Blog Archives

Oil Spill Anniversary Celebration… Let’s Hear It For BP…

HuffPo rightly points out,it is the one-year anniversary of the Gulf Oil Spill and, so far, Congress has passed no oil spill bills. None. Nada. No Siree.

They have held at least 60 hearings. 150 or so bills have been introduced, then no action was taken. And, of course, oil lobbyists have swelled the balances of their American Express cards lunching with our lawmakers as they defend the people that John Boehner said would pay every dime of the cleanup costs in the Gulf. They haven’t.

Of course, what is the importance of protecting our coastal citizens from the dangers of offshore drilling when you can be working hard on destroying health care, eliminating taxes for multi-millionaires or getting control of women’s bodies? Especially when, by ignoring the oil spill situation, you can help fund your campaigns.

BP, for instance, has now given out $29,000.00 to various Federal campaigns… and while more has gone to Republicans, they have not left Democrats out, either.

From HuffPo:

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee each received $5,000 from BP last month.

Indiana Democratic Rep. Pete Visclosky got $3,000, and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) bagged $1,000.

and this is probably just the start of it. BP, on average, donates $200,000.00 to influence elections each round.

There was a comment in HuffPo that asked if there was any difference between these kind of payments and those of Mexican drug cartels to Mexican politicians to keep hands off the thriving drug business. Frankly, I don’t see it.

This is just another example of corporate control of the government and another triumph of American Capitalism.

On the Oil Spill Front…

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BP Tees Up Asset Sales to Pay For Spill

LONDON (Reuters) – A day after BP said it would sell $30 billion in assets to pay for its Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the focus shifted to what is for sale, while lawyers prepared to tackle a mountain of claims for damages.
Just 24 hours after gaffe-prone Chief Executive Tony Hayward’s head rolled from the chopping block, candidates for the auction block hit the headlines, as BP aims to slim down to recover from the thumping losses racked up in the 100 days since the start of the environmental disaster.
Sources with direct knowledge of the matter said BP was in talks with India’s Reliance Industries and Essar to sell retail assets in Africa with an estimated price tag of $500 million.
Investment bankers said the assets BP could sell include its stake in Alaska’s huge Prudhoe Bay oil field and its interest in Pan American Energy in Argentina, as well as smaller assets in Vietnam, Pakistan and Colombia.
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Is $30 Billion enough? Certainly 4-5 months of destruction comes in at more than that.

So BP knew it was coming… and it’s CEO and others sold a lot of stock to avoid losses…

So says this article from Start it here, then go in and read the whole thing.
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Former BP Chairman and current BP CEO both dumped stocks in weeks before disaster

BP Aware Of Cracks In Oil Well Two Months Before Explosion 170610top2
BP was aware of cracks appearing in the Macondo well as far back as February, right around the time Goldman Sachs and BP Chairman Tony Hayward were busy dumping their stocks in the company on the eve of the explosion that led to the oil spill, according to information uncovered by congressional investigators.
The Mining and Mineral Services agency released documents to Bloomberg indicating that BP “was trying to seal cracks in the well about 40 miles (64 kilometers) off the Louisiana coast,” according to the report.
Highly suspicious stock and share trades by people connected to BP before the explosion indicate some extent of foreknowledge.
Furthermore, as reported by the London Telegraph on June 5th, Tony Hayward, the current BP CEO sold £1.4 million of his shares in the fuel giant weeks before the spill.
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Cartoon of the Week

Lee Judge in the Kansas City Star:

One can only hope that the Skunks will be around long enough to pay for the mess.

Why I think Representative Joe Barton (R – Texas) is a traitor to his country.

Listen to him “apologize” to BP CEO Hayward because Obama has put the poor oil company through a “shakedown.”

This guy is about as unAmerican as you can be in this time of Gulf tragedy… he is apologizing to BP and the oil industry for the $20 Billion commitment that Obama has gotten them to agree to.

