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Posts Tagged ‘Gulf of Mexico’

A poet once wrote: “When you’re chewing on life’s gristle, don’t grumble. Give a whistle. And this’ll help things turn out for the best.” This famous Python ditty appears to be the government, BP and media spin on the oil disaster at this point, and it could be the biggest display of wishful thinking, denial and deception in the face of a serious crisis since Chris Matthews and G. Gordon Liddy swooned over President Bush’s crotch bulge aboard the U.S.S. Lincoln when the Iraq war was apparently “over.”

For several weeks now, the traditional media, and especially cable news, has been wondering, “Where’s all the oil?” as if to suggest the biggest water-based oil disaster in history is over and the oil is gone. And while it’s easy to pick on the press, its short attention span and the superficial reporting typical of TV news, it’s only right to underscore who specifically is to blame for downplaying the size and scope of the disaster.

Remember the first time this “where’s the oil?” question was raised? Back on May 16, Brit Hume asked, “Where’s the oil?” on Fox News Sunday. Days later, the oil washed ashore and no one dared repeat the same question. Until now.

Patient zero in the most recent “where’s the oil?” analysis appears to be Thad Allen:

“What we’re trying to figure out is where is all the oil at and what can we do about it,” said US spill response chief Thad Allen.

Coincidentally, my next book is titled: Where Is All The Oil At? (And What Can We Do About It). I’m joking, of course, because we know precisely where the oil is. And there’s very little we can do about it, other than to stop candy-coating the post-kill status of the disaster.

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BP is using federal agencies to shield itself from public accountability and is actually disappearing oiled wildlife.

June 12, 2010 |

Marine Photo Bank / Flickr Creative Commons
Photo Credit: Marine Photo Bank / Flickr Creative Commons

Orange Beach, Alabama — While President Obama insists that the federal government is firmly in control of the response to BP’s spill in the Gulf, people in coastal communities where I visited last week in Louisiana and Alabama know an inconvenient truth: BP — not our president — controls the response. In fact, people on the ground say things are out of control in the gulf.

Even worse, as my latest week of adventures illustrate, BP is using federal agencies to shield itself from public accountability.

For example, while flying on a small plane from New Orleans to Orange Beach, the pilot suddenly exclaimed, “Look at that!” The thin red line marking the federal flight restrictions of 3,000 feet over the oiled Gulf region had just jumped to include the coastal barrier islands off Alabama.

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“There’s only one reason for that,” the pilot said. “BP doesn’t want the media taking pictures of oil on the beaches. You should see the oil that’s about six miles off the coast,” he said grimly. We looked down at the wavy orange boom surrounding the islands below us. The pilot shook his head. “There’s no way those booms are going to stop what’s offshore from hitting those beaches.”

BP knows this as well — boom can only deflect oil under the calmest of sea conditions, not barricade it — so they have stepped up their already aggressive effort to control what the public sees.

At the same time I was en route to Orange Beach, Clint Guidry with the Louisiana Shrimp Association and Dean Blanchard, who owns the largest shrimp processor in Louisiana, were in Grand Isle taking Anderson Cooper out in a small boat to see the oiled beaches. The U.S. Coast Guard held up the boat for 20 minutes – an intimidation tactic intended to stop the cameras from recording BP’s damage. Luckily for Cooper and the viewing public, Dean Blanchard is not easily intimidated.

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A few days later, the jig was up with the booms. Oil was making landfall in four states and even BP can’t be everywhere at once. CBS 60 Minutes Australia found entire sections of boom hung up in marsh grasses two feet above the water off Venice. On the same day on the other side of Barataria Bay, Louisiana Bayoukeeper documented pools of oil and oiled pelicans inside the boom – on the supposedly protected landward side – of Queen Bess Island off Grand Isle.

With oil undisputedly hitting the beaches and the number of dead wildlife mounting, BP is switching tactics. In Orange Beach, people told me BP wouldn’t let them collect carcasses. Instead, the company was raking up carcasses of oiled seabirds. “The heads separate from the bodies,” one upset resident told me. “There’s no way those birds are going to be autopsied. BP is destroying evidence!”

The body count of affected wildlife is crucial to prove the harm caused by the spill, and also serves as an invaluable tool to evaluate damages to public property – the dolphins, sea turtles, whales, sea birds, fish, and more, that are owned by the American public. Disappeared body counts means disappeared damages – and disappeared liability for BP. BP should not be collecting carcasses. The job should be given to NOAA, a federal agency, and volunteers, as was done during the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska.

