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Review planned of gas company waivers on environmental analysis

UPDATED: 12:35 p.m. with comment from interior secretary

By Juliet Eilperin

The Obama administration announced Friday that it would review the way the Minerals Management Service routinely waives the need for oil and gas companies to conduct extensive environmental analyses under the National Environmental Policy Act for drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico.

Last week, The Washington Post reported that in April 2009 MMS exempted BP from conducting a NEPA analysis for what would become its calamitous drilling operation at Deepwater Horizon.

The MMS has routinely given out these waivers, known as categorical exemptions, for drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico.

"We remain focused on providing every resource we can to support the massive response effort underway at the Deepwater Horizon, but we are also aggressively and quickly investigating what happened and what can be done to prevent this type of incident in the future," Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in a statement. "A review of the overall NEPA procedures for the MMS is an important part of the ongoing comprehensive and thorough investigation of this incident, but it also continues the reform effort that we have been undertaking at MMS and throughout Interior."

The MMS has routinely issued drilling permits in the Gulf of Mexico since 2009 without obtaining other federal permits needed to account for the toll that energy exploration would take on endangered species and marine mammals, according to documents obtained by The Post.

Since January 2009, the MMS has approved 3 lease sales, 130 permits to conduct seismic activities, 219 exploration plans and 137 production plans without obtaining permits under either the Marine Mammal Protection Act or the Endangered Species Act. These permits, which are provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, are required under law to account for the accidental harm exploration activities could cause to marine creatures, such as sperm whales.

When asked about the lack of permits this week, an Interior official referred questions to Fish and Wildlife Service spokeswoman Christine Eustis, who said the department did conduct "an informal consultation" with NOAA about the small number of marine mammals that fall under Interior's jurisdiction. But she referred questions about all other permits to NOAA, which did not return calls seeking comment. NOAA is part of the Department of Commerce.

The Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental advocacy group, has filed notice of intent to sue over the lack of permits.

In a separate case, a MMS whistle-blower warned in a May 27, 2009, letter to Interior officials that the agency's operations on the BP rig Atlantis in the gulf posed a danger to the marine environment.

"The purpose of this letter is to restate in writing our concern that the BP Atlantis project presently poses a threat of serious, immediate, potentially irreparable and catastrophic harm to the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and its marine environment, and to summarize how BP's conduct has violated federal law and regulations," wrote Kenneth Abbott, who worked in connection with the Atlantis rig.

While Abbott identified a hurricane as the most likely cause of an accident rather than the blowout that struck BP's operation in the gulf April 20, he cited other possible weaknesses in the company's drilling operations.

"From our conversation on the phone, we understand that M.M.S. is already aware that undersea manifolds have been leaking and that major flow lines must already be replaced," Abbott wrote. "Failure of this critical undersea equipment has potentially catastrophic environmental consequences."

By

Juliet Eilperin

 |  May 14, 2010; 12:35 PM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Oil spill disaster: let the finger pointing begin....and an odd scary dream


The dear people of New Orleans and all others who live in the Gulf states don't deserve this. While still trying to recover from Katrina, and then the great new hope of the Saints Super Bowl victory carried with it a deep spiritual reawakening....and now this, the worst possible scenario comes belching up from the ocean floor, spreading like some godawful flu pandemic. This one is ten times worse, maybe 100 times worse!

And now the news reports. British Petroleum in damage control mode. Obama speaking, trying to reassure while disaster spreads. Politicians scrambling for explanations. Saddened, frustrated eyewitnesses observing their lives about to become seriously disrupted amid the chaos of it all.

Who to believe??

The Washington Post reports Senate testimony passing the buck. Such as, "senior executives from the oil behemoth BP, the offshore oil drilling company Transocean and the oilfield services contractor Halliburton pointed fingers at each other." And I thought, Jesus, Halliburton is involved in this, too?? Remember, it was good old Halliburton accused of providing unhealthy, unsanitary food service to our troops in Iraq. And evil old former VP Dick Cheney, its former CEO, still making money from stock ownership.

The Post report continued, "BP blamed the failure of Transocean's blowout preventer and raised a new question about whether Transocean disregarded "anomalous pressure test readings" just hours before the explosion. Transocean blamed decisions made by BP and cited possible flaws in the cementing job done by Halliburton. And Halliburton said that it had faithfully followed BP's instructions."

Well, you get the ugly idea. Shall we say cover-up?

Global Research reports BP contributed more than $70,000 to Obama's presidential campaign. So is it any wonder the White House and members of Congress are doing all they can to minimize the extent of the damage? From the Corps of Engineers, to FEMA and EPA, the government sought to estimate around 42,000 gallons of crude a day were erupting from the seabed. Then five days later that suddenly grew to 210,000 gallons per day. "The Corps and Engineers and FEMA are quietly critical of the lack of support for quick action after the oil disaster by the Obama White House and the US Coast Guard. Only recently, has the Coast Guard understood the magnitude of the disaster," the report went on.