NOTE: Barton came back later this afternoon and said he was being “misconstrued”:

“I want the record to be absolutely clear that I think BP is responsible for this accident, should be held responsible, and should in every way do everything possible to make good on the consequences that have resulted from this accident. And if anything I said this morning has been misconstrued in an opposite effect, I want to apologize for that misconstruction.”

And later in the day, Barton issued a statement in which he apologized for using the term “shakedown” when describing the White House’s agreement with BP and retracted his “apology” to Hayward.

Aren’t Republicans funny?

How Low an Intelligence Score is Necessary to be a Tea Party Republican?

Not sure, but it seems to get lower and lower. Here’s the start of a HuffPo piece on North Carolina Republican Bill Randall:
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Tea Party-backed candidate Bill Randall, who is vying to capture North Carolina’s 13th district U.S. House seat, recently speculated that there may have been “some sort of collusion” between the government and BP that may have caused the massive oil spill continuing to plague the Gulf Coast.
“Personally, and this is purely speculative on my part and not based on any fact, but personally I feel there is a possibility that there was some sort of collusion,” Randall said at a press conference Tuesday. “I don’t know how or why, but in that situation, if you have someone from a company violating a safety process and the government signing off on it, excuse me, maybe they wanted it to leak.”
“But then it got beyond what was anticipated, and we had an explosion and loss of life. And, oh man, now we have panic.”

The Quote that had all the News Programs Talking Last Night

“I care about the small people. I hear comments sometimes that large oil companies are greedy companies or don’t care, but that is not the case at BP. We care about the small people.”

– BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg

Then there were the excuses… a non-English regular speaker (Svanberg is Swedish); general “miss-spoke” statements fro BP press folks, etc.

Frankly, I think BP does consider all the rest of us “small people.”

Here’s the whole video:

Today, BP CEO Tony Hayward faces Congress and this is going to be essentially a group of very angry people with a business leader who is awfully easy to focus on.

More later.

They’ve just announced the results of the Obama/BP Meeting…

Looks like BP has committed to an “open ended” $20 Billion Dollar fund to benefit those in the Gulf that the oil spill has affected… to be managed by Ken Feinberg. BP claims to have already spent $70 million on claims (their statement).

Feinberg only came into this at the last minute.

Obama now has to meet with the Congressional Leaders to see which way the program will go now.

Starting the Day with a Quote…

This from Rep. Joseph Cao (R – Louisiana) at Congressional hearing with BP America CEO Lamar McKay:

Mr. Stearn asked Mr. McKay to resign. In the Asian culture we do things differently. During the Samurai days, we would just give you a knife and ask you to commit Hari-Kari. My constituents are still debating on what they want me to ask you to do, but that being said, the cleaning up process has been a disgrace and the claims process has been dismal…

…a new definition for “executive sacrifice.”

The Text of President Obama’s Oval Office Speech Tonite

Here it is:

Oval Office Remarks of President Obama
Address to the Nation on the BP Oil Spill

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

As Prepared for Delivery–

Good evening.  As we speak, our nation faces a multitude of challenges.  At home, our top priority is to recover and rebuild from a recession that has touched the lives of nearly every American.  Abroad, our brave men and women in uniform are taking the fight to al Qaeda wherever it exists.  And tonight, I’ve returned from a trip to the Gulf Coast to speak with you about the battle we’re waging against an oil spill that is assaulting our shores and our citizens.

On April 20th, an explosion ripped through BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, about forty miles off the coast of Louisiana.  Eleven workers lost their lives.  Seventeen others were injured.  And soon, nearly a mile beneath the surface of the ocean, oil began spewing into the water.

Because there has never been a leak of this size at this depth, stopping it has tested the limits of human technology.  That is why just after the rig sank, I assembled a team of our nation’s best scientists and engineers to tackle this challenge – a team led by Dr. Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and our nation’s Secretary of Energy.  Scientists at our national labs and experts from academia and other oil companies have also provided ideas and advice.

As a result of these efforts, we have directed BP to mobilize additional equipment and technology.  In the coming days and weeks, these efforts should capture up to 90% of the oil leaking out of the well.  This is until the company finishes drilling a relief well later in the summer that is expected to stop the leak completely.

