Here in NZ we have the issue of mining front and centre, with assurances that it will be done with due process. Gerry Brownlee must be feeling frustrated at the senario in the US which vividly illustrates what can happen when it all goes wrong. The NY Times examines how the situation came to be:
The federal Minerals Management Service gave permission to BP and dozens of other oil companies to drill in the Gulf of Mexico without first getting required permits from another agency that assesses threats to endangered species â€” and despite strong warnings from that agency about the impact the drilling was likely to have on the gulf…
Managers at the agency have routinely overruled staff scientists whose findings highlight the environmental risks of drilling, according to a half-dozen current or former agency scientists.
The scientists, none of whom wanted to be quoted by name for fear of reprisals by the agency or by those in the industry, said they had repeatedly had their scientific findings changed to indicate no environmental impact or had their calculations of spill risks downgraded.
‘You simply are not allowed to conclude that the drilling will have an impact,’ said one scientist who has worked for the minerals agency for more than a decade. ‘If you find the risks of a spill are high or you conclude that a certain species will be affected, your report gets disappeared in a desk drawer and they find another scientist to redo it or they rewrite it for you.’
Not what I’d call reassuring….