They've got muck; we've got rakes. TPM Muckraker

Offshore Drilling Head Admits Agency Got Regulations From Industry

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Using the industry to write the standards creates a far-reaching ripple effect. As TPMmuckraker has reported, the environmental agencies charged with protecting wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere relied on BOEM's predecessor, the Minerals Management Service, when estimating how a new rig could affect endangered species.

And the MMS got its statistics and estimates and models, for the most part, directly from the industry. Government regulators said yesterday that the industry has more sophisticated technology for, say, predicting how equipment would react to a burst of gas.

"To be candid with you completely, they're more advanced--the computer programs used by industry--than we're currently using in our bureaus," said one regulator.

Bromwich and others were speaking to a meeting of the National Academy of Engineering, which is investigating the causes of the Deepwater Horizon spill at the request of the Interior Department, which oversees BOEM. The academy will issue a peer-reviewed report later this year.