- Thu Apr 24, 2014 3:30 pm
United States examples
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement
In the aftermath of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the Minerals Management Service (MMS), which had regulatory responsibility for offshore oil drilling, was widely cited as an example of regulatory capture. The MMS then became the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) and on October 1, 2010, the collection of mineral leases was split off from the agency and placed under the Department of the Interior as the Office of Natural Resources Revenue (ONRR). On October 1, 2011, BOEMRE was then split into two bureaus, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).
The three-stage reorganization, including the name change to BOEMRE, was part of a re-organization by Ken Salazar, who was sworn into office as the new Secretary of the Interior on the same day the name change was announced. Salazar's appointment was controversial because of his ties to the energy industry. As a senator, Salazar voted against an amendment to repeal tax breaks for ExxonMobil and other major petroleum companies and in 2006, he voted to end protections that limit offshore oil drilling in Florida's Gulf Coast. One of Salazar's immediate tasks was to "[end] the department's coziness with the industries it regulates" but Daniel R. Patterson, a member of the Arizona House of Representatives, said "Salazar has a disturbingly weak conservation record, particularly on energy development, global warming, endangered wildlife and protecting scientific integrity. It's no surprise oil and gas, mining, agribusiness and other polluting industries that have dominated Interior are supporting rancher Salazar — he's their friend." Indeed, a spokesman for the National Mining Association, which lobbies for the mining industry, praised Salazar, saying that he was not doctrinaire about the use of public lands.
MMS had allowed BP and dozens of other companies to drill in the Gulf of Mexico without first attaining permits to assess threats to endangered species, as required by law. BP and other companies were also given a blanket exemption from having to provide environmental impact statements. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued strong warnings about the risks posed by such drilling and in a 2009 letter, accused MMS of understating the likelihood and potential consequences of a major spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The letter further accused MMS of highlighting the safety of offshore drilling while understating the risks and impact of spills and playing down the fact that spills had been increasing. Both current and former MMS staff scientists said their reports were overruled and altered if they found high risk of accident or environmental impact. Kieran Suckling, director of the Center for Biological Diversity, said, "MMS has given up any pretense of regulating the offshore oil industry. The agency seems to think its mission is to help the oil industry evade environmental laws."
After the Deepwater accident occurred, Salazar said he would delay granting any further drilling permits. Three weeks later, at least five more permits had been issued by the minerals agency. In March 2011, BOEMRE began issuing more offshore drilling permits in the Gulf of Mexico. Michael Bromwich, head of BOEMRE, said he was disturbed by the speed at which some oil and gas companies were shrugging off Deepwater Horizon as "a complete aberration, a perfect storm, one in a million," but would nonetheless soon be granting more permits to drill for oil and gas in the gulf.[/report]
"Dunno how this’ll go, I’ve been drinking since 2”