And then this little tidbit of information: "Service during the Bush administration were merely rubber-stamp operations, resulting from criminal collusion between Halliburton and the Interior Department's service, and that the potential for similar disasters exists with the other 30,000 off-shore rigs."

And, finally, this not-so-pleasant dream I had this past weekend, when I woke up around 3 a.m., sitting on my bed wondering, holy shit! This scenario had a huge massive whirlpool developing in the Gulf, causing massive undersea tidal shifts...like a giant toilet flushing and sucking the oil spill, ships and huge chunks of Gulf coastal land into it. In other words, Mother Earth is thoroughly pissed! I remembered talking with our dear Ph.D. friend, Geneticist, many times about Mother Earth being a living thing, and we humans doing awful things to her, abusing her, corrupting her, angering her to no end!

Then yesterday, this report from Global Research....

"There is other satellite imagery being withheld by the Obama administration that shows what lies under the gaping chasm spewing oil at an ever-alarming rate is a cavern estimated to be around the size of Mount Everest. This information has been given an almost national security-level classification to keep it from the public, according to our sources."

Thinking about this doesn't exactly permit me to easily dismiss it, as if to ask: so, what else is new? Shades of 2012 dancing in my head....

Posted by: writer333 | May 15, 2010 3:46 PM
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I can't believe the US let this well spill into the Gulf for a month.

It will take decades to repair the damage, and some of the damage is irreprable.

Terrorist threats pale in comparison to the destruction perpetrated in the name of greed.

Posted by: sotr | May 15, 2010 11:40 AM
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Let the oil companies regulate themselves just as Wall Street has.

Who needs law ?

Sheesh

At the TOP where BIG profits are ? no law.

At the bottom ? where it's nickel and dime ? law

I support the law venue.

Yet ? At the top ? no regulation

All I can say is - inferior thinking systems collapse eventually.

Anyone for some popcorn ?

Tim Miltz

Posted by: RedMercury | May 15, 2010 6:30 AM
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typo alert - I could be wrong.

I think it's with an I - analysis

The Obama administration announced Friday that it would review the way the Minerals Management Service routinely waives the need for oil and gas companies to conduct extensive environmental analyses

No big issue - but no 'email the author' as in the Times here.

Let one missing I be the problem though of the US citizen left out while the single "I" in the world is passed by as nation states end up becoming conduits for organized crime potential.

Tim Miltz

Posted by: RedMercury | May 15, 2010 6:28 AM
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Any regulator that places political belifs above laws or regulations should do the pendulum. I will volunteer the oak and rope.

Posted by: laurelphoto | May 14, 2010 7:04 PM
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All US Government regulatory agencies need to be PURGED of incopetent or corrupt employees and managers. Republican Senators placing SECRET HOLDS on Presidential Appointees, should be charged with TREASON. Politicians must be given to understand, that they are either part of the solution, or they are the problem, to be treated as such.

Posted by: laurelphoto | May 14, 2010 7:01 PM
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I agree that LONG JAIL SENTENCES and confiscation of the involved individuals homes, yachts, and trust funds are in order.

Either that or shackle a 1000-lb weight to them and let them sink to the ocean bottom.

Posted by: WillSeattle | May 14, 2010 2:54 PM
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Time for the use of LONG jail sentences for abuses like these ! ! !

Posted by: loretoguy | May 14, 2010 1:19 PM
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Salazar needs to go through MMS with a big broom & clean house. I need to see a LOT of people FIRED from MMS right away (like this week!), not in 6 months. Those SOB's need to be fired, lose their pension, and be prosecuted. (Hard to swing through the "revolving door" to an oil company job from a jail cell.) The New York Times did a much better job with this story (on their front page) - I recommend it. Wholesale corruption at MMS - it's shocking beyond belief.

Posted by: clampson | May 14, 2010 12:40 PM
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gunnysgt77 wrote:
And yet another useless government agency of doodle bugs that can't/won't do their job. Is there any government agency actually doing what they get paid to supposedly do?

====================================

Basically none, following a Republican administration. For example, do you know that Cheney and Rumsfeld got their start in government at the EEOC under Nixon? The Nixonians couldn't get rid of the agency entirely, so the next best thing was to allow it to do exactly nothing. Cheney and Rumsfeld did such an outstanding job of making the agency do nothing that they soon were in top government posts.

Posted by: zenwick | May 14, 2010 12:37 PM
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Every lunatic left sexist attack on hard-working mother Sarah Palin increases her strength and popularity among the general populace.

Posted by: TRUTHTELLER13 | May 14, 2010 12:25 PM
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If it's the EPA's fault, then it is Obama's fault.

It's HIS agency, in HIS government, run by HIS appointment as directer.
The Environmental Protection Agency, which began with Nixon, is the responsibility of President Obama.

Maybe he should take his boot off the neck of BP now?

