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Project on Government Oversight




POGO Applauds House Passage of Whistleblower Protections for Oil and Gas Industry Workers

July 30, 2010 


Today the House of Representatives passed the Offshore Oil and Gas Worker Whistleblower Protection Act of 2010, H.R. 5851, sponsored and championed by Reps. George Miller (D-CA) and Markey (D-MA).  POGO strongly supports this measure to extend protections for the first time to the workers who put their life at risk every day in offshore drilling and are on the front lines of potential disasters like the Deepwater Horizon explosion.

"Workers should never fear retaliation for coming forward about health, safety violations, or other wrongdoing," stated Danielle Brian, POGO Executive Director.  "Providing oil and gas workers with authentic protections will help industry and regulators prevent another oil disaster. When this House-passed bill becomes law, its will be a huge step towards having more accountability in the dangerous waters off our coasts."

Modeled after other modern laws covering manufacturing, transportation and other employees, the offshore oil and gas whistleblower bill would:

  • Prohibit firing or discriminating against an employee who reports that he or she reasonably believes the employer is violating the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA), reports injuries or unsafe conditions related to the offshore work, refuses to work if injury or impairment or a spill could reasonably result or could violate the law and regulations under OCSLA.

  • Due process rights when complaints of violations are filed with the Secretary of Labor and access to a jury trial.  

  • Make an aggrieved employee eligible for reinstatement, back pay and compensatory and consequential damages.  

  • Require employers to post a notice that explains employee rights and remedies under this Act and provide training to the employees of these rights. 

Notably, the Obama administration issued an unqualified statement of support for the bill in advance of the vote. The Statement of Administration Policy (SAP): "All workers should be able to protect their health and safety by reporting violations of the law or workplace hazards without fear of retaliation from their employers."

POGO agrees, and the Obama administration also should issue a similar statement of support for legislation to adequately protect federal workers and contractors, the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (H.R. 1507 and S. 372).

POGO applauds the leadership of Reps. Miller and Markey and the work of their staff in advancing whistleblower protections. We urge the Senate to pass the measure without delay.

Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO's investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.

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