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.
Recently, Judge Carl Barbier determined some historical items needed to be excluded from his courtroom to speed things up in the BP case, things like previous accidents, fines and commissioned reports, and man, that got me to thinking: when it comes to my job, what is it that slows me down, drags things out…
What is it that simply takes too long?
Easy…as an Adult Crisis Counselor, that would be suicide assessments…
Oh yeah, way too long and I should know, they’re a big part of what I do. I take calls from emergency room doctors and nurses, from local cops and local lock-ups, all requesting I come to the hospital, the home, the jail, the wherever to talk to whomever to determine just how much at risk of suicide they just might be.
And this process, it can really take a long time.
Too long for me, as after many, many years of doing this work, I’ve become increasingly concerned about efficiency. When I show up, I only want that moment’s immediate facts. Police involvement? Suicidal statements? A plan? An attempt? Did the person take pills, cut their wrists, or maybe they just threatened to do something drastic…Then and there, what did they do, what got me here today, tonight?
Least important is their history.
You see, getting their history just takes way too long. I don’t want to know if they tried suicide before. I don’t want to know if they see or have seen a psychiatrist, if they are taking medications, if they’ve been depressed, lost their job, their wife, their house, their dog, their parents, their health…whatever. You get the idea. Knowing the person’s history forces me to take into account their answers to countless questions, the asking if which eats up a lot of time.
Context and information? Completely overrated.
Just ask Judge Barbier…
He knows what I’m talking about.
Yeah, the Justice Department and the steering committee lawyers, they wanted to introduce information about British Petroleum’s horrible safety record, about the fifteen people who died at Texas City when the refinery exploded…or the previous fines the company received for clean water act violations in Alaska at Prudhoe Bay, you know, when they had the other oil spill…or all that shit that went down in Scotland. Death, injury, environmental impact and degradation…with BP, there are tons of this stuff ,but man, that kind of history, that kind of context…it just takes too long, too much time, a trial within a trial…and besides, how important to the Justice department’s allegations that BP was an unsafe company would demonstrating BP’s previous history of unsafe practices be?
I know, I’m shrugging my shoulders…
But it’s probably of the same magnitude as knowing whether the guy I saw in the emergency room last night had a history of suicide attempts. This guy, his wife called the cops and said he took an overdose of pills and the guy said his wife was lying. She also said he threatened suicide. He said he didn’t. She said he needed help. He said he just wanted to go home. She said he bragged about how he could fool everyone into thinking he was just fine and how when he got home he’d try it again. He said that was a lie.
Now, maybe it might have helped…a little…to know if this guy had attempted suicide before, had previous hospitalizations, emergency detentions, or to know whether he was depressed and why, or maybe to know if their was a previously completed psychological evaluation I might take a look at…
But, you know…Barbier decided he didn’t want to see the report from the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling and all the conclusions contained therein regarding fault, and similarly, I don’t need to see what some psychiatrist thought of my client’s mental health, or his history, or what such things might have to do with why he was sitting in that emergency room.
It’s all really just so many scattered details…details which would require me to ask way too many questions…questions that would take up way too much of my time.
Skip it. What could possibly go wrong?
I know it’s my job and all but I’ve kinda been on a John Woo film kick of late, and I don’t mean the mediocre John Woo flicks he did for American film companies. I mean the Chinese flicks…damned good, and besides, I just got back from New York last night and I’m kind of tired so context and history and patterns of behavior…overrated.
Maybe I’ll invite Barbier over to the office. We can watch Red Cliff, part one and two…it may be over four hours long, but with our streamlined approach to our work, we got time.
In Alaska, whereas they have not suffered a spill as extreme as the one the company unleashed on the Gulf Coast, they have become quite familiar with this oil company’s pattern of negligence, their complete focus on profits and the willingness to let lawyers attempt to clean up the messes left behind by their poor safety conduct. Now, federal prosecutors are asking a judge to revoke BP’s probation from a conviction in 2007, stating the company is a recidivist offender and repeatedly, negligently discharges oil into the environment.
The hearing will be on November 29th in Anchorage…where surely they will examine:
Prosecutors said in their brief that BP’s history of environmental crimes in Alaska began in February 2001 when it pleaded guilty to releasing hazardous materials at its Endicott facility on the North Slope. The company was fined $500,000, placed on probation for five years and ordered to create a nationwide environmental management program, prosecutors said.
The March 2006 spill of 200,000 gallons of crude (in Prudhoe Bay) was caused by corrosion, and BP’s leak detection system failed to notice it, prosecutors said. The company’s guilty plea to a misdemeanor violation of the Clean Water Act in 2007 resulted in three years of probation, a $12 million fine, and restitution and community service payments totaling $8 million to the state of Alaska and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, BP attorneys said.
Prosecutors contend BP violated the conditions of its probation by allowing the 2009 spill from an 18-inch pipe moving oil, water and gas from drill pads to BP’s Lisburne Processing Center. That spill, prosecutors said, leaked 13,500 gallons of oil onto tundra and wetlands. “This rupture was the result of a predictable and preventable freezing of produced water within the pipeline that caused the pipe to over-pressurize and burst,” prosecutors said. It was eerily similar to the 2006 spill, prosecutors alleged, because BP ignored alarms that warned of the pipe’s eventual rupture and leak. The 2009 spill also followed a similar pipe freezing and rupture in 2001, they said, and BP failed to put in place preventative measures that their own experts recommended.
Prosecutors said the spill site directly abuts Prudhoe Bay and the damaged wetlands are covered by the Clean Water Act. They also contend the spill criminally violated state pollution laws because of BP negligence.
It should be noted for those in Louisiana and the Gulf Coast, it is expressly this type of pattern that BP recently requested be rendered inadmissible in the trial for the events concerning the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon, asking Judge Barbier to exclude not only these convictions, but the convictions surrounding the explosion of their oil refinery in Texas City which killed several workers…because such facts are, you know, prejudicial and shows British Petroleum’s irresponsible and unsafe actions to be well, irresponsible and unsafe.
Barbier has yet to give his decision on the matter, but along with hoping BP’s probation is revoked, here’s hoping Judge Barbier recognizes it’s time for this company, finally, to really pay for their horrendous actions, for their record to be laid bare in the court and for them to pay not only through the nose, but every other available orifice, two times.
But you know, I fear even that won’t be enough.
Eleven men died on the Deepwater Horizon. Fifteen died and over 170 were injured in the explosion of BP’s refinery at Texas City.
Some court of law, somewhere, some time needs to send some of these bastards to prison: two explosions – twenty-six people dead.
Jail does need to happen. It’s the only way BP’s behaviors will change, simply because if these pricks can afford to throw out $20 billion, (how much of which are U.S. government subsidies?) to pay damages for the consequences of their behavior, how else will they understand the criminality of their actions until the people of the Gulf Coast and Alaska can finally line-up on visiting day and take their turns spitting in the face of those convicted for the actions leading to the death of their loved ones and the destruction of their environment and livelihoods?
Because right now, the only thing BP’s getting for their behavior is more money.
So for the jail thing, I pick Bob and Tony.
I know, a no-brainer, but what can I say? I like to keep it simple, and I’m thinking rather than continue making millions of dollars in salary, these two begin to pay for their negligence, and for their lies and their pattern of violence against the people of the United States, and environment we live in.
The priest has been to the hospital, performed last rites and was then thrown through the glass doors and spit upon by current British Petroleum CEO Bob Dudley, who whipped around, his black duster flapping lazily in the fall breeze, before he strode back into the hospital. Word is he was heading towards the pediatric ward to see if he could dash the hopes of any sick children, pull out their IV’s, blow his nose on their lunch trays.
And in the process, BP’s entire public relations department had a panic attack…
Why? What happened? How has this come to be?
Well, British Petroleum is trying to screw over participants of the VoO program still, while shrugging their shoulders at non-payment of workers and businesses who lost money as a result of the drilling moratorium. Oh, and didn’t you know they’ve signed an agreement with their trusty sidekick, the Coast Guard to agree the clean-up is for all intent and purposes over and when it comes to the trial beginning in February, those two big ‘ol reports the government did? They want those reports excluded from the trial, as well as any other litigation brought against BP in the past…
Making things right, for British Petroleum…but for the Gulf Coast?
When it comes to the VoO Program, 500 more fishermen have alleged in court they signed a contract with BP which states they would be paid a daily wage regardless of whether their boats are used until the contract is complete, which only occurs upon final decontamination of their boats. Turns out however, BP really scrimped on the decontamination supplies so many fishermen are still waiting for this, with unusable, oily boats. And of course, British Petroleum doesn’t want to actually pay these fishermen for waiting around for BP to complete their terms of the contract, so they actually sent out a new “transitional” contract, hoping some people would actually sign it and, you guessed it, the decontamination language is gone. Oh, and they sent this contract out in large part to Vietnamese fishermen who can’t read English.
