Exxon’s Offshore Lawsuit: The Rest of the Story
Last week, ExxonMobil filed a lawsuit against the Department of the Interior in the Western District of Louisiana. The lawsuit alleges that DOI, through the Minerals Management Service (MMS), acted improperly in cancelling three leases owned by ExxonMobil and Statoil, its 50% partner. The leases are in a field designated “Julia”, which lies in 7,000 feet of water, some 200 miles off the Louisiana coast. | Read More »
Mr. Maley Goes to Washington
Colleague and occasional RS diarist Steve Maley testified before the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources on Thursday. The topic of the hearing was “The Deepwater Horizon Incident: Are the Minerals Management Service Regulations Doing the Job?” Full video of the hearing (over four hours) is available here. It featured testimony from the acting head of the MMS and the Interior Department’s Inspector General | Read More »
Obama Blames Folks For Things He Imagines They Would Say
First, there was this: Obama, in an interview with NBC’s “Today” show, broadcast Tuesday, said he hadn’t spoken directly to BP CEO Tony Hayward because his experience tells him someone like that would say “all the right things” and that he’s more interested in action than in words. [Source.] Now, we have this: I think it’s fair to say, if six months ago, before this | Read More »
What Kind of MMS Did Obama Inherit?
President Obama and Interior Secretary Salazar have done their best to shift the blame of the Deepwater Horizon disaster to the Bush Administration and the supposed ‘cozy relationship’ it fostered between the Minerals Management Service and the oil and gas companies it regulates. The public consciousness perceives a corrupt and incompetent agency, turning a blind eye to the shenanigans of their industry buddies. In reality: | Read More »
The Inside Skinny on Offshore Regulation
Amidst the puffing, pontificating and finger-pointing in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, two large questions loom: Who will the Feds hold accountable? How can our government assure us that a big oil spill will never happen again? Quick answers, with a caveat (I’m an engineer, not a lawyer): BP, as operator. They can’t, and we should not expect them to.
I wonder who got fired over the Birnbaum oopsie.
Actually, knowing this administration, I wonder if somebody got fired for it: It was a remarkable moment in President Barack Obama’s press conference Thursday: just hours before, the head of the Minerals Management Service had left the top post at the agency that oversees offshore oil drilling. And yet, the president said he didn’t know whether Liz Birnbaum had resigned or been fired. If he | Read More »
MMS Chief Out: ‘Heckuva Job, Lizzie!’
President Obama, quick to criticize George W. Bush for his appointment of a lightly-qualified Michael Brown as FEMA director, apparently learned little from his predecessor’s mistake. In today’s press conference, President Obama claimed to know nothing of MMS Director Liz Birnbaum’s sudden departure. Whatever. Let’s consider Liz’s qualifications to be the head of the agency charged with regulating rigs like the Deepwater Horizon and 30% | Read More »
BP Spill Update: Top Kill Working?
This is certainly good news. There are signs that the “top kill” operations may be effective, Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen told NPR. He is in Houma, Louisiana, meeting with local officials and residents. “Since yesterday afternoon, British Petroleum and their subcontractors have been pumping a heavy mud down into the well bore below the blowout preventer, and over the course of the last 12 | Read More »
About Those Oil Rig S.W.A.T. Teams…
With great fanfare, President Obama dispatched Interior Department “S.W.A.T Teams” to all 29 active deepwater drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. Their charge: Perform a thorough, complete drilling inspection of each deepwater rig. Key on the BOP [blowout preventer] test time frame, leaks and resolution, discrepancies, and repairs. Make sure well control drills were performed as required by 30 CFR 250.462. What’s that? You | Read More »
‘It’s Bush’s Oil Spill’
It’s a lie, a gross distortion or a paranoid delusion. Take your pick. In a Daily Beast article, blogger Matthew Yglesias does his best to shoehorn a few bits of truth into the Obama gang’s favorite narrative: “It’s Bush’s fault!” In making his argument that the blowout and spill resulted from lax enforcement by the Minerals Management Service, Yglesias focuses on a program known as | Read More »