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?
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.
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?
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…
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 realleadership, 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.”
A new study from the University of California-Davis shows a combination of sunlight and oil exposure can cause the “physical disintegration” of fish embryos. The process, called phototoxicity, was documented in the aftermath of the 2007 Cusco Busan spill which occurred when a tanker hit the Bay Bridge connecting San Francisco to Oakland.
“This phenomenon had been observed in the laboratory, but had never been observed in the field, and there were even some skeptics out there wondering if this was just a phenomenon that people would see under lab conditions,” said Gary Cherr, director of the Bodega Marine lab. “One of the real take-home messages from our study was: yes, in fact, it definitely happens in the real world.”
As Stuart Smith points out, the study echoes countless observations from fishermen around the Gulf about depleted catches.
And obviously, if this did/is occurring in the Gulf, it will take that much longer for fisheries and the seafood industry to rebound.
So, all that being said…here’s what really pisses me off about this.
In a perfect world, we would see a simple reaction to the news of such a study:
British Petroleum, alarmed for the welfare of the fishing industry in the Gulf Coast would hire scientists, free and clear from any restrictions of reporting and publication who would then work with government scientists operating free and clear of any political agendas to figure out if what’s described in this study is indeed occurring in the Gulf, and if so, immediately work together with input from the fishing industry to address this problem. In this refreshing climate, one that operates beyond political and litigious constraints and influence, the information would flow freely. The primary objective would be the protection and benefit of the environment, the people and seafood industries along the Gulf Coast, the same Gulf Coast which never asked for this fucking oil spill.
And because of this established, open climate, when the studies were released, they would be trusted.
Alas, this environment has never existed in the Gulf.
From day one, BP has operated on damage control while the government operated in the shadow of Bush’s disastrous response to Katrina, and the EPA, NOAA and FDA? Their functions have been utterly compromised by a decade of corporate and political influence and funding cuts.
The only truth to be had in the Gulf depends on which opinion you wish to adopt.
And none of this helps anybody but those who already have the resources, connections and influence to not need anymore help…and now this whole subjective line of shenanigans and bullshit is playing out in the MDL too…with double dipping attorneys, conflicts of interest and corporate bullying while the campaign contributions fly…
Running this show in the Gulf are the same people who’s agendas caused the problems in the Gulf: British Petroleum and their continuing poor safety record, the government and their continuing poor monitoring of oil platforms, insufficient testing of seafood, and willingness to let entire ecosystems disappear in the name of profit and/or deregulation.
Getting screwed in the Gulf: that would continue to be claimants involved with the GCCF, fishermen with little to catch being told by television commercials how well they’re doing, and frankly, the rest of the people in the Gulf Coast left to wonder if they’re going to get sick from contaminants, from seafood, and from Corexit…all because they are at the mercy of agendas they and their families don’t factor into.
And now, that legal system designed to be the fail safe, the protector, the last stop…it too shows signs of being influenced by the same bullshit agendas that have been played out across four states for over twenty months.
Swear to God, It’s almost enough to make one think that those fish embryos had it easy…
I know I certainly don’t envy anyone who makes their living by what they catch from Gulf waters, be they shrimpers or fishers or whoever, because things don’t seem to be getting much better. The catch, especially the shrimp catch is way off, with some shrimpers estimating their catch to be off by 80%. In one article I read, a company used to taking in ten thousand pounds of shrimp per day has taken in about 41,000 pounds all season.
And it isn’t just the shrimp.
Many have read reports of the killifish, and the cellular damage done to its reproductive functions and gills as a result of hydrocarbon poisoning. Many also are aware this small minnow like fish is near the bottom of the food chain and is considered a good indicator of the Gulf’s general health.
Even Ken Feinberg seemed to backtrack the other day on his estimation of a recovered Gulf by 2013 when he said of the shrimp catch, “We are monitoring this, and we are sensitive to these concerns. We reserve the right to change the formula if anecdotal and empirical evidence justifies it.” And that’s about as close to an admission of error as one’s likely to get from Ken, not that he’ll actually change anything but I suppose admitting to a problem is the first step.
