One key reason the Gulf oil spill has been so hard to stop is that BP was drilling so deep. Such deepwater drilling has been increasingly common -- but both BP and regulators seem to have been unprepared for the complications that can crop up.
At 5,000 feet, the BP's ruptured well continues to gush oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
When regulators at the Minerals Management Service had concerns about the safety equipment for offshore oil rigs, the agency did not impose stronger regulations and instead allowed industry to police itself, according to two pieces in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal today.
The agency has been scrutinized for its role in the massive BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, particularly for failing to follow up on concerns it had -- several years before the BP incident -- about equipment that should have stopped the spill but did not.
Last week, we reported that in addition to the spotted history of the Minerals Management Service, the regulator responsible for overseeing offshore drilling, parts of the agency had withheld data on offshore drilling from those on staff who were responsible for assessing environmental risk.
May 5: This post has been corrected.
In the months before BP's Deepwater Horizon rig sank in a ball of fire in the Gulf of Mexico, the company had four close calls on pipelines and facilities it operates in Alaska, according to a letter from two congressmen obtained by ProPublica.
In that letter, dated Jan.