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Post-Gulf spill safety committee launched in US

by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) April 18, 2011
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar called on a new offshore safety committee Monday to spur cooperation between the government and oil industry to avoid a repeat of last year's Gulf of Mexico oil disaster.

"In the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, many have recognized the need for more collaboration among government, industry and academia to develop cutting-edge, effective and easily deployable technologies for prevention, containment and response," Salazar said at the first meeting of the Ocean Energy Safety Committee (OESC).

"This committee... will facilitate future cooperation and assist the Department of the Interior in implementing our offshore drilling safety reform agenda," he said to kick off the first meeting of the OESC.

The 15-member OESC was set up in the wake of the disaster that was set in motion on April 20 last year, when a rig leased by BP exploded off the coast of Louisiana.

Eleven men died and several others were injured as the blast was followed by a fire that ripped through the platform, which two days later sank 5,000 feet (1,500 meters) to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, causing BP's deepwater Macondo well to rupture and start spewing oil into the sea.

BP struggled to cap the well, which over the course of around three months spewed some 4.9 million barrels of crude into the Gulf of Mexico, sullying beaches as tourist season got under way, killing wildlife and closing large tracts of the Gulf to fishermen, depriving them of their livelihood.

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Despite Gulf tragedy, more spills possible: Allen
Washington (AFP) April 18, 2011
The United States cannot rule out another oil disaster in its waters, the official who led the response to last year's Gulf of Mexico spill told AFP, as the country marks one year since the tragedy. "We're never going to be able to prevent an event from happening out there," said retired Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, who has worked on oil spills since the 1980s and led the government respo ... read more

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