Post-Overhaul, Oil Rig Inspection Still Lacking

Investigation: Oversight remains outdated, underfunded
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Dec 3, 2010 12:05 PM CST
In this photo taken Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2010, BP operates a deep sand cleaning operation in Orange Beach, Ala.   (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
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(Newser) – Following the BP oil spill, the government agency tasked with supervising offshore drilling is trying to turn itself around—but the Wall Street Journal finds those efforts lacking. Though it has renamed itself—the Minerals Management Service is now the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement—and gotten a new leader, the agency still has many of the same old problems.

The big one is that the 55 inspectors charged with enforcing safety on 3,500 platforms and rigs don't have the experience or the manpower to get the job done. They tend to focus on obvious mechanical checklists instead of the real problem: human error. As the Journal puts it: "Inspectors aren't looking for signs of systemic safety problems—poor decisions, cutting corners, muddled responsibilities—that investigators are linking to the Deepwater Horizon explosion."

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