Posted by: TRUTHTELLER13 | May 14, 2010 12:23 PM
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IT CRACKS ME UP HOW THE LIBS ARE USING THIS TO BASH SARAH , THEY ARE TERRIFIED OF HER , THEY DONT UNDERSTAND THAT MOST OF US WHO LIKE HER WOULD NOT VOTE FOR HER IN 2012 , 2016 MAYBE

Posted by: WILLIEMOJORISIN | May 14, 2010 12:20 PM
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The EPA gave the go-ahead on the oil dispersants being used, but no one has called them environmental friendly.

The tragedy unfolding is not a major leak that could not be contained, they stopped the major flow of oil on the night of May 4th... the real story is how unprepared everyone was to react to the oil, and whether using the dispersant was a good idea.

Posted by: daysman | May 14, 2010 12:09 PM
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Attention Dims and other nitwits:

Barry the incompetent boob Obama, that incompetent boob of a boob, has been president for nearly one and a half years.

Barry owns it.

If Barry's cabinet secretary's cannot run their divisions properly that is a testimony to Barry's gross incompetence. If this headless chicken in the White House has not established his government year nearly halfway through his dismal term, his failure to lead is part of the problem.

Miserable failure Obama

Posted by: screwjob12 | May 14, 2010 11:43 AM
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Blame Obama!!!!! It happened on his watch.

Posted by: Jimbo77 | May 14, 2010 11:42 AM
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The reason the President wasn't down in the Gulf mopping up oil from day one of the explosion is due to the FACT that when the rig exploded burned and on the second day collapsed, we were told that no oil was leaking. Then a few days later there was a little oil, probably from the collapsed pipe. It wasn't until two weeks that BP said there was about 2000 barrels per day leaking. Then days or a week later the leaked "appeared" to be larger. The true extent of the leak was not announced for weeks. The day of the explosion the administration sent government officials and the Coast guard to the Gulf. You can't really do anything about a leak if nobody admitted or knew there was much of a leak.

Posted by: clairevb | May 14, 2010 11:39 AM
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I am surprised the MSM is not connecting "DRILL, BABY, DRILL" -- a GOP Mantra -- with this eco-violence in the Gulf.

Posted by: rmorris391 | May 14, 2010 11:36 AM
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So the thousands of drills in the Gulf that were before this weren't environmental hazards but this one could have been determined to be an environmental hazard? Give me a break.

Now that we know that drilling in deep water has it's risks are we going to plug up the thousands of wells that are in the Gulf now?

If you think that MMS made a mistake then that's what we should do. Seal up all the wells and ban offshore drilling.

Posted by: James10 | May 14, 2010 11:27 AM
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And this surprises who, exactly?

Posted by: KDSmallJr | May 14, 2010 11:18 AM
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Obama's whole approach to this disaster has been just as pathetic as the reaction of Bush to Katrina.

In the first place, it took Obama NINE days to react, which is actually three times as long as it took Bush to react.

In the second place, the reaction of the Obama administration has been amateurish in the extreme.

Instead of formulating a plan to immediately deal with the disaster, Obama and the administration spent all of its time posturing for political points.
They didn't WORK with BP to fix the problem.

Instead, they handicapped the effort, and any collaboration, with a bellicose attack on BP strictly for the benefit of the lights and the camera and told the voting public that they "had their boot on BP's neck".

That's a pathetic way to handle an emergency and yet our national biased "press" continues to sing in unison that Obama is doing a wonderful job EVEN as the oil continues to seep out into the water.

Posted by: BruceMcDougall

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

It's BPs mess you troll. They waited a few days before confirming a leak at all. They then underestimated it (and continue to do so). It's miles offshore and over a mile underwater. These platforms are licensed to drill with the arrangement that the company performing the job is responsible for the safety and maintenance.

Since BP clearly didn't have proper contingency plans in the event of a platform collapse and leak does this mean that the gov't should seize all oil wells in our territory off shore and actually be responsible for it? After all this is an example of a private company not being "big enough" to fix the problem. I guess this is one more thing the gov't can't do when it involves revenue but when it comes to cleaning up the mess they have the responsibility.

Posted by: theobserver4 | May 14, 2010 11:10 AM
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It's a failure of both government and private industry. But notice that the failure of the government was actually letting industry do what it wanted without oversight.

Letting former execs infiltrate gov't to regulate their former industries is absolutely insane. It was a matter of time and it didn't matter what party held the White House.

Posted by: theobserver4 | May 14, 2010 10:55 AM
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Wow, the fingerpointing will go on and on. Interior points finger to Fish and Wildlife. Fish and Wildlife points finger to NOAA. And Salazar stands there with his tail between his legs hoping to convince us that Interior will try to seek as much reimbursement from BP as possible for the cleanup.

Posted by: blackforestcherry | May 14, 2010 10:47 AM
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Looks like Barry's BP buddies got their money's worth.d

Some change, sounds like more of the same.

Posted by: jtcmd | May 14, 2010 10:41 AM
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That's what you get after eight years of GOP control of the White House. This is just more of the same. It was Bush and the GOP that had this mindset which held that the government's role was simply to make life easier for big business. It was Bush and the GOP whose whole orientation was that regulation is bad and the free market rules.

I'm amused by these ignoramuses who try to pretend that somehow Obama was supposed to turn over the entire staff of these government agencies in a litle over a year, especially with the GOP holding up appointments. Guess what geniuses? These people were in place before Obama took office. Their presence and their mindset is a holdover from the days of GOP rule. And another thing; who are these nitwits who tell us on Monday that we have too much government, and that the free market knows better than government, blah, blah, blah; and then on Friday tell us all of this is the fault of government because they weren't regulating enough? Seriously, what breathtaking hypocrisy.

Posted by: sonny2 | May 14, 2010 10:40 AM
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Wow- the George Bush administration was so corrupt, toxic, incompetent and politically tainted that they continue to harm America even more than a year after they slithered out of office!

Thanks so much, republicans, for selling government duties off to energy lobbyists and big oil executives in exchange for campaign contributions.

Every member of Bush's administration should be frog-marched down to Louisiana and forced to help clean up. that goes for all of the ignorant teabaggers who so proudly chanted "drill, baby, drill!" at the prompting of that brain-dead, backwater nitwit Sarah Palin

Posted by: losthorizon10 | May 14, 2010 10:39 AM
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Don't blame Obama for this disaster. The roots of this disaster goes back to Bush administration policies and the republican mantra of drill, baby, drill. Like the economic meltdown of 2008, this is another mess by Bush that Obama is stuck with cleaning up.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-f-kennedy-jr/sex-lies-and-oil-spills_b_564163.html

Posted by: exbrown | May 14, 2010 10:28 AM
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Gee, you mean this is what happens when you appoint big oil executives and lobbyists to energy and environmental regulatory positions? Thanks again W. Vegas really needs to start a line on which holdover Bush era policy will f this county next.

Posted by: mojo975 | May 14, 2010 10:28 AM
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And yet another useless government agency of doodle bugs that can't/won't do their job. Is there any government agency actually doing what they get paid to supposedly do?

Posted by: gunnysgt77 | May 14, 2010 10:28 AM
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this incident, this article and these comments are a fairly accurate metaphor for the state of our nation today. It is disappointing how little we recognize that it doesn't matter whether one worships blindly at the alter of free enterprise or the alter of government participation-both have done more to create and prolong this failure than either has done or will do to solve it. Yet, discussion is dominated by two misguided groups, each one myopic, neither of which is equipped to address the challenges bearing down upon us. This biopic schoolyard sniping is like replacing a coin with a pyramid and expecting a head or tail result from fipping it.

Posted by: fritz8 | May 14, 2010 10:28 AM
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Amazing. All of these things took place since 2009, but it's still 'Bush's fault.' When do the free passes end? When does accountability of this Administration start? 2011?
=============================
DUDE do you think this happened over night.
What is it you don't get?
9/11 was not a wake up call to you HUH ?

ISA

Posted by: Issa1 | May 14, 2010 10:22 AM
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Amazing. All of these things took place since 2009, but it's still 'Bush's fault.' When do the free passes end? When does accountability of this Administration start? 2011?

Posted by: pswift00 | May 14, 2010 10:10 AM
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Get rid of the Bush/Cheney guys. They are rubber stamps for big business.

Posted by: BaysoxFan39 | May 14, 2010 9:56 AM
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Posted by: trippin | May 14, 2010 9:13 AM
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“BP has an excellent track record of safety, but much like space flights, drilling for oil is a high risk proposition, and in spite of all the preventative measures, tragedies happen."
BP failed to install a $500,000 acoustic shutoff device because your daddy Dick Cheney refused to require it as is required by every other nation on earth save ours.

Tragedies happen all right. Tragedies happen WHEN YOU VOTE REPUBLICAN.
_______________________________________________
Some people are just too stup1d to fix. Sorry m0r0n but Cheney was CEO of Haliburton from 96-98. He was VP from 00-08 the US Congress is the ONLY one that has the authority to add or remove regulations. Not the VP. So this proves you to be an ignorant child with no real grasp on the Gov. of your own country?? How pathetic. I also guess you’re to f$%king stup1d to realize that Obama is president and has been for almost 2 years. It was his administration that waived the study. Allowing ret@rds to vote equals a ret@rd in office. I guess it’s easy to see your attraction to Odumbo.

Posted by: askgees | May 14, 2010 9:56 AM
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At his Senate confirmation hearing for Interior Secretary, then-Sen. Ken Salazar (D,CO) promised to "clean up the mess," as reported by Michael Falcone [Interior Department nominee pledges reform, NY Times, January 16, 2009, at www.nytimes.com/2009/01/16/us/politics/16salazar.html]. Since "the mess" is a Washington legend, he did not need to explain. Sen. Ron Wyden (D,OR) warned about "very heavy lifting ahead."

Mr. Salazar was sworn in as Interior Secretary the day of Pres. Obama's inauguration and has now had 15 months to clean up, but there is no evidence that the department is much changed. Under his management, Ian Urbina reported that the department approved hundreds of offshore oil wells without the permits required by law from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [U.S. said to allow drilling without needed permits, NY Times, May 14, 2010, at www.nytimes.com/2010/05/14/us/14agency.html].

On April 21, 2010, the day after the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, Sec. Salazar ordered the Minerals Management Service to investigate, when mismanagement of environmental responsibilities by this agency had substantially contributed to the disaster. Following a pledge April 30 by Pres. Obama that new offshore oil leases would be suspended, on May 6 Sec. Salazar announced a halt to offshore drilling permits [National Public Radio, Interior secretary halts offshore drilling, at www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=126565762]. But permits continued to be issued. Mr. Urbina of the NY Times documented five permits issued May 10 or later. Confronted with the evidence, Kendra Barkoff, speaking for the Minerals Management Service, denied it happened.

Either Mr. Salazar was not telling the truth, or he lacks control of the department he supposedly heads.

Posted by: AppDev | May 14, 2010 9:52 AM
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It amazes me that day after day we find out new revelations about Obama and Company and his liberal apologists keep making excuses for him, and just like Obama, lamely try to pin the blame on Republicans.

I was never a fan nor did I ever vote for either Bush, and as an Independent, it has amazed me how liberals are hiding their heads in the sand with each Obama blunder.

We should try to be impartial and do what is best for our country. The lackey Republicans are being kicked out of office along with the Democrats.

It's time for Americans to put country before party and do what's best for the economy and security of our nation.

And it's time for Obama to "man-up" for his disastrous mistakes.

Posted by: janet8 | May 14, 2010 9:51 AM
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I know and approve of calls for criminal investigations of BP and other companies involved, but what about MMS? The government employees who approved without adequate assurances are just as responsible as BP. The comfort factors between contractors and government has now become deadly. 11 people died, yet politics is all we care about – you people are pitiful.

screwjob12 – You are just another non-thinking tool. I suspect you were alerted to the socialist tendencies of the government the day a black man raised his right hand and the froth spewed from your cracked lips.

Posted by: mjcc1987 | May 14, 2010 9:51 AM
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Why did it take a marine environmental Armageddon for the green, green, green Obama team to act an all this?!

Answer: Most people on the environmental Left care more that they LOOK like they are protecting the environment, compared to actually trying to protect the environment. Hence their favoring, or avoiding the the topic of, our federal government's pro-overpopulation--and therefore pro sucking up every drop of spare oil no matter where it might be found--policies, in the form of never-ending massive legal and illegal immigration.
- - - -
Border Enforcement + Immigration Moratorium = Job, Crime and Eco Sanity.

Posted by: tma_sierrahills | May 14, 2010 9:48 AM
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Obama has been outed. He and his administration are responsible for this mess and their handling of the situation is atrocious.

Posted by: askgees | May 14, 2010 9:47 AM
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There are 30 thousand rigs in the Gulf and they are planning more with no laws or rules to follow. The future of America is in the hands of the corporate government ~ no matter who you vote for!
Both parties are the same and there are still those who don't get it.

Voting out the incumbents will do nothing to change this, because there are only yes men to replace them.

Posted by: thirteenxthree39 | May 14, 2010 9:33 AM
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Money talks and carries a big stick.

Got enough money and you can do what you want even in violation of the law.


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Posted by: itkonlyyou59 | May 14, 2010 9:23 AM
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There's a connection btwn GOP deregulation and GOP racism:

the assumption by white males that they were chosen by Gawd to enslave whatever they want to amass piles of gold.

That's why they made the dollar sacred: "In God We Trust."

Historians and theologians will look back on today, and see the white racist plutocratic GOP as more effective destroyers of the USA than Bin Laden.

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Posted by: itkonlyyou59 | May 14, 2010 9:21 AM
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From Krugman's May 10 NYT article ("Sex & Drugs & the Spill"):

"...BP received an environmental waiver for Deepwater Horizon after Mr. Obama took office. It’s true that he’d only been in the White House for two and half months, and the Senate wouldn’t confirm the new head of the Minerals Management Service until four months later. ..."

So the problem was partially due to the Republicans holding up the confirmation of Obama's appointee for six months. I think that now, well over a year past his inauguration, some of his departmental appointees have not yet been confirmed.

But the basic problem IMHO is the overwhelming corporate control of our politicians, which will only get worse after the SCOTUS decision in Citizens United v FEC.

Posted by: dotellen | May 14, 2010 9:16 AM
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Surprise, Barry the incompetent boob Obama is such a weak and incompetent boob of a boob, according to his fervid quislings, that Barry and his Cabinet officers cannot manage agencies that are under his direct control. Most presidents get 100 days to get their administration rolling, but Barry and his crack A Team of incompetence would have you believe a handful of civilians from a prior administration still run things a year and a half later.

Posted by: screwjob12 | May 14, 2010 9:15 AM
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"BP has an excellent track record of safety, but much like space flights, drilling for oil is a high risk proposition, and in spite of all the preventative measures, tragedies happen."

BP failed to install a $500,000 acoustic shutoff device because your daddy Dick Cheney refused to require it as is required by every other nation on earth save ours.

So for lack of that paltry sum, we all must suffer for generations into the future. Keep up the good work, right wingers! No need to regulate here! Just keep moving along! Things happen!

What pathetic supplication to a thoroughly busted ideology!

Tragedies happen all right. Tragedies happen WHEN YOU VOTE REPUBLICAN.

We've had it with your pathetic excuses for the inexcusable.

Posted by: trippin | May 14, 2010 9:13 AM
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The depth and breadth of the damage done by Dick Cheney to this nation and the planet is incalculable.

Posted by: trippin | May 14, 2010 9:07 AM
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Surprise, surprise. Republicans block raising the liability of oil companies in huge oil spills.

Posted by: logcabin1836 | May 14, 2010 9:07 AM
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Are there ANY laws left? Will ANYONE be held responsible for ANYTHING? Will ANYONE go to JAIL!???

Nope.

Posted by: Impeachbush99 | May 14, 2010 9:03 AM
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Can we ever rid our nation of the incompetent shills connected to Cheney and his valet George W. Bush? The President has to remove all of these buffoons before another accident happens. Criminal proceedings against BP, Haliburton and Transocenic can not start soon enough.

Posted by: BaysoxFan39 | May 14, 2010 8:59 AM
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Barry the incompetent boob Obama created the fictitious Office of the President-elect two days after the election because he, Barry Obama was a take-charge guy who was not even going to wait until his inauguration. Now a year and a half into this boob and his dismal failure of a presidency he is still looking for excuses.

Miserable failure Obama

Posted by: screwjob12 | May 14, 2010 8:56 AM
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Somebody needs to go to jail for a long time. Steny Hoyer wants to give civilian federal workers a pay raise. In this case for not doing their jobs. For looking the other way.

The oil companies are charging $3.00 to $4.00 dollars a gallon for gas and deisel and they want to cut corners.

$4.00 a gal for deisel and it's cheaper to produce than Gas!

Posted by: doughboy96 | May 14, 2010 8:55 AM
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This wholly irrelevant. The drilling operation was fail-safe. This drill could not have any more "environmental impact" than the thousands of other drills in the Gulf.

Posted by: James10 | May 14, 2010 8:50 AM
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Yellow Journalism once again. The sensational headline talks about Environmental permits that were not issued. Unfortunately, the permits of the article would have done NOTHING to stop the accident or ensured that BP had adequate risk remediation in place. Let's focus our energy on root cause investigations and not try to sell papers with this kind of Yellow Journalism.

Posted by: rhino2 | May 14, 2010 8:45 AM
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As Toshiro Mifune pointed out, although this CERTAINLY was not his intent, for the first 6 months of the Obama Administration, management of the Minerals MisManagement Service continued in the hands of Cheney administration hold-overs.

What a surprise. Environmental and safety concerns were ignored.

Posted by: edallan | May 14, 2010 8:44 AM
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Barry the incompetent boob Obama has been president almost a year and a half and yet his nitwit followers still see the shadowy hand of George W. Bush behind all of Barry's screwups. Even they have to admit things have gone terribly wrong under their incompetent boob of a president, hence the farcical search for a Bush tie in somewhere, anywhere. It is a tacit admission that Barry is an utter disaster.

Posted by: screwjob12 | May 14, 2010 8:44 AM
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This is the result of BP paying off government people and polticians. I wonder if these people are Bush-Cheney holdovers?

Posted by: Maddogg | May 14, 2010 8:31 AM
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peep1935 wrote:

"It is time to move past the finger pointing and hold all 3 responsible..."

Boy are you dreaming. We the taxpayers/consumers on the hook for everything because the oil companies will pass on ALL the costs to the taxpayer/consumers.

In fact, you probably actually think that the billionaire CEO's of oil companies pay taxes.

Posted by: jjedif | May 14, 2010 8:19 AM
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WINDRIDER2 wrote: "Those people don't have the sense God gave a goose..."

According to Jesus, the model for all perfect human behavior is the...sheep. That's not an accident.

In any case, we can't have it both ways. The oil industry has always had cozy, mutually-beneficial ties to politicians in both parties.

But under Bush-Cheney, government regulators didn't even pretend to enforce most environmental laws.

In fact, according to the Tea Party (which is slowly but surely taking over the GOP) almost all government regulation is bad; the perfect American government is one in which the oil companies and Wall Street are free to make unlimited and record profits free from the "heavy hand of government."

Posted by: jjedif | May 14, 2010 8:13 AM
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It is time to move past the finger pointing and hold all 3 responsible. If I'm doing business I want to know everything about all involved. "A chain is as strong as its weakest link"

Posted by: peep1935 | May 14, 2010 8:09 AM
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It has become a well worn mantra from conservatives and supporters of big business that there is too much Federal regulation of just about every aspect of our lives and economy.

It appears, if the recent meltdown of our financial system, the Big Branch mine disaster and this oil well blowout is any indication what regulations are on the books are not enforced by a Federal bureacracy which is either overwhelmed or incompetent or both. It, obviously, isn't the regulations which are a problem for business but the lack of enforcement of them seem to be creating a lot of problems for the rest of us.

Now while most of us would agree in principle that far too many government regulations at any level are inconveniences and likely do cause a drop in productivity, it seems recent history and the facts might suggest there are times and situations where regulations are not only needed but must be rigorously enforced to protect both our society and the entire citizenry from the irrepsonsible actions of those who would place personal profit ahead of any degree of social responsiblility.

Any clear thinking citizen should be outraged on two levels: first, that we bought into the anit-regulatory mania without any forethought and worst case scenario thinking and, second, that the government we pay for is so inept that it can't enforce a modicum of laws already on the books. What are we paying these people for?

Next time a bought and paid for Senator complains about all those niglly Federal regulations which are making it hard for one of his/her biggest contributors to operate as profitably as possibe, be skeptical, very skeptical as to the real motivation for such a business uber alles attitude. At least it reflects a mind which cannot fathom the concept of social/civic responsibility by all aspects of our society and, at worst, it reflects a mind which has been corrupted by money and power. But our real problem is that far too many of our elected officials likely act the way they do for both reasons.

Can't wait for election day to pull the plug on as many incumbents as possible.

Posted by: bobfbell | May 14, 2010 7:49 AM
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The Minerals Management Service has routinely issued drilling permits in the Gulf of Mexico since 2009 without obtaining other federal permits needed to account for the toll energy exploration would take on endangered species and marine mammals, according to documents obtained by the Washington Post.
+++++++++++

Probably becuase there would be no drilling period if they did. Drilling is an inherently risky process that sometimes goes wrong. The American people either need to accept this or not.

Posted by: moebius22 | May 14, 2010 7:45 AM
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I'm normally against capital punishment and torture but these are extraordinary circumstances. It's okay with me if whoever is responsible is hanged in the town square. Or drawn and quartered.

Posted by: SarahBB | May 14, 2010 7:39 AM
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Eilperin's at it again, trying to be the echo chamber of the left wing Albore kooks.

Chick, you ain't it. The Albore thing is a croc, and everyone knows it. Now you're trying to smear a company that performs a valuable service to the country and to the world, delivering energy.

BP has an excellent track record of safety, but much like space flights, drilling for oil is a high risk proposition, and in spite of all the preventative measures, tragedies happen. It's one of the reason the workers who work on those oil rigs receive outrageous pay. It's hazardous duty pay.

Try again.

VOTE REPUBLICAN!!!

Posted by: A1965bigdog | May 14, 2010 7:37 AM
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After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, President Bush suggested we should display our patriotism by continuing to shop. Patriotism means different things to different people; one definition would be: love and devotion to one's country. A patriot endures personal sacrifice for the common good. During the World War II, it was patriotic to have liberty gardens and recycle valuable resources in support our troops.

Today we are threatened by terrorist sponsored activity from Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc. Our continued reliance on oil from the Arabian Gulf states can also threaten our national security. Even if you don't ascribe to the fact that our use of fossil fuels is contributing to climate change; the inadvertent spill that is presently threatening our Gulf States points to the high cost (both in human life and in environmental degradation) of our dependence on the use of fossil fuels.

If we are really concerned about our national security and the environmental health of our country, being patriotic, isn’t shouting "Drill baby drill" while waving the flag. We need to get serious about transitioning our energy economy away from fossil fuels. We need to squeeze every watt we can out of our energy sources

Being patriotic requires taking personal responsibility. We all make choices: do we buy a Suburban to commute to work alone, or choose a gas stingy commuter, use public transportation, bike, walk, etc.; do we turn lights off when we walk out of a room; do we turn down the heat in the winter and put on a sweater; how about showers (both at home and at the gym), do we let the hot water run down the drain for 15 minutes, or do we get wet, shut the water off, lather up, and rinse off; etc.

Is there a role for government? The founding principles of our constitution included: providing for the common good as well as for our common defense. The government needs to coordinate a national energy strategy, not only in how we generate energy; but just as importantly how we conserve energy. We need a more energy efficient transportation system, building codes, and electrical appliances. If we keep on the path of continuing a fossil fuel economy, the question is not, how can we prevent an environmental catastrophe, but when will it happen again.

Posted by: pauldmanganiello | May 14, 2010 7:37 AM
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how long has obama been in office again. i thought this guy had the magic tough to solve everything. the public doesnt agree with him on the issues, and he's not some magically genius administrator. so whats the point?

Posted by: dummypants | May 14, 2010 7:33 AM
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Just a fact or two from the MMS/Interior Department Website. It will interest those of you who think MMS is still run by Republicans.