Huh, fraud much?
So, on to that agreement with the Coast Guard; it’s a government plan to end most of BP’s responsibility for pretty much any more clean-up of any more oil that might contaminate beaches in the future. Not entirely, however…BP can still be on the hook for further cleaning, but first it must be proven the oil washing up is actually from the Macondo Well, which conveniently enough the company concedes, will be ever harder to prove as the oil continues to degrade. Also in this agreement, it is not specified who, if anybody, will be involved in long-term monitoring of the Gulf, regardless the lessons learned from continued problems with the major spills in Mexico and Alaska, problems which are continuing twenty years later. It should be noted Louisiana officials refused to approve of this Coast Guard plan, but BP and the Coast Guard had a novel solution for this potential problem…they have decided to just ignore Louisiana so therefore, no more problem.
Next, we come to that drilling moratorium. Bob and British Petroleum feel this moratorium is not their fault so they should not be responsible for any loss of income people or businesses may have suffered over those five months. You see, this was a solid case of arbitrariness at its best…that Obama character just loves to shut down drilling for no apparent reason. In fact, word is next week he’s going to pull the plug on every nuclear plant in the country, shutting them all down for six weeks because, well…because he’s the president and he can. Seriously though, of course the worst environmental disaster in the history of the United States had nothing to do with that moratorium. That kind of cause and effect is more crap logic from business hating Democrats so this is why Bob feels BP should be totally off the hook on this one. To prove it, he plans to find the nearest bar where he will not only explain this in greater detail, but he’ll also show any fellow patron how natural gas fracking has nothing to do with earthquakes in Oklahoma…all while he does whiskey shot after shot until he’s sober.
Finally this week, BP has decided this whole trial thing in February just ain’t right, as is. British Petroleum went to a lot of trouble to buy so many scientists and science departments in Universities across the Gulf Coast, and thus being bought, unable to testify against them at trial. So it kind of flies in the face of that to have those two huge investigations by unbought government scientists and the resulting reports used against them at trial. Fair’s fair, right right? Hell, the Coast Guard report even said British Petroleum was ultimately responsible for the whole deal. This would be why they have asked for said reports to be excluded, oh and also excluded should be any other litigation brought against BP in the past, especially from places like Texas City and Prudhoe Bay. Bob would appear to feel this is certainly understandable as the last thing BP needs is their long record of mishaps be used to show a long pattern of mishaps.
And the BP public relations department has officially passed out.
Really, who could blame them? They’ve been forced to eat this whole “Making things right” slogan for well over a year and it’s hard, really hard when your company CEO appears only concerned with making things right for the company shareholders, focused for the most part on the legal technicality and what he is legally obligated to do, instead of just sucking it up and doing the right thing, period.
I mean, hey, don’t get me wrong…the $20 billion escrow fund was a good thing in spirit…but Feinberg’s handling of it is a whole nother story and it almost seems at times this escrow fund’s main goal was to provide PR cover for BP to try and screw everybody and everything else they possibly could.
It’s kind of like the mediocre student whose content to just pass the course, rather than excel…yeah, Bob’s getting a D-.
So, to the Gulf Coast?
It would appear more and more, that unless you got the law, you are now officially on your own…not that you haven’t (really) been this way for a long enough time already…let’s just say BP finally ripped their mask clean off as it would appear they’ve decided moral bankruptcy and greed is back in style…
“BP petrophysicist Galina Skripnikova in a closed-door deposition two months ago told attorneys involved in the oil spill litigation that there appeared to be a zone of gas more than 300 feet above where BP told its contractors and regulators with the then-Minerals Management Service the shallowest zone was located. The depth of the oil and gas is a critical parameter in drilling because it determines how much cement a company needs to pump to adequately seal a well. Federal regulations require the top of the cement to be 500 feet above the shallowest zone holding hydrocarbons, meaning BP’s cement job was potentially well below where it should have been.”
Or maybe it was due to the report released yesterday by the Joint Investigative Team of the Federal Bureau of Ocean Management, Regulation and Enforcement and the US Coast Guard which states:
“BP’s failure to fully assess the risks associated with a number of operational decisions leading up to the blowout was a contributing cause of the Macondo blowout,” and “BP’s cost- or time-saving decisions without considering contingencies and mitigation were contributing causes of the Macondo blowout.” The report notes that “at the time of the blowout, operations at Macondo were significantly behind schedule” and more than $58 million over budget.”
