"Sorry, Drilling Regulators: No More Oil Orgies"

"Last night, Michael Bromwich, the new director of the Interior Department's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement (formerly known as the Minerals Management Service), circulated an email to staffers outlining new ethics policies for employees who deal with offshore drilling, an attempt to reform his run amuck division's rep for being too cozy with oil and gas interests. Most of the new rules seem like a no-brainer, but given MMS' history, perhaps we should be grateful they're now on paper."

Here's how Bromwich's memo begins:

'District employees must perform their duties based solely on the facts and information they collect or that are presented to them in accordance with applicable regulations, without any coercion or improper influence from any industry personnel. Pursuant to the procedures set forth below, District employees must immediately report any situation or incident where industry personnel attempt to bribe, harass, coerce or improperly pressure or influence a District employee with respect to the performance of the employee’s official duties, including the issuance of Incidents of Noncompliance (INCs) or any other action considered or taken by the employee in accordance with applicable regulations.'

I wish the memo included a line more specifically saying, 'Hey, no more porn, meth, and oil parties,' but maybe that's too much to ask."

Kate Sheppard reports for Mother Jones August 31, 2010.


"Strict Rules for Regulators on Ties to the Oil Industry" (Wall St. Journal)

"New Policy Regulates Federal Officials' Ties With Energy Industry" (Los Angeles Times)

"Drilling Agency Imposes Conflict-Of-Interest Rules" (AP)

"Sex, Drugs and Oil: Corruption Scandal Rocks US Agency" (AFP)

"Rules Tighten for Oil Regulators to Avoid Favoritism to Drillers" (New York Times)

Source: Mother Jones, 09/01/2010