Interior Rejects Calls to Shut Down BP Atlantis

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A whistleblower and an environmental group have asked a federal court to grant a temporary injunction to shut down BP’s other big Gulf drilling operation, the BP Atlantis, arguing that it is operating without crucial safety documents. In its court filing responding to the suit, the Department of the Interior argues that shutting down the platform is a decision only the agency can make—the court doesn’t have that power.

The agency rejects the legal challenge from Food & Water Watch and former BP contractor-turned-whistleblower Ken Abbott. The department also says it is conducting an “exhaustive investigation” in response to the request of members of Congress “to determine whether BP maintains a complete and accurate set of required engineering drawings for the BP Atlantis platform and its associated subsea components.” The results of that investigation “will determine whether any enforcement action (including the very relief requested by Plaintiffs—suspension of production) is appropriate.”

The Minerals Management Service was supposed to complete that review by the end of May, but the agency says that because of the Deepwater Horizon incident “the Atlantis investigation was temporarily suspended.” The court filing says that because of the “quantity of records and need for MMS to focus on responding to the Deepwater Horizon accident,” the investigation is only about 10 percent complete at this time, and should be finished in the next three months.

But in a statement on Monday, Food & Water Watch executive director Wenonah Hauter accused the agency of “dragging its feet” in attending to the red flags at the BP Atlantis. “Their inability to close a rig that is operating without any evidence of safety, especially in light of the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe, has led us to conclude that Secretary Salazar is serving oil interests, not the public interest.”

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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