6-2-10 by dugan
It was Dick Cheney’s secretive, dour demeanor that earned him the nickname "Darth Vader" when he was vice president. But he also had Darth’s slash-and-burn tendencies. Cheney, we now learn, stacked the federal Minerals Management Service with Wyoming pols and oil industry pals who eagerly followed Cheney’s maximum deregulation philosophy. Leading, of course, to BP’s catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico.
This story saw the light today via a grant-backed nonprofit news service in Wyoming, Wyofile (whose editor is Rone Tempest, a member of the LA Times diaspora), and the nonprofit, online investigative reporting of ProPublica (home to numerous top names from LAT, WSJ and other major papers).
The failures of the minerals service’s safety oversight now make sense as part of a specific political plan by the man who, in near secrecy, ran every part of energy policy in the Bush administration. Stacking the staff is a classic, old-fashioned way to create stubborn resistance to change.
It’s a story we would not have known if it weren’t for what amounts to charity journalism.
One more Cheney trail: After the nickname "Darth," the word most associated with Dick Cheney was "Halliburton," the oil and construction services conglomerate that he headed before running for VP. Politico reports that Halliburton has contributed $17,000 to candidates for Congress, including key members of committees investigating Halliburton. Halliburton, of course, poured the cement well casing on the Deepwater Horizon that is suspected of failing, triggering the spew.