Posts Tagged ‘Minerals Management Service’

Whose BP should be kicked?

June 14, 2010

President Obama last week said he is consulting experts to decide “whose [body part] to kick” over the BP oil spill catastrophe. He might start with his own Department of the Interior.  It was officials of the Interior Department’s Minerals Management Service which in 2009 approved the startup of the BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig without checking to see of BP’s safety plans were adequate.

BP told the federal government it had full capability to deal with any oil spill, but apparently nobody bothered to check its claims. Among the more ridiculous, BP listed a certain professor as its consultant on wildlife; this professor had died in 2005.

It is true that the Obama administration was new in 2009 and couldn’t have been expected to immediately clean up the dysfunctional MMS administration inherited from the Bush years. But what is it doing now to fix the MMS? Has anybody been fired for negligence? What is the Obama administration doing about BP’s Atlantis oil rig, whose safety documentation is just as inadequate as Deepwater Horizon’s?

President Obama has said he will demand BP set up an escrow account to compensate Gulf residents for damages. I’m not sure what legal authority he has to do this; it seems like something a judge would order as compensation in a civil suit. I don’t see why the Obama administration should be granted new authority unless it shows it adequately carries out the responsibilities it already has.