The government announced today that it is going to let BP do exploratory deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Yes, BP — the oil giant that in April 2010 was at the helm of the worst environmental catastrophe in our history. That BP. It was awarded $27 million of leases by the Interior Department.
This happened on the same day that the National Academy of Engineering and National Research Council said in a report that more needs to be done to prevent another Gulf drilling catastrophe. I am not making this up.
The National Journal story about this development quoted Michael Bromwich, the former head of the main offshore energy regulator, as saying in October that the BP disaster was just “one incident” that did not justify “the administrative death penalty.”
As Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen’s Energy Program, said in a statement released today, calling the BP disaster an “incident” is like calling Katrina a little rainstorm.
Yes, the federal agency charged with overseeing offshore oil drilling got an overhaul after the BP spill, but Congress never acted on the package of measures developed after the disaster to boost environmental and worker safety in the Gulf. Those were critical to helping stave off further oil gushers. God forbid lawmakers should anger the big oil giants.