Disenfranchised Citizen

Chicago, New Orleans and living a beautiful, angry life between the two…

Posts Tagged ‘EPA

A couple of quick questions about oil induced political ignorance…

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He's betting the House on the fact that you, dear reader, are a complete moron...

So, I was reading an article/book review in Time magazine about the Deepwater Horizon where the writer, a Mr. Bryan Walsh separates people into two camps…people who can’t forget about the oil spill and say the region still hasn’t recovered (Dead coral, dolphins, depleted shrimp catches, health problems, tar balls still and oil entering the food chain…etc…) and the people who just want to forget all about the oil spill, mainly people in the oil industry and Republicans who complain that offshore drilling has slowed under Obama.

And I just gotta ask, which I know puts me in that first group…forget about the oil spill? Seriously? You’d have to be pretty boiled over with distracted emotion to forget about millions of barrels of oil and millions of gallons of Corexit being dumped all over our nation’s main source of seafood, among other things…

Hmm, did I say anger?

Yeah, the GOP, they’re really, really angry…at Obama and the new Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOERME) with it’s new (kind-of) safety regulations and (kind-of) oversight.

GOP Rep. Doc Hastings is beside himself pissed, issuing subpoena’s every chance he gets…but with all that anger, being so focused and all…I gotta ask, “Hey, GOP, what about BP?”

Can you spare a bit of your angry jackassery for the dipshits at British Petroleum?

As this article points out, by way of a review of Abrahm Lustgarten’s book, Run to Failure: BP and the Making of the Deepwater Horizon:

“What had been a company with a history of safety—even dullness—was turned upside down. And while profits and market share increased, the accidents started piling up. In 2005 a major explosion occurred at BP’s Texas City refinery, killing 15 workers. Employees had complained for months of the dangerous conditions at the refinery, but nothing was done. The next year a major spill occurred in BP’s Prudhoe Bay, Alaska facilities, resulting in more fines for the companies. Even before Deepwater Horizon, BP was cited far more often by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration for safety violations than any other company. As Scott West, a former EPA official who had investigated the company in Alaska, told me after the spill, BP was a “serial environmental criminal.”

A “serial environmental criminal…”

So, Obama and BOERME play it safe, a move necessitated by the fact that British Petroleum played it anything but and thus caused the United State’s worst environmental disaster of all time and now, correct me if I’m wrong, but the oil industry and the GOP are maintaining that it is Obama who’s the asshole in all this?

Huh…

Well, in my opinion, you guys should all go and kind of eat some shit…and that goes double for you, Vitter, you self righteous-hypocritical prick. Maybe you might listen to reason at the next BOERME meeting if they bring you a pair of diapers and a bible, ass.

Read the article:

Nearly Two Years On, Did the BP Oil Spill Have to Happen to BP?

Have a nice day.

A GOP meteoroligist – on climate change…

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Paul Douglas, GOP meteorologist who believes global warming is happening and must be addressed with business solutions, alternative energy and the creation of jobs...and according to Rush, Sean, Rick, Mitt and Newt, needs to be excommunicated, stripped of his earthly possessions, flogged in a public square and then burned as the heretical witch that he must be...oh, and he's probably a socialist too...

As any who check this site with any regularity are sure to know, my politics run to the left, really far to the left…

Left like Obama?

No…fascist.

Left like Russ Feingold?

No…he’s nothing more than a covert member of the Heritage Foundation.

My politics…they run further left than professionals of this ilk, they rumble along similar tracks laid by a Noam Chomsky, an Alexander Berkman or Pierre Proudhon and that being the case, I understand that when it comes to the majority of Americans, when I shake my head thinking everyone’s gone crazy as I examine their belief systems and life choices…I understand my opinions are oft the minority.

Fair enough. I can accept that…

Especially when it comes to the realities of climate change global warming…

I understand that when I look at people who have children, even my own family members and I question such choices, feeling offspring in this day and age is really a whole lot of selfish vanity and lack of control when it comes to biologic impulse…I get that my opinion is in the minority. I know when I see someone purchasing a 3-D television, and I feel that both the cost to purchase it and the energy required to run the thing is morally repugnant, again…I get it, minority opinion.

And again, fair enough.