In any case…what concerns this writer most is whether or not British Petroleum’s actions will fall into the categories of “gross negligence” and “willful misconduct.” Simply put, the basic fine under the Clean Water Act is $1100 dollars per barrel spilled, but if the company doing the spilling is found to be “grossly negligent” that fine jumps to $4300 dollars per barrel and at a government estimate of 4.9 billion barrels, that’s a big difference in price.
And considering the joint report, it would certainly appear what many have suspected all along, British Petroleum, in a rush for profits, put at risk the safety of its own workers, the entire environment of the Gulf and all those who live along it and beyond.
“The report concluded that BP, as the well’s owner, was ultimately responsible for the accident.”
BP was ultimately responsible, that’s pretty damning, especially when one considers one of the best ways to dispute a claim of gross negligence is to spread the blame around as much as possible…which is why it is of little surprise British Petroleum’s response to the report is the following:
“BP agrees with the report’s core conclusion — consistent with every other official investigation — that the Deepwater Horizon accident was the result of multiple causes, involving multiple parties, including Transocean and Halliburton,” the company said. It added that it had taken steps to improve its safety practices and strengthen oversight of its contractors.”
Improving its safety practices…
Because Prudhoe Bay and Texas City weren’t enough of an indication something was very wrong…nope, needed the Deepwater Horizon for them to finally get it, or say they got it, again…
Make them pay.
They’re still picking up tar balls on Gulf Coast beaches, what…17 months later?
Rep. Joe Bonner of Alabama, member of the House Appropriations Committee called for an independent audit of the GCCF this week, something many Gulf Coast residents have been wanting to see happen for some time now. Bonner made this request to the Justice Department, and the request has been included in legislation that was approved on Wednesday.
“As we approach the one-year anniversary of the creation of the GCCF, many South Alabama businesses and individuals are still complaining about unfair treatment of their oil spill damage claims by the BP-financed fund that has been tightly controlled by administrator Ken Feinberg,” Congressman Bonner said. “With BP now calling for the GCCF to wind down payments, it is imperative that an accurate accounting of Mr. Feinberg’s claims system be made public. Last month, I met with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in Orange Beach personally asking him to order an impartial audit of the GCCF. Today, the House Appropriations Committee also called upon the Justice Department to begin the process of an independent review of the claims process.”
And speaking of independent audits, can’t we also make a call for an audit of BP’s insistence that the Gulf is all good, that the businesses and people no longer need the assistance of future compensation? As most people are aware, British Petroleum recently requested the GCCF stop paying all future claims in the Gulf of Mexico because things have recovered so damned well…
“Crude oil continues to wash ashore along the Gulf of Mexico coast a year after BP stopped the flow from its damaged Macondo well, which caused the worst U.S. offshore spill,” government officials said…submerged mats of congealed oil, often resembling a mousse, are a source of the tar balls, Hein said. The areas with the most oil are Louisiana coastal marshes…”
“Reporting on the bayou outside of Hopedale, La, Eric Guzman, a shrimp boat captain says, “BP likes for people to think that the skimming got rid of all the oil,” he said. “They don’t want you to think about how most of the oil went down to the bottom. We were dead set against them using those dispersants but they didn’t listen and they did it anyway… Guzman said the shrimp business has been hurt because, even though there is shrimp that have not been contaminated by the oil, people are afraid to take the chance on buying them. Prices have dropped, despite the smaller supplies, and people are going out of business. A bait shop operated by a shrimp boat captain interviewed by the People’s World right after the spill is going out of business.”
BP maintains the seafood is safe to eat, and this is part of the reason they also say claims should stop being paid, but despite the all clear by the FDA, something funny’s going on in the water as evidenced by “…countless reports coming from up and down the Gulf Coast…the most troubling narratives come from local fishermen, crabbers and oyster harvesters – who are encountering not only dramatically smaller catches but also visibly sick, deformed and oiled seafood from Louisiana’s Grand Isle to the Florida panhandle. And we’ve got photos to prove it (see link).”
The reports include catches down 70%, businesses closing, copper colored stains, holes and burns in the crabs’ shells. A crab fisherman, Bruce Gerra reports: “Crabs have been coming up dead, discolored, or riddled with holes since last year’s spill. Now Guerra, and many of the crabbers that work for him, said they’re trapping 75 percent fewer crabs than they were pre-oil spill.”
