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Still Waters

US allowed drilling without required permits

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A troubled US government agency tasked with managing oil exploration allowed BP and other oil companies to drill in the Gulf of Mexico without first obtaining required permits, a complaint said.

The approvals by the Minerals Management Service (MMS) included greenlighting the well drilled by the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon rig that exploded on April 20, killing 11 workers before burning, sinking and spewing a sea of crude into the gulf, The New York Times reported, citing federal records.

Under the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the minerals agency is required to obtain permits before allowing drilling to go ahead in areas where the oil exploration could harm endangered species or marine mammals.

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Posted (edited)

It is my understanding that the Environmental Impact Statement process was used for the area of the blowout. The MMS issued a FONSI as it pertains to marine life in the GOM. There is no sense doing an EIS over and over in the GOM, the results would be the same. So, the MMS issued the FONSI.

The oil companies perform bathymetry studies but they frown upon doing baseline environmental surveys. They can't be held liable if no one knows what environmental concerns are there on the bottom already. This may change now because BP has no way of knowing what environmental damage was caused by this spill or what is naturally occuring because they do not have baseline data. oops. Bad call, but not illegal.

Edited by Astute One

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Posted (edited)

I hope this gets probed in detail.

Today Obama said that he was ending "the cozy relationship between the oil companies and government regulators". A bit late to be saying that isn't it?

They should get going with the investigation NOW. They've probably been shredding documents in D.C. for the past three weeks.

Edited by Siara

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Naturally, I don't know the details or the politics of this increased drilling for oil in sensitive areas. I do, however, think that people are going to have to decide which they'd rather have, a high standard of living or a pristene environment. Sad to say, I think the oil will be the last to go. People love their cars more than they do the beaches and polar bears. KennyB

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