Oilmageddon

Brought to you by the George W. Bush / Dick Cheney administration’s Minerals Management Service, the corporate foolhardiness of British Petroleum, the unusual cement of Cheney’s former company Halliburton, and unvarnished greed, behold Deepwater Horizon: the largest single incident of man-made environmental catastrophe (not to mention homicide) in the nation’s history.

Yes, I know: Obama/Salazar/Birnbaum. Birnbaum left ’cause she hadn’t rooted out the miscreants w and dick installed, for the very excellent reason that she wasn’t tasked to do that — her “Job One” directive was to get Cape Wind approved, and she did. Salazar should leave — this new sheriff in town didn’t get a Federal Judge or even a Federal Marshal to lend credence to his claims of reform.

That said, there’s no excuse for not going after BP on a criminal as well as a civil basis (and kudos to the stock traders yesterday for seeing the writing on the wall regarding this consistently negligent, profit-obsessed corporation’s likely future), which suddenly looks as threatened as the Gulf of Mexico’s many natural wonders now at the merciless hands of a careless corporation’s corner-cutting.

“Everybody’s scrambling,” said Steve W. Ross, a marine biologist at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, and an expert on deepwater corals. “There’s a lot of evaluation that has to be done.”
But some believe that studies on the impact of oil and dispersants should have been done long ago, given the proliferation of drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.
“Some of these studies were proposed years ago, and the agencies decided not to fund them,” Dr. Ross said. “We’re paying the price for it now.”
The BP spill coincides nonetheless with a fertile period of deep-ocean exploration in the Gulf of Mexico. Over the past decade, the Minerals Management Service — the federal agency criticized by lawmakers for its oversight of the offshore drilling industry — has financed extensive research into mapping the life of the deep ocean.

Yesterday, DoJ chief Eric Holder announced prosecutions are planned for BP’s violations of environmental law. I’m good with that. Now how about charges for obstruction of justice and falsification of government documents (the permits BP lied to get and lied when it filled out, and the post-Texas City government orders BP ignored to kill more workers at its horrific plant)?

More logically, a large portion of the blame is being laid at the feet of BP and its contractors at the site, including Transocean and Halliburton. That’s certainly appropriate. They were behind the wheel, so to speak, and ought to be held responsible for what happened. The early investigative record already contains evidence of shortcuts taken, warning signs dismissed and profit given precedence over safety. BP’s subsequent behavior in consistently downplaying the enormity of its failure has only added to the justifiable anger directed at the company.

Furthermore, Blanche Lincoln’s deservedly getting tarred with the “palling around with BP” brush. More like this, please, League of Conservation Voters!!!

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3 responses to “Oilmageddon

  1. JAMES SCAMINACI III

    Second all of the above. How about pulling BPs licenses to drill and shutting down the equally, if not more dangerous, Atlantis rig?

    • grahamfirchlis

      Hey James.

      All very satisfying to contemplate and the Atlantis rig is a serious issue. But….

      The regs have been horribly changed under Bush/Cheney and still need sorting out, took years to destroy them and will take years to make them right. It is difficult to shut down something like Atlantis because the process requires multiple filings that can be essentially indefinitely appealed. And while Atlantis was built with the same defective approach the well hasn’t had any blowout issues and those generally happen early in a drillbore’s life.

      Additionally, there are a whole lot of other rigs out there built the same way; do we shut them down too? Once shut down, what then? In deep water it is difficult to impossible to retrofit the assembly with new and safer equipment. Should we mandate the bore be shut down and abandoned? Should we require all deepwater wells to have a secondary bore for emergency capping? Those may indeed be prudent things to do, but I promise they will not be politically sustainable. I’m afraid this mess is not amenable to quick and simple solutions, even if they are fundamentally correct. That’s what happens when you put an addict in charge.

      As for yanking all of BP’s licenses, again that is an administrative nightmare that won’t happen quickly if at all. What it will do even if not successful is drive BP into bankruptcy and that will be bad in more ways than keeping them in business. So long as they are operating and profitable they can be bled to pay for cleaning up their mess, and even as a wounded giant their stock still has some value and can be sold off slowly by investors that include large public pension groups here and abroad. Bankrupt, BP can’t pay for anything and pensioners lose bazillions.

      Maybe some enterprising young lawyer looking to make a name should sue Bush and Cheney for setting up the regulatory environment that let this happen. There ought to be some theory of “knowing dereliction” or “wanton disregard” that would subject them to a class-action civil suit and penalty, they’re both out of office so there are no immunity issues to a civil case. Strip them both of all their wealth now and anything they might earn in the future including Liz Cheney’s inheritance, let ’em live on welfare in a shitty cold-water walkup with the rats and the roaches. Not so good as prison time, but still pretty satisfying.

  2. grahamfirchlis

    It is astonishing how high the mountain of evidence is, all pointing directly to the willful destructiveness of the Bush/Cheney criminal conspiracy, massive in scope. How anyone can see it otherwise is beyond my ken. Thanks for those links, some new ones for me.

    There must be times when Obama feels like a one-armed paperhanger in a swamp with rising water full of alligators and cottonmouths, surrounded by nearsighted drunken redneck poachers.

    It will be interesting to see what he does with General Stanley A. (BigMouth) McChrystal. Obama’s frustration level must be sky-high, and somebody is due to catch a serious whuppin’. We have plenty of brass, all easily replaced, and an outright cashiering puts the rest of them as well as assorted uppity civilians on notice that The Man has limits. Worked for Truman.

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