By Ben Geman - 05/19/10 03:09 PM EDT
“I am not going to point fingers at BP, the private industry, when it is government’s responsibility to set the standards, to do the inspections,” Mica added. His comments come a day after the Senate’s top Republican also criticized the administration’s oversight of offshore drilling.
But Mica’s comments drew a quick rebuke from committee Chairman Jim Oberstar (D-Minn.). “I think it is inflammatory to call it the Obama oil spill. And wrong,” Oberstar said, noting that approvals were given early in the Obama administration by career staff.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Tuesday acknowledged lapses in federal oversight, and has announced several steps in the wake of the spill to toughen environmental and safety reviews.
Such steps include a plan to divide Interior’s Minerals Management Service, which regulates offshore drilling and collects billions of dollars in royalties, by creating a stand-alone environment and safety agency.
But Salazar and the White House have also gone to great lengths to emphasize that Salazar quickly launched efforts to reform the troubled offshore agency when he took office, including issuance of new ethics standards.