Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Highlighted Actions and Issues [January 28, 2011]   [open pdf - 136KB]

"This report highlights actions taken and issues raised as a result of the April 20, 2010, explosion on the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig, and the resulting oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Readers can access more extensive discussions in various CRS reports, identified at the end of this report. Some members of Congress and stakeholders have raised a range of issues after observing the Gulf oil spill and response efforts. Selected areas of concern that may emerge in the 112th Congress include 1) the regulatory regime for outer continental shelf (OCS) oil exploration and development activities; 2) the liability and compensation framework created by the 1990 Oil Pollution Act; 3) technological challenges involved with deepwater activities; 4) response activities (e.g., the use of chemical dispersants) and decision-making. Future congressional activity may be influenced by several factors, including conditions in the Gulf region, independent inquiries, judicial actions, and the availability of data for further study. Members of the 111th Congress raised a wide range of concerns as a result of the Gulf oil spill. The House of Representatives conducted at least 32 hearings in 10 committees; the Senate conducted at least 30 hearings in 8 committees. Members in the 111th Congress introduced more than 150 legislative proposals that would affect policies related to oil spills, enacting three of these proposals into law (P.L. 111-191, P.L. 111-212, and P.L. 111-281). These laws direct appropriations and authorizations related to oil spill activity; they do not address the key policy issues raised by the 2010 Gulf spill."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R41407
Public Domain
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