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unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

Suit Filed To End Reckless Approach to Offshore Oil Drilling


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View Terry Winckler's blog posts
18 May 2010, 12:37 PM
As Gulf spill proves, drilling permits are too easily granted by MMS

Permits to sell hot dogs are harder to get than permits to drill offshore in deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, an Earthjustice attorney said this morning as he filed a lawsuit challenging the federal Minerals Management Service for letting companies like British Petroleum drill without adequate safety measures.

BP, which has struggled for a month to stop a catastrophic oil spill after its Gulf deepwater drill rig exploded, was given a wave-of-the-hand waiver of legal requirements by the MMS—and then started drilling. Only after the well blew out, and BP was confronted with a worst-case scenario that it hadn't been forced to plan for, did MMS's regulatory failure become obvious.

For attorney David Guest, what's frightening—and is at the heart of the Earthjustice suit—is that there are at least 60 other permits for deepwater drilling in the Gulf that received the same lenient waiver of requirements from MMS. That's five dozen time bombs that shouldn't be allowed to tick, he said.

The suit, on behalf of fisherman hurt by the spill and conservation groups, asks the court to invalidate the MMS practice of telling oil companies they don't have to comply with the rules, and to order review of offshore drilling plans that don't comply with existing rules

Guest is in some pretty high-octane company as he takes on MMS. At least eight congressional hearings are looking into the MMS for what President Obama described as its too—cozy relationship with the oil industry. The president himself has launched a presidential commission to investigate the spill, MMS and everything having to do with the spill.

By law, MMS is required to include blowout and worst-case oil spill scenarios before approving exploratory offshore drilling plans. These scenarios must include the maximum volume of oil, the maximum flow rate, the maximum duration of the blowout, and an estimate of the time it would take to contain the resulting oil spill.

MMS approved BP's plan without this required step because MMS had issued a notice to oil companies telling them that they didn't have to comply with those blowout and worst case oil spill rules. The agency also was required by law to produce an analysis of potential environmental impacts in the event of a blow-out; but failed to take that necessary step as well. <Update: Today, Sec. Salazar admitted before a Senate hearing that his department's failures may be partially to blame for the BP spill.>

Represented by Earthjustice in the suit are the Gulf Restoration Network and Sierra Club.

 

When are we - the humans of this planet going to realize, this is the ONLY planet we have, and we must take care of it? We are destroying everything in our wake, polluting and damaging the entire eco system. This is not a joke, this is not Gorebull - this is REAL! As Stephen Hawkings said: We need to get off this planet before we destroy ourselves. sesli sohbet

I now vow that I will no longer contribute to any politician's campaigns for national office. I am so sick about all this lip service about accountability and political spin management that my head is going to explode. I will give money to you instead! But remember our legal process is also corrupt, bought and paid for. So you won't get anywhere.

why is bp still in business ?? they should be shut down immediately ! assets liquidated to pay for this mess !

they don't need to liquidate, that 530 million they spent on cleanup as of May 20 is revenue generated in just 4 hours of a working well, and theres still a wonder that they decided to keep pumping crude and ignore the pump alarms. Oh well, guess I'll still drive my truck to work tomorrow.

The executives and others at BP and the affiliated entities involved should all be charged with manslaughter first of all, then a host of other crimes. They should be held without bond pending trial too.

why can't you file a class action lawsuit on behalf of every american citizen against these companies and/ or our government for destroying our country.?

Maybe that's possible! It is certainly called for IMO.

But of course, the consumer would end up paying for it, that's the way it always ends up with these lawsuits.

All the money in the world is not going to avert the destruction and every living organisms ability to survive on this planet. There is nothing BP says that is true, BP couldn't even drill the hole properly causing this accident, so how are they going to clean it up? Like most stupid people BP doesn't listen to anyone - that's what makes people stupid...Too dumb to open your ears and your mind. Good luck, I support the suit. But in the big picture it will do little to help us survive if this oil doesn't stop gushing.

I HOPE YOU CAN REALLY MAKE THIS SUIT STICK BECAUSE WITH ALL THE WORLD'S MOST HUGE PROFITS BP HAS TAKEN WITH HIGH PRICES, AND WITH THE GOP REFUSING TO RAISE THE MAXIMUM COSTS FOR BP, WE THE TAX PAYERS ARE GETTING STIFFED AND SCREWED AGAIN JUST LIKE THE ALASKA OIL SPILL NEVER WAS CLEANED UP AS PROMISED AND THE COSTS TO LOCALS OF SPILLS IS A HELL OF A COST WHEN CAREERS AND LIVES ARE DESTROYED ALONG WITH OUR OCEANS AND WILDLIFE. THE ENTIRE BIG OIL INDUSTRY IS CRIMINAL AND SICK AND NOT TO BE TRUSTED. ANYONE WHO SUPPORTS THIS NEGLECT WILL NOT EVER GET MY VOTE AND SHOULD BE FORCED TO LIVE YOUR REMAINING YEARS ON A ONCE GLORIOUS BEACH THAT IS DESTROYED BY OIL SPILLS AND NUCLEAR ENERGY PLANTS.

BP is the entity to sue, in order to completely stop this the U.S. Government as a whole should be sued on corrupt environmental practices (i.e. taking money from oil company lobbiests to create lax/nonexistent environmental regulations for them)

It's good you are suing BP, and I hope this forces Obama to stop oil drilling in Alaska.
And did you know Kevin Costner has submitted a machine to suck out oil and purify
the water to a level of 97%? See Daily News 5/20/10. It was announced BP will use
the machinery. We will watch closely.

" At least eight congressional hearings are looking into the MMS for what President Obama described as its too—cozy relationship with the oil industry. The president himself has launched a presidential commission to investigate the spill, MMS and everything having to do with the spill."......

Big Deal! And while the "commissions fiddle" the oil rigs burn! AND the plans continue to "honor" the permits already signed?? Now THAT'S a BIG Deal...Maybe this is OILGATE? Let's follow the money folks - follow the MONEY!!!

And I'll bet MY farm the money leads right back to good ol' Washington DC (Dirty Cash)..the land of the REALLY Big Deal(s)!

YES!!!!!!!!!! That is correct the money goes directly to Washington the land of corrupt politics

When are we - the humans of this planet going to realize, this is the ONLY planet we have, and we must take care of it? We are destroying everything in our wake, polluting and damaging the entire eco system. This is not a joke, this is not Gorebull - this is REAL! As Stephen Hawkings said: We need to get off this planet before we destroy ourselves. That is exactly what we are doing. Drilling for oil and gas, depleting these resources and letting greedy corporations control us. That oil and gas are needed in the earth's core to keep it stabilized. Oil is the same for our cars as it is for the planet, to stabilize the teutonic plates and keep the planet from blowing up!!!

It's worse than just an exemption for an emergency response plan.

See link to this Febuary 2010 test report below and note that the Casing Shear Rams AND Blind Shear Rams were not functional. Not only that it says they "DO NOT FUNCTION AS PER EXEMPTION"

http://energycommerce.house.gov/Press_111/20100512/Transocean-Deepwater%...

Thats 2 of the 3 shear ram systems on the BOP not functional -and Transocean, BP and MMC knew it.

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