Oh and let’s see, what else? Ah yes, though the FDA has maintained the Gulf seafood is safe to eat, a new study has challenged this assumption, reporting the FDA’s qualifications on what constitutes safe are incredibly flawed.
So…bad catches, sick fish, FDA screw-ups…yep, it’s got to be hard to be a shrimper, a fisher, anyone working the Gulf waters these days…and besides the fact the oil’s still out there, you know what else isn’t helping, what’s making this whole Gulf Coast mess even worse?
Eighteen months later, the information is still inconsistent. We’ve been treated to eighteen months of profit margins, legal maneuverings and a whole range of answers and/or denials to every goddamned question…
Everyone has been forced to endure eighteen months of agendas.
The EPA, the FDA and the NOAA all appear to have an agenda designed to make it seem the Gulf is perfectly fine. British Petroleum’s agenda is all about savings and profit margin, all the time, and their stance too is that everything is okay in the Gulf. The Obama Administration has their own agendas, their own problems. For starters, they’re not seen as trustworthy, having initially ceded far too much control to British Petroleum in the capping of the well and the clean-up, and now, today, they are widely perceived as having forgotten the Gulf Coast even exists at all…
And all these agendas, they all bring us back to the seafood industry.
What exactly is a fisher supposed to make of all this? That person who is just trying to get their life back to normal, who wants to get back to work, but also doesn’t want to make anybody sick; what the fuck are they supposed to do? Who are they supposed to believe? Who are they supposed to trust? BP? The government? The FDA and NOAA? All these entities telling them everything is fine, or the increasingly negative academic studies, not to mention the fishers own years of experience in the Gulf waters, showing them that something appears to be wrong out there…
So hard to know for sure, and such an unenviable place to be.
And you know what really pisses me off?
It didn’t have to be this way, not at all.
If British Petroleum had stuck to their promises to make people whole. If Feinberg had stuck to his promises to take care of the people in the Gulf British Petroleum hadn’t gotten to, perhaps then the financial pressures could have been eased off on everybody. If the Obama Administration had done more than toss out a fucking speech and Barack had come down to Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida and done more than look concerned, pick up a tarball or eaten a damned shrimp…if Obama had worked, as a leader and kept the Gulf, and everything the Gulf means to this country in the foreground of American consciousness…maybe then these problems would seem more manageable today, to everybody.
If the only agenda in the Gulf had been to make sure people were taken care of and those responsible for this mess were held accountable…yes, if that had been the only agenda, then today in the Gulf we might at least have trust.
Instead, all we got are versions of what’s real: BP’s version, Obama’s version, the FDA’s version, the NRDC’s version, LSU’s, the shrimper’s, Halliburton’s and the GCCF’s version…just to name a few.
And that ain’t helping anybody.
Certainly not the public, and certainly not the people who continue to suffer as a result of BP’s catastraphuk.
So what now?
Wish I knew…all I hope for at this point is that Feinberg, for once, can be taken at his word, and he actually will take a long, hard look at the recovery estimates he based his methodology upon…because if you work harder to catch only 20% of the shrimp you normally get, the payment methodology needs to be changed.
Oh, and to the BP spokesman who said the 80% drop-off in the shrimp catch is within the normal range of good and bad seasons, you are just one more bullshit microphone with another ethically conflicted agenda, and you should be tossed into the next oil sheen spotted on the Gulf’s surface above the Macondo wellhead.
So, to sum up…a corporation screwed up and did billions in financial damage to an entire region of the country, not to mention the emotional toll on people and the physical toll on the environment. The people have recourse to the law, but that is a process that could take decades. The government issues false platitudes and seems to disappear just when they are needed most, almost as if they are backing the corporations that did the damage rather than the people who got screwed.
And nobody goes to jail.
Hey, now that I think about it, sure sounds familiar, kinda like what those people in New York are so pissed off about.
