Via America’s Lawyer: The Department of Interior has rolled back protections that were put in place for offshore drilling operations after the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Mike Papantonio and Farron Cousins discuss.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio:             The Department of Interior has rolled back protections that were put in place for offshore drilling operations after the Deepwater Horizon disaster. It sets us up for another disaster in the future, doesn’t it Farron? I mean there’s no, this isn’t even a close call. What they’ve done is everything that went wrong with the Deepwater Horizon right here along the Gulf Coast, all over destroyed ecosystems completely. Some of these ecosystems have not returned. They can’t return.

They’re, they’re, they’re permanently, they’re permanently put out of, out of whack. There’s no way you can get the balance back in, into balance. And so, so now we know exactly what happened. You had contractors, not government that were supposed to be overseeing, right? We found out the contractors that the, the, the industry was actually having these wild parties for this contractors. Remember the story? They brought in dancers.

They brought in prostitutes. They brought in cocaine, and they had these parties that they would have for these so-called, you know, government contractor oversight. They, they would actually lie about what was, what was happening on the forms that they would fill that they would send to the government. This is a repeat of all that, isn’t it? This is saying you can do this again, go ahead and do it again.

Farron Cousins:                  Right and, and in some instances, we also know back in the Deepwater Horizon days, they were filling out their safety inspections in pencil and then they would give them to the federal government who would then fill them back in with pen. The Deepwater Horizon obviously is an issue, you and I know way too much about almost.

Mike Papantonio:             Well, I handled the case.

Farron Cousins:                  Exactly and I was writing on it for, for years and years. But what they’ve done here is essentially it’s like they took a list of everything bad that happened with Deepwater Horizon and said, oh, those look like they would make good rules. So now, yes, the government doesn’t have to be the one to inspect your rig. The government does not have to verify that you have things like a blowout preventer in place to prevent another Deepwater Horizon.

You can go longer between inspections now and you have these oil industry groups, American Petroleum Institute out there heralding this as some kind of great win because apparently the regulations saying, hey, we need to make sure you don’t explode and kill people and destroy an ecosystem that was too cumbersome for these oil companies. And, and the API, they’re celebrating this as a, as if they just won the lottery because to them they did.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah. Okay. So the argument is that Trump is trying to develop energy dominance, worldwide energy dominance. His idea is to say, and the, the industry of course is arguing, you know, Mr President, you can’t do that unless you let us do what we want to do. And that is to break whatever rule we want to break. To operate without any kind of oversight. To operate without any kind of regulatory involvement. That’s why if you do that, then we’re going to be okay. And the rest of the sentence is, and they, they, the, the American public never gets this. Just because they get the oil right off shore in the Gulf of Mexico doesn’t mean we get the oil.

Farron Cousins:                  Right.

Mike Papantonio:             They take the oil and they put it in these, they put it on these, these huge ships and they wait to see what’s happening with prices around the world. So if the yen is looking, they can sell more, you know, people that are dealing with yen, they go and sell it to the folks with the yen. And so the problem is the American public buys into that argument that, yeah, we’re solving the, the energy dominance issue and that’s going to be good for us. It doesn’t have anything to do with the price at the pump.

Farron Cousins:                  Right. You know, during the Obama years, domestic oil production reached an all time high, even more so than under George W. Bush. And so Trump has come along and his administration wants to increase that all time high. But at the same time, we could see for ourselves when we fill up our cars, gas prices are going up because that oil doesn’t stay here. You know, the Keystone pipeline that wasn’t going to give us energy. That was to ship it overseas.

Mike Papantonio:             Suppose to make these, just to make the industry make more money. Farron, thanks for joining me. We’ll be back with more stories next week.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.