Friday, May 14, 2010

Government Aids Oil Companies In Breaking Law

The department of the Interior’s MMS or Minerals Management Service is apparently going beyond passively ignoring the abuse of mining regulation and has begun to actively facilitate the abuse and even outright breaking of those laws. As discussed in a previous post, the MMS has long ceased to be a guard dog of the public lands and has become the lapdog of the industry it is charged with regulating. Wow, that is unusual for an American regulatory body, usually like the USDA, FED, SEC they are just right on top of things. Well, if you mean on top as in a rug under which corporate corruption is swept then you would be right.

According to sources gathered by the New York Times, the MMS has a long record of allowing the oil corporations to drill without the permission from NOAA and other environmental agencies. NOAA is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – it is one of the agencies charged with monitoring the environmental impact of MMS actions. Its approval is required by law for all actions taken. Yet this law was routinely flouted by the MMS in order to smooth the way for corporate greed.

When asked about the lack of NOAA approval, MMS spokesperson Kendra Barkoff (I swear I did not make up that name – it is straight from the evil character list from the Bond movies!) stated that the MMS was in full consultation with NOAA. The law says agreement – not consultation. When asked about permits, Barkoff refused to answer.

MMS did more for industry than simply allowing them to drill without permits. They also issued permission for companies to write their own environmental impact studies and to ignore them all together in many cases. To their credit, there is a long list of scientists who are current or prior employees that have spoken up. The result was to be ignored, or have your report rewritten by a friendlier scientist or even by the oil industry itself. Warnings about leaking equipment and dangerous drilling were ignored. Ignoring whistle blowers was the rule all the way up to the top of the Interior department. Letters from scientists and Congressman where answered by silence.

Well, I have painted a sorry scene haven’t I? But at least we can be glad that things are changing now that the Deepwater Horizon “incident” as MMS deemed it, has occurred. Everything is better, the rules are being enforced and the people’s environment is being safeguarded. After all, Secretary Salazar has decreed that he will allow no new drilling until all concerns are answered.

A search of the MMS website shows that in the weeks since the “incident”, MMS has given application to drill APD approval to 15 drilling plans. Despite the fact that this data is on their very own website, the Interior department has denied issuing any permits and MMS simply refuses to answer. Seems we can add direct government collusion and criminal activity to the list of things leading to the great American meltdown.


New York Times, May 13, 2010,

MMS database on APD approvals


  1. "... if you mean on top as in a rug under which corporate corruption is swept then you would be right." LOL!

  2. yes I did - was that sentence confusing? I thought it may have been. Was very tired while writing.