“Trust But Verify.” It was a phrase from the Cold War, but it is still good advice. The Deepwater Horizon disaster has shown that the federal government may have put too much trust in the oil companies and certainly had little or no ability to verify. The regulators are in a position of having to depend on the organizations they are regulating for the information needed to regulate.
The regulators apparently need a lot more in house information about best practices for deepwater drilling. If the government intends to effectively regulate deep ocean drilling, it needs the ability to go there and see for themselves. They need to be able to test equipment like blowout preventers in the actual environment where they are supposed to work. They need to have responses to equipment failure prepared and tested before there is an actual failure. They need a place where whistle blowers will be heard and their honest concerns addressed.
Whether the capability is invested in Coast Guard, MMS, or some other entity, the government needs the capability to take action, independent of the oil companies. The next question would be, who pays for it? The oil companies of course. They should pay to be policed.