Already, this oil spill is the worst environmental disaster America has ever faced.  And unlike an earthquake or a hurricane, it is not a single event that does its damage in a matter of minutes or days.  The millions of gallons of oil that have spilled into the Gulf of Mexico are more like an epidemic, one that we will be fighting for months and even years.

But make no mistake:  we will fight this spill with everything we’ve got for as long it takes.  We will make BP pay for the damage their company has caused.  And we will do whatever’s necessary to help the Gulf Coast and its people recover from this tragedy.

Tonight I’d like to lay out for you what our battle plan is going forward:  what we’re doing to clean up the oil, what we’re doing to help our neighbors in the Gulf, and what we’re doing to make sure that a catastrophe like this never happens again.

First, the cleanup.  From the very beginning of this crisis, the federal government has been in charge of the largest environmental cleanup effort in our nation’s history – an effort led by Admiral Thad Allen, who has almost forty years of experience responding to disasters.  We now have nearly 30,000 personnel who are working across four states to contain and cleanup the oil.  Thousands of ships and other vessels are responding in the Gulf.  And I have authorized the deployment of over 17,000 National Guard members along the coast.  These servicemen and women are ready to help stop the oil from coming ashore, clean beaches, train response workers, or even help with processing claims – and I urge the governors in the affected states to activate these troops as soon as possible.

Because of our efforts, millions of gallons of oil have already been removed from the water through burning, skimming, and other collection methods.  Over five and a half million feet of boom has been laid across the water to block and absorb the approaching oil.  We have approved the construction of new barrier islands in Louisiana to try and stop the oil before it reaches the shore, and we are working with Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida to implement creative approaches to their unique coastlines.

As the clean up continues, we will offer whatever additional resources and assistance our coastal states may need.  Now, a mobilization of this speed and magnitude will never be perfect, and new challenges will always arise.  I saw and heard evidence of that during this trip.  So if something isn’t working, we want to hear about it.  If there are problems in the operation, we will fix them.

But we have to recognize that despite our best efforts, oil has already caused damage to our coastline and its wildlife.  And sadly, no matter how effective our response becomes, there will be more oil and more damage before this siege is done.  That’s why the second thing we’re focused on is the recovery and restoration of the Gulf Coast.

You know, for generations, men and women who call this region home have made their living from the water.  That living is now in jeopardy.  I’ve talked to shrimpers and fishermen who don’t know how they’re going to support their families this year.  I’ve seen empty docks and restaurants with fewer customers – even in areas where the beaches are not yet affected.  I’ve talked to owners of shops and hotels who wonder when the tourists will start to come back.  The sadness and anger they feel is not just about the money they’ve lost.  It’s about a wrenching anxiety that their way of life may be lost.

I refuse to let that happen.  Tomorrow, I will meet with the chairman of BP and inform him that he is to set aside whatever resources are required to compensate the workers and business owners who have been harmed as a result of his company’s recklessness.  And this fund will not be controlled by BP.  In order to ensure that all legitimate claims are paid out in a fair and timely manner, the account must and will be administered by an independent, third party.

Beyond compensating the people of the Gulf in the short-term, it’s also clear we need a long-term plan to restore the unique beauty and bounty of this region.  The oil spill represents just the latest blow to a place that has already suffered multiple economic disasters and decades of environmental degradation that has led to disappearing wetlands and habitats.  And the region still hasn’t recovered from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.  That’s why we must make a commitment to the Gulf Coast that goes beyond responding to the crisis of the moment.

I make that commitment tonight.  Earlier, I asked Ray Mabus, the Secretary of the Navy, a former governor of Mississippi, and a son of the Gulf, to develop a long-term Gulf Coast Restoration Plan as soon as possible.  The plan will be designed by states, local communities, tribes, fishermen, businesses, conservationists, and other Gulf residents.  And BP will pay for the impact this spill has had on the region.

