Posts filed under ‘BP / Gulf Oil Disaster’
BP executives wanted to concentrate blame for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster on “blue collar rig workers” in order to save themselves, U.S. government lawyers wrote in a court document that until Thursday was partially redacted.
According to the newly public and complete version of the court document, Justice Department lawyers are taking an even harsher tone against BP Plc for the 2010 oil spill than previously thought, invoking the language of class conflict.
The August 31 document from the Justice Department was already notable for its strong wording about what the government considers gross negligence on the part of the London-based oil giant and its management.
Government lawyers charge that the internal inquiry, run by BP executive Mark Bly, ignored embarrassing emails from drilling supervisors that preceded the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that killed 11 people.
“Bly and BP’s management in London purposefully limited the investigation by excluding any of the systemic management failures that led to the disaster,” the lawyers wrote.
They continued: “This was a decision designed to ensure that the public and legal lines of accountability would be focused exclusively on blue collar rig workers and other contractor/defendants – but at all cost, not upon BP management and the inexplicable behaviors that coursed through the pages” of the internal BP emails.
This isn’t all that surprising in and of itself — typical corporate behavior — but coupled with BP asking we taxpayers to pay for the cleanup, BP attempting to bribe politicians with tickets to NBA games, BP getting caught dumping sand on top of oil covered beaches in Louisiana, BP burning turtles alive that could have been saved and BP’s CEO Tony Hayward going yachting while oil was still spewing into the Gulf, this company, that wants us to think of it as ecologically sensitive and cool and hip, this company is truly despicable.
And to think they were the #1 sponsor of the 2012 Summer Olympics. Trying to make us think they care about people and the planet and getting along and all that.
If I ever run across BP in person, since corporations are people after all, I might just spit in BP’s face.
While McDonald’s will remain king of the chips at the London 2012 Olympic Games, BP has charged itself with delivering the culinary “spirit of the Gulf”. The Louisiana Office of Tourism announced this week that the oil company would be hosting a series of events for Team USA that will pair three Gulf coast bands with chefs from Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida preparing “the world’s freshest and best-tasting seafood”.
No doubt Team USA will enjoy the New Orleans jazz and Cajun food on offer, but it’s more than a little troubling that, after the 2010 Gulf oil spill, BP has co-opted the phrase “spirit of the Gulf” as a promotional device to position itself as the gatekeeper to the region’s culture and cuisine.
Back in the Olympics PR world, Crystal Ashby, BP’s vice-president of government and public affairs, tells us: “BP is proud to use the power of the London 2012 Olympic Games as another way to promote the Gulf coast, draw new visitors to the region and demonstrate our ongoing commitment to the community.”
In the light of the Louisiana memorial’s litany of loss, it’s hard to say exactly how BP has promoted the Gulf Coast. Ravaging ecosystems and destroying community livelihoods, though, probably wouldn’t make the list.
This Olympic marketing move looks, at best, horrifically ironic and, at worst, like rubbing salt (or should I say oil?) in the wound.
I don’t know whether to laugh or cry:
It was billed as the “greenest Games ever.” Hailed as the most environmentally friendly Olympics since the Greeks raced chariots through the streets of Athens (or some such equally ridiculous claim). In 2007, the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) – with then-Prime Minister Tony Blair’s full support – promised to ensure preparations for the London 2012 summer Olympics would be made with unprecedented deference to environmentalism and sustainable development. Well, as it turns out, the only thing that has been sustained is a sham of monstrous proportions – a fraud that should make any sensible human being bloody furious.
You see, all that tough environmental talk and all those lofty goals of sustainable development have been completely undercut (and even mocked) by one singularly thoughtless, contradictory act: Signing BP as the official “Sustainability Partner” of London 2012.
How sublime. The Brits pick as a major sponsor of the greenest Games since who knows when the perpetrator of the worst oil spill in U.S. history – a devastating environmental disaster that continues to wreak havoc on the Gulf Coast and its weary residents. BP is truly the perfect ambassador. When I “think green” the first thing that leaps to my mind is 205 million gallons of Louisiana sweet crude spewing into the loins of the Gulf of Mexico.
This is truly astonishing. Even if the London Olympics weren’t being billed as the “greenest Games ever,” it is an abomination that BP would be picked as an official anything for any event. They should be shunned.
They think we’re total idiots. I.e., I don’t believe this for a second (i.e., filed under Dumbed Down and They Think We’re Idiots):
A Canadian company that hopes to pipe oil from western Canada to Texas is working with U.S. officials to develop safety standards beyond those required by law, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Thursday.
