How the Minerals Management Service Failed Us

By now, most of us realize that what happened in the Gulf of Mexico is merely symptomatic of a greater systemic ill in which there's plenty of blame to go around (see Patrick's post regarding the social culpability involved in offshore drilling). Needless to say, there's a lot of room for improvement.

A Grist post

cites one aspect of that desperately needs to be rectified in the near future: the way the Minerals Management Service operates. A list of 10 agency failings contains such enlightening (and perhaps shocking) bits as:
One big reason the means of cleaning up oil spills have barely changed since the Exxon Valdez spill is that the Minerals Management Service's budget for oil-spill research has been stuck at roughly $6 million a year since 1990. That's one-tenth of a penny for every dollar MMS has collected in royalties from oil companies for offshore drilling rights over the same period. In real numbers, that's $129 million spent on research over 20 years while $107 billion was collected.
At this point, the best way to approach collective change is through education, before anything else. We certainly can't jump right into the solutions without first determining where to commit our efforts. And from the way things are panning out, the MMS shows seems as good a place to start as any.

Photo (cc) by Flickr user uscgd8