Reports Surface that BP Allowed to Drill Without Assessing Threats to Endangered Species

The MMS's own biologists and engineers also say they were consistently ignored when they raised safety or environmental concerns, and pressured to change findings predicting an accident or harm to wildlife.

An MMS spokesman says the agency consults the NOAA, but wouldn't respond when pressed on specific rigs. “Under the previous administration, there was a pattern of suppressing science in decisions,” she said, “and we are working very hard to change the culture.”

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 — and despite strong warnings from that agency about the impact the drilling was likely to have on the gulf.