Thursday, July 1, 2010

How to Plug that BP Well

UPDATE III: Another from Mike, who said "[m]ost people have enough decency not to post this. Not me, though."

BP's final attempt to stop the leak....

UPDATE II: But serious, has anyone heard from Big Oil's Big Daddy, Dick 'Chickenhawk' Cheney? He must be reading the report from his secret energy task force. You know, the one that "presented a rosy picture of the offshore drilling industry."

From Mother Jones, Dick Cheney's Last Laugh:

Many of the recommendations from the task force report were adopted in the 2005 Energy Policy Act. That legislation provided $6 billion in subsidies for oil and gas development. Royalty payments for oil and gas development were waived in several regions of the US. Some companies were allowed to pay royalties with oil, rather than money—a less transparent system that was more vulnerable to abuse. The bill also provided $1.5 billion in direct payments to companies to incentivize drilling in deepwater wells, and curtailed the power of states to oversee oil and gas exploration off their coasts under the Coastal Zone Management Act.

In addition, the bill weakened environmental protections for offshore drilling, making it easier to exclude a broad range of exploration and drilling activities from analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act. This has been cited as the reason that the Deepwater Horizon site was not subjected to a thorough environmental analysis.

The task force's final report also presented a rosy picture of the offshore drilling industry. Newer oil and gas drilling methods, it said, "practically eliminate spills from offshore platforms" and "enhance worker safety, lower risk of blowouts, and provide better protection of groundwater resources." The report advocated lifting the moratorium on portions of the outer continental shelf, noting that "concerns over the potential impacts of oil spills have been a major factor behind imposition of the OCS moratoria." Bush lifted the executive moratorium in 2008, and the Democratic-controlled Congress allowed its own moratorium to expire.

UPDATE: From Mike:


BP put a giant wedding ring over the ruptured oil pipe, and it immediately stopped putting out.

The best suggestion I've heard/seen yet:

As Ye Sow, So Shall Ye Reap

UPDATE VIII: Spill, baby, spill!

"Right now, royalty rates for offshore leases end up promoting dangerous deep-water drilling — the deeper you drill, the less you have to pay the government in royalties. Under the Deepwater Royalty Relief Act of 1995, Congress even waived royalties on millions of barrels of oil for certain deepwater leases from 1996 to 2000. This and other royalty relief programs have deprived the Treasury of billions of dollars in revenue, while rewarding the riskiest drilling in the deepest waters. " Read The New York Times, The Good Driller Award.

UPDATE VII: Quit whining. "The Niger Delta, where the wealth underground is out of all proportion with the poverty on the surface, has endured the equivalent of the Exxon Valdez spill every year for 50 years by some estimates. The oil pours out nearly every week, and some swamps are long since lifeless. " Read The New York Times, Far From Gulf, a Spill Scourge 5 Decades Old.

The article includes pictures of the ecological damage.

SUV driving Americans never cared about oil spills before. Where did they think the gas came from?

UPDATE VI: RICO's to blame for "an ecological Armageddon that could literally destroy the marine and coastal environment and way of life for generation of Americans." Read the Pensacola News Journal, RICO suit: BP manipulated Bush team.

To read the court documents, click here.

Sounds like the complaint is largely about the political process -- the American public voted for deregulation and they got what they voted for:

The biggest oil spill ever. The biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression. The deadliest mine disaster in 25 years. One recall after another of toys from China, of vehicles from Toyota, of hamburgers from roach-infested processing plants. The whole Vioxx fiasco. And let's not forget the biggest climate threat since the Ice Age.

And with deregulation, there is no longer a need to export our industrial catastrophes, such as Union Carbide's Bhopal disaster.

Yet the faux populists of the Tea Party train their anger on the government while giving corporations a pass. And Obama, accused of being a socialist, has actually been a no-fault capitalist, cleaning up corporate messes without winning much in the way of new laws to prevent a recurrence.

