Senate Democrats Call on Obama to Improve Inspections of Deepwater Oil Rigs

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WASHINGTON -- Senate Democrats are calling for the Obama administration to improve inspections of deepwater oil rigs such as the one that exploded last month in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 people and spilling millions of gallons (liters) of oil.

In a letter to President Barack Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other Democrats urged immediate and enhanced inspections of all offshore drilling rigs and platforms that could pose a significant environmental threat.

The lawmakers said the oil companies should pay for the emergency inspections, not taxpayers.
The letter said inspections by the Minerals Management Service of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig were inadequate, failing to uncover problems with the so-called blowout preventer.