In response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar Tuesday proposed establishing an "Ocean Energy Safety Institute" to promote research and development (R&D) and training in offshore drilling safety, blowout containment and spill response.

"The Deepwater Horizon tragedy highlighted the importance of raising the bar on offshore drilling safety, practices and technology," he said. "The institute would serve to coordinate and institutionalize the lessons and strategies learned from the oil spill so that the United States can stay at the forefront of drilling safety, containment and spill response."

The institute being proposed would be a collaborative initiative involving the federal government -- in particular, the Department of Energy and the U.S. Coast Guard -- industry, academia and scientific experts, according to Salazar. The institute would be housed at Interior because of the agency's regulatory responsibilities in the offshore.

The objectives of the ocean institute would include:

Salazar has asked potential partners in government, industry and others to comment on the proposal by Nov. 30.

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