Stupak Decries ‘Cozy’ Relationship Between Oil Industry, Government Regulators

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Thursday, May 13, 2010 at 1:08 pm

We ran a piece earlier this week noting an apparent failure of federal regulators to enforce safety laws governing the oil and coal industries, both of which have suffered deadly, high-profile accidents in the last six weeks. Today, Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) put his considerable weight behind that charge, accusing safety regulators of simply being too close to the companies they’re responsible for monitoring.

Asked by CNN’s John Roberts if “the relationship between the oil industry and government [is] too cozy,” Stupak said, “There’s no doubt about it.”

We’ve been investigating B.P. for the last three years, everything from the Texas City explosion where 15 people were killed, 170 people were injured, to a large oil spill on the North Slope, our most strategic pipeline, and then now here in the Gulf.

The problems at BP have been “constant,” Stupak said, “and the regulators are not regulating them.”

There’s a lesson there for reform-minded lawmakers who are eying tighter safety standards and consumer protections across an array of industries, and it’s this: Regs are only as good as the people enforcing them.

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