BP and others involved in the Deepwater Horizon BP oil disaster are looking at a host of potential fines that could total billions of dollars under various environmental and safety laws. However, a Houston Chronicle investigation discovered that few fines are ever collected after drilling accidents. The Minerals Management Service (MMS), who is supposed to regulate the oil and gas industry, collected only 16 fines out of the 400 investigations in the past five years. It appears that most violations get reduced or dropped during behind-the-scenes negotiations. Time will tell whether this Bush/Cheney policy will change under President Obama, particularly now that its been so spectacularly and disgustingly exposed by the murder of 11 people and millions of animals.