Congress Looks at Refinery Regulations

It is two years after the BP refinery explosion killed 15 people and injured 180 and this week congress, for the first time, took a closer look at how refineries are regulated. Sara Sciammacco has more from Capitol Hill.

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Members of a congressional committee came down hard on federal regulators and the oil industry trade group during hearings on the BP refinery explosion in Texas City. A federal investigation released earlier this week revealed the company did not have the proper oversight and inspections from the occupational health and safety administration.At the hearing Red Cavaney of the American Petroleum Institute was put on the defensive by Democratic chairman George Miller of California.

"We are regulated by OSHA and a number of other federal government bodies who conduct inspections to see if compliance is going... With all do respect Mr. Cavaney that didn't happen until this place blew up."

Investigators believe if new equipment had been installed the accident would not have happened. Carolyn Merritt is the CEO of the US Chemical Safety Board.

"The accident at bp was avoidable, in my view it was the inevitable result of a series of actions by the company."

Texas resident Eva Rowe pleaded with lawmakers to pass new legislation that would mandate companies to adhere to a strict set of policies. She lost her parents in the blast.

"It is of little comfort to us but we hope through this legislation to ensure more stringent worker health and safety standards that their deaths won't be in vain."

In the coming months, the committee will be looking into problems at all U.S. refineries it may lead to legislation that would toughen safety standards. For Houston Public Radio, I'M Sara Sciammacco on Capitol Hill.

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