By now there’s little debate that the technology used to obtain oil in deeper waters was developed and rapidly put into use before safety technology could keep up. As we’ve noted, that’s a development that regulators allowed, despite their concerns.
But the expansion of deepwater drilling wasn’t solely a result of industry rushing into deeper waters and toward greater profit. According to the Los Angeles Times, it was also encouraged by the federal government, which gave oil companies tens of billions in tax breaks, subsidies, and royalty relief. Many of these incentives have outlasted their initial purpose, according to the Times: