Guarding the guardians 66

“As we speak,” Obama began part of his address from the Oval Office about the oil spill in the Gulf, using the royal “we”.

That was all we (editorial) caught before switching him off.

We cannot bear to listen to him. We have, however, read this part of his speech:

One place we have already begun to take action is at the agency in charge of regulating drilling and issuing permits, known as the Minerals Management Service. Over the last decade, this agency has become emblematic of a failed philosophy that views all regulation with hostility – a philosophy that says corporations should be allowed to play by their own rules and police themselves. At this agency, industry insiders were put in charge of industry oversight. Oil companies showered regulators with gifts and favors, and were essentially allowed to conduct their own safety inspections and write their own regulations.

Who put such villainous persons in charge?

The Director, S. Elizabeth Birnbaum – the one who was fired after the oil began to spill in the Gulf – “assumed duties as Director of the Minerals Management Service (MMS) on July 15, 2009.”

But that means she was appointed in Obama’s reign, doesn’t it?

What was her experience? Was she an “industry insider”?

She was a lawyer, interested in conservation and wild life.

Who assisted her at MMS?

Her Deputy Director was Mary Katherine Ishee, also a lawyer, “appointed Deputy Director of the Minerals Management Service (MMS) on January 19, 2010.”

So she too was appointed in Obama’s reign.

She’s “worked extensively in the renewable energy field and has a depth of experience with the legislative and policy issues affecting both onshore and offshore applications of wind, solar and other renewable energy resources.”

Is there a scientist or engineer in the management?

A scientist, yes. Science Advisor to the Director Alan D. Thornhill was hired in March 2010. His Ph.D is in Ecology. Before coming to MMS he was “Executive Director of the Society for Conservation Biology—an international society of 12,000 conservation professionals working to advance the science and practice of protecting life on Earth. Previously he was the Director of Learning and Communications for the Science Division for The Nature Conservancy (the global organization), and a Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Rice University in Houston, Texas.”

They all three seem staunchly “green” and Obama-compliant to us.

What does the MMS have to say about itself?

The MMS is proud of the important work we do for our nation and its economy from within the U.S. Department of the Interior.

The MMS plays a key role in realizing President Obama’s and [Interior] Secretary Salazar’s vision for energy security for the 21st century. Under their leadership, MMS has already begun the enormous work of implementing that vision – by continuing to support safe development of conventional energy sources while also moving this nation toward a clean, renewable energy future.

The MMS is responsible for ensuring the effective management of offshore renewable energy, such as wind, wave, and ocean current energy. We are also responsible for conventional energy and mineral resources on the nation’s Outer Continental Shelf, including the environmentally safe exploration, development, and production of oil and natural gas. …

As a federal agency, we offer our commitment that we will continue to work to develop energy from offshore sources responsibly and to develop clean, renewable sources of energy; we will protect the marine environment and help power the economy for future generations.

Thank you, MMS!

But who has replaced S. Elizabeth Birnbaum as Director?

The new head of MMS is Michael Bromwich, another lawyer, with experience in investigating corruption in police departments and the intelligence services.

No more “gifts and favors” then. But about deep-sea oil drilling