It's unfortunate that the Empire chose to run a truncated Associated Press version of an article originated by the Anchorage Daily News in its Sunday edition (BP helped state in cheating probe, June 28, 2010).
A more appropriate headline would be "British Petroleum conspired with state in cheating probe." The Empire should have sought permission to run the lengthy Daily News article in its entirety. It's an important expose of the pattern of deception and corruption practiced by a cabal of state regulators and oil industry officials which has had disastrous results in Alaska and unless curbed, will inevitably lead to more, with revealing links to the BP Gulf of Mexico tragedy.
Rich Mauer and the Daily News are to be congratulated and commended for this penetrating and thorough investigative report. It should be entered verbatim in The Congressional Record and The Federal Register, and nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. It also contains the seeds for ongoing inquiries into possible criminality which should be vigorously pursued by both the ADN and state/federal investigators.
Although Mauer's reporting gives rise to many notable revelations imputing culpability to all parties conducting the "joint investigation," the most telling one in my view is this one:
"State Oil and Gas Conservation Commission member Norman said the commission continued the investigation for more than a month after Mattson delivered his final report. That demonstrates the agency's investigation was independent, he said. If any Nabors or BP employee felt intimidated by the presence of company officials, they had plenty of time to take up the commission's offer to talk privately with state investigators, Norman said."
Norman should have initiated re-contact and further interviews with those employees himself without delay and without the intrusive and intimidating presence of BP/Nabors representatives. Since he didn't, he should be fired for non-feasance.
Erie County, Pa.