Lawmakers Call on Gov’t to Shut Down BP Atlantis

Photo by munchicken, <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/munchicken/218628271/">via Flickr</a>.

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


While the Obama administration called a time-out on new offshore oil and gas drilling a few weeks ago, they have so far allowed current drilling operations in the Gulf to continue. “We were not going to have those stopped mid-way,” Interior secretary Ken Salazar told senators yesterday. But now a group of legislators is calling on Salazar to freeze BP‘s other big Gulf of Mexico drilling operation, the Atlantis rig, until federal regulators certify that it is operating safely.

Reuters reports that at least 17 Democratic lawmakers urged Salazar to shut down the rig in a letter sent Wednesday. Lawmakers first raised questions about the safety of the Atlantis in a letter to the Minerals Management Service back in February, noting that they had heard “disturbing reports” of safety lapses and warning of the “risk of a catastrophic accident.” They cited whistleblower reports that the rig lacked “crucial engineering documents.”

In this latest letter, the members write, “We urge MMS to listen to the expert engineer who reviewed the Atlantis situation and called for an immediate shutdown until it can be shown that this platform is operating safely.” Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) is the lead author on the missive.

The Atlantis operates even farther below the surface than the Deepwater Horizon, at a depth of 7,000 feet, and produces 200,000 barrels of oil per day. “We are very concerned that the tragedy at Deepwater Horizon could foreshadow an accident at BP Atlantis, which is operating in deeper water than Horizon,” the House members write.

The group Food & Water Watch also filed a lawsuit this week seeking to force Salazar and MMS to shut down the Atlantis. “The Horizon oil spill was not a freak accident,” says the group. “Strong evidence reveals that the Atlantis platform is a disaster waiting to happen, and other platforms may be operating unsafely too.”

In Senate testimony on Tuesday, Salazar admitted that there have been lapses in oversight at MMS. He also said that there is “currently an investigation underway with respect to the Atlantis,” though he did not elaborate.

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate