“Angered” NWF President Blasts Lax Drilling Oversight

Federal regulators weren’t concerned about the risk of a catastrophic blowout & spill at the Deepwater Horizon site, according to a report in the New Orleans Times-Picayune:

BP estimated that in the worst case, a blowout at the well would spew out 162,000 barrels of oil every day, a massive figure that far exceeds any estimate of what’s coming out now.

But in its exploration plan in March 2009, BP assured the federal Minerals Management Service that a well blowout was so unlikely that “a blowout scenario … is not required for the operations proposed.”

MMS then granted BP a “categorical exclusion” from a public review of the potential environmental impact of the drilling.

The National Wildlife Federation has been a leader in the call to hold regulators accountable:

Those assertions and MMS’ acceptance of them angered Larry Schweiger, president and CEO National Wildlife Federation, when he testified last week before the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

MMS should have immediately insisted upon conducting an (environmental impact study),” Schweiger said. “Given the scale of the enterprise and the inherent risk of deepwater drilling, MMS should have recognized this as a crucial opportunity to review the adequacy of the spill prevention and response technology proposed by BP. Instead MMS adhered to a legally flawed internal policy that was adopted by the Bush administration in 2004 and granted a categorical exclusion … for a huge array of environmentally hazardous activities in the Gulf of Mexico.”

Now we’re supposed to trust those same regulators to oversee oil drilling off Alaska? Tell Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to step in, stop the drills & protect critical polar bear habitat.

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For all the latest news on how the oil spill is impacting the Gulf Coast’s wildlife & to learn how you can help, visit NWF.org/OilSpill.