Washington, D.C. (AP) - A new report says the Obama administration
should sharply increase the number of offshore drilling inspectors,
conduct more surprise inspections and stiffen penalties on
companies found to violate federal rules on drilling.
The report by the Interior Department's acting inspector general
echoes a report issued in September by a safety oversight board
convened by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. A copy of the new
report was obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press.
Salazar has said he hopes to hire hundreds of new inspectors to
supplement the 60 or so now responsible for about 3,500 drilling
rigs and platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. The drilling agency,
formerly known as the Minerals Management Service, was renamed and
reorganized after the BP spill.
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