May 26th, 2010
11:20 AM ET

Senator pushes to cut 'cozy' ties between oil industry, regulators

Federal oil industry regulators would have to wait at least two years after leaving government service before going to work for companies they helped regulate, under legislation announced Wednesday by Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida.

Among other things, the bill would bar regulators from accepting gifts from oil companies. It also would require regulators to divest themselves of any stock they may currently hold in oil companies, and prohibit them from part-time employment in the industry.

Nelson unveiled the bill one day the release of an Interior Department report revealing that federal inspectors overseeing oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico accepted meals and tickets to sporting events from companies they monitored.

In one case, an inspector in the Minerals Management Service office in Lake Charles, Louisiana, conducted inspections of four offshore platforms while negotiating a job with the company, the report stated.

It is time to "stop this cozy, incestuous relationship between the oil industry and the regulators," Nelson said on the Senate floor. We want to "etch it into the statutes so there is no question" about what is required, he said.

"These are just common-sense things," Nelson asserted.  He noted that similar legislation had been introduced two years ago, but was defeated after meeting significant resistance.

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Filed under: Gulf Coast Oil Spill • Politics
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. James

    People have to insist on this. This should have been done a long time ago. Strange it always takes this country a disaster before it does anything. This is common sense and should be extended to all part of the government. You have my support Bill Nelson.

    May 26, 2010 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
  2. ironman

    sure now he says alll this now he's not going to be in there no more easy to say it now thank god we are finally going to get rid of this looser the most do nothing in office next to the other moron in office the so call leader of a joke

    May 27, 2010 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  3. David Foster

    Simplicity – Set two huge ankors on either side of the leak, attach chains with a winch from one ankor to the other, have the chains go right over the leak, weld a curved steel plate to the chains right over the leak, attach a thick flexible fabric material to the steel plate – winch the assembly down pulling the steel backed fabric down over the leak.

    May 29, 2010 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |