One of the biggest scandals surrounding the BP oil spill in the
Gulf of Mexico was the incompetence and worse of its regulator, the
Management Service. Can pro-energy regulators also protect
the environment? It seems unlikely.MMS was supposed to be the
safety and environmental regulator for offshore oil drilling, while
simultaneously promoting exploitation of the offshore oil resource.
Which of these objectives had higher priority? The name said it
all. News reports suggest that MMS members were regularly wined,
dined, and otherwise entertained by oil industry representatives.
MMS members had close ties to the oil industry, and were more
sympathetic to their point of view than to that of the public.
("Regulatory capture"). Members of the U.S. Congress says
they were guilty of "mismanagement and corruption".
The Obama administration has cleaned house, and has now
rebranded the MMS as the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management,
Regulation and Enforcement. To no one's surprise, the new name
signals a complete change in the agency's method, management,
and approach. The Bureau has posted a fascinating electronic reading room for those who
want source documents on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Meanwhile, Canada has just eliminated the CEAA independent
environmental review of major energy projects, conferring sole
approval responsibility on the National Energy Board, which is much more
friendly to the oil industry. Does this really sound like a good
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The Imperial Oil refinery pled guilty to one offence for discharging a contaminant, coker stabilizer, thermocracked gas, into the natural environment causing an adverse effect and was fined $650,000...
Ontario's Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change continues to roll out its Climate Change Action Plan with its proposed GHG guide for projects that are subject to the province's Environmental Assessment Act.
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