GAO: MMS Withheld Offshore Drilling Data, Hindered Risk Analyses in AK

"The Minerals Management Service has withheld information from regional staff in Alaska and has not had sufficient guidelines in place to analyze offshore drilling risks in the region, a government audit shows.

The Government Accountability Office found that MMS's Alaska OCS Region shares information selectively, against agency policy, which directs that information -- including proprietary data from industry -- be shared with all staff involved in environmental reviews.

Regional managers told GAO that the need-to-know policy allows them to properly protect proprietary information, ensures everyone involved in National Environmental Policy Act analyses works from identical information and helps them to manage staff time so deadlines can be met.

But staff analysts told GAO they believed that these information-sharing practices hindered their ability to complete sound environmental analyses under NEPA."

Noelle Straub reports for Greenwire April 7, 2010.

Source: Greenwire, 04/08/2010