The dangers of drilling
The Denver Post spent a year investigating a “regulatory vacuum” around safety standards for the oil and gas industry. The Post has been laying out the results of its investigation in a multi-part, multimedia series all this week. The paper says safety regulations have been especially lax in Colorado, where regulators can’t even seem to track exactly how many people die on the job in the industry. The Post did some digging of its own and found an average of one death every three months in the state.
In other oil industry news, the leaders of OPEC met yesterday and agreed to finally cut production, according to the Wall Street Journal. The agreement sent oil prices upward on the trading markets. What that means for the rest of us is higher prices at the pump in the coming months.
The American Society of Civil Engineers has put out the first design standards to make buildings tsunami-proof. The Seattle Times says the building standards could save many lives if a massive off-shore quake hits the west coast. The Times first put out a special report earlier this year on the potentially catastrophic effects of a quake on the Pacific Northwest. Though the region is not known for earthquakes, it sits right on the edge of an offshore fault line that is capable of producing a “megaquake.” The ASCE’s new standards are part of a bunch of suggestions for making buildings safer in all kinds of catastrophic events across the country. But, The Times reports, some builders oppose the standards as “too costly.”
The FDA’s “revolving door”
NPR reports on a new study that shows a “revolving door” between the Food and Drug Administration and pharmaceutical companies. The study found that more than a quarter of FDA employees who approved certain kinds of drugs between 2001 and 2010 now work in the very industry they once regulated. NPR points out there’s nothing illegal, and maybe nothing wrong with this. But the prevalence of the trend raises questions about how rigorous FDA employees may be with their potential future bosses.