Last month, CNN’s Special Investigations Unit released a story about Bobby Maxwell’s experience as an inspector for the U.S. Department of Interior’s Minerals Management Service (MMS). Deepwater Horizon explosionThe main point of the story is how MMS was infused with a “culture of corruption,” and its slipshod inspections missed opportunities to prevent the Deepwater Horizon explosion. The story also mentions that Maxwell is in the fifth year of a whistleblower lawsuit against Kerr-McGee. In that case, Maxwell won a $7.5 million dollar verdict against Kerr-McGee. After a judge threw out the verdict, he appealed. In 2008, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit agreed that Maxwell had a right to pursue his fraud case and reinstated the verdict. No doubt, Maxwell’s status as a whistleblower, especially a whistleblower who has won his case, empowered him to speak out about the dangers of MMS’ alignment with the oil companies instead of with the environment.  No doubt, Maxwell raised his concerns years ago, but no one was listening until 11 workers lost their lives and the ecology of the Gulf of Mexico was ruined by this disaster. Maxell’s story makes obvious how we would all benefit from giving our federal employees strong whistleblower protections. To me, this is the reason why our Senators must scrap the poison pills in their current version of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA), S. 372, and adopt the strong House version, HR 1507. Follow this link for more information about helping environmental whistleblowers.