(10PM EST – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)
From the New York Times…
The federal Minerals Management Service gave permission to BP and dozens of other oil companies to drill in the Gulf of Mexico without first getting required permits from another agency that assesses threats to endangered species – and despite strong warnings from that agency about the impact the drilling was likely to have on the gulf.
Those approvals, federal records show, include one for the well drilled by the Deepwater Horizon rig, which exploded on April 20, killing 11 workers and resulting in thousands of barrels of oil spilling into the gulf each day.
Under the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Minerals Management Service (MMS) is required to get permits to allow drilling where it might harm endangered species or marine mammals.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, is responsible for protecting endangered species and marine mammals. It has said on repeated occasions that drilling in the gulf affects these animals, but the minerals agency since January 2009 has 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.
And it wasn’t exactly a secret in Washington that Obama/Salazar were allowing BP to risk “catastrophic operator errors” in the Gulf of Mexico.
For example, on March 2, 2010…
Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva today announced that he and other lawmakers have asked the Minerals Management Service (MMS) to thoroughly investigate whether energy conglomerate BP is operating its Atlantis offshore oil platform – the largest in the world – without professionally approved safety documents, and to report its findings to Congress. The platform, located in the Gulf of Mexico, could be the victim of “catastrophic operator errors” if the documents are inaccurate or incomplete, according to BP internal communications.
Grijalva said a long record of previous oil spills highlights the need for continued environmental safeguards, however sophisticated drilling technology becomes. “From the Exxon Valdez spill to last year’s catastrophe in the Timor Sea, we have more vivid evidence than we should ever need that safety cannot be ignored by the oil industry,” he said.
And meanwhile the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration was also warning Obama/Salazar that the Department of the Interior was “dangerously understating the risk and impacts” of a major oil-spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration officials last fall warned the Department of Interior, which regulates offshore oil drilling, that it was dramatically underestimating the frequency of offshore oil spills and was dangerously understating the risk and impacts a major spill would have on coastal residents.
But NOAA’s views were largely brushed aside as Obama went ahead and announced on March 31 that he would open vast swaths of American coastal waters to offshore drilling.
Obama’s die-hard defenders claim his reckless “drill, baby, drill” expansion of offshore drilling was intended to win over “moderate Republicans” for pending climate legislation, and…
How is that working out for you, Barry?
How many votes did ignoring the catastrophic dangers of offshore drilling buy for you?