The third part of our response plan is the steps we’re taking to ensure that a disaster like this does not happen again.  A few months ago, I approved a proposal to consider new, limited offshore drilling under the assurance that it would be absolutely safe – that the proper technology would be in place and the necessary precautions would be taken.

That was obviously not the case on the Deepwater Horizon rig, and I want to know why.  The American people deserve to know why.  The families I met with last week who lost their loved ones in the explosion – these families deserve to know why.  And so I have established a National Commission to understand the causes of this disaster and offer recommendations on what additional safety and environmental standards we need to put in place.  Already, I have issued a six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling.  I know this creates difficulty for the people who work on these rigs, but for the sake of their safety, and for the sake of the entire region, we need to know the facts before we allow deepwater drilling to continue.  And while I urge the Commission to complete its work as quickly as possible, I expect them to do that work thoroughly and impartially.

One place we have already begun to take action is at the agency in charge of regulating drilling and issuing permits, known as the Minerals Management Service.  Over the last decade, this agency has become emblematic of a failed philosophy that views all regulation with hostility – a philosophy that says corporations should be allowed to play by their own rules and police themselves.  At this agency, industry insiders were put in charge of industry oversight.  Oil companies showered regulators with gifts and favors, and were essentially allowed to conduct their own safety inspections and write their own regulations.

When Ken Salazar became my Secretary of the Interior, one of his very first acts was to clean up the worst of the corruption at this agency.  But it’s now clear that the problems there ran much deeper, and the pace of reform was just too slow.  And so Secretary Salazar and I are bringing in new leadership at the agency – Michael Bromwich, who was a tough federal prosecutor and Inspector General.  His charge over the next few months is to build an organization that acts as the oil industry’s watchdog – not its partner.

One of the lessons we’ve learned from this spill is that we need better regulations better safety standards, and better enforcement when it comes to offshore drilling.  But a larger lesson is that no matter how much we improve our regulation of the industry, drilling for oil these days entails greater risk.  After all, oil is a finite resource.  We consume more than 20% of the world’s oil, but have less than 2% of the world’s oil reserves.  And that’s part of the reason oil companies are drilling a mile beneath the surface of the ocean – because we’re running out of places to drill on land and in shallow water.

For decades, we have known the days of cheap and easily accessible oil were numbered.  For decades, we have talked and talked about the need to end America’s century-long addiction to fossil fuels.  And for decades, we have failed to act with the sense of urgency that this challenge requires.  Time and again, the path forward has been blocked – not only by oil industry lobbyists, but also by a lack of political courage and candor.

The consequences of our inaction are now in plain sight.  Countries like China are investing in clean energy jobs and industries that should be here in America.  Each day, we send nearly $1 billion of our wealth to foreign countries for their oil.  And today, as we look to the Gulf, we see an entire way of life being threatened by a menacing cloud of black crude.

We cannot consign our children to this future.  The tragedy unfolding on our coast is the most painful and powerful reminder yet that the time to embrace a clean energy future is now.  Now is the moment for this generation to embark on a national mission to unleash American innovation and seize control of our own destiny.

This is not some distant vision for America.  The transition away from fossil fuels will take some time, but over the last year and a half, we have already taken unprecedented action to jumpstart the clean energy industry.  As we speak, old factories are reopening to produce wind turbines, people are going back to work installing energy-efficient windows, and small businesses are making solar panels.  Consumers are buying more efficient cars and trucks, and families are making their homes more energy-efficient.  Scientists and researchers are discovering clean energy technologies that will someday lead to entire new industries.

Each of us has a part to play in a new future that will benefit all of us.  As we recover from this recession, the transition to clean energy has the potential to grow our economy and create millions of good, middle-class jobs – but only if we accelerate that transition.  Only if we seize the moment.  And only if we rally together and act as one nation – workers and entrepreneurs; scientists and citizens; the public and private sectors.

When I was a candidate for this office, I laid out a set of principles that would move our country towards energy independence.  Last year, the House of Representatives acted on these principles by passing a strong and comprehensive energy and climate bill – a bill that finally makes clean energy the profitable kind of energy for America’s businesses.

Now, there are costs associated with this transition.  And some believe we can’t afford those costs right now.  I say we can’t afford not to change how we produce and use energy – because the long-term costs to our economy, our national security, and our environment are far greater.

So I am happy to look at other ideas and approaches from either party – as long they seriously tackle our addiction to fossil fuels.  Some have suggested raising efficiency standards in our buildings like we did in our cars and trucks.  Some believe we should set standards to ensure that more of our electricity comes from wind and solar power.  Others wonder why the energy industry only spends a fraction of what the high-tech industry does on research and development – and want to rapidly boost our investments in such research and development.

All of these approaches have merit, and deserve a fear hearing in the months ahead.  But the one approach I will not accept is inaction.  The one answer I will not settle for is the idea that this challenge is too big and too difficult to meet.  You see, the same thing was said about our ability to produce enough planes and tanks in World War II.  The same thing was said about our ability to harness the science and technology to land a man safely on the surface of the moon.  And yet, time and again, we have refused to settle for the paltry limits of conventional wisdom.  Instead, what has defined us as a nation since our founding is our capacity to shape our destiny – our determination to fight for the America we want for our children.  Even if we’re unsure exactly what that looks like.  Even if we don’t yet know precisely how to get there.  We know we’ll get there.

It is a faith in the future that sustains us as a people.  It is that same faith that sustains our neighbors in the Gulf right now.

Each year, at the beginning of shrimping season, the region’s fishermen take part in a tradition that was brought to America long ago by fishing immigrants from Europe.  It’s called “The Blessing of the Fleet,” and today it’s a celebration where clergy from different religions gather to say a prayer for the safety and success of the men and women who will soon head out to sea – some for weeks at a time.

The ceremony goes on in good times and in bad.  It took place after Katrina, and it took place a few weeks ago – at the beginning of the most difficult season these fishermen have ever faced.

And still, they came and they prayed.  For as a priest and former fisherman once said of the tradition, “The blessing is not that God has promised to remove all obstacles and dangers.  The blessing is that He is with us always,” a blessing that’s granted “…even in the midst of the storm.”

The oil spill is not the last crisis America will face.  This nation has known hard times before and we will surely know them again.  What sees us through – what has always seen us through – is our strength, our resilience, and our unyielding faith that something better awaits us if we summon the courage to reach for it.  Tonight, we pray for that courage.  We pray for the people of the Gulf.  And we pray that a hand may guide us through the storm towards a brighter day.  Thank you, God Bless You, and may God Bless the United States of America.


A Quote for the Day… as BP’s credit rating drops from AA to BBB:

“Unless or until BP’s shareholders are forced by law to part with their assets to ensure the safety of the American public, shareholder interests will come first in the Gulf. Not the wildlife. Not the citizens.”

– Robert Reich

With the dropping of BP’s credit rating making the news, almost as a more important item than the mess they have caused, it looks like Reich is right.

Obama is making his fourth trip to the Gulf. Will it matter?

I guess we’ll know tomorrow with his “speech to the nation,” as it is being called by the TV Pundits. It’s been 56 days now since the explosion that started the oil eruption under water and just about everything that has been tried has been functionally useless (there’s a cap of sorts taking our a small percentage of the flow, but not enough to make a difference, and two relief wells are being drilled to cut off the leak itself, but we’re about two months away from it happening).

BP is spending millions on advertising where they say that they are taking “full responsibility” for the leak and the cleanup, and that no American taxpayers will have to pay  for this. Of course, such a statement is utter bullshit, since all the news shows talk about lately is business owners and fishermen on the Gulf who have appealed to BP for recompense do to their losses in the tragedy and have not been able to get the oil company to pay for anything.

BP put this out on it’s website:

BP’s onshore response efforts have rapidly expanded, with equipment and people staged and ready in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. BP has positioned rapid response teams in Alabama and Louisiana to enable quick response and cleaning of areas where oil may come ashore. These 12-person teams will assess initial impacts, and then call in a larger contingent of trained responders and volunteers to clean the affected area.

