Feds Let Big Oil Fill Out Own Inspection Forms

Regulators also took gifts, openly hustled for oil company jobs
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 25, 2010 6:57 AM CDT
Lamar McKay, left, President and Chairman of BP American, listens as Elmer Danenberger, former Chief Offshore Regulatory Program Minerals Management Services, testifies on Capitol Hill.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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(Newser) – Minerals and Management Service regulators accepted gifts from the oil companies they were supposed to be watching over, and allowed those companies to fill out their own inspection reports, according to a damning report from the inspector general, which found sweeping misconduct at the agency from 2005 to 2007. One regulator conducted four drilling platform inspections while negotiating a job with the drilling company. Another is believed to have conducted inspections while high on crystal meth.

The report, which was leaked to the New York Times, has been presented to the US Attorney in Western Louisiana, who declined to prosecute. The Obama administration has since reorganized the MMS, and put new ethics rules in place, but at least seven inspectors accused of misconduct in the report still have their jobs. Ken Salazar has asked the inspector general to expand the investigation to see if any violations have occurred since 2009.

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