Right Thinking From The Left Coast
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Diddling While BP Burned

As the foul mess that is BP’s oil spill continues to spread, more information is coming out.  For example, BP ignored warning signs that something was badly wrong. But we expect to find such things. After all, oil rigs don’t just explode and gush foulness on their own.  Accidents like this can usually be traced to someone being stupid.

What is surprising, however is this:

Staff members at an agency that oversees offshore drilling accepted tickets to sports events, lunches and other gifts from oil and gas companies and used government computers to view pornography, according to an Interior Department report alleging a culture of cronyism between regulators and the industry.

In at least one case, an inspector for the Minerals Management Service admitted using crystal methamphetamine and said he might have been under the influence of the drug the next day at work, according to the report by the acting inspector general of the Interior Department.

The report cites a variety of violations of federal regulations and ethics rules at the agency’s Louisiana office. Previous inspector general investigations have focused on inappropriate behavior by the royalty-collection staff in the agency’s Denver office.

The report adds to the climate of frustration and criticism facing the Obama administration in the monthlong oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, although it covers actions before the spill. Millions of gallons of oil are gushing into the Gulf, endangering wildlife and the livelihoods of fishermen, as scrutiny intensifies on a lax regulatory climate.

There’s something to emphasize here.  This wasn’t a problem with a lack of regulation.  This was a problem with an agency not doing its damned job. Now every company has its worthless employees.  I’ve certainly known a few who showed up to work stoned or hungover.  But this is way beyond your normal bad employees. This is cesspool as foul as the gulf it failed to protect.

The blame for this has to be placed squarely on the last administration.  The report goes up until 2008, when Bush was still in office.  And the fall guy was a leftover Bush appointee.  We are, once again, reaping the fruits of Bush’s worthless Presidency.  Ken Salazar has asked the investigation to be expanded into 2009 and has called for MMS to be abolished and replaced. The latter I think is absolutely called for.  When an agency becomes this corrupt, this diseased, it has to be taken out behind the barn. There’s no fixing it.

It remains to be seen whether MMS cleaned up its act at all when Obama took power. However, I am extremely skeptical. Partially because he left a lot of Bush people in place.  But also because I don’t think MMS can be fixed by anyone, least of all an administration that appears so clueless on energy.

Update: Correction: S8 points out that Oynes was a Bush Clinton (!) appointee.  I swear I’ll type that right one day.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 05/26/10 at 06:08 PM in Politics Law, & Economics • Permalink


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