Give Scott Angelle, the former public service commissioner and failed candidate for governor, this much: He’s never made a secret of his ties to big oil and gas.
Angelle has served as a board member for a pipeline company, and the Super PAC that backed his 2015 gubernatorial race raised tons of money from industry execs, including one stunning $1.25 million donation from the CEO of Freeport McMoRan Oil and Gas.
Back when he was Gov. Bobby Jindal’s point person following the catastrophic 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Angelle publicly railed against the Obama Administration’s drilling moratorium. And after President Donald Trump appointed him to oversee offshore drilling as head of the federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, he was filmed giving out his cell number to industry executives and urging them to call rather than text, because texts are subject to public record laws.
So it probably shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the agency Angelle heads has issued some 1,700 waivers for companies to bypass safety regulations issued after the spill, during a period that started under Obama but mostly covers his own tenure. Using public records requests, Politico reported that the most commonly issued waivers allow companies to work around rules involving blowout preventers, the same type of device that failed to contain damage from the Deepwater Horizon explosion.
The Politico piece notes that various environmental groups are raising serious concerns over the practice. It also quotes Angelle describing a general agenda to “rid and eliminate only burdensome regulations while ensuring safe and environmentally friendly development.”
Somehow that professed balance might be a little easier to swallow from someone who hasn’t already made his sympathies quite so clear.