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Mon Mar 12, 2018, 01:44 PM

Written in Blood: Trump Appointee Reverses Lessons of Deepwater Horizon

Written in Blood: Trump Appointee Reverses Lessons of Deepwater Horizon

March 11, 2018

They say that those who forget history are forced to repeat it. But when it comes to workplace and environmental disasters, that’s not exactly true. Because while the politicians and their corporate supporters are doing the forgetting, it is the workers, the environment and surrounding communities that ultimately pay the price when the inevitable — and preventable — tragedies come home to roost.

In the Spring and Summer of 2010 this nation learned a lot about the high cost of offshore oil drilling and lax regulation. And the nation would pay that price in 11 workplace deaths on the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform and the largest oil spill in the history of the world. The lessons learned about how to prevent such disasters in the future were soon written into regulations issued by the Interior Department’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, headed by former federal prosecutor Michael R. Bromwich.

Now, not even 8 years after the Deepwater disaster, the New York Times reports in an exhaustive investigative piece that that same agency is headed by Scott Angelle. Angelle, who has a history of financial ties to the drilling industry, has made it his mission to roll back those protections in order to increase oil production. A former Louisiana Attorney General, Angelle ran unsuccessfully for Governor as a friend and supporter of the drilling industry. His stripes have not changed, according to the Times:

His job was new, but his message was familiar: How can I help your companies thrive? In addition to safety enforcement, he made it clear that he viewed his role as helping the industry grow. “One of the things that we want to do is help unlock the next wave of investment into the Gulf of Mexico,” he said at the time. “That is what we want to do.”

“These regulations were written with human blood” — Lillian Espinoza-Gala

As Bromwich says, “This is a safety and environmental protection agency. It is not part of the agency’s mission or mandate to increase production of oil or gas. That is inappropriate.”

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