Who Regulates Big Oil? Big Oil

Investigation finds gaps in oversight, safety measures
By Emily Rauhala,  Newser User
Posted May 7, 2010 8:22 AM CDT
A WSJ investigation found big oil has pretty much been left to regulate itself.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

(Newser) – Over the past decade, the federal agency tasked with monitoring offshore oil drillers has gradually ceded control to the industry itself, finds the Wall Street Journal. The Minerals Management Service doesn't actually write rules, but rather sets "broad goals" for drillers, an approach that is taking heat post-Gulf spill. "If MMS wasn't asleep at the wheel, it sure was letting Big Oil do most of the driving," says Florida Sen. Ben Nelson tells the Journal.

The Journal's investigation found several instances where the MMS identified problems, but did not act. They also found that the US offshore drilling industry has a relatively weak record on safety. In the last five years, American offshore oil workers were four times more likely to be killed on the job than workers in European waters. The agency vowed to take a tougher stance going forward. Click here for the latest on the Gulf Coast oil spill.

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