The new standards should ensure that if a permit for the 1,900-mile pipeline is issued, “the project will be as safe as it could possibly be,” Clinton said.
“We’ve been clear from the beginning that the safety of the pipeline is one of our highest priorities,” said Clinton, who is expected to decide on the project by the end of the year.
The State Department has authority over the pipeline because it crosses an international boundary.
Among other changes, the company has agreed to build the pipeline 4 feet below ground, instead of 3 feet…
Email this to your grandkids and ask them to bookmark it and read it again in 10 years. By then, advanced countries (those who are, today, weaning themselves of oil) will be living off of renewable energy and the U.S. will be creaking along, tearing up its national parks and wildlands for any shred of oil it can find. And, sadly, it will be dealing with oil spills because, as is true today, the people who are in charge of monitoring this shit are in bed with the oil companies.
So, hey Hillary, sounds good but I know better.
The trans-Alaska pipeline has shut down due to a leak at a pump station (fish and animals — run for your lives!):
The 800-mile trans-Alaska oil pipeline is shut down due to a leak at Pump Station 1 on the North Slope.
North Slope oil producers have been asked to cut their production to 5 percent of normal.
An oil line encased in concrete leaked an unknown quantity of crude oil just outside a booster pump building, according to Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. spokeswoman Michelle Egan. Alyeska operates the line and its pump stations.
A crew doing a routine inspection noticed the leak this morning and Alyeska shut down the pipeline at about 9 a.m., Egan said.
From Yahoo News:
Shares in BP and Transocean rose on Thursday as investors bet a new Presidential panel report that spreads the blame for the country’s worst-ever oil spill means the companies will avoid a highly costly gross negligence charge.
The report blamed the rig blast and subsequent spill on bad decision-making by BP, drilling contractor Transocean and well cementer Halliburton, which it said highlighted bad industry practice and regulatory shortcomings.
Investors and analysts said the fact that the blame for the blowout was shared so widely suggested BP and Transocean were less likely to be pinned with a allegation of gross negligence.
BP shares have gained over 60 percent since falling below 300 pence at the height of the crisis in June last year.
Meanwhile BP has selected a new director of communications, sources familiar with the matter said on Thursday, as it seeks to rebuild its image in the wake of the spill.
Shorter: BP/Transocean incinerated 11 men (who leave behind mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, wives and children) and it has been found to be at fault, but it looks like their lawyer$ will find a way to reduce and/or deflect the blame, so it’s all good.
Oh, and they’re hiring “a new director of communications” to
“rebuild their image.
Truth be told: They’re mounting a campaign to brainwash and lie to us about how great they are.
But hey, the shysters on Wall Street relate to this — destroying people and getting away with it — so they’re thrilled.
If I killed 11 people I’d be in prison for 150 years.
Back in September we got news that the Justice Department was joining other critics of Kenneth Feinberg, the Obama-appointed head of the “Gulf Coast Claims Facility,” for his slow pace at meting out payments for BP oil spill damage claims.
Today it seems pretty darn obvious why Feinberg is taking his sweet ol’ time:
Kenneth Feinberg and his law firm have been paid more than $2.5 million in 3 1/2 months to administer the $20 billion fund set up by BP Plc to compensate victims of its oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The $850,000 monthly payments to Feinberg’s firm will continue through year-end and then will be reviewed, a person familiar with the contract said today.
The money goes to seven professionals at Feinberg’s firm and is paid by BP separately from the fund to help victims, according to the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity about details not spelled out in today’s report. Among those being paid is Feinberg’s brother David, according to the report. David Feinberg is listed on the firm’s website as director of special projects.
Pretty nice gig if you can get it, huh?
And in the end of course, the people who suffer the most are the fishermen and the mom and pop restauranteurs who are waiting for their claims to be settled — all while Feinberg soaks up that $850,000 monthly paycheck. He has no incentive whatsoever to hurry.
What a freakin’ racket.
This seems like kind of a big deal: Thad Allen: In Hindsight, BP Might Have Shut Down Oil Well Sooner…
In hindsight, if BP had removed the 5,000-foot-long tangle of riser pipe from its damaged Gulf well in the early days of the spill, a new blowout preventer or cap could have been installed, shutting down the well perhaps within weeks instead of months, according to both the federal incident commander and petroleum engineers.
