provides an overview of selected issues related to the 'Deepwater Horizon' incident and is not intended to be comprehensive. This report will not be updated."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R41262
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