If that sounds good you should tie it to the word yesterday afternoon from Alabama that their beaches were now covered with tarballs and oil mass and their summer tourist season has been destroyed (along with the wildlife.) So much for “rapid response.” One of the things Obama is supposed to be doing today is speaking with BP officials. Let’s see if that gets him anywhere.

Joe Scarborough made what I thought was the best suggestion on his show this morning…and I rarely agree with Joe Scarborough… when he said that Obama should use the “speech to the nation” to bring our National Dream into a non-oil-dependent energy target. He compared it to JFK’s famous speech pledging to put a man on the moon in a decade.

This from Scarborough:

“I would make the John Kennedy speech that by the end of the decade, we will go to the moon. This president can say, thank god it’s the beginning of the decade, by the end of a decade, America will break its dependence on foreign oil. By the end of the decade, we will control our own destiny. By the end of the decade, we will be positioned to dominate the world in energy for the next century. We will do it because we must do it…”

That’s a terrific idea.

I’ll be astonished if it happens.

Cartoon(s) of the Week… Elections and Oil Spills

Rex Babin in The Sacramento Bee:

We’re getting closer to campaign season. The recent primaries brought us interesting results… now let’s see if the incumbents really suffer.

– and –

Joel Pett in USA Today:

– and here is another variation of the same –

Nick Anderson in the Houston Chronicle:

BP and the oil spill makes us think. How will this effect campaigns (or can money really buy anything?)

Great Morning Laugh from the Upright Citizens Brigade… BP Spills The Coffee

Funny, of course, because it is so close to the truth.

A few items here and there…

At a local Food CoOp meeting last night there was a pile of information revealed. First of all, there is in existence a Jefferson County (WV) Food CoOp, has been for around 25 years, but it has been shrinking and is all but invisible (down to a couple of dozen members). The Shepherdstown group looks like they are willing to buy into it (membership is $25.00 a year and they order food from a National CoOp supplier once a month).

Ruth Robertas got the Shepherdstown bunch together for meetings and is keeping minutes on the meeting, which are expected by e-mail.

At some point I hope to write an update on this venture… I’d give anything to have it turn into a real ongoing shopping area, like the Frederick Common Market which I go down to at least one Wednesday a month (on Wednesdays there is a 5% discount for folks over 60, which usually covers my gas and my lunch) and which sells the best organic and natural stuff and is especially full of products appealing to Vegans like us. That, however, is a long way away and would require a REAL organization.


Yesterday at the Farmer’s Market in Shepherdstown, I saw this good looking woman and her family shopping and she was covered in intricate tattoos. It made me stop and think about how many people you see these days that have turned their bodies into artworks…

While watching one of the Top Chef shows on Bravo I noticed that 2/3 of the contestant chefs, both male and female, were more than decorated with tattoos. They were never commented on or apparently even noticed by anyone (I mean, no one said “gee, what a great design” or anything like that), but were simply accepted as part of the current mode of expression.

And then, of course, I thought of Janeane Garafolo, who is even more tattooed every time she appears on television. Certainly this effects her ability to be cast in films. Or maybe not.

So I started thinking about what I would decorate myself with if I were to go for tattoos. My big problem is that I would tire of an image or a pattern relatively quickly and I don’t imagine removal is an easy thing (although I’ve heard of it being done.) The upshot is that I don’t want to find out how my skin would change as I got older. I don’t think I’ll ever get a tattoo.


The word on the BP oil leak this morning is that the cap that was put on the broken pipe is sucking in 11,000 barrels a day, but that may be only 10% or 20% of what is going directly into gulf waters.

At the government’s press update this morning they seemed to be trying to put an optimistic face on all this, but the bottom line was that there is no real solution until the relief wells are finished in August… and even then there is still a strong possibility that the problem could go on.

Somebody made the statement that there would be months of cleanup after the leak was stopped , but everyone knows that they are still cleaning up much less pollution from the Exxon Valdez spill 10 YEARS AGO!

