CE has taken on the task of doing the job of the American press, regarding Oil Spill Katrina. Below is a letter that was sent to the MMS asking for answers to obvious questions. We have a response to our letter, which will be printed tommorrow. Stay tuned, the response is from the Department of the Interior, and is about as evasive as things can get. We will also print our follow up to Ken Salazar’s press secretary’s response.
Letter to MMS
Dear Ms. Angelico:
I am a reporter for The Conservative Edge, (www.conservativeedge.com). I was provided your name by the MMS office of press relations concerning questions I have about your agencies handling of the Deep Water Horizon issues. Bloomberg News service reported the following information, which is the basis for my inquiry. You can access the Bloomberg article by following this link and looking for Bloomberg News in highlights. (http://www.conservativeedge.com/readarticle.aspx?aid=7691).
Here is the first section of Bloomberg’s story that I have follow up questions on:
On Feb. 13, BP told the minerals service it was trying to seal cracks in the well about 40 miles (64 kilometers) off the Louisiana coast, drilling documents obtained by Bloomberg show. Investigators are still trying to determine whether the fissures played a role in the disaster.
1. What did MMS do in response to this information from BP? ( please attach supporting documents)
2. Who was the highest Obama administration official that was informed of this information?
3. When were they informed?
4. What did they do in response to the information?
5. Has MMS received similar reports from BP and other oil companies concerning similar problems within the past eighteen months? Within the past five years?
On March 10, BP executive Scherie Douglas e-mailed Frank Patton, the mineral service’s drilling engineer for the New Orleans district, telling him: “We’re in the midst of a well control situation.”
The incident was a “showstopper,” said Robert Bea, an engineering professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who has consulted with the Interior Department on offshore drilling safety. “They damn near blew up the rig.”
1. Does Mr. Patton agree that the incident was a “show stopper”? If not, why not?
2. Whom did Mr. Patton inform about this information? (Please provide supporting documents)
3. What did MMS do in response to this information? (Please provide supporting documents)
4. Does MMS have statutory authority to order a drilling operation to cease until safety issues can be resolved? If so, did MMS use that authority after March 10th, 2010? If not, would such authority be useful to MMS in the future?
5. Does MMS have the legal resources to seek a court injunction when presented with the type of information that Mr. Patton received on March 10th, 2010? If so, did MMS use those resources? If not, would such resources be beneficial to MMS in the future?
6. In retrospect, knowing what information that MMS had at its disposal, should MMS have sought to shut down or “stop the show” with the Deep Water Horizon drilling until the safety issues could be resolved?
7. If the drilling had been shut down in March, what is the likelihood that the final fatal incident in April would have been avoided?
This letter will be posted in its entirety on The Conservative Edge this evening. Your response, or lack thereof, will also be posted.
Brian T. Goettl
The Conservative Edge