That’s the video of the geyser of oil shooting out of the wreckage of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Louisiana. How on earth could this happen? Isn’t the government supposed to protect our country from disasters like this? Yeah, I know. Any thoughts like that should have gone out the window after Hurricane Katrina.
But isn’t this a Democratic administration? Wasn’t Obama an environment-friendly candidate? Well he gave a lot of speeches in which he claimed to care about the environment. And aren’t speeches what really counts after all?
So how did it happen? First, as you’ve probably all heard by now, Obama got lots of campaign money from BP employees.
BP and its employees have given more than $3.5 million to federal candidates over the past 20 years, with the largest chunk of their money going to Obama, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Donations come from a mix of employees and the company’s political action committees — $2.89 million flowed to campaigns from BP-related PACs and about $638,000 came from individuals.
On top of that, the oil giant has spent millions each year on lobbying — including $15.9 million last year alone — as it has tried to influence energy policy.
We thought we got rid of the oil men when Bush and Cheney moved out. But no, the new occupant of the WH is seemingly just as oil-friendly as those two.
Josh Green tells it like it is in The Boston Globe: Even an oil spill won’t move Washington
For months, a group of senators — Democrat John Kerry, Republican Lindsey Graham, and Independent Joe Lieberman — worked to craft an energy and climate bill that fell apart last week before it could even be introduced. Then came the Deepwater Horizon oil rig collapse. This should have prompted the Senate to look anew at the energy bill, which steers the country toward a cleaner, safer energy future.
But that’s not what has happened. Many early responders in both parties have defended, not condemned, offshore drilling….there’s no indication the disaster has prompted Obama or anyone else to reconsider his position. In the past, major disasters shifted the terms of debate. This time, nobody is budging. But the support for offshore drilling that the White House was willing to trade for reductions in carbon emissions — the crucial achievement in any climate bill — is no longer feasible. As Florida Senator Bill Nelson put it, any bill that includes drilling is “dead on arrival.’’
Perversely, the Gulf disaster has had the short-term effect of weakening the already tepid support for a Senate climate bill.
Because it’s all out in the open now. The elitist freaks in Congress couldn’t care less what we think about all this. It’s all about the money they will get from corporations looking to profit from cap and trade. I don’t believe for one minute the bill would have had any teeth. John Kerry, who worked on the bill with Leibermann, even wrote a sob-sister book about environmentalism. I don’t know how these people can live with themselves. The only explanation is that they are psychopaths.
Did Obama and his buddies care that BP had a long history of oil rig accidents and spills? Apparently not, because he “sheltered BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig from regulatory requirement”
Last year the Obama administration granted oil giant BP a special exemption from a legal requirement that it produce a detailed environmental impact study on the possible effects of its Deepwater Horizon drilling operation in the Gulf of Mexico…
…the Department of the Interior’s Minerals Management Service (MMS) gave BP a “categorical exclusion” on April 6, 2009 to commence drilling with Deepwater Horizon even though it had not produced the impact study required by a law known as the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)….
The exemption came less than one month after BP had requested it in a March 10 “exploration plan” submitted to the MMS. The plan said that because a spill was “unlikely,” no additional “mitigation measures other than those required by regulation and BP policy will be employed to avoid, diminish or eliminate potential impacts on environmental resources.” BP also assured the MMS that any spill would not seriously hurt marine wildlife and that “due to the distance to shore (48 miles) and the response capabilities that would be implemented, no significant adverse impacts are expected.”
In addition, according to the World Socialist Website,
In 2009, the Obama administration intervened to support the reversal of a court order that would have halted offshore oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Obama’s Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who has long had close ties to the industry, specifically cited BP’s Deepwater Horizon operation as one that should be allowed to go forward, according to a group involved in the court case.
A Washington DC Appeals Court ruled in April 2009 that the Bush administration’s five-year plan for offshore oil and gas drilling (covering 2007 to 2012) was not based on a proper review of the environmental impact of the drilling. Only days before the ruling, the Obama administration had granted BP a “categorical exclusion,” exempting it from an environmental impact study for the Deepwater Horizon project.
According to a lengthy article posted today by science writer John McQuaid, this spill was An Accident Waiting to Happen
When such catastrophic mechanical failures happen, they’re almost always traced to flaws in the broader system: the workers on the platform, the corporate hierarchies they work for, and the government bureaucracies that oversee what they do. For instance, a study of 600 major equipment failures in offshore drilling structures done by Robert Bea, an engineering professor at the University of California, Berkeley, found that 80 percent were due to “human and organizational factors,” and 50 percent of those due to flaws in the engineering design of equipment or processes.
Bea has worked as an engineer on offshore drilling operations and was also one of the leaders of an independent engineering study of the New Orleans levee failures during Hurricane Katrina. And the Gulf spill has some similarities to the 2005 flood, which was caused in large part by faulty floodwalls approved by the Army Corps of Engineers. The common threads between Katrina and the current oil spill, Bea wrote in an email, are “hubris, arrogance, ignorance… combined with a natural hazard.” [….] “The danger has escalated exponentially,” he said. “We’ve pushed it to the bloody edge in this very, very unforgiving environment, and we don’t have a lot of experience.”
Wouldn’t you think when there is this much danger of an accident and so little experience in this type of deep water drilling that our government would make sure to get a detailed, realistic environmental impact report and specific plans for what would happen if the worse happened. But the Obama administration not only laid down the red carpet for BP, it went to court to fight for BP’s right to despoil the entire Gulf coast of the U.S.!
We’ve heard about what the oil spill will do to birds, fish, and sea mammals; what about humans? Well it’s dangerous for humans in the vicinity of the spill too.
The list of potential threats runs from minor nuisances such as runny noses and headaches to nausea. While waiting to see how bad things will get, public health agencies are monitoring air quality, drinking water supplies and seafood processing plants and advising people to take precautions. [….]
In a possible hint of things to come, a foul stench drifted over parts of southwestern Louisiana last week. The oil probably was the culprit, said Alan Levine, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, whose office heard about dozens of complaints – even from state legislators in New Orleans, some 130 miles from the leaky undersea well.
If we can’t get the government to deal with BP, maybe their own shareholders will do it. The LA Times is reporting that some shareholders have already filed suit.
Tomorrow morning at 10, executives from BP, Transocean (the owner of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig), and Halliburton (they were involved in setting up the equipment) will begin testifying before various Senate Committees. There will be another hearing tomorrow at 2:30PM, and another at 10AM on Wednesday.
From an environmental blog, Earthjustice: Will Oil Execs Gush As Much As Their Gulf Oil Spill?
A gusher of information about the oil spill might explain a lot about how the accident occurred and how the federal government was convinced by British Petroleum that the risk was “insignificant.” The hearings may also help determine whether the Obama administration’s oil/gas leasing program — including exploratory drilling this summer in the Arctic — now on hold can go forward.
Earthjustice will be blogging live tomorrow when the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee holds its hearing.
I’ve said this many times before, and I’ll probable say it again multiple times, but even though I knew Obama was going to be an awful President, I really had no idea he would be this bad. I guess this is what happens when an inexperienced, but ambitious, narcissistic man is put into the most powerful job in the world.