More information about the BP Gulf of Mexico disaster

Democracy Now has a concise overview of the BP Gulf oil disaster, along with an
with Kieran Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity. Among other things, she says

Well, when a federal government is going to approve a project, it has to go through an environmental review. But for projects that have very, very little impact like building an outhouse or a hiking trail, they can use something called a categorical exclusion and say there’s no impact here at all so we don’t need to spend energy or time doing a review. Well, we looked at the oil drilling permits being issued by the Minerals Management Service in the Gulf, and we were shocked to find out that they were approving hundreds of massive oil drilling permits using this categorical exclusion instead of doing a full environmental impact study. And then, we found out that BP’s drilling permit—the very one that exploded—was done under this loophole and so it was never reviewed by the federal government at all. It was just rubber-stamped. “

Note that the exemption from the need to secure environmental review for BP drilling projects was issued by MMS under Secretary Salazar/President Obama. Why would the Obama administration allow drilling for oil in the Gulf exempting oil companies from the need to secure envrironmental reviews? The cynic in me says that a look at campaign donations from the oil industry and oil industry lobbying efforts directed towards the Obama administration would reveal a tight relationship. Is this corruption?

The Center for Public Integrity writes

“An eye-opening series of reports in fall 2008 by the Department of the Interior’s inspector general disclosed a stunning level of corruption at the Minerals Management Service (MMS), and a coziness with industry officials that included a “culture of substance abuse and promiscuity” at the agency.”

“The inspector general concluded that officials in the MMS Royalty-in-Kind program “frequently consumed alcohol at industry functions, had used cocaine and marijuana, and had sexual relationships with oil and gas company representatives.”

Right up W’s alley one would presume. And a monument to the former VP’s flair at destroying the fundament of the U.S. society. Questions which give rise to yet another: why does the Obama administration persist in following this dark legacy of deregulation?

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