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Will Ken Salazar’s Reputation Be Tainted by BP Oil?

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As last week came to an end, there was a “bloodbath” on the stock market, writes The Washington Post, as “investors and traders rushed to dump their BP shares.”

While the company formerly known as “British Petroleum” scrambles to plug the massive, months-long oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which has tarnished the company’s reputation, Interior Secretary and Colorado’s former U.S. Senator Ken Salazar is trying to salvage his own standing.

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Earlier this month, environmental groups called for Salazar’s resignation.

Now, seven industry experts, who advised President Barack Obama on how to deal with offshore-drilling safety after the Deepwater Horizon explosion in April, are accusing Salazar’s department of modifying their report after they signed it in order to include language calling for a moratorium on existing drilling and new permits, according to Fox News.

“What was in the report at the time it was reviewed was quite a bit different in its impact to what there is now,” says Ken Arnold. “So we wanted to distance ourselves from that recommendation.”

Salazar’s department “has been criticized both for responding too slowly to the disaster and for failing to enact safety standards that could have averted it,” The Denver Post reports. While Obama has praised Salazar for making changes at the Minerals Management Service, the agency that regulates offshore drilling, he also has suggested that “obviously” changes “weren’t happening fast enough.”

Mentioning Salazar and the MMS in the latest edition of The New Yorker, James Surowiecki points out, “These failures weren’t accidents. They were the all too predictable result of the deregulationary fervor that has gripped Washington in recent years.”

The column makes a case for legitimizing regulations in order to boost confidence in the financial markets.

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“If we want our regulators to do better, we have to embrace a simple idea,” Surowiecki concludes. “Regulation isn’t an obstacle to thriving free markets; it’s a vital part of them.”

Vanessa Martinez contributed to this post.

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