Did you ever wonder what environmental regulations the Marshall Islands had in place?

Me neither. But apparently that’s who was supposed to be providing regulation for the Deepwater Horizon oil rig along with many others operating in the US territory. So to get this straight, foreign assistance or foreign chemical dispersants are forbidden because they somehow violate the US law, even when they are superior options but using foreign environmental laws somehow is OK when doing risky deep water drilling. What fools allowed this? Oh right. It was the Republicans who wanted to be warm and fuzzy with their friends from Big Oil.

Decades of self-regulation has proven itself to be a joke for Wall Street and the environment. If only Obama and the rest of the Democrats could find enough courage to aggressively make this point over and over and over. As we’ve said before, Obama did not cause this disaster and there’s not much he can do about closing the leak after decades of bad policy. Where he is responsible though is shutting down these bad policy decisions and using them as examples of how the system needs to change. Sitting back and contemplating the situation does not help. He let the Wall Street reform slip by doing this and he may be letting this slip as well. LA Times:

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico was built in South Korea. It was operated by a Swiss company under contract to a British oil firm. Primary responsibility for safety and other inspections rested not with the U.S. government but with the Republic of the Marshall Islands — a tiny, impoverished nation in the Pacific Ocean.

And the Marshall Islands, a maze of tiny atolls, many smaller than the ill-fated oil rig, outsourced many of its responsibilities to private companies.

Now, as the government tries to figure out what went wrong in the worst environmental catastrophe in U.S. history, this international patchwork of divided authority and sometimes conflicting priorities is emerging as a crucial underlying factor in the explosion of the rig.


An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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