True to form, the commission made its findings public Tuesday. They can be summarized in one sentence: It's all the energy industry's fault and the only acceptable solution is more government regulation and jobs for Big Green environmentalists.
Among its many recommendations, the commission proposed creation of an entirely new independent federal agency to oversee all offshore oil and gas drilling. The commission didn't bother to explain how yet another new federal bureaucracy would do a better job than the multiple agencies and offices within the Departments of Interior, Defense, Commerce and Homeland Security and the Environmental Protection Agency that for decades have been involved in federal regulation of offshore drilling. The commission also recommended more costly studies of existing procedures and regulations, hiring more outside industrial safety experts and environmental consultants to recommend new procedures and regulations, and creating a fresh crop of offices within existing departments and agencies, and approving bigger budgets for inspection and enforcement.
In short, the commission wants Obama to turn the nation's worst-ever environmental disaster into a federal jobs program for politically connected environmental activists. It's a classic illustration of how Big Government and Big Green work together to feed each other at the expense of taxpayers. First, Big Government seizes on a crisis or problem to justify new bureaucratic regulations and organizations. Big Green then works with its liberal mainstream media allies to create the appearance of public support, and lobbies Congress to respond to that demand by approving and funding the proposed new bureaucratic regulations and organizations.
The circle is closed when Big Green figures land jobs or consulting contracts in the new government entities where they use their regulatory power and influence to generate thousands of pages of official edicts that require still bigger budgets and more bureaucrats. As if to emphasize the rigged nature of this insider's game, the report's chapter on the history of offshore drilling contains an acerbic quote from one of Beinecke's key NRDC employees, Executive Director Peter Lehner. The quote, which mocks the industry's "blind faith" in its engineering and safety capabilities, is from the book Lehner rushed into print following the Deepwater Horizon crisis to take advantage of public worries about it. Gotta move fast in Three-Card Monte and the public policy shuffle.