(9 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
US oil regulator ‘gave in to BP’ over rig safety
Firm allowed to drill without devising plan to cope with blow-out
By David Usborne, independent.uk, US Editor — Friday, 7 May 2010
As crude oil continued to pour out of control into the Gulf of Mexico yesterday, questions were being asked over the relationship between BP and regulators in Washington amid allegations that the company was allowed to drill the deepwater well without filing plans for how it would cope with a blow-out like the one now in hand.
HOUSTON/WASHINGTON, May 6 (Reuters) – U.S. regulators exempted BP Plc (BP.L) from a detailed environmental review of the exploration project that ultimately resulted in the deadly Gulf of Mexico explosion and subsequent oil spill, documents show.
BP had argued in a letter to the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), a White House agency, last month that the use of the exclusion for projects did not mean environmental impacts were being ignored, only that an agency agrees they are deemed to be minimal or nonexistent.
Kieran Suckling, the environmental group’s executive director [Center for Biological Diversity], said the incident showed the Obama administration’s support for increased offshore drilling had obscured Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s pledge to reform the MMS.
“Instead of protecting the public interest by conducting environmental reviews, his agency rubber-stamped BP’s drilling plan, just as it does hundreds of others every year in the Gulf of Mexico,” Suckling said in a statement.
Wasn’t the Minerals Management Service (MMS) already reprimanded for effectively giving away lucrative Oil Leases, in exchange for Illegal perks and favors etc, from the Oil Giants, back during the Bush Administration?
So why didn’t someone clean house? Why is the MMS still giving away the Farm, with no concern for the Environmental or Economic consequences? Why is our Future given away so cheaply?
Obama sheltered BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig from regulatory requirement
International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI)
By Tom Eley — 6 May 2010
Federal documents show that the Department of the Interior’s Minerals Management Service (MMS) gave BP a “categorical exclusion” on April 6, 2009 to commence drilling with Deepwater Horizon even though it had not produced the impact study required by a law known as the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The report would have included probable ecological consequences in the event of a spill.
The exemption came less than one month after BP had requested it in a March 10 “exploration plan” submitted to the MMS. The plan said that because a spill was “unlikely,” no additional “mitigation measures other than those required by regulation and BP policy will be employed to avoid, diminish or eliminate potential impacts on environmental resources.” BP also assured the MMS that any spill would not seriously hurt marine wildlife and that “due to the distance to shore (48 miles) and the response capabilities that would be implemented, no significant adverse impacts are expected.”
The MMS determined that a “deepwater spill” would not reach the coast and would not exceed 4,600 barrels.
The most conservative estimates now put the Deepwater Horizon spill at about 72,000 barrels and counting. The real figure could already be as high as 350,000 barrels, about 75 times the MMS’s worst-case-scenario prediction. In closed-door congressional hearings on Tuesday, BP executives admitted that the well could begin to emit as many as 60,000 barrels, or 2.5 million gallons, a day. At such a pace it would eclipse the size of the Exxon Valdez spill every five days.
The Obama administration’s delivery of a special exemption for Deepwater Horizon in April 2009 is the latest in a litany of examples that reveal the close collaboration between the MMS and BP.
Why is it, still Business as Usual, with Big Oil?
When will WE tap some of those Billion Dollar Windfall Profits that Big Oils rakes in year after year, at OUR Expense?
Such an ‘Energy Fee’, could go a long way towards Retooling OUR Energy Economy, for 21st Century needs.
But NOooo! Instead OUR Govt just Rubber Stamps whatever Big Oil wants —
What the hell — is Cheney still making all those ‘back-room deals’ with his Oily Kingpins, somewhere?
Inquiring Minds, want to know. Or at least we should.