photo by NWFblogs (source: Flickr Creative Commons)

It turns out that deepwater drilling off the coast of the United States is a pretty experimental thing. In recent years the industry has been largely self-regulatory, which has allowed them to cut corners and take advantage of loopholes in the law. For example, the Deepwater Horizon rig, leased by BP, owned by Transocean and built in Korea, is officially a vessel of the Pacific nation the Marshall Islands – because of that country’s lax maritime regulations. In other words the rig flies what’s called a ‘flag of convenience’.

Corporate greed and our thirst for oil have facilitated compromises in safety. This latest disaster has highlighted the irresponsibility of essentially letting a dangerous profitable industry police itself.

From a CTV News article:

In hearings in Washington Wednesday, members of Congress chronicled a series of errors and poor judgment calls that likely contributed to the blowout, and said they were consistent with the company’s past record for ignoring risk in the hunt for reward.

In the below video segment, Rachel Maddow examines the recent political fallout of the Deepwater Horizon Gulf oil spill, shows some actual footage of the leak from BP and discusses recent options considered by BP to stop the spill. Rachel also points out the fact that subsides for the oil industry are included in the US’s new climate legislation bill.

Gulf Coast victim of leaks and loopholes

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Additional resources:

Wall Street Journal – BP Didn’t Provide Failsafe Requirements

New York Times – The Gulf Oil (and Gas) Gusher Up Close