Congressional Oversight of MMS Needed to Ensure Proper BP Atlantis Investigation

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Seth Gladstone – sgladstone@fwwatch.org

Congressional Oversight of MMS Needed to Ensure Proper BP Atlantis Investigation

Statement of Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter

WASHINGTON - “We are outraged by yesterday’s Department of the Interior report
noting that staff in the Lake Charles District office of the Minerals
Management Service (MMS) have accepted inappropriate gifts from oil
companies. Especially disturbing is the revelation that oil and gas
company personnel filled out their own inspection forms; equally
disturbing is the evidence that between June and July 2008, an MMS
inspector conducted four inspections on Island Operating Company
platforms while in the process of negotiating and later accepting
employment with the company. This cronyism has made a joke of the
regulatory system and is directly responsible for the Chernobyl we’re
seeing play out in the Gulf.

“Although the MMS says they are investigating information provided
by whistleblower Ken Abbott regarding the lack of required engineering
and safety documentation on BP Atlantis, we are skeptical of their
intent to do an honest and credible review. Given the inappropriate
ties between the MMS and the oil industry, an investigation independent
of the agency should be undertaken.

“The recent Deepwater Horizon accident and the safety problems at BP
Atlantis demonstrate MMS’ lack of regulatory scrutiny of deepwater
platforms. This is why we’ve filed suit in a federal court seeking a
temporary injunction to halt operations of BP’s massive Atlantis oil
drilling platform until critical safety documents are produced.
President Obama should close BP Atlantis until it can be shown to
operate safely.

“Congress should conduct oversight hearings immediately to
investigate the executive branch’s failure to properly regulate the
operation of BP Atlantis. At the same time, President Obama should
require a review of safety documentation for all deepwater platforms in
operation.”

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Food & Water Watch is a nonprofit consumer organization that works to ensure clean water and safe food. We challenge the corporate control and abuse of our food and water resources by empowering people to take action and by transforming the public consciousness about what we eat and drink.

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