Ground Zero on the Gulf: the Politics of Loss, Fishing for Financial Responsibility

program date: 
Mon, 06/07/2010

George Barisch is the president of the United Commercial Fishermens Association representing Gulf fisherfolk from Louisiana and beyond.  He's been a fisherman for over 30years.  And he also has a law degree.  Barisch was the first up to sue BP.  Barisch has got more in store for the company and its cohorts, Transoceanic and Halliburton.  The disaster is clearly the evil seed of the private sector.  But it has its public face als:    the US Minerals Management Service.  The USMMS and the oil industry are virtually the same animal.  "Inspections"  are de facto handshakes and in the case of foreign-registered vessels and oil rigs, they barely touch down.  The Deepwater Horizon, for example, is registerd in the Marshall Islands.  Had the rig been US-registered, the inspection would have taken about three weeks.  But as an official foreigner, the inspection lasted a brisk 4 or five hours...and then it was back to business as usua.  Ironically, as we burn more and more oil, further contributing to the global climate crisis, the Marshall Islands themselves  will one day be submerged. 

 

Politico has published a report from the Inspector General of the Interior Department about the Minerals Management Service and their far-too-close relationship with the oil industry. All of the things discussed in the report took place prior to 2007, but it still provides an excellent picture of what goes on in regulatory agencies throughout the government.The report includes employees of MMS taking rides to sporting events on private jets owned by the oil companies, the routine giving of expensive gifts to regulators by oil companies, including hunting and fishing trips. And all of this was at the Lake Charles MMS office -- the one that handles the Gulf of Mexico directly.

 

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