The Daily Outrage: Federal agency’s policy change allowed BP to avoid filing oil spill plan 

WHAT: Oil rig operators generally are required to submit a detailed “blowout scenario” for every site. But an unexplained rules change in 2008 by the federal Minerals Management Service allowed BP to avoid filing a plan specifically for handling a major blowout spill at its Deepwater Horizon rig — exactly the disaster that happened in the Gulf of Mexico.

MISSING: Federal regulations require rig operators to estimate how much oil could flow per day from each well, the total amount that could leak and how a spill would be stopped. An Associated Press review of BP’s Gulf-wide oil spill plan found that it failed to specifically address all required points relevant to the now-sunken Deepwater Horizon rig.

SUSPICIOUS: Minerals Management Service has long been criticized as too cozy with the industry it oversees. Also in 2008, eight agency staffers were disciplined for accepting lavish gifts and partying sexually with employees from energy companies they regulated. Investigators cited a “culture of substance abuse and promiscuity.”

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