Tim Dickinson has a meaty investigative piece in Rolling Stone about the regulatory failure at the MMS under President Obama. Despite knowing that the agency was riddled with corruption, despite BP’s less-than-stellar history in safety, and despite promising to make meaningful changes, Obama’s “great” and “dear” friend Ken Salazar merely dabbled in cleaning up the MMS but left the head honchos who were loyal to the oil industry in charge. Under his watch, the agency green-lighted some 53 million offshore acres for drilling, setting a new record. It granted categorical exclusion — or a way to avoid environmental review — to offshore drillers that was originally meant to cut red tape for very small projects. And it knew from the start that the spill was much worse than what BP’s experts were saying — but they downplayed their own figures.
Meanwhile, watch this enlightening interview with Stephen Kinzer, author of All the Shah’s Men, for a glimpse into BP’s role in the 1953 CIA coup against the Shah of Iran.