…but after a quick check of the cable “news” websites, I don’t see a thing.
Say it ain’t so already.
NEW ORLEANS — One person is missing after a rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, about 80 miles south of Vermilion Bay, the U.S. Coast Guard said.It happened around 9 a.m., and as of 10:15 a.m., the rig was still burning, the Coast Guard said. Rescue crews from New Orleans and Houston are responding.Officials said there were 13 people aboard the rig, and all but one are accounted for.
Here is a must-see video of David Horsup, the Vice President of Nalco Energy Services, the maker of Corexit, demonstrating how Corexit works and explaining how safe it is:
“The toxicity of this particular product is at least 25 times less toxic than common dish washing soap everybody uses in their house on a day-to-day basis.”
As for Croexit getting into the food chain?
“From the standpoint of the oil getting into ah, into, into the food chain, yes, there is certainly a concern there, but from the dispersant standpoint? Absolutely not.”
So, if it’s “at least 25 times less toxic than common dish washing soap,” ah, why is the guy wearing industrial strength rubber gloves?!
In the first few days after BP’s Deepwater Horizon wellhead exploded, spewing crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico, cleanup workers could be seen on Louisiana beaches wearing scarlet pants and white t-shirts with the words “Inmate Labor” printed in large red block letters. Coastal residents, many of whom had just seen their livelihoods disappear, expressed outrage at community meetings; why should BP be using cheap or free prison labor when so many people were desperate for work? The outfits disappeared overnight.
Work crews in Grand Isle, Louisiana, still stand out. In a region where nine out of ten residents are white, the cleanup workers are almost exclusively African-American men. The racialized nature of the cleanup is so conspicuous that Ben Jealous, the president of the NAACP, sent a public letter to BP CEO Tony Hayward on July 9, demanding to know why black people were over-represented in “the most physically difficult, lowest paying jobs, with the most significant exposure to toxins.”
BP’s Latest Outrage: $9.9 Billion Tax Break for Spill Damages:
When BP announced creation of a $20 billion fund to clean up the Gulf of Mexico and compensate gulf coast residents for damages caused by the Deepwater Horizon disaster, it seemed as if the company was serious about promises to “make things right” after the worst oil spill in history.
This week however, BP signaled that it expects American taxpayers to share its burden. The firm announced it will take advantage of U.S. tax laws and claim a $9.9 billion tax credit against the $32 billion it says it has lost because of the spill.
As White House press secretary Robert Gibbs noted on Tuesday, the 35 percent tax credit on business losses that BP plans to exploit is a longstanding part of the tax code.
Still, said Common Cause president Bob Edgar, “BP’s use of the provision is disappointing – another example of the cut-costs-whatever-the-consequences mentality that appears to have led to the spill.
“And the availability of such a tax break is a sad illustration of the rewards that powerful corporate interests reap from their investments in our political system,” Edgar added.
But Washington’s answer to mind-blowing inequity isn’t to go after the corporations and to change the tax laws that give them such unfathomable benefits, it’s to go after the wait staff at your local restaurant and to cut their minimum wage.
Read Mac McClelland’s rant from this morning. She’s been in the Gulf for at least a month now and she knows what’s she’s talking about — the oil hasn’t gone away folks.
My favorite part:
I sent one text message to Bloomberg’s Lizzie O’Leary, who’s standing on Grand Isle, Louisiana, right now, asking how the beach looks. “Lower part past the barrier untouched with globs of oil that washed up last night,” she said. By “untouched,” she means by cleanup crews, and that “barrier” she’s talking about is the one the press isn’t allowed past. I sent another text to Drew Wheelan, who’s also in Southwestern Louisiana, doing bird surveys for the American Birding Association, asking him how big the biggest tar mat on Grand Terre—the scene of those now famous horrifying oiled-bird photos is. “20 feet by 15,” he said. “But bigger ones submerged slightly.”
If I managed to find that much oil with my BlackBerry without getting dressed or leaving the house, let’s hope Thad Allen, who is quoted in the article as saying, “What we’re trying to figure out is where is all the oil at and what can we do about it,” can locate some more with the staff and craft of the United States Coast Guard at his disposal. As for the reporter’s alarmingly unsubstantiated claim that “The beaches should be relatively painless to mop up,” I can’t even count the number of correspondents down here who’ve pointed out that digging a finger under the surface of supposedly clean sand turns up crude, or the number of cleanup workers who’ve said cleanup efforts are strictly cosmetic, or that no matter what they do the contamination just keeps bubbling up.
