Invitation-only offshore drilling meeting cluttered with industry lobbyists

Membership has its pricks:

Among the groups that had representatives in attendance were the Consumer Energy Alliance, the Center for Offshore Safety and the Institute for Energy Research. These groups include members of the petroleum and related industries.

Reporters were allowed to attend Gov. Pat McCrory's closing remarks, after most of the other participants had left.

His staff told reporters and representatives of environmental groups that they couldn't come in because of concerns that their attendance might arouse allegations of conflict of interest in the permit process. And attendance by special-interest groups funded by the petroleum industry would not?

It's no big surprise McCrory's bungling staff would interpret "conflict of interest" in such an ass-backwards manner. The only conflict of interest that would have arisen by having reporters and environmentalists in attendance would be a conflict between the public's best interests and the greed of the industry and its Republican puppets.

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The "Center for Offshore Safety"

is a creation of the American Petroleum Institute, established in 2011 with industry funding to promote safer operations on offshore drilling platforms. Or, as is probably much closer to the truth, to give the appearance of such, because there doesn't seem to be any improvement at all:

We recently marked the two-year anniversary of BSEE, and are closing in on the one-year anniversary of the SEMS II rule. These milestones are an appropriate time for reflection. While I am proud of the work we are doing to improve safety on the OCS, we have not put ourselves out of business yet – there are still significant gaps and we are still having too many incidents that are endangering the lives of workers and the environment. These incidents are telling us that there are still challenges out there that we all must address if we are going to have a true culture of safety,” Salerno said.

“We have responded to a number of incidents over the past year or so where lives have been lost, workers have been injured, the environment has been polluted, due to a failure to follow basic safety practices. Safety Culture is still very much company specific at this point.

One of the major disconnects is between operators and contractors. Many contractors are simply not familiar with safety procedures on a facility, nor is the operator making much of an effort to ensure safety consistency. This has had some horrifying results, and remains an area of concern for us as we consider the future of the SEMS program.

These observations were made 6 1/2 months ago, over three years after the creation of this industry "safety" organization. I'd love to know what kind of propaganda was spouted by this group the other day, but you and I apparently don't have a "need to know."

No special interest groups can attend

except the ones that McSkvarla says are OK. You know, the Koch brothers types.

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"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014