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.