It’s BP’s job to whitewash this story and make it easier to indulge the desire to forget about the scope of the devastation, guys. Not the media’s.
The people who supposedly represent We The People apparently see no conflict whatsoever in participating in this neat little bribery scheme:
For more than a decade, BP has operated a hush-hush phone line that California lawmakers can call to request box seats to NBA games and concerts at the Sacramento stadium named after its West Coast subsidiary.
In the past five years, BP has given state officials more than 1,200 complimentary tickets to the Arco Arena, hosting them in its corporate suite to see Sacramento Kings games, World Extreme Cagefighting matches, and Britney Spears and Lil Wayne concerts. Getting the tickets is as easy as calling the BP ticket request line, an exclusive, unpublished phone number that appears to exist for the sole purpose of granting freebies to lawmakers, regulators, and their staffs.
BP has given away roughly $300,000 worth of tickets over the past 10 years, handing them out to everyone from lowly assembly clerks to top lawmakers.
Oy. It’s only Wednesday and this has already been a week of outrage overload, on steroids.
The Times (of London) is reporting that BP CEO Tony Hayward is preparing to “stand down as early as next month.”
I’d like to think he might suffer a bit but undoubtedly his “severance pay” and golden parachute will be enough to feed and house Gulf coast fishermen for decades.
Now that the cap appears (knock on wood) to be working, the spin begins:
Congratulations to the people and animals and birds and fish in the Gulf — BP says it has stopped the spill.
(I hope I don’t regret the title of this post — fingers crossed.)
Watch this hilarious “BP Spills Coffee” video:
And then watch Bob Dudley, BP’s Managing Director being interviewed on PBS, saying that the staff at BP was “deeply affected” by it and that it “makes their shoulders go down.”
Well yeah, because it shows what idiots you are.
I can’t imagine how economically destitute I would have to be to give up my two dogs. I think I would sell just about everything I had and cut way down on food — anything — to keep them. So, the folks in the Gulf are obviously suffering absolutely terribly if they’re being put in a position of needing to surrender their pets in order to make ends meet survive:
Responding to the burdens the Deepwater Horizon oil spill has placed on pet owners and animal shelters in coastal communities, the Louisiana SPCA is offering free veterinary care to dog and cat owners in St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Terrebonne and Jefferson parishes.
The Gulf Coast Companion Relief Program, established by the SPCA with assistance from several organizations, also will help out-of-work fishers feed their pets rather than give them up.
Animal shelters in coastal parishes are packed with pets being dropped off by owners who say they cannot afford to care for them any longer.
“The coastal parish animal shelters have experienced 2-3 times the number of pets being relinquished than last summer,” said Ana Zorrilla, chief executive officer of the Louisiana SPCA. “Studies have shown pets reduce stress, aid in overcoming depression and loss, and provide comfort in times of need. Knowing how bonded people are with their pets, it’s heartbreaking to hear of families having to make this kind of decision. The pets have become innocent victims of this disaster.”
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) said the state will not waiting for federal approval to begin building sand barriers to protect the coastline from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Oil has pushed at least 12 miles into Louisiana’s marshes, with two major pelican rookeries awash in crude.
Gov. Jindal was critical of the amount of boom his state received to ward off the oil seeping toward the coastline. But his major gripe comes at the expense of the Army Corps of Engineers, who have yet to give the go-ahead for the building of sand booms to protect the Louisiana wetlands. He used photographic evidence of oil breaking through hard booms, soft booms and another layer of protection, before being finally being corralled by a sand boom built by the National Guard.
“It is so much better for us. We don’t want oil on one inch of Louisiana’s coastline, but we’d much rather fight this oil off of a hard coast, off of an island, off of an island, off of a sandy beach on our coastal islands, rather than having to fight it inside in these wetlands,” Gov. Jindal said, making the case for sand booms.
The governor said he has been forced to protect Louisiana without the approval of the Army Corps of Engineers, which is weighing the ecological impact of the construction of more sand booms.
“We are not waiting for them. We are going to build it,” Jindal said.
July, 2010 and these are Bobby Jindal’s sand booms Going, going, gone.
Good idea Bobby.
Check out the Associated Press’ “Oil Spill Meter.”
My God. We put a man on the Moon in 1969. 40+ years later, the way the government is determining whether seafood from the Gulf is contaminated with oil is and/or that Gulf fishermen can go back to work — is via human sniffers? Unbelievable.
