The most naive person in the world, today, is Senator Bill Nelson (the centrist Democrat named B. Nelson with the combover, not the centrist Democrat named B. Nelson with the wig). In a letter to the Department of Interior’s acting Inspector General, the senior Senator from Florida requests an investigation into the environmental safety requirements for underwater oil wells: whether they were too lax (they were) and “the extent to which the oil and gas industry exercised influence in the agency’s rulemaking process” in that regard.
We are shocked—shocked!—over the possibility raised herein.
Ok, look. It is a truth universally acknowledged, that all regulatory law is basically written by lobbyists of the regulated industry. So this is easy to ridicule as some faux-naive cover-your-ass from deep within the lobbying-legislative-industrial-complex.
In fairness to Nelson, however, this is also a truth acknowledged so universally that it’s not really acknowledged enough, on a day-to-day basis. So it might do some good to gin up outrage about Big Oil pressure on Interior, and industry pressure on federal regulation in general. (You’d think somebody would have wriggled out of the coal industry’s pocket long enough to say something similar about mining safety requirements. Nope.) It would also be nice if this came back to reflect poorly on the Bush administration’s decision to let the oil industry run Interior for several years, that time.