Liz Birnbaum, Director MMS

S. Elizabeth (Liz) Birnbaum assumed duties as Director of the Minerals Management Service (MMS) on July 15, 2009. [Post Bush]

As MMS Director, Birnbaum administers programs that ensure the effective management of renewable energy, such as wind, wave, and ocean current energy; and traditional energy and mineral resources on the nation’s Outer Continental Shelf, including the environmentally safe exploration, development, and production of oil and natural gas, as well as the collection and distribution of revenues for minerals developed on federal and American Indian lands.

Before her appointment, she was staff director for the Committee on House Administration, where she oversaw strategy development, budget management and staff activities for the committee that manages legislative branch agencies. From 2001-2007, she was Vice President for Government Affairs and General Counsel for American Rivers, where she directed advocacy programs for the nation’s leading river conservation organization. [She's an environmentalist Democrat]...

From 1991 to 1999 she was counsel to the House Committee on Natural Resources, where she handled legislative and oversight activities for the Department of the Interior, U.S. Forest Service, and electric power marketing administrations. From 1987 to 1991 she was counsel for the Water Resources Program of the National Wildlife Federation.

Birnbaum has been an officer and member of numerous boards and commissions, including the National Capital Section of the American Water Resources Association; Arlington County Environment and Energy Conservation Commission; and the Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Section of the District of Columbia Bar.

Birnbaum received her Juris Doctor from Harvard University in 1984 and her A.B. degree, magna cum laude, from Brown University in 1979. She was Editor in Chief of the Harvard Environmental Law Review, Vol. 8. [Harvard Law!! Maybe she can get a SCOTUS nomination.]

Posted by: toshiromifune | May 14, 2010 7:32 AM
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You would have to think that all of the money that BP (big oil) gave to BHO had a lot to do with this.

Posted by: BenLaGuer | May 14, 2010 7:30 AM
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The Buck has to stop at the top. It is time for the anti-environment Secretary of the Interior, SALAZAR, to GO! C'mon Barack, get rid of him.

Posted by: yacovelle | May 14, 2010 7:22 AM
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Obama's whole approach to this disaster has been just as pathetic as the reaction of Bush to Katrina.

In the first place, it took Obama NINE days to react, which is actually three times as long as it took Bush to react.

In the second place, the reaction of the Obama administration has been amateurish in the extreme.

Instead of formulating a plan to immediately deal with the disaster, Obama and the administration spent all of its time posturing for political points.
They didn't WORK with BP to fix the problem.

Instead, they handicapped the effort, and any collaboration, with a bellicose attack on BP strictly for the benefit of the lights and the camera and told the voting public that they "had their boot on BP's neck".

That's a pathetic way to handle an emergency and yet our national biased "press" continues to sing in unison that Obama is doing a wonderful job EVEN as the oil continues to seep out into the water.

Posted by: BruceMcDougall | May 14, 2010 7:21 AM
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dropusaline,
Dude, don't tell people the truth, the don't want to read hard words of more than one sound-bite.

Posted by: Nymous | May 14, 2010 7:19 AM
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Posted by: yusafas7f8 | May 14, 2010 7:17 AM
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Those darn regulators and their gotcha games. Oh wait, it blew up and killed an ocean, and there was the usual GOP rubber stamp day at the office? Oops. Quick, blame the dead people!

Posted by: Nymous | May 14, 2010 7:16 AM
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It's obvious that the Democrats use oil, too.

Both parties are bowing to the energy companies, and their lobbyists.

Posted by: postfan1 | May 14, 2010 7:10 AM
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These people have violated the law and should be prosecuted. They took an oath to uphold the law. It is likely that Cheney handpicked the person to head this agency during the Bush Administration to be sure that the law would be violated. Read "The Wrecking Crew" by Thomas Frank to understand how the Republicans have tried to subvert the laws by putting incompetent people or industry shills in government positions.

Posted by: dropusaline | May 14, 2010 7:07 AM
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The Liberals have controlled Congress for 4 years. They were bought off by big oil.

Posted by: economy48 | May 14, 2010 7:06 AM
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"an informal consultation"????
This sounds like a firing offense to me. Those that did not follow the law and procedures need to be removed from public "service". There is no excuse for laziness and coziness with the industry you are supposed to monitor.

Posted by: pjohn2 | May 14, 2010 6:57 AM
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Pres. Obama needs to clean house in the MMS and get rid of the holdover Bush Boyz!

Posted by: angie12106 | May 14, 2010 6:50 AM
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It should be more than obvious by now, Tea Partiers; the single most thing that is "wrong with Washington" is the clear fact that our government is controlled by corporate lobbyist!

Greed has totally replaced civic responsibility...........

An Independent

Posted by: aeaustin | May 14, 2010 6:39 AM
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Good God! How many more rigs like BP Atlantis are out there already? And didn't we just send these same yahoos out to inspect a bunch of rigs since the Deepwater Horizon went down? Obviously it's time to clean house if MMS was still issuing leases and approving exploration and production drilling as recently as a week ago. Those people don't have the sense God gave a goose and I hope none of them are eligible for unemployment benefits when they get canned.

Posted by: windrider2 | May 14, 2010 1:31 AM
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