BP’s cleanup price tag so far is 1.25 Billion Bucks and climbing.This doesn’t count any of the lawsuits which are being brought by destroyed businesses along the coastlines or by amounts that are being claimed by individual states who will lose tourist industry income. No one is questioning whether BP will survive, but if they go bankrupt, who will pay for all this. You and I both know the answer to that one (keep your hand on your wallet and wait for the tax increases.)

What if BP knew what would happen with Deepwater Horizon well before it did?

Karen Dalton Beninato has written an amazing piece at backed up by an actual BP document. See if you can read this without wanting to put these guys away for a long time.

This is the starting clip… go in and read the whole thing:

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BP’s Spill Plan: What they knew and when they knew it

NEW ORLEANS | I have obtained a copy of the almost-600-page BP Regional Oil Spill Response Plan for the Gulf of Mexico as of June, 2009, thanks to an insider.
The name of the well has been redacted, but if it’s not Deepwater Horizon, then there’s another rig still out there pumping oil and aimed at Plaquemines Parish.
For crowdsourcing here’s the link, but it’s 29 mb so make sure you have the room to download:
1) In the worst case discharge scenario (on chart below), an oil leak was expected to come ashore with highest probability in Plaquemines Parish within 30 days (see map above from the Advance Response Plan). This makes it clear that BP could have stored adequate boom there before a rig failure like the Deepwater Horizon, and workers could have been mobilized to apply the boom in the 30 days that the response plan predicted oil would hit our wetlands.

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Cartoon(s) of the Week tell a story…

Clay Bennett in the Chattanooga Times Free Press:

We start with a basic form of education… then…

Mike Lukovich in theAtlanta Journal Constitution:

we compare it to the other major news story of the week… then…

Jim Morin in the Miami Herald:

we look for someone to take responsibility for it… and…

Daryl Cagle for

we gave Fox News something to babble on about…

What would BP use 50 Million Bucks for?

To solve the oil leak problem? To reimburse locals on the Gulf whose lives have been ruined? To clean up the mess they made?

Nope. Today they are starting an advertising campaign to improve the BP image… and it will cost $50,000,000.00

The best thing they could do to improve their image would be to actually solve the problem, clean it up, and get the Gulf back to the condition it was in before the leak.

Robert Reich says BP should be put under Temporary Receivership

Here’s a reprint of his column today:

Putting BP Under Temporary Receivership: Some Qs and As

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Q: Is this realistic?

A: Not only realistic but it may become necessary — both operationally and politically. If the disaster continues to worsen, it’s untenable for a for-profit corporation to be in charge.

Q: But why should we expect government to do any better job than BP?

A: BP would still be at the job — and its expertise, equipment, and other assets would continue to be utilized. But the federal government would be in overall control of the operation — weighing public risks and benefits, deciding what resources are necessary, getting accurate information and disseminating it to the public.

Q: Why should we trust the government?

A: This isn’t an ideological contest about how little you trust a giant oil company versus the federal government. It’s a matter of accountability. BP’s primary responsibility is to its shareholders. And it will cut corners — as it has before — if that’s the best way to maximize the value of their shares. But only the government, through the President, is directly accountable to the American public, and responsible for protecting it.

Q: Under what legal authority could the President take control of BP’s North American operations?

A: Obama has implicit authority through laws and regulations dealing with offshore drilling, especially the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. By analogy, if a nuclear reactor were melting down, the President would use his regulatory authority over nuclear energy to take temporary control over the plant and the relevant parts of the corporation that ran it. President Truman seized the nation’s steel mills in 1952, arguing that the emergency of the Korean War necessitated it. (The Supreme Court ultimately blocked him but according to Justice Jackson, whose opinion was essentially the majority’s, that was because Truman had no statutory basis for the seizure, not even an implicit one. That isn’t the case here.)

Q: But BP is a British corporation. How can the U.S. government take control?