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.
“David is not optimistic. He sees too many signs that things are not right with the shrimp catches so far. But what worries David even more is what he’s seeing—or not seeing—in the waters 20 miles offshore. He’s not seeing many small bait fish that snapper and mackerel–all predator fish–depend on. David says many fish bellies he sees are often empty, signaling they may be starving, and that some contain an unusual black substance he believes is linked to oil. Other fish David catches have lesions or strange markings that other scientists are finding too. He’s been unable to get authorities to pay attention to it. And some simply don’t want to, he says.”
And the quotes that make me angry:
“We’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t,” David says in a soft southern drawl that punctuates his decades of fishing in the Gulf. “Some people say we shouldn’t say anything about things that aren’t right so we can protect our markets. Others say we should complain so we make BP accountable. But from what I’ve seen around here, BP hasn’t been accountable for much of anything.”
“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.
Interior Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Mike Simpson (R-ID) said the committee drafted the bill to “reduce spending, create more certainty in the marketplace, and promote an economic environment conducive to job growth.”
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?
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.
Because these people must go through Feinberg’s GCCF claims process, first.
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.
Hey, I thought this whole oil spill deal was all kinda, you know…over.
At least that’s the impression I got watching all them there sparkly British Petroleum commercials, but man, over the past two days, the news has been flying pretty serious again in the Gulf, and between you, me, the courts and the water…I think this has just begun…Maybe I just got distracted by the hockey playoffs…
What? What do you want? I never said I wasn’t from the north…
Archbishop Gregory Aymond got on bended knees and put his arms around two women, listened to the damage BP and the GCCF have wrought and did his best to console them. The women had come to Catholic Charities in Violet for counseling and help with their spill damage claims.
Turns out one of the women, Lois Neville of Violet is yet another one of those people who Ken Feinberg, BP paid administrator of the GCCF and $20 billion escrow fund is saying…well, golly gosh gee, must have slipped through the cracks…hey, mistakes get made, do you know how many claims we’ve received, we’re working as fast as we can…etc…ad nauseum.
Funny thing though, BP was helping her financially, but all payments stopped when Feinberg took over…and she filed for her final settlement, and well past the 90 day time limit Feinberg gave himself to present final offers, she is still waiting…
In her words from David Hammer’s article in the Times-Picayune:
“I’m barely making ends meet with my savings and rental income, and I’m depressed, I’m stressed out,” Neville said. “I get very angry. I hate to even watch the news because there are other people in a worse predicament than me.”
Depressed and stressed out…like thousands of others, yet BP has closed the coffers on funding for mental health in the Gulf Coast…maybe when they said, making things right…they meant everything but the mind.
And hey, why might Ms. Neville still be waiting for her final claim?
It’s been a year since the oil spilled.
Well, on the GCCF front…Feinberg will tell any reporter who listens how he has paid out $3.9 billion dollars of that escrow fund…and apparently, he is quite proud of this fact…lord knows why…after all that means…he hasn’t paid out $16 billion dollars…and of that 3.9, it’s mostly quick payments…very few final offers, and even fewer interim payments…so what gives? Oh…right, right: mistakes get made, do you know how many claims we’ve received and we’re working as fast as we can…got it. Um, bullshit? Not to mention, how convenient was it for Feinberg, the day before the anniversary, the day before the press was to descend all over the Gulf Coast, to suddenly issue the largest final offer to date to Omega Protein Corp, $44.8 million dollars total. I’m sure the timing of this was coincidental, of course…Feinberg couldn’t possibly be such a cynical asshole to present this offer as some sort of distraction to the press, you know, so the coverage might be a bit more balanced as the press goes out to find the countless Lois Neville’s across the Gulf Coast, the ones seeking counseling because they are struggling not to lose everything, again, a year later…
And speaking of unhappy people in the Gulf…well, let the lawsuits begin, and rightfully so…
70,000 people have filed suit in the Gulf in a maritime law proceeding brought by rig owner Transocean, using a form that also expanded the suit to include British Petroleum. This would be on top of the 350 other suits, representing multiple parties already filed. No word on how many of these people are of the 400,000 that Feinberg and the GCCF have not paid yet, or plan not to pay, but Stephen Herman, co-lead attorney for the plaintiffs said, “I think it certainly validates the litigation effort. I also think that it confirms the sentiment out there that Feinberg and the GCCF haven’t really done a great job of giving people what they thought they were entitled to.”