Also recently, both Sen. Bill Nelson and Sen. Marco Rubio, both from Florida weighed in on how they feel about BP’s recovery estimations. Writes Sen Nelson: “BP doesn’t need to be protected from the citizenry. It’s the other way around…BP made a commitment… People are still hurting. And we don’t know what will happen in the future, plus there’re still claims in an appeals process and large claims that haven’t even been submitted yet.” Nelson said he thinks it could take years before the full extent of damages are known and based on that alone, BP should not be allowed to change the claims process.” Cue Sen Rubio, “BP, from a corporate perspective, is trying to get out of here as quickly as they can…they are trying to disengage from this process as soon as they can and I think it is incumbent on us policymakers to make sure that doesn’t happen and that BP fulfills its obligations to this region.”
Senator Rubio also held a recent meeting in Pensacola. Sixty people showed up to let him know just how badly things were going with a certain Mr. Feinberg. Bob Zales, president of the National Association of Charter Boat Operators summed things up rather nicely, “To many of us, the Gulf Coast Claims Facility is a massive failure,” he went on to say claims payments have been plagued by months long delays and “ridiculous offers.” Seconding this was Joe Gilchrist, co-owner of Flora-Bama Lounge and Package, who said many frustrations stem from a murky and inconsistent claims process, “A lot of arbitrary decisions are being made by people nobody can find or hold accountable.”
That sounds like those all too familiar GCCF transparency problems.
But back to BP where the oil company is making those self-serving claims: all is well, steadily getting better, they actually use the words “remarkably improving,” to describe the Gulf Coast. Bob Dudley, CEO of BP had this to say about it, including their new plans for drilling safety, “BP’s commitment in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon incident is not only to restore the economic and environmental conditions among the affected areas of the Gulf Coast, but also to apply what we have learned to improve the way we operate.”
Making things whole, again…wonderful soundbite but poor in practice. Months ago, BP said claimants were being paid too much in damages and now, BP says claimants should stop being paid altogether, even while businesses continue to close as a result of this spill. And when it comes to statements about the safety of their drilling practices, be skeptical, be very skeptical. It’s a sure bet they were talking up their safety practices before the refinery blew in Texas City, killing 15 and injuring 170, just as I’m sure they were maintaining the safety of their drilling on the Deepwater Horizon before it exploded and killed eleven more.
Bob Dudley, like Ken Feinberg can say all he wants to, but the words just aren’t too credible, not yet, not by a long shot.
Now, it’s time for BP to prove a few things, prove they will do what they’ve been saying all along, spend more time making the Gulf Coast whole and their practices safe, less time making whole their profits. After all, from what I’ve read about the money made by the oil industry, they all got that whole profit thing covered by a mile…
“While the stimulus bill was being debated in Congress in 2009, numerous companies lobbied for environmental exemptions, but their efforts were ultimately rebuffed by environmental advocates.
But while companies may have failed to pressure Congress into issuing legislative exemptions from environmental oversight, federal agencies granted exemptions to 96 percent of stimulus projects so far, according to documents obtained by the Center for Public Integrity.
The energy companies BP, Westar Energy and Duke Energy, chemical manufacturer DuPont, and ethanol maker Didion Milling were among the companies to receive “categorical exclusions” from the National Environmental Policy Act.”
Yeah, the environment, we’re really taking it seriously.
96% of stimulus projects exempted, including British Petroleum’s from environmental oversight, because if there’s one thing we’ve al learned, BP can handle their own business. Even if these exemptions were given to this company before their oil spill, didn’t the White House ever hear of Texas City, or how about Prudhoe Bay?
…they also report the Deepwater Horizon never sank, the oil never spilled, the Texas Refinery never blew up and certainly, nobody ever died. Oh yeah, and you know their pipelines in Alaska, the ones that have been written about so splendidly as of late by Propublica? Well, didn’t you know that when BP’s corrosion monitoring company inspected the oil pipes and gave them an “F” rating, that, in fact, is a good thing, a positive development, a sign that all is well with British Petroleum, and those pipes certainly wouldn’t not leak, and their refineries, they will never not explode and never not kill anyone again.
And in a related story…BP spokespeople were finally reached about reports of dead and dying coral covered in brown substance several miles from the not busted well head. Asked about the dying marine life by long time reporters in the Gulf Coast, BP reportedly said, “Dying? I know you are but what am I?”