US Exempted BP's Gulf Drilling From Environmental Impact Study

"The Interior Department exempted BP's calamitous Gulf of Mexico drilling operation from a detailed environmental impact analysis last year, according to government documents, after three reviews of the area concluded that a massive oil spill was unlikely.

The decision by the department's Minerals Management Service (MMS) to give BP's lease at Deepwater Horizon a "categorical exclusion" from the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) on April 6, 2009 -- and BP's lobbying efforts just 11 days before the explosion to expand those exemptions -- show that neither federal regulators nor the company anticipated an accident of the scale of the one unfolding in the gulf.

Now, environmentalists and some key senators are calling for a reassessment of safety requirements for offshore drilling."

Juliet Eilperin reports for the Washington Post May 5, 2010.

See Also:

"Congressmen Raised Concerns About BP Safety in Months Before Gulf Spill" (ProPublica)

"Government Regulator Downplayed Environmental Impact Of Spill" (Huffington Post)

"Warnings on Backup Systems for Oil Rigs Sounded 10 Years Ago" (Greenwire)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010