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They Just Never Go Away May 5, 2010

Posted by Dwight Furrow in Dwight Furrow's Posts, politics.
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Republicans are hard at work trying to blame Obama for the Gulf Oil spill. But there is evidence that the real culprit may be our old friend Dick Cheney. (Remember him?)

Political philosopher William Galston presents the case:

Apparently, late in the Clinton Administration, the Interior Department’s Mineral Management Service (MMS) wanted an automatic shut off switch installed on deep oil drilling platforms that was essential in preventing underwater spills. But the oil industry opposed this regulation because of the cost of installing this device. And in 2003 the Interior Department relented.

But as Galston reports:

After the Bush administration took office, the MMS became a cesspool of corruption and conflicts of interest. In September 2008, Earl Devaney, Interior’s Inspector General, delivered a report to Secretary Dirk Kempthorne that has to be read to be believed. One section, headlined “A Culture of Ethical Failure,” documented the belief among numerous MMS staff that they were “exempt from the rules that govern all other employees of the Federal Government.”…On at least 135 occasions, they accepted gifts and gratuities from oil and gas companies with whom they worked.

Galston is curious:

So here’s my question: what is responsible for the [Mineral Management Service’s] change of heart between 2000 and 2003 on the crucial issue of requiring a remote control switch for offshore rigs? What we do know is that unfettered oil drilling was to Dick Cheney’s domestic concerns what the invasion of Iraq was to his foreign policy—a core objective, implacably pursued regardless of the risks. Is there a connection between his infamous secret energy task force and the corrupt mindset that came to dominate a key program within MMS? Would $500,000 per rig have been regarded as an unacceptably expensive insurance policy if a drill-baby-drill administration hadn’t placed its thumb so heavily on the scale?

Halliburton, the company run by Cheney prior to his selection as Bush’s VP, was responsible for the drilling procedure called “cementing” which is known to be a leading cause of well blowouts and had been completed just prior to the recent explosion.

It is worth asking whether a conflict of interest played a role in this disaster.

How many years will it take to free us from the consequences of the worst Presidential Administration in U.S. history?

book-section-book-cover2 Dwight Furrow is author of

Reviving the Left: The Need to Restore Liberal Values in America

For political commentary by Dwight Furrow visit: www.revivingliberalism.com



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