However…my leftist opinions don’t change the reality staring at this country and the world, at it’s children and that reality is global warming is fucking real and the time is coming soon when no one will have a choice anymore to accept or reject this reality. Flooding, temperatures, sea level rise, storm intensity, heat waves…maybe even new epidemics…all here, or on the way and pretty soon, like in a few years soon, if nothing concrete is in the works, it’ll be too late.

But again…leftist opinion…my leftist opinion.

So, what about the right?

What about God declaring us stewards of the land, about the free market, about myths, ice ages, Palinesque trumpetings and so many other lines of crap from climate deniers…and yes, I include such rightists as Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and other pseudo-democrats who attempt token changes in environmental policy that really don’t amount to shit in that mix as rightists…yeah, what about them, what about all of that?

Okay…well how about Paul Douglas?

From a GOP meterologist and businessman:

“I’m going to tell you something that my Republican friends are loath to admit out loud: climate change is real. I am a moderate Republican, fiscally conservative; a fan of small government, accountability, self-empowerment, and sound science. I am not a climate scientist. I’m a meteorologist, and the weather maps I’m staring at are making me uncomfortable. No, you’re not imagining it: we’ve clicked into a new and almost foreign weather pattern. To complicate matters, I’m in a small, frustrated and endangered minority:  a Republican deeply concerned about the environmental sacrifices some are asking us to make to keep our economy powered-up, long-term. It’s ironic. The root of the word conservative is “conserve.”  A staunch Republican, Teddy Roosevelt, set aside vast swaths of America for our National Parks System, the envy of the world. Another Republican, Richard Nixon, launched the EPA. Now some in my party believe the EPA and all those silly “global warming alarmists” are going to get in the way of drilling and mining our way to prosperity. Well, we have good reason to be alarmed.”

And he only goes on from here with further climate denier debunking…

He discusses how believing climate science doesn’t make you a liberal, how Christianity is no defense of being a flat-earther, of how 30 year old “alarmist” predictions from climate scientists are coming true, and faster than expected – one by one…of how capitalism, yes…capitalism can even help be a proponent to alternative energy sources if people would finally stop buying the bullshit from people making money hand over fist from rising gas prices and finally reinvest not only in newer, less destructive forms of energy, but in your own kids’ futures. And of course, he points out how getting responsible when it comes to the environment used to be a Republican thing by way of the National Parks System and the EPA, and it could be again through alternative energy job creation…

That’s right!

Jobs!

And finally, to my Louisiana friends, especially in New Orleans and southwards…to those who understand the environmental situation…grand. Good, what are we going to do about all of this? But to those in climate denial down there…seriously? You realize where you live, right? Rising sea levels and all that? No? Okay, how about this: do you honestly think all those assholes funding the war on science (which in all truth is a war on you) are going to be down on the disappearing Louisiana shores lamenting their houses as rising water makes living in them no longer tenable, or do you think they’ll be on the high ground, with a lot of your money, in gated communities, forgetting to apologize for all the lies they told you while they made that money and screwed your childrens’ futures?

Hmm…I’m guessing gated communities and major cash.

Paul Douglas, in his blog post…he concludes with the following:

“The climate is warming. The weather is morphing. It’s not your grandfather’s weather anymore. The trends are undeniable. If you don’t want to believe thousands of climate scientists – at least believe your own eyes: winters are warmer & shorter, summers more humid, more extreme weather events, with a 1-in-500 year flood every 2-3 years. For evidence of climate change don’t look at your back yard thermometer. That’s weather. Take another, longer look at your yard. Look at the new flowers, trees, birds, insects and pests showing up outside your kitchen window that weren’t there a generation ago.

This is a moral issue. Because the countries least responsible will bear the brunt of rising seas, spreading drought and climate refugees. Because someday your grandkids will ask what did you know…when…and what did you do to help?  We’ve been binging on carbon for 200 years, and now the inevitable hangover is setting in. Curing our addiction to carbon won’t happen overnight. But creative capitalism can deal with climate change. I’m no fan of big government or over-regulation. Set the bar high. Then stand back and let the markets work. Let Americans do what they do best: innovate.

We can figure this out. Frankly, we won’t have a choice. But I’m a naïve optimist. We can reinvent America, leaving us more competitive in the 21st century, launching thousands of new, carbon-free energy companies – supplementing, and someday surpassing anything we can expeditiously suck out of the ground and burn, accelerating an already-warming planet.  We don’t have to bury our heads in Saudi sand – we’ll never “frack” our way to a sustainable future. It’s time for a New Energy Paradigm. There’s no silver bullet. But there’s plenty of (green) buckshot, if we aim high and point America in the right direction. We need real leadership, and a viable, bipartisan blueprint for inevitable energy independence from President Obama and Congress. Yes, healthcare is important. So is the long-term health of our air, land and water.  

There are steps all of us can take today.  I own one hybrid, another on order. I bought a home a mile away from my office, to reduce my carbon footprint (and preserve some sense of sanity). But there’s much more I can do. Let’s challenge ourselves to reinvent our own energy ecosystems.”

Read the entire post…

It’s a new atmosphere floating overhead…

Have a nice day.

I figured out Obama’s re-election strategy, finally…

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The walk of lame...

And it’s genius.

He did so well the first time running against G.W. Bush and his harsh, conservative record, he has decided to do it again, by simply running against his own first term.

This will of course only require he maintain his current course, because it would appear being “the only adult in the room” is akin to simply caving in and making decisions like, oh…I don’t know, like Obama withdraws smog regulation, overruling EPA, “I want to be clear,” Obama said in a statement sent by the White House, “My commitment and the commitment of my administration to protecting public health and the environment (and the social safety net, labor, the middle class, Reagan’s legacy) is unwavering. I will continue to stand with the hardworking men and women at the EPA as they strive every day to hold polluters accountable and protect our families from harmful pollution.”

And man, how GW Bush is that quote?

Holding polluters accountable, and protecting families by withdrawing regulations on smog?

Orwellian genius, I say…genius.

You see, his campaign strategy only requires he continue his move even further to the right of GW Bush, then he will have only to run a campaign of reason against his own lack of for the past four years (a guaranteed victory), and with the political memories in this country he can get away with it too. It shouldn’t be too hard for collective amnesia to buy into statements such as:

“My fellow Americans…Hope! We need change! Our country just cannot afford four more years of the current administration. It would simply be too disastrous to human rights, the environment, labor unions, privacy, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. We need a leader, one who will not cave in at every opportunity to the Republican party, but one who will define, and stand up for a core set of Democratic values, no matter the fight. We need a leader who will stand up for those not represented in Washington today, and not speak of conciliatory gestures and doing the right thing the next time around. We need leadership for the present moment, the today, the right now, and that’s why I know you’ll vote for me, Barack Obama, because we simply cannot afford another four more years of that other guy’s Republican rule.”

And on a side note:

Quick story: I remember talking to a supervisor when I worked at a homeless shelter in San Francisco, and we were talking about the differences between the people of San Francisco and the people of Chicago. We both came to the conclusion that Chicago people were preferable because if they didn’t like you, your beliefs, or had a problem with something you’d done, they’d tell you, to your face, whereas the people in San Francisco would generally speak out both sides of their mouth and you’d have to guess who was being genuine and who had it in for you.

Point being, I know that Obama has a house in Chicago and all…but seriously, he really is not from Chicago.

I think I’d put him right where he is currently residing, DC, cause Jesus is he one duplicitous, conniving fraud, no better than a Cantor, a Boehner or any of the other parasites looting what remains of this country for personal connection, wealth or some bullshit legacy nobody cares about but their own shriveled, limp ego.

Have a nice day.

Written by Drake Toulouse

September 3, 2011 at 7:43 AM

GOP…if not the economy, the environment…

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Nice place for a family picnic...GOP style

Seriously?

“The House of Representatives, led by anti-environmental Republicans, are sharpening their knives to gut key health and wildlife protections that could benefit millions of Americans,” Marty Hayden, Vice President of Policy and Legislation at Earthjustice, said in a statement. “These are no small cuts; this is a complete butchering of environmental safeguards. Riders attached to the EPA spending bill decimate protections for air, water, lands and wildlife,” he continued. “Even before this bill reached the House floor for a full debate, Appropriations committee members attached 38 riders that shred our safety net for protecting against pollution in our air and water, saving imperiled wildlife, and protecting iconic places like the Grand Canyon from uranium mining.”

