House Panel Wants To Bar Expansion of Offshore Drilling Oversight

"House Republicans want to drop one of the key components of the Interior Department's overhaul of the troubled agency responsible for oversight of offshore drilling -- expanding the enforcement of regulations to contractors.

Though BP and rig owner Transocean have been largely blamed for last year's Deepwater Horizon disaster, contractor Halliburton has come under scrutiny for its cementing work on the job. The presidential commission investigating the tragedy uncovered documents showing that several separate tests by Halliburton indicated the cement was "unstable," yet didn't report all of those results to BP. Halliburton, which has claimed that those were preliminary tests, did admit that it did not perform a stability test on the actual cement recipe used on the well. The oil services giant has rejected blame for the failed cement job and pointed the finger at BP.

In the wake of the tragedy, Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Regulation and Enforcement expanded its rules beyond just the oil companies that hold the drilling leases. But a committee report released with Interior's fiscal 2012 spending bill limits that expansion (h/t The Hill)."

Marcus Baram reports for The Watchdog in the Huffington Post July 12, 2011.

SEE ALSO:

"House Republicans Seek To Block Wider Enforcement of Offshore Drilling Rules" (E2 Wire)

"Obama Hopes To Simplify Drilling Decisions in Alaska" (McClatchy)

"US Budget Cuts May Slow Alaska Drilling -- Official" (Reuters)

"Drilling-Ban Proposal in National Forest Draws Fire" (Wall St. Journal)

Source: Huffington Post, 07/13/2011