Not to be outdone, British Petroleum filed a suit of their own, going after Cameron International, the company that made the blowout preventer that wouldn’t close. BP would like a court to rule against the company, declaring the device caused or contributed to the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon. Such a ruling would help BP fight against a designation of being “grossly negligent” which if so designated would dramatically raise the amount of fines British Petroleum will have to pay under the Oil Pollution Act.
Perhaps Feinberg knows a judge, to help out his boss, maybe call in some favors perhaps? It’s been a while since he got a raise, and remember the reason the GCCF keeps screwing people? Right, it’s because they’re overworked…not because the GCCF is trying to coerce people into claims attached to a clause where they sign away their rights to sue BP, and not because Feinberg is trying to save BP money, and certainly not because Feinberg is just trying to keep people out of court…cause, that worked out real well…(see above).
Okay…well, at least…all the oil is gone. And that’s important because according to Feinberg’s methodology, all that oil has to be outta there by 2013. If not, if the Gulf isn’t back to normal by then, the entire pay-scale he is using to determine damages for claimants will be off, and not in the claimants favor…so, hey…at least BP and the Coast Guard, they got that one right…oh, what?
“Mike Robichaux is a local doctor who has seen up to 60 patients in recent weeks with a mysterious sickness that some attribute to BP’s oil spill. Dr. Robichaux has been making house calls because many of the “stoic” workers don’t want others to know that they are sick. Yet, Dr. Robichaux tells the AFP, “Ninety percent of them are getting worse… Nobody has a clue as to what it is.”
Reuters reports that the U.S. National Institutes of Health has launched a ten-year study on the health of 55,000 oil spill clean-up workers and volunteers. Perhaps it will take ten years to get an answer for Dr. Robichaux.
Not everyone blames the oil spill for the health problems plaguing Gulf cleanup workers. Namely, BP does not blame the BP oil spill for the health problems plaguing Gulf cleanup workers. In a BP comment to the AFP, the company wrote, “Illness and injury reports were tracked and documented during the response, and the medical data indicate they did not differ appreciably from what would be expected among a workforce of this size under normal circumstances.”
As for compensating sick workers, this would fall under state law and “must be supported by acceptable medical evidence.” Are the 415 Louisianans suffering from respiratory tract infections, nausea, and headaches evidence enough?”
Oh, and as mentioned before…it ain’t just the physical body having problems…a study funded by the National Science Foundation has found that mental health difficulties are likely to linger on the Gulf Coast for the following decade. According to the study, two factors that could cause stresses to persist are delays in compensation for spill damages by the claims process, and possible slow recovery of fishing resources and the fishing industry.
Feinberg, Dudley…your ears burning?
Okay…my bad on all this everybody…I promise to stop watching so much hockey. It really would appear this thing is far from over…that few are doing well in the Gulf at all
In fact…it would appear the only people really doing well these days are British Petroleum…once again paying stock dividends and issuing bonuses to the elite within its company, and Ken Feinberg,who’s sitting on a helluva nice raise from his British Petroleum puppet masters. Yeah, Ken may be taking a lot of criticism these days, but from everything I read, it doesn’t appear to be affecting his psyche at all, in fact he refers to himself as “Bloodied, but unbowed.” And that’s a good thing too, because whereas some of you lightweights out there might want your guy in charge of helping hundreds of thousands of people recover from this catastraphuk to brag about such things as fairness, compassion, generosity and empathy….I like my arbitrator of a compensation fund to talk like he’s trying out for the WWE, you know, to be a bad-ass who don’t take no crap from some fishing type guys and business people who’ve never been to New York.
