Betcha these folks are kicking themselves right now. In a 2007 memo from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, investigators characterized large-scale oil spills from proposed Gulf drilling projects as "low-probability events" that wouldn't likely affect Gulf Coast animal populations, including brown pelicans and sea turtles. The memo also shows that the Minerals Management Service—recently renamed the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement—wasn’t the only agency to underestimate the environmental impact of deepwater drilling. In addition, the Wildlife Service didn't challenge the MMS' evaluation of possible dangers from 11 Gulf gas and oil lease sales, The New York Times reports, one of which was the well the Deepwater Horizon rig was drilling before it exploded on April 20.
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