A: The nationality of a corporation’s shareholders has nothing to do with it. If it is operating within the jurisdiction of the United States and poses a serious and imminent threat to the health or safety of Americans, a president would take control of its operations and assets in the United States.

Q: Do you really think Obama would do this? Wouldn’t he prefer to stay away from this mess and keep the responsibility squarely on BP?

A: He may not have much of a choice. If the disaster worsens and Obama doesn’t take control he risks inheriting the mantle of Katrina.

Q: What will force his hand?

A: The White House is already inching toward control. BP’s new admission that it can’t stop the leak until August has shocked a public already deeply distrustful of it. As new evidence emerges of the scale of the disaster, the pressure on the Administration to take full and open control will only grow. Last Saturday Energy Secretary Chu asked BP to cease its so-called “top kill” effort to stop up the gush because he and his team of scientists had concluded it was too risky. Now the White House has to decide whether BP’s continued use of highly toxic dispersants poses more of a threat to the public and the environment than a help. When do these decisions tip over into control? Any time now.

Meaningless Quote of the Day?

“It is as enraging as it is heartbreaking, and we will not relent until this leak is contained, until the waters and shores are cleaned up, and until the people unjustly victimized by this manmade disaster are made whole.”

– President Barack Obama on the Failure of Top Kill, BP’s last effort at stopping the leak.

So what are they going to do now? And who is going to do it? And who really KNOWS what to do? Certainly not BP who has contributed more to the world’s pollution level than any other company.

Cartoon(s) of the Week – still in the Oil Spill Crisis

Joel Pett in the Lexington Herald Leader:

…I don’t think they are saying enough!

– and –

Jim Morin in the Miami Herald:

Is this $25 million they could be spending to stop the spill?

– and –

Mike Luckovich in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Change has to come from us… it won’t be from BP!

Cartoon(s) of the Week … for an Oily Saturday

Nick Anderson in the Houston Chronicle:

The Culture and Tradition of the Lone Star State…

– and –

Tom Toles in The Washington Post:

…or they are just giving us the finger.

Quote of the Day for you BP Fans…

“The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount of volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume.”

– BP CEO Tony Hayward


You Drill, You Spill

Here’s the opening clip of a Truthout Op Ed that was put out today by Alexander Cockburn.

Go in and read the whole thing… I recommend it. BT.

clipped from
Sobering, is it not, to realize that the possible survival of a huge oil company, of several billion shrimp, assorted species of fish and birds, not to mention avoidance of a near lethal lurch in the fortunes of Louisiana’s fishing and ocean rec industries and the future of offshore drilling along the Atlantic coast could depend on a feat as tricky as rolling a condom on the end of a string onto the penis of a man at street level by remote control from the top of the Empire State building.
So-called accidents in oil extraction invariably produce numbers as whimsical and liable to sudden change as the currents that will menace British Petroleum’s gigantic steel cap, a telephone booth four stories high, scheduled to be lowered onto the leaking oil pipe on the ocean floor 5,000 feat down, putting out maybe 10,000 barrels of crude a day.
The central fraud here is perpetrated by the word “accident,” which should properly be defined as normalcy…
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You know, BP is really making a much bigger mess…

This is a clip from an article in Salon… go in and read the whole thing if you want the facts. It’s not pretty.
clipped from

Is BP’s remedy for the spill only making it worse?

The chemical dispersants BP is dumping in the Gulf of Mexico are a cosmetic solution only. And they’re toxic

Last Thursday, BP began putting more than 100,000 gallons of chemicals into the Gulf of Mexico to disperse some of the hundreds of thousands — if not millions — of gallons of petroleum its undersea volcano of oil has gushed so far.
Chemically dispersing oil spills “solves the political problem of visible oil but not the environmental problem,” Robert Brulle, a 20-year Coast Guard veteran and an affiliate professor of public health at Drexel University, told me. These dispersants “do not actually reduce the total amount of oil entering the environment,” as a 2005 National Academy of Sciences report on the subject put it.
In short: out of sight, out of mind. But not out of the body of marine life.
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