Regulatory capture is one of my favorite environmental topics. It’s when an agency has been “captured” by the industry they’re trying to regulate.
The very best example is what big oil did to the employees at the Mineral Management Service (MMS, now called the BOEMRE). The MMS regulated oil and gas land-leases, environmental permits, and safety inspections.
MMS was “captured” by the oil and gas industry a few years ago. What happened? How about:
- Provided staff with hookers, meth, pot, porn, and cocaine (here)
- Wined and dined oil and gas well inspectors
- MMS hired employees from the oil and gas companies
- Convinced inspectors to “call ahead” before surprise safety inspections
- Poisoned peoples’ ethics, generally.
In 2010, HuffPo posted an excellent piece on Regulatory Capture. I think this bodes well with the current Congress, which are disgusting slaves to their ideological funders.
In a dramatic illustration of regulatory capture, a new report from an Interior Department review board has found that poorly trained, ill-equipped and overextended federal inspectors who were supposed to be policing the nation’s offshore oil and gas drilling facilities were routinely bullied by industry representatives and were often undercut by their managers when they reported safety violations.
The review board was appointed after a BP rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in April, causing the worst accidental offshore oil spill in history. Its report paints a devastating picture of the Minerals Management Service, the agency now known as the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE).