“Scott Angelle, director of the Interior Department’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, brought a very particular set of relationships to his job running the government agency largely responsible for regulating the offshore oil and gas industry. Angelle’s predecessor, former Vice Adm. Brian Salerno, had spent 36 years in the U.S. Coast Guard, working on maritime safety, security, environmental protection, and emergency response. Angelle had spent six months as Louisiana’s lieutenant governor before helping lead the push to lift then–President Barack Obama’s drilling moratorium after the Deepwater Horizon disaster, but his familiarity with the industries he regulates went back before that.
As John Oliver uncovered back in 2018, Angelle publicly read off his phone number at a meeting of industry leaders—urging them to call rather than text since “everything you text to me is a public record, so be careful.”
Despite Angelle’s invitation to circumvent federal record-keeping requirements, plenty of oil industry insiders were more than happy to share their thoughts with new pal on the inside via text. And now, thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request by the environmental nonprofit PEER that was shared with the government watchdog group Democracy Forward (which then shared it with Slate), we can get a firsthand look at what some of those friendly text sessions looked like.”