Business, As Usual
Since the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig exploded on April 20, the Obama administration has granted oil and gas companies at least 27 exemptions from doing in-depth environmental studies of oil exploration and production in the Gulf of Mexico.
The waivers were granted despite President Barack Obama’s vow that his administration would launch a “relentless response effort” to stop the leak and prevent more damage to the gulf. One of them was dated Friday — the day after Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said he was temporarily halting offshore drilling.
The exemptions, known as “categorical exclusions,” were granted by the Interior Department’s Minerals Management Service (MMS) and included waiving detailed environmental studies for a BP exploration plan to be conducted at a depth of more than 4,000 feet and an Anadarko Petroleum Corp. exploration plan at more 9,000 feet.
I suppose that technically the spokesman for MMS was correct in noting that the granting of these waivers is not in conflict with the Interior Secretary's halting of offshore drilling. These are not drilling permits, which involve a separate process. No new permits have been issued. That said, however, environmental studies are an important and necessary part of the overall process, and waiving the requirement because there have been studies already done in the region (all before this latest tragedy) seems just a little ... oh, I don't know ... cozy for the multinational oil companies.
It's long been clear that the rapacious multinational corporations have a handy partnership with the MMS, but it takes a tragedy of this proportion to remind us of just who is in charge: the owners.
Avedon, as usual, is right.
Labels: oil companies