Rachel Maddow notes that as the awareness of the inadequacies of the safety improvements in deep water drilling is growing, the Department of Interior had decided to stop issuing press releases when they grant drilling permits.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) – With everything Big Oil and the government have learned in the year since the Gulf of Mexico disaster, could it happen again? Absolutely, according to an Associated Press examination of the industry and interviews with experts on the perils of deep-sea drilling.
The government has given the OK for oil exploration in treacherously deep waters to resume, saying it is confident such drilling can be done safely. The industry has given similar assurances. But there are still serious questions in some quarters about whether the lessons of the BP oil spill have been applied.
The industry “is ill-prepared at the least,” said Charles Perrow, a Yale University professor specializing in accidents involving high-risk technologies. “I have seen no evidence that they have marshaled containment efforts that are sufficient to deal with another major spill. I don’t think they have found ways to change the corporate culture sufficiently to prevent future accidents.”
He added: “There are so many opportunities for things to go wrong that major spills are unavoidable.”
By John M. Broder and Clifford Krauss
WASHINGTON – A year after BP’s Macondo well blew out, killing 11 men and spewing millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, the much-maligned federal agency responsible for policing offshore drilling has been remade, with a tough new director, an awkward new name and a sheaf of stricter safety rules. It is also trying to put some distance between itself and the industry it regulates.
But is it fixed? The simple answer is no. Even those who run the agency formerly known as the Minerals Management Service concede that it will be years before they can establish a robust regulatory regime able to minimize the risks to workers and the environment while still allowing exploration offshore.
“We are much safer today than we were a year ago,” said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who oversees the agency, “but we know we have more to do.”
Oil industry executives and their allies in Congress said that the Obama administration, in its zeal to overhaul the agency, has lost sight of what they believe the agency’s fundamental mission should be – promoting the development of the nation’s offshore oil and gas resources. Environmentalists said the agency, now known as the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, has made only cosmetic changes and remains too close to the people it is supposed to regulate.