The Minerals Management Service (MMS), which regulates offshore oil rigs, gave BP a big old pass:
A rule change two years ago by the federal agency that regulates offshore oil rigs allowed BP to avoid filing a plan specifically for handling a major spill from an uncontrolled blowout at its Deepwater Horizon project – exactly the kind of disaster now unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico.
If “MMS” rings a bell, perhaps this is why:
In 2008, the Interior Department took disciplinary action against eight MMS employees who accepted lavish gifts, partied and – in some cases – had sex with employees from the energy companies they regulated. An investigation cited a “culture of substance abuse and promiscuity” involving employees in the agency’s Denver office.
MMS workers were given upgraded ethics training.
Maybe this catastrophe will merit a sternly-worded letter, or a serious talking-to.
Also, too, the industry knew about big problems with blowout preventers years ago.