In its current form, the legislation would prevent the EPA from regulating a number of pollutants by gutting the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. The bill would restrict EPA’s authority to regulate coal ash disposal, exempt the timber industry from pollutant discharge permit requirements, allows pesticide applicators to spray chemicals directly into waterways, cut off funding for EPA to implement limits on mercury and other air toxics from power plants, and restricts the scope of “Waters of the U.S.” protected by the Clean Water Act. The bill would also blocks EPA oversight of mountaintop removal mining.

Okay, so now reducing spending not only means defaulting the government, but destroying the environment and threatening the health of millions of Americans.

Creating certainty in the marketplace not only means holding the economy hostage, but ensuring each and every American gets an increase in pollutants.

Creating jobs not only means large tax breaks for the wealthy, but destroying governmental regulation so the wealthy can destroy your water supply.

The House of Representatives:

Cut – governmental regulations that help keep your air and water safe.

Cap – the average life expectancy of Americans by way of toxicity…old people are expensive.

Balance – the interests of corporate donors versus the interests of the financial industry…you know, so everybody wins.

Hmm, and with all this budget cutting and slashing stuff going on, wonder what that means for New Orleans levees and Louisiana coastal restoration?

Read the article:

House spending bill slashes environmental protections

Have a nice day.

Here come the lawyers…a day in Judge Barbier’s court…

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Making things right...one attorney at a time...

Okay, so first we acknowledge the obvious:

Lawyers being lawyers, and British Petroleum having long since given up that whole “making things right,” and “actions, not words” schtick – at least in reality – of course BP is going to try to use every legal maneuver to pay as little as possible to anyone. Their company’s in trouble now that the Rosneft deal looks blown so yeah, that whole Gulf Coast thing…it’s one big financial/legal liability and since the media interest flags, it’s time for corporate law to rear the ugliest of heads to take the biggest bite they can…

So stated, let’s move on to the latest from British Petroleum’s attorneys in Judge Carl Barbier’s court, shall we?

Turns out (surprise) British Petroleum is of the legal opinion that the claims for economic and punitive damages as a result of their little ‘ol spill, including those who lost jobs/wages as a result of the drilling moratorium, including those first responders who got sick during the cleanup, including basically…everybody, should be summarily dismissed by Judge Barbier.

Oh…but why?

Because these people must go through Feinberg’s GCCF claims process, first.

Oh…but why?

That pesky Oil Pollution Act of 1990, that’s why. Andrew Langer, BP’s head legal talking head argues that OPA states claimants must first attempt to redress their grievances with the responsible party – BP, and if they are then denied by the responsible party, only then can they file a claim in court. Langer also claims the Oil Pollution Act supersedes maritime law, and since OPA doesn’t allow for the punitive damages allowed under maritime law, these claims must be dismissed as well.

Dismissed, just like that…upwards of 130,000 legal claims.

Judge Barbier gave no timeline on when he would rule on the matter, but perhaps Feinberg now should really want to hold off on closing all those GCCF claims offices, you know, just in case.

BP’s desire isn’t surprising, it makes sense they would want these people to go through the GCCF. Much as the oil company would like to control a United States court of law, they don’t, but the GCCF and Feinberg are a different matter. There they hold much more sway. Hell, their guy wrote the rules, the same man Judge Barbier already ruled can’t claim himself as independent of BP. Good ‘ol Ken, the lawyer whose law firm is paid $1.25 million dollars a month by BP. Way back when, the GCCF and Feinberg’s stated mission was to keep people out of court, but this didn’t entirely happen, especially when his “generous” payments turned out to not be so generous after all. So now British Petroleum argues Judge Barbier should rule in their favor and complete Feinberg’s mission for them, kick the claimants into BP’s court, where they can be delayed, stalled, and hopefully, so frustrated that some throw up their hands and take Feinberg’s “generous” claims instead of heading back into court to be delayed, stalled and frustrated anew by BP’s lawyers.

From a legal standpoint, it makes sense. What does British Petroleum really have to lose? Self respect? The goodwill of the Gulf Coast? Well, self-respect and goodwill ain’t worth a dime and this whole mess has appeared to be about the money for this company since day one. 

