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Friday, May 14, 2010

U.S. Governement Regulatory Agencies Give Carte Blanche to Oil Companies

S. Elizabeth (Liz) Birnbaum assumed duties as Director of the Minerals Management Service (MMS) on July 15, 2009.
Headed for the Chopping Block?

In a scathing report published today, the New York Times lambasted the Federal Minerals Management Service for letting BP and other oil companies do whatever they wanted in the Gulf despite warnings of potential environmental dangers to threatened species and despite a permit process that appears to have been completely circumvented. As further evidence of just how gutless and pointless this government agency is, the report states that five new leases or permits have been granted for Gulf locations in the last week. The Deepwater Horizon rig burned and sank on April 21/22.

Moreover, since January 2009, "... the MMS approved at least three huge lease sales, 103 seismic blasting projects and 346 drilling plans. Agency records also show that permission for those projects and plans was granted without getting the permits required under federal law," according to the New York Times.

Full story here.

This is not a new "Obama Administration" development. The conflicts between scientists and bureaucrats and the apparent violations of the permit process date back at least five years. But, clearly, this is not "Change We Can Live With."

I suspect the Director of MMS is about to have a seriously bad day, and no amount of blame heaped on the previous administration is going to make it any better. Yesterday, MMS spokesman, Kendra Barkoff, tried to shift attention to the Bush era by saying, “Under the previous administration, there was a pattern of suppressing science in decisions, and we are working very hard to change the culture and empower scientists in the Department of the Interior.”

Nice try, honey. Now stand tall and take your medicine. The public is sick and tired of government ineptitude. We don't want any more "change we can live with." I think at this point we'll be happy with a little change that won't kill us.


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