US Drilling Regulator Ignored Red Flags on Environmental Risks

"The federal agency responsible for regulating U.S. offshore oil drilling repeatedly ignored warnings from government scientists about environmental risks in its push to approve energy exploration activities quickly, according to numerous documents and interviews.

Minerals Management Service officials, who can receive cash bonuses in the thousands of dollars based in large part on meeting federal deadlines for leasing offshore oil and gas exploration, frequently changed documents and bypassed legal requirements aimed at protecting the marine environment, the documents show.

This has dramatically weakened the scientific checks on offshore drilling that were established under landmark laws such as the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the National Environmental Policy Act, say those who have worked with the MMS, which is part of the Interior Department."

Juliet Eilperin reports for the Washington Post May 25, 2010.

See Also:

"Obama Administration Conflicted About Relying on BP To Stop Gulf Oil Spill" (Washington Post)

"As Spill Gets Bigger, So Does White House PR Problem" (NPR)

"BP Hard To Pin Down On Oil Spill Claims" (NPR)

Source: Wash Post, 05/25/2010