The plaintiffs’ attorneys, of course, disagree with BP, arguing OPA was created after the 1989 Exxon-Valdez spill because legal remedies available at the time were insufficient. They further argue the companies involved in the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon shouldn’t be able to now use OPA as a legal shield to escape punitive damages and throw these legal claims into the GCCF mess. Besides, the oil pollution act of 1990 doesn’t expressly declare an intent to displace maritime law, whereas other statutes that prevent punitive damages do specifically prohibit them.

Judge Barbier, who questioned both sides’ arguments, asked how it is he is supposed to go through the 130,000 cases to determine which should be thrown out and which should be allowed to proceed. Nobody seemed to have an answer on this, beyond saying such a process will be exceedingly time-consuming.

Even more so pehaps, then the GCCF’s claim process.

But British Petroleum wasn’t the only company to get in on this four-hour hearing, and all involved had an argument on why these pesky economic claims should be dismissed. Represented in court were Anadarko, Halliburton, Cameron International and Transocean. Transocean argued that since BP is the responsible party, economic claims should only be made against BP under OPA, and then it would be BP’s right to go after the other companies to pay their share. You see, the people have filed suit against the wrong companies in the wrong order.

In other words, much like Feinberg’s screaming about unsatisfactory documentation, all of the big companies on the hook here are claiming the businesses and the people of the Gulf Coast are doing it wrong, not adhering to the correct process, not filing suit against the right company, not going through the GCCF process first, where they would inevitably be unable to document their claims in the correct way.

Or in other, other words…the claimants, the victims in this colossal fuck-all, the right thing for them to do would be to do as they are told, hurry up and wait, and go back to a GCCF process many consider long since broken.

All unless Judge Barbier, much like finally declaring Feinberg not independent, sides again on behalf of the people so harmed by this disaster, a catastraphuk not of their own creation.

Oh, but that’s not all, there’s more…

On the drilling moratorium: BP also asked for a dismissal of the claims by people who lost jobs/wages as a result of the drilling moratorium, saying it was the government who declared the moratorium, not BP, so why are they at fault? According to the plaintiffs’ attorneys, the moratorium was something the government would reasonable feel was necessary when they realized, hey, those oil rigs aren’t as safe as we ignored/were led to believe and you know what? We don’t have the resources to fight off these kind of spills so we better do a safety check. The plantiffs’ attorneys are also guessing the moratorium wouldn’t have happened had the Deepwater Horizon not exploded and since, under OPA, BP is the responsible party…well…they should be liable because one plus one usually equals two.

Unless you’re watching the latest “making it right,” advertisement by British Petroleum.

Attorneys for Nalco were also in court, the makers of Corexit dispersant and they argued they should have immunity from damage claims by people who got sick inhaling their toxins because the Federal government was in charge of the response, and it was the federal government who chose to use Corexit, “This was a spill of national significance, which put all of the decision-making in the hands of the federal government,” said their attorney.

One might wonder if this attorney is referring to the same government whose EPA expressly ordered British Petroleum to stop using Corexit dispersant, only to have BP refuse…somehow equating BP’s ability to do as they wished throughout the spill response with the ability of the government to be in charge of all the decision-making. 

There’s also the matter of all the private contractors who claim they deserve immunity too because they were doing cleanup under the same fully authoritative decision-making of the same federal government who had everyone listening intently on that whole Corexit deal. The plaintiffs’ attorneys in this case rightfully argued said contractors weren’t working for the government, they were hired by and working for BP and thus, why should they have immunity?

The entire hearing lasted a total of four hours and there’s more, but damn, my fingers are getting tired so perhaps I should just try wrapping this up:

British Petroleum, Transocean, Anadarko, Cameron International, Nalco…dismiss everything so we can better direct our funds to making things right for the Gulf Coast…

Residents and businesses of the Gulf Coast…get out of their way, you’re doing it wrong so go talk to Feinberg and he’ll tell you in no uncertain terms just how wrong you all are, while he painstakingly helps you to move on, being the loyal neutral arbitrator that he is…

The lawyers? Well, they’re busy being lawyers…

But most importantly, Judge Barbier, it’s up to you now and I for one, hope your ruling continues the process of finally making things right for all the people along the Gulf Coast that British Petroleum has made so wrong.

Read the article:

Defendants in oil spill litigation seek to have groups of claims dismissed

Have a nice day.

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