When oil from BP’s Deepwater Horizon well finally stops gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, the decision about whether to reopen at least 81,000 square miles of waters to commercial fishing will rest with the trained noses and palates of a secret panel of nearly two dozen seafood sniffers.
They’re the deciders, a group of experts — highly skilled and exquisitely practiced in detecting unusual odors and tastes, including those of petroleum – that will largely determine the fate of the region’s $659 million-a-year fishing industry.
Working for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, they will be charged with sniffing raw and cooked samples of 10 kinds of fish and shellfish, tasting a bit of each – and then deciding, yea or nay, whether an area can reopen.
It’s just remarkable that the headline on the homepage of the United States Coast Guard is about it sponsoring a women’s professional soccer game. One would think the goings on surrounding the BP oil disaster would get top billing. Instead, one has to scroll down to the bottom of the page to get to a link for that.
Ugh. I’m dragging myself back to a reality that seems unreal after a wonderful 4th of July weekend. Happy dogs, good food, friends, rain, sunshine and gentle breezes. It couldn’t have been better.
But, again, back to what is now known as reality here in the good old U.S. of A. — flags, flags, flags and fireworks included - is this story that caught my eye. It exposes the lie that is the ugly underbelly of the “freedom” we’re supposedly celebrating this very minute:
A 60 year-old environmental activist who hung two banners in a government building will be sentenced Tuesday — and faces up to three years in prison.
Bloomfield, NJ resident Ted Glick will be sentenced Tuesday for unfurling two banners saying “Green Jobs Now” and “Get to Work” from the Hart Senate Office Building’s 7th floor into the atrium on Sept. 8, 2009, the day the Senate returned from its summer recess. Glick and approximately 30 demonstrators were attempting to pressure the Senate to pass the American Clean Energy and Security Act which passed the House in June 2009.
Despite entering the building legally and following all security requirements, including providing identification and having the banners and other items scanned, Glick was convicted of two misdemeanors—disorderly conduct and unlawfully assembling on Capitol Grounds—on May 13.
So, a guy who thinks we should have clean air and water and who hangs two banners in a government building faces three years in prison? Are. You. Kidding. Me?!
This gigantic, coordinated, world-wide cabal is willing to go after anyone, even small voices like Glick’s, so as to scare the shit out of us small people. They want us to to sit the f**k down and shutting the F**k up.
Meanwhile — let’s keep waiving those flags and talkin’ about our “freedom.”
What the hell is going on around here? How is BP able to get away with this:
British Petroleum is trucking in sand to cover up the oil. Let me repeat that – instead of cleaning up the oil they are just bringing in sand from other beaches and covering it up. In the photos and the video you can see the layering of Grand Isle, LA sand, oil and then a sand of a different type. Photo-journalists have four independent confirmations by local Sheriff’s in Grand Isle, Louisiana.
Here is a deeply moving piece by the always-wonderful Dahr Jamail about a day trip he took through the area south of New Orleans, where oil from the BP geyser first hit.
Later, as we drive back north towards New Orleans, I feel a seething rage towards BP and the US government. It is easy to vent my frustrations towards this giant oil company with the worst safety record on the planet. It is easy to rage at the US corporate-controlled so-called government. They are both easy targets for our rage.
Bottom line is that BP ain’t gettin’ the job done. Why it took the administration so long to realize that they couldn’t/wouldn’t is something I’ll leave to the psychologists.
What does a one-ton tarball look like? Like this monster:
One-ton tarball captured by crew of the Sailfish in Perdido Pass, FL on June 11.
Imagine more of these things floating out there in the Gulf. It’s horrifying.
This is the craziness of the right: Louisiana Oil Spill Day of Prayer: Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has declared Sunday, June 27, a statewide day of prayer for the Gulf.
But hey. Wait a minute. The guy hasn’t called in the thousands of National Guard troops made available by President Obama who could help with the clean-up.
So yeah, let’s pander to the wingers and the Tea Partiers and the religious right instead of doing everything possible to tackle the problem.
Anything to make Obama look like he’s a failure, right? Even if fishermen and hoteliers and others in your state go under.
They call that compassionate conservatism.
Way to go Bobby.
Hands Across the Sand will rally across the globe tomorrow to show their opposition to near and off-shore drilling in the waters of the world.
See you there in Boulder.
Oh, btw, you won’t hear a peep about this on the “liberal media” tomorrow night.