Feds still Granting Environmental Waivers to Big Oil in Gulf after Spill

McClatchy gets the story: Since the BP oil leak began on April 20, the Federal government has granted 22 waivers to oil companies allowing them to avoid doing environmental impact studies on their further drilling plans in the Mexican Gulf.

The Department of the Interior’s “Minerals Management Service” has a history of ignoring environmental law. In Congress you have the phenomenon of “legislative capture,” where the corporations get to write the legislation affecting them because they give money to the legislators’ campaigns. But there is also such a thing as “administrative capture,” which is more indirect but has a similar set of motives. Sometimes government regulators actually come out of the corporations they oversee. Or government employees leave the government for lucrative corporate employment and keep their old circle of friends inside. The military-industrial complex and Pentagon contracting depend heavily on such networks.

In the case of MMS employees and Big Oil, some of them have literally been in bed together. I mean, “reform” of this agency involved explicitly stating that the employees couldn’t openly take money from the corporations they oversee!

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3 Responses

  1. Here we are experiencing what is obviously the worst man-made environmental disaster in modern history, and as it unfolds, the federal government is – every day – granting a waiver to an oil company to skip the rules designed to avoid these problems. But I’m only getting started. The companies themselves see how BP saved $500,000 by not installing a device, and thereby put themselves on the hook for probably billions of dollars – and they want to do more of that themselves!

    In traffic school, when they show people Red Asphalt 3, average people are at least momentarily dissuaded from driving drunk. These guys could witness a real-life drunken-driver traffic death and have a couple of beers or five before driving away.

    Everywhere I look, it’s the pedal to the metal with eyes closed.

  2. Kieran Suckling, the Director of The Center for Biological Diversity, seems to think that the buck should stop with Ken Salazar, Obama’s Interior Secretary:

    link to youtube.com

    But if Kieran Suckling knew that Obama was fully aware of the fact that Salazar would be an Interior Secretary who’d protect Big Oil over protecting the environment, he’d realize that the buck ultimately stops with Obama, not Salazar. Suckling apparently doesn’t know that Obama is bought and paid for by anything and everything Big on Wall Street — be it Big Finance, Big Military or Big Oil. This is probably why he doesn’t understand that Obama won’t ever fire Ken Salazar, an eco-disaster enabler in his Interior Department, just as he won’t ever fire Tim Geithner, an econ-disaster enabler in his Treasury Department. I must say that between his Treasury, his Interior and his Pentagon, Obama has managed to put together one helluva wrecking crew — something that only a disaster capitalist could love!

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