Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What's In a Name?

Posted By on Wed, Jun 30, 2010 at 10:06 PM

From the you-can-put-lipstick-on-a-pig-but-it’s-still-a-pig file: The Obama administration has changed the name of the embattled Minerals Management Service (MMS) — the agency in charge of overseeing offshore drilling — to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOE). The acronym is definitely an improvement, moving from sounding like a disease to something that rolls off the tongue much easier, but c’mon, it seems to be following the adage “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, then baffle them with B.S.”

New BOE head Michael Bromwich has promised Congress (and thus, the American people) that the name change is more than a ruse to fool people into believing the agency now understands its role. He told the Associated Press that specifying what the BOE’s function is in its title, emphasizes “those elements, I think, by consensus, (that) have been lacking in the approach of the agency.” It also takes some of the heat off the agency, which as the MMS has drawn fire as a result of the BP Gulf disaster and the revelations that some of the problem had to do with procedures and faulty safety equipment.

I suspect that it also crossed the minds of those in the Interior Department, the umbrella under which the MMS/BOE resides, that a quick change to a long and cumbersome title with soothing words like “ocean,” “regulation” and “enforcement,” might cause some confusion over which agency is in charge of offshore drilling, thus sparing them from some heated calls and maligning from the public — at least for a while.

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