Forget the speculation that BP's oil spill is "Obama's Katrina," says Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in The Huffington Post. President Obama's response has been impressive — he has sent 2,000 personnel from a host of federal agencies to confront the problem. If you're looking for someone to blame, Kennedy says, try Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush.
The Bush White House, with vice president Dick Cheney leading the charge, pandered to the oil industry from Day 1. Cheney filled the staff of the Minerals Management Service with "oil industry toadies." As a result, Bush's 2005 energy bill, following a Minerals Management Service recommendation, dropped a requirement that oil companies fit every deepwater oil well with a $500,000 "acoustical regulator" — an automatic shut-off switch that could have prevented the BP spill. Here's an excerpt from Kennedy's article:
"Bending over for Big Oil became the ideological posture of the Bush White House, and, under Cheney's cruel whip, the practice trickled down through the regulatory bureaucracy. The Minerals Management Service — the poster child for "agency capture phenomena" — hopped into bed with the regulated industry — literally. A 2009 investigation of the Minerals Management Service found that agency officials 'frequently consumed alcohol at industry functions, had used cocaine and marijuana and had sexual relationships with oil and gas company representatives.' Three reports by the Inspector General describe an open bazaar of payoffs, bribes, and kickbacks spiced with scenes of female employees providing sexual favors to industry big wigs who in turn rewarded government workers with illegal contracts."