Nope…not going well at all:
Cleanup workers are getting sick, depression is running rampant and suicides are up across the Gulf Coast. There’s still oil out there while BP continues to scale back cleanup. BP is reneging on financial promises to help with the oyster beds while helping their stockbrokers and executives to more money. The health of the Gulf continues to be debated. Dolphins are dying. Fish have sores. There are dead zones on the Gulf seafloor. Allegations exist that BP is trying to taint the science by influencing the research. A year after the Deepwater Horizon blew up, no laws have been passed by Congress to help ensure it doesn’t happen again while experts maintain it very well could happen again. The NOAA, EPA and FDA all claim the seafood from the Gulf is safe to eat, and they finally opened the last fishing area but the country isn’t buying it: what the government says, or the seafood – which leaves the industry far from recovered. Too many people are waiting for Feinberg to do his fucking job…homes are being lost, jobs haven’t come back and businesses continue to go bankrupt.
And the President?
Well, he said some words and stuff, but ah…who cares, or believes that guy anymore…
Bob Dudley, presiding over the British Petroleum shareholders meeting, read aloud the names of the eleven men who died on the Deepwater Horizon, and then spoke of , “working hard to earn back trust…through our actions, not just our words…”
– Oh, and he proceeded to mock an activist shareholder, Antonia Juhasz, who read a letter written by the father of one of the men killed, saying in response, “Many of your statements sound like they were prepared by a plaintiff’s attorney.”
Bob Dudley, presiding over the British Petroleum shareholders meeting outlined several of the changes British Petroleum has made to revamp its management structure and build safety into its everyday operations, thus hopefully making drilling safer.
– Oh, and shareholders proceeded to re-elect as director Sir William Castell, who as chairman of the company’s safety, ethics and environment assurance committee presided over the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon.
– And…Mr. Castell was also the individual at the meeting who tried to cut off Antonia Juhasz when she read, “This was no act of God — BP, Halliburton and Transocean could have prevented this…but it would have taken more time, more money, and you were too greedy to wait. You rolled the dice with my son’s life, and you lost.”
– And…shareholders then proceeded to award bonuses to various executives, including making Tony Hayward eligible for vested performance shares for 2010, worth up to 8 million pounds.
BP Chairman, Carl-Henric Svanberg, also presiding over the British Petroleum shareholders meeting, said a lot as he tried to reassure restless stockholders, “”Everything we have done since Deepwater Horizon has had one aim; to win back the trust of shareholders and communities the world over…” and, “BP remains a great company, with a great history and, I believe, a great future…” and, “I can assure you I will do everything I can to bring a prosperous future for this company.”
– Oh, and shareholders proceeded to authorize BP to continue making political donations…
– Because…donating to political figures is something BP will surely need to do, for though Mr. Svanberg is confident in the future of his great company, the future is not so assured for the “community,” for the Gulf Coast residents who have been so harmed by the actions of his company, and there still remain a few politicians who will need donations to forget this fact.
– And…even though Bob Dudley can say that 99% of fishing waters in the Gulf have reopened and the EPA nd FDA’s testing of seafood from said opened waters is safe to eat, the general public is still not so convinced, thus, nobody is buying the seafood.
– And…even though Bob Dudley can say he is determined to earn back the trust of communities, it is his company which unleashed a Ken Feinberg on the Gulf Coast who while doing his best to ensure BP remains solvent, is doing far less to guarantee the same for the Gulf Coast residents.
– And finally…though Bob Dudley can respectfully recite the names of eleven men to his company’s shareholders, many will debate just how much of it was media/political theater, and how much of it, considering the other activities that occurred at this meeting, was sincere feeling for both the grieving families, and for a region still trying to recover, a region that still hopes, one day soon, their reality might again sync up with the glowing reports from British Petroleum’s own public relations campaign.