Tag: 252 Mississippi Canyon Area

Obama/Salazar’s Illegal Offshore Permits Exposed

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.


Obama Could Have Prevented the Deepwater Horizon Disaster

Ken Salazar’s first pledge as secretary of the interior was to reform the scandal plagued Mineral Management Service (MMS), which had been found by the U.S. inspector general to have traded sex, drugs, and financial favors with oil-company executives. In a January 29, 2009 press release on the scandal, Salazar stated:

“President Obama’s and my goal is to restore the public’s trust, to enact meaningful reform…to uphold the law, and to ensure that all of us — career public servants and political appointees — do our jobs with the highest level of integrity.”

Yet just three months later, Secretary Salazar allowed the MMS to approve – with no environmental review – the BP drilling operation that exploded on April 20, 2010, killing 11 workers and pouring millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The disaster will soon be, if it is not already, the worst oil spill in American history.

BP submitted its drilling plan to the MMS on March 10, 2009. Rather than subject the plan to a detailed environmental review before approving it as required by the National Environmental Policy Act, the agency declared the plan to be “categorically excluded” from environmental analysis because it posed virtually no chance of harming the environment.

As BP itself pointed out in its April 9, 2010, letter to the Council on Environmental Quality, categorical exclusions are only to be used when a project will have “minimal or nonexistent” environmental impacts.

But how could Obama have known that Ken Salazar is a gung-ho booster of offshore drilling, instead of a responsible guardian of the public interest?

Let’s blame it all on Salazar, and BP, and Halliburton, and… anybody but Obama!


In 2006, while Salazar was in the Colorado Senate, he fought to get increased oil and gas leases in the Gulf Coast region, by sponsoring the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006.

Now some people are calling the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe “Obama’s Katrina,” but that characterization is completely unfair… to George W. Bush.

Because nobody claims that Bush could have prevented Hurricane Katrina, like Obama could have prevented the Deepwater Horizon disaster, by enforcing existing environmental law.