Drilling Permits And Accountability



This link is a video from the Rachel Maddow Show about the handing out of drilling permits for deep water drilling. BHP Bilton, Noble Energy, and Exxon/Mobile have all gotten permits. Exxon’s well will be 6,941 feet deep. http://on.wsj.com/gADrrC

Michael Bromwell was put in charge of all this by President Obama. He created a Bureau of Ocean Management, Regulation, and Enforcement in wake of the BP oil disaster. Part of their mission is to enforce stricter compliance with guidelines for companies that are going to drill in the future. One of the requirements is that companies have emergency measures in place to prevent spills and/or stop them once they start. According to this interview, what they have now can stop a spill in 17 days.

Note the picture Rachel puts up that shows what the Gulf already looked like 17 days into the spill.

Do the businesses affected need to get back up and running? Yes. Is the entire region affected by the spill hurting for money? Absolutely. Especially since during the cleanup, minority contractors were often not hired, and prison inmates were brought in for labor instead of paying local residents. The other reason money didn’t flow as rapidly into the communities affected? 25 of the boats hired by BP had to deduct whatever they were paid to work in the cleanup from any final settlement money.  http://bit.ly/e3FyMQ  Even as late as mid-February of 2011, there are still a LOT of BP settlement claims still being processed, appealed, or awaiting payment. http://bit.ly/go977E

So there sits Michael Bromwell at the top of all this heap, in charge of both resolving the past and moving the future along. His official page says that he’s done compliance investigations for multiple city and government agencies, including police departments. That’s nice.  http://bit.ly/goRAmN  There’s something in his background that gives me a bit of pause. The official page says that he was a partner at Brown and Platt. They’re a law office in D.C. Nothing unusual about people in government having been lawyers in their former lives. He did criminal defense work. Folks in government having been a bit snuggly with corporations in the past is also not out of the ordinary.

But one of the white collar corporate things this particular firm does is environmental defense. Yes, that’s right. Mr. Bromwell worked for four years at a law firm that, in their own words, “defend companies and individuals against allegations of environmental crimes, and have been involved in some of the most far-reaching prosecutions and compliance claims brought by the US Environmental Protection Agency and state environmental agencies.”

Excellent, right? Of course, his page doesn’t say that he was directly involved in these cases, and I have no proof that he was. It just seems a little…odd.