Obama Administration Still Granting BP Environmental Study Waivers

Monday, May 10, 2010

Despite what some are calling the worst ecological disaster in recent U.S. history, the much-criticized federal agency that oversees oil exploration has continued to exempt petroleum companies from having to perform in-depth environmental studies.

In the three weeks since the Deepwater Horizon accident unleashed millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, the Minerals Management Service (MMS) has issued 27 exemptions to oil and gas corporations that allows them to skip impact assessments of their work in the Gulf region. BP is one of at least ten companies granted exemptions, which are officially known as “categorical exclusions.”
President Barack Obama had promised his administration would work to stop any further harm to the Gulf, while Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has imposed a temporary moratorium on offshore drilling.
“Is there a moratorium on off shore drilling or not?” Peter Galvin, conservation director with the Center for Biological Diversity, told McClatchy Newspapers. “Possibly the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history has occurred and nothing appears to have changed.”
MMS officials insist the exemptions are not the final word on certain drilling projects proceeding ahead. But they also cannot guarantee the projects won’t move forward once the moratorium is lifted.
In other news, it was reported that MMS granted an exemption to BP last year, allowing it to continue drilling at the Deepwater Horizon site. The decision was made because federal regulators determined—incorrectly—that a massive oil spill was unlikely.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Can a Failed Agency be Trusted to Oversee Oil Industry? (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)


Leave a comment