Oil Drilling to Resume in Gulf of Mexico
Thirteen companies will be allowed to restart their deepwater drilling activities in the Gulf of Mexico, after being authorized to do so by the Dept. of the Interior. The federal government said these companies had oil drilling projects that were approved before a moratorium stopped drilling in the Gulf due to the environmental disaster. However, these companies’ oil drilling projects were approved by the same government agency that also approved the Deepwater Horizon drilling. Known then as the Minerals Management Service, it was uncovered that some of their employees had accepted gifts from the oil industry, done drugs, watched online pornography at work, and inspected oil rigs for the government, while negotiating paid work with an oil company.
Because of the internal corruption and mismanagement, the Minerals Management Service fired some employees, and changed their name to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE). But how much has the agency actually changed if it allowed the old approval process, which played a role in the disaster, to say to these thirteen companies it is acceptable for you to drill again? What supposedly has changed is the implementation of stronger safety regulations for oil drilling projects, but how does the public know if they are being applied?
A presidential commission examining the Deepwater Horizon explosion said, “The missteps were rooted in systemic failures by industry management … and also by failures of government to provide effective regulatory oversight of offshore drilling.” It also notes if systemic changes are not made, there is a good chance of another oil drilling disaster. (Source: Bradenton.com)
Compounding the fact that it appears politics has interfered with actually taking a stand to protect the Gulf, is the very inconvenient truth that the oil in the Gulf still hasn’t been cleaned up. Anyone who was following the Gulf oil disaster story that went on for months, probably heard about the federal government’s claim that most of the oil had vanished. In August scientists said though that about 79 percent of the oil was still in the Gulf, but it had sunk to the bottom and saturated sediments. The same scientists said it would take years for the oil to degrade. So how many huge oil spills in the Gulf will it take before the government actually does the job right and only allows new drilling using an improved environmental review process? It almost seems as if the people in charge are deliberating designing a system to fail. From 1971 to 2000, the federal government allowed an estimated 250,000 oil spills (259,560,000 gallons of oil) in United States waters.