Minerals Management Service

13 Stories

Post-Overhaul, Oil Rig Inspection Still Lacking

Investigation: Oversight remains outdated, underfunded

(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... More »

Issa Vows to Investigate Bush, Too

GOP rep with keys to House Oversight wants to probe everything

(Newser) - Darrell Issa’s been chomping at the bit to investigate President Obama, and as the next chairman of the House Oversight Committee, he’s about to get his chance. But Issa says he’s not going to let George W. Bush off the hook, either. “I’m going to... More »

FBI Investigates BP's Ties to Regulators

Criminal probe to target Transocean, Halliburton as well

(Newser) - A team of federal investigators is gathering in New Orleans to determine, among other things, whether BP was criminally cozy with federal regulators, and whether that helped cause the Deepwater Horizon explosion. The wide-ranging criminal probe will also focus on TransOcean and Halliburton, the Washington Post reports, but there’s... More »

Obama Used Bush Drilling Policies He Slammed

Political expediency caused U-turn on offshore drilling

(Newser) - President Obama and his administration have gone from condemning Bush-era offshore drilling policies to embracing them to blaming them for the mess in the Gulf, a Wall Street Journal look at Obama's energy policy finds. The tough talk about environmental protection heard on the campaign trail gave way to support... More »

BP Response Plan Was Based on Surface Spills

Government models weren't updated for deepwater drilling

(Newser) - BP's response to the Gulf spill was based on outdated government-provided models that were proven wrong by scientists before they were proven wrong by the disaster. The Minerals Management Service predictions—which didn't even address how oil would behave when spilled a mile under the surface—gave very low odds... More »

'Chaotic' Gulf Cleanup Efforts Slammed

Unclear chain of command, poor response plans have made a mess of cleanup

(Newser) - The mess in the Gulf of Mexico is much worse than it would have if there had been one good response plan in place instead of five shoddy ones, officials of all stripes tell the New York Times . The cleanup effort, experts say, has been bedeviled by a lack of... More »

Obama Fires Head of Minerals Management Service

Elizabeth Birnbaum's head rolls thanks to BP oil spill

(Newser) - Democratic sources say the Obama administration has fired the head of the US Minerals Management Service in response to blistering criticism over lax oversight of offshore drilling. President Obama will announce the firing later today, the sources say. Elizabeth "Liz" Birnbaum had run the service in the Interior Department... More »

Feds Let Big Oil Fill Out Own Inspection Forms

Regulators also took gifts, openly hustled for oil company jobs

(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... More »

Obama Crew Flouts Own Drilling Ban

Waivers and permits still flowing, despite 'moratorium'

(Newser) - President Obama declared a moratorium on new oil drilling permits and environmental waivers two weeks ago, but his administration hasn't actually stopped giving out those permits and waivers. Since the May 14 declaration, it has granted at least seven drilling permits and five environmental waivers, the New York Times reports.... More »

Obama Slams Oil Spill Blame Game as 'Ridiculous Spectacle'

President has tough talk about the Gulf spill

(Newser) - President Obama ripped into the companies involved in the Gulf oil spill today, deriding their finger-pointing before Congress as a "ridiculous spectacle." He also promised to end a cozy relationship that has existed between federal regulators and companies drilling offshore for oil and gas. More »

Regulators Let BP Blow Off Wildlife Permits

Endangered species protections simply ignored

(Newser) - The Minerals Management Service appears to have blatantly ignored a law requiring new oil drilling operations to get permits from the agency that assesses risk to endangered species. The MMS gave the okay to the Deepwater Horizon rig and dozens of others without getting the permits, the New York Times ... More »

BP Deemed Spill 'Unlikely,' Didn't Prepare

Plan filed with feds predicted 'no significant adverse impacts'

(Newser) - The worst US oil spill in decades reached into precious shoreline habitat along the Gulf Coast as documents emerged showing British Petroleum downplayed the possibility of a catastrophic accident. In a plan filed with the federal Minerals Management Service, BP conceded a spill would impact beaches, wildlife refuges, and wilderness... More »

Agency Regulating Oil Rigs Has 'Spotty' Record

Interior Department's MMS doesn't inspire confidence

(Newser) - As the oil spill off Louisiana threatens to become one of the biggest in US history, Pro Publica would like to remind everyone that the federal agency charged with preventing such accidents "has had a spotty record over the past few years." That would be the Department of... More »

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