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On her Facebook page this week, Sarah Palin outlined a pretty solid case for tough government regulations against corporations. (By the way, none of the sentences ended with the word “also,” nor did the entry read like a really bad local newspaper letter to the editor, so I assume it was ghost-written.)

Yes, seriously. Sarah Palin is in favor of the federal government planting its gigantic boot on the throats of energy companies. She put it in writing. Not only that but she even proposed that our socialist, anti-capitalist, wealth-redistributing president call her on the phone so she can describe to him specifically how to impose all kinds of big government regulations against BP and others.

It’s about damn time.

I knew if we just continued to make the case for serious government regulation of corporations, we’d finally win some minds and hearts — even minds as airy, and wolf-snipering hearts as hardened as Sarah Palin’s.

Here’s the centerpiece of what she wrote:

Unless government appropriately regulates oil developments and holds oil executives accountable, the public will not trust them to drill, baby, drill. And we must!

I can only assume she was suggesting that “we must!” regulate and drill. For the record, we’re already drilling offshore, so enough of this hackish “drill, baby, drill” screeching. There are already 3,858 oil and gas platforms operating in the Gulf of Mexico alone, according to NOAA. Here’s a convenient map with yellow dots indicating all of the locations where we’re already, you know, drilling, baby, drilling:

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I understand, however, that most Republicans aren’t satisfied and want more drilling. They want the moratorium on new deepwater drilling permits to end, and they want new exploration for oil in heretofore untapped leases all along the entire coast of the United States. The problem is that it would take around 10 years to get platforms online and producing in the areas where there are untapped leases, and the deepwater platforms that are ready to drill now don’t have the failsafe mechanisms — and the regulations Sarah wants — in place yet. So how about this compromise: we continue to drill with the existing offshore wells, but, as Sarah Palin suggests, we regulate the hell out of them? Once those regulations are in place, maybe we can talk about new offshore leases rather than drilling willy-nilly.

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BP’s Long History Of Destroying The World

Huff Post- Ryan Grim

First Posted: 06- 8-10 12:45 PM   |   Updated: 06- 8-10 02:48 PM

The oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico is a final onslaught launched from the grave of colonialism, perpetrated by a corporation that can compete with Goldman Sachs when it comes to creating misery around the world.

One of the most pivotal moments in world and United States history came in 1953 when the CIA and British intelligence forces staged a coup in Iran, overthrowing the democratically elected Mohammed Mossadegh, a national Iranian hero who was named Time‘s Man of the Year in 1952. That coup led directly to the Iranian revolution of 1979, which launched an era of Middle East anti-Americanism whose repercussions have since been felt in deadly ways.

Mossadegh earned the adoration of his people and the scorn of Britain for nationalizing the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, which controlled Iran’s oil reserves, shared little of the revenue and kept its workers in slave-like conditions. Anglo-Iranian became British Petroleum.

BP’s role in Iran’s descent into tyranny is no trivial historical coincidence. To this day, it is not difficult to find an Iranian living in America who refuses to buy gas from BP.

There was one primary purpose of the coup that overthrew Mossadegh and installed the Shah: To reclaim BP’s domination of Iranian oil.

Mossadegh’s government had attempted to negotiate a resolution, but BP’s executives flatly refused any compromise. BP’s stubbornness led to the most extreme policy move — full nationalization. Their failure to negotiate led Dean Acheson to coin what has become an oft-repeated analysis applied to varieties of bad actors: “Never had so few lost so much so stupidly and so fast.”

War — or, in this case, a coup — is political negotiation by another means. And BP’s failure in the first round of negotiations led directly to the more violent second round. How history would have unfolded had Iran’s liberal democracy been allowed to flourish can never be known. Policy makers at the time worried that the Soviet Union may have taken it over, though Stalin died shortly after the coup and the nation’s foreign policy turned away from imperialism. Indeed, its subsequent invasion of Afghanistan was launched largely in response to the Iranian revolution. In other words, a Soviet invasion of Iran was unlikely. Would a democratic Iran have been a bulwark against Middle Eastern extremism? Most likely. Would it have been an ally of Turkey and Israel? A real possibility. Would it have gone to war against Iraq? It’s doubtful. (Iraq invaded Iran in 1980, shortly after the revolution, worried about having a Shia theocracy on its border, given its own majority Shia population living in the south atop its own vast resources.)

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