Friday, May 21, 2010

Center for Biological Diversity: Fire, Baby, Fire

Posted By on Fri, May 21, 2010 at 2:42 PM

Kierán Suckling, executive director of the Tucson-based Center for Biological Diversity, has called for the head of John Goll, the Alaska regional director of the Minerals Management Service, in the wake of a New York Times story that revealed that MMS had ignored concerns about drilling in Alaska. And, by the way, served a cake decorated with "Drill, Baby, Drill."

The press release:

In response to a New York Times story revealing that the Alaska office of the Minerals Management Service systematically suppressed scientists and scientific reports, violated environmental policies, and served a cake topped with the words “Drill Baby, Drill,” the head of the office yesterday apologized…for the cake.

Alaska Regional Director John Goll allowed the cake to be served at an all-staff meeting he called to discuss Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s decision to reform the agency in the wake of the Gulf oil spill disaster and a rapidly growing scandal caused by what President Obama describes as the agency’s “too cozy” relationship with the offshore oil industry.

“Instead of apologizing for baked goods, Mr. Goll should apologize for overriding scientists, kowtowing to the oil industry, and putting Alaska’s wildlife and communities at risk of

a catastrophic oil spill,” said Kierán Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity.

The head of MMS’s Alaska region since 1997, Mr. Goll recently approved a highly controversial and dangerous plan by Shell Oil to begin exploratory drilling in Alaska’s Beaufort and Chukchi seas this July. He has refused repeated calls to revoke Shell’s permits in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico crisis even though oil spill clean up would be vastly more difficult in the frigid, icy waters of the Arctic than in the Gulf of Mexico.

“Secretary Salazar should fire Mr. Goll immediately,” said Suckling. “Goll’s mocking of the secretary’s plan to reform the agency by telling his employees to “Drill, Baby, Drill” is not just poor taste; it’s clear evidence that Mr. Goll has no intention of being reformed. He symbolizes the scandal ridden, industry-dominated MMS of the past. He has no place in the agency’s future.”

The exact wording of Mr. Goll’s apology is below:

From: Goll, John
Sent: Thursday, May 20, 2010 7:53 AM
To: MMS Employees Nationwide
Subject: Apology to MMS

As the manager in charge of the Alaska Region, I apologize to
everyone in the Minerals Management Service with regard to the
cake at a recent Alaska Region All Hands meeting, as reported in
a New York Times article today. The cake had the words "Drill,
Baby, Drill', plus other words which were meant to take light of
the words.

This was simply wrong to have. I failed in preventing this from
happening in my office.


John Goll
Regional Director, Alaska
U.S. Minerals Management Service

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