The Minerals Management Agency is supposed to oversee drilling:
A Wall Street Journal examination of the MMS’s track record found several instances of the agency identifying potential safety problems and then either not requiring follow-up or relying on the industry to craft a solution.
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Oil rig operators generally are required to submit a detailed “blowout scenario.” But the federal Minerals Management Service issued a notice in 2008 that exempted some drilling projects in the Gulf under certain conditions. BP met those conditions, according to MMS, and as a result, the oil company had no plan written specifically for the Deepwater Horizon project, an Associated Press review of government and industry documents found.
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For more than a decade, the Minerals Management Service, a federal agency within the interior department, has been accused by government watchdogs of failing to inspect offshore oil leases and relying too heavily on industry data in collecting royalties and other fees related to oil and gas. In a low point for the agency, a scathing 2008 report by the inspector-general of the interior described a culture of “substance abuse and promiscuity” within the MMS department charged with collecting royalties on leases and revealed that two MMS employees had, literally, been in bed with industry contacts. (Financial Times.)