Stem the Flow

06/17/2010 04:43 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Mark Udall Former U.S. Senator from Colorado; Board member, Grand Canyon Trust

The horrifying images coming out of the Gulf of Mexico serve as a powerful reminder that we must look toward clean-energy solutions to create American jobs and wean our nation off our dependence on foreign oil. But even while we work for a clean-energy future, we must ensure today's energy production is as safe as it can possibly be.

That's why today I introduced the Safer Oil and Gas Production (SOGP) Act, which will improve drilling safety technologies, including well control, well integrity, and blowout prevention.

Without requiring any additional taxpayer resources, my bill ensures that drilling operations will have the most advanced safety technology available -- protecting vital energy supplies and the environment simultaneously.

As we heard from President Obama on Tuesday night, this oil spill disaster has highlighted how important it is to begin the transition to a clean-energy economy and limit the carbon-producing fuels that pollute our air.

But that transition won't happen overnight. In the meantime, we must update the safety technologies that failed us on Deepwater Horizon -- technology that is often between 20- and 40-years-old.

To help make that happen, the SOGP Act revamps a current government program to ensure that companies build wells safely and use the best modern practices to quickly limit any oil spills.

This new initiative would focus on the:

  1. Development of improved cementing and casing technologies;
  2. Best management practices for cement casing and other well control activities and technologies; and
  3. Development of integrity and stewardship guidelines for well-plugging and abandonment, development of wellbore sealant technologies, and improvement and standardization of blowout prevention devices.
We must take this step now to ensure what happened in the Gulf of Mexico never happens again.

We also must ensure that BP pays its fair share for not only the cleanup, but also the lost wages and environmental damages to the livelihood of people across the Gulf Coast. That is why I called on the president to require BP to establish a $20 billion escrow account to support cleanup and recovery, to which BP has now agreed.

And it is clear that this disaster is a wake-up call that we must accelerate the push for clean-energy legislation on a national level. I look forward to the day when our nation relies robustly on renewable energy sources, has created millions of clean-energy jobs here at home, has weaned itself off foreign sources of oil, and has sharply reduced carbon pollution.

But we must also take immediate action to address the challenges we face today. That's why I'm making sure we're devoting our resources to developing solutions that will prevent disasters like this while we move toward our future clean-energy economy. I hope you'll help.

Help prevent a disaster like this from happening again. Sign on as a citizen cosponsor of the SOGP Act today!