Issue Date: January 24, 2011
DOE Scientist To Run Offshore Oil Panel
Thomas O. Hunter, former director of Sandia National Laboratories, will lead a new independent science board established to advise the Department of the Interior on technical safety issues related to offshore drilling. The department made the announcement last week along with several organizational reforms intended to improve offshore drilling safety and oversight. The 13-member Offshore Energy Safety Advisory Committee would be permanent and made up of leading scientific, engineering, and technical experts to advise the Interior secretary on ways to improve offshore drilling safety, well containment, and spill response, according to the department. Other panel members have yet to be selected, but the department said they will represent federal agencies, industry, academia, the national labs, and other research organizations. Creation of such an independent safety committee was urged by the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill & Offshore Drilling in its recently released report (see page 24). Hunter was part of a federal science team that worked on capping the leaking BP oil well.
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