Too many corporations have survived their misdeeds with no more than an angry hearing or two: GM, Chrysler, Toyota, Goldman Sachs, Citibank, Bank of America, Massey Energy. The legislative dressing-down obviously isn't sufficient deterrent. Neither is firing the CEO, because he's invariably replaced by another just like him.

Thus, the court should dismiss the complaint and remind the public, we've got the best government business interest can buy.

UPDATE V: What is the true cost of gas? Read the Washington Post, Think gas is too pricey? Think again.

Also "[a] quenchless thirst for whale oil, then petroleum, pushed man ever farther and deeper. And with great hubris, great risk." Read The New York Times, The Ahab Parallax: ‘Moby Dick’ and the Spill.

UPDATE IV: "While the gulf tragedy is the big oil story of the moment, Ecuador is still hurting from destructive drilling going back decades.” Read The New York Times, Disaster in the Amazon.

And did you know, "[t]he oil deposit now leaking slowly into the sea would have provided about five days' worth of oil to Americans." Read The New York Times, For Five Days of Oil.

Was it worth it?

UPDATE III: ""Deregulation" is wonderful until we discover what happens when regulations aren't issued or enforced. Everyone is a capitalist until a private company blunders. Then everyone starts talking like a socialist, presuming that the government can put things right because they see it as being just as big and powerful as its Tea Party critics claim it is. " Read the Washington Post, Gulf oil spill offers a lesson in capitalism vs. socialism.

Note: regulation is not socialism.

How ya likin that laissez-faire capalism now! Not everybody does. Read the Washington Post, Time for industry to end its war on regulation.

UPDATE II: "An environmental 9/11 is unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico. Will President Obama have the courage to ask the country to get behind a new strategy on energy?" Read The New York Times, Obama and the Oil Spill.

Or will we continue to reap 'the benefits' of our oil addiction, including environmental catastrophes and terrorism.

UPDATE: There is an old proverb, author unknown: "Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it." Read the Washington Post, Oil well's blowout preventer had leaks, dead battery, design flaws.

Don't ya just love that Republi-con -- less government, less regulation, and more freedom -- ideology now. The banksters, mining companies, and oil companies sure do!

"[T]he Minerals Management Service became subservient to the oil industry — although what actually happened is almost too lurid to believe. According to reports by Interior’s inspector general, abuses at the agency went beyond undue influence: there was “a culture of substance abuse and promiscuity” — cocaine, sexual relationships with industry representatives, and more. Protecting the environment was presumably the last thing on these government employees’ minds." Read The New York Times, Sex & Drugs & the Spill.

After decades of antigovernment ideology, what did you expect?

Did The Spies Flunk Charm School?

UPDATE II: These two article go a long way to explaining and understanding the mindset and stupidity of nationalist in any country. Read The New York Times, ‘Illegals’ Spy Ring Famed in Lore of Russian Spying and the Washington Post, Up to their old spy tricks again.

The 'illegals' clearly enjoyed being placed in the U.S., "content to enjoy American life" and be paid to provide information readily available in the media, including the internet. If anything, they were " more like white-collar fraudsters who convinced their Russian handlers that U.S. secrets were just around the corner."

UPDATE: Here is the criminal complaint about the Russian spy ring:
Sealed Complaint: U.S. Investigates Alleged Russian Spy Ring

"On June 28, 2010, the Justice Department announced charges against 11 people accused of living for years in the United States as part of a deep-cover program by S.V.R. — the successor agency to the Soviet-era K.G.B. The criminal complaints, filed in federal court, read like a thriller."

Actually, it sounds like a sequel to Nelson DeMille's The Charm School.

China Laughs All the Way to the Bank

UPDATE II: 'While America fights China does business.' Read the Washington Post, China's quiet power grab.

UPDATE: Americans died for Chinese businesses. Read the Washington Post, Risk-tolerant China investing heavily in Iraq as U.S. companies hold back.

While most Republi-cons are obsessed by guys in caves who pose no danger to the country in the long term, China laughs as it creates a world economy that serves China's interests. Read the Washington Post, China's $2.4 trillion grip on the global economy.

Better sign your kids/grandkids up for Chinese lessons.