Reports Surface of Government Regulator's Poor Record and Oil Rig's Lack of Safety Measure Following Disastrous Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

(NEWSER) – As the oil spill off Louisiana threatens to become one of the biggest in US history, Pro Publica would like to remind everyone that the federal agency charged with preventing such accidents "has had a spotty record over the past few years." That would be the Department of Interior’s Minerals Management Service, which made news in 2008 for a sex-and-drugs scandal of epic proportions.

The federal agency with oversight of offshore drilling, the Interior Department's Minerals and Management Service did not require BP to file a "scenario for potential blowout," referring to the sudden release of oil from a well.

According to the exploration plan obtained by Huffington Post, an MMS official certified that BP "has the capacity to respond, to the maximum extent practicable, to a worst-case discharge, or a substantial threat of such a discharge."

The oil well spewing crude into the Gulf of Mexico didn't have a remote-control shut-off switch used in two other major oil-producing nations as last-resort protection against underwater spills.

The lack of the device, called an acoustic switch, could amplify concerns over the environmental impact of offshore drilling after the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon rig last week.