to err is human, to err in favor of profit is BP?

Mr Hayward [BP’s chief executive] reiterated a promise that BP “will honour all legitimate claims for business interruption”. Asked for examples of illegitimate claims, he said: “I could give you lots of examples. This is America — come on. We’re going to have lots of illegitimate claims. We all know that.”


Yes, and you are an oil executive who is responsible for one of the worst oil spills in US history so you are going to make illegitimate claims of safety… come on-we all know that.

What a smug reply from a person who should be on bent knee with head bowed in every interview he gives at the moment. Yes, this is America and your oil rig has just destroyed a large swath of it, so is this really the right time to start insulting it’s inhabitants? It would seem that not only is this the right time to insult the country their product just destroyed, but it’s also the time to threaten the president with the oh-so-subtle yet ballsy statement..

He urged the US Government to pursue a policy of “absolute co-operation” with BP. “We will only succeed if we work together,” he said — a day after President Obama’s press secretary promised that the White House would “keep a boot to the throat of BP” to ensure that it fulfilled its responsibilities.

Is that right? How about BP pledges “absolute co-operation” with the US Government. Wow, it’s the US Government who should cooperate with the ones whose oil is destroying our coastline.

Ok, well.. or what?

Corexit was 54.7 percent

effective at breaking down

crude oil from the Gulf,

and Dispersit was 100 percent

effective.


What am I saying? Or what… HA! Or nothing. BP was ordered by the EPA to start using less of dispersant called Corexit 9500 because of it’s toxicity and to start using a more environmentally friendly one. There are quite a few others out there and besides, Corexit is banned in BP’s own country. It’s not just that this stuff is toxic to the oceans, workers at the Exxon Valdez clean-up reported “respiratory, nervous system, liver, kidney and blood disorders,  that were linked to an earlier version of the Corexit dispersant.” So the EPA gave BP 72 hours to switch to a less toxic product. BP said, ‘Umm.. no’ and still continues to use the highly toxic dispersant over a more effective and ecologically friendly  one.

No, really. After being ordered by the US Government to stop using a chemical known to be less effective than the product recommended by the EPA and more toxic to ocean and humans… BP issued a statement saying in essence, “Up yours”

“Based on the information that is available today, BP continues to believe that Corexit was the best and most appropriate choice at the time when the incident occurred, and that Corexit remains the best option for subsea application.


Well hey, they believe they are right.. so why should they follow an order from the US government? Like Carl-Henric Svanberg, the chairman of BP, said, “The US is a big and important market for BP, and BP is also a big and important company for the US…..So the position goes both ways.”

See, the position of importance between BP and the United States goes both ways. I am really glad it was James Carville to respond  to that delusion of grandeur.

Carville: “BP is not the equal of the United States government. This president needs to tell BP ‘I’m your daddy, I’m in charge, you’re going to do what we say. You’re a multinational company that is greedy and you may be guilty of criminal activity.’ It’s time that we understand, BP does not wish this thing well. They have been negligent. They need to whip out their checkbook and start moving into action and the president needs to push them.”


I understand that “stuff just happens” and when it’s oil or nuclear power plants  that “stuff” is  going to be ugly.. very ugly. The problem here is this is looking less and less like an accident and more and more like a criminal act. Each new day brings another startling revelation about some of BP’s questionable  practices add that in with their feelings of superiority and this is getting really ugly.

Yesterday we learned that in the hours before the explosion, there was  ‘skirmish’ between the BP ‘company man’ and the rig operators. Bp was ready to shut down that well because they were done with, but they were still paying $500,000 a day rental fees. When told of the process they had to go through to shut down the well, things got heated. Part of the process  involved “removing the mud from the drill pipe. That mud is used to keep pressure down on any gas that might come out of the pipe. The question was how quickly you remove that mud safely to do that”. Time was money, the BP “company man” was interested in getting the process done a little faster than the rig operators wanted.  This is not to say either, at that time, was more right than the other. As a lessor who is paying by the minute.. when you’re done, you’re done and you want your tab closed out as soon as possible, but when you’re the leasee, getting paid by the minute, you want that time to drag out. What we did know at that time was the BP man stood up, after hearing the procedures,  and said “‘No. We have some changes to that.’ Going by the superiority complex we see  today, this comment doesn’t surprise me. What does surprise me is that the oil rig acquiesced  to BP’s demand. The excuse could be as simple as they knew where their paychecks and the helicopter ride home were coming from.

After the skirmish,  Doug Brown, one of 115 rig workers, “recalled top Transocean man Jimmy Harrell saying,”

“Well, I guess that’s what we have those pinchers  for.”

“Brown said he assumed Harrell was talking about the shear rams on the blowout preventer, the devices that are supposed to slice through a drill pipe in a last-ditch effort to close off the well in case of an emergency. The implication was that the Transocean employees expected they might have to take emergency action because of BP’s push to remove the drilling mud.”

Looks like we needed more than those ‘ pinchers.’ Which leads us to look at the the blowout preventer or, BOP. The last and only time this BOP was inspected was just before it was installed in 2005. At the same time it was inspected, we’ve learned that the MMS was allowing oil companies to do their own inspections, written in pencil, so  the MMS could trace over the written record in ink and attach their name to it.  So one thing we can be grateful for is that the ones doing the inspection was not MMS. But, why did the BOP fail? Why was there an explosion? Why did 11 people lose their lives and untold miles of coastlines and marshes suffer irrevocable  harm?

BP has promised to pay for any and all damages, sure, along with putting themselves on the same importance level as this country, demanding our complete cooperation,ignoring our environmental standards, and insulting us by saying.. ya know, this is America, so there are going to be a lot of illegitimate claims, and that looks  to be a breeze.

Ironically, there seems to be a lot of those illegitimate claims going around and they’re coming from BP. One of the most frustrating aspects of this entire debacle is the crazed policy of allowing BP to not only do all the clean up, but letting them decide what information is  given out, what photos are seen, what reporters have access and to where and the exclusion of experts that aren’t BP people.. Jean-Michel Cousteau, Jacques Cousteau’s son was denied entrance in the the “Land of BP” because BP also controls the air over the spill and Cousteau had an aerial photographer with him. Reporters from Mother Jones tell of their experience of being blocked and then yelled at to get approval and an escort from BP. While you may say “Well, ok it’s Mother Jones, it’s not like it was CBS or anything”, think again. CBS was barred from the scene by the Coast guard telling them “This is BP’s rules, not ours”

It’s not just the air, land,sea and press BP has control and say so over, they are in charge  of the water testings done in any of the Gulf states. An environmental official for Escambia County, Florida was ordered to send water samples to a lab in Texas whose biggest clients are BP.Is this not the craziest thing you’ve ever seen? Oh yeah, you aren’t seeing it because everything you are seeing has been cleaned and filtered through BP first.

But hey, they are going to pay for the damages and really, they’ve been straight with us so far. When they first said it was only 1000 barrels a day, when it was really 5000 barrels that was just another unintentional mistake. It’s not like they have an incentive to have anything other than complete transparency here. It’s not as if there is something called a Natural Resources Damage Assessment that’s done after a spill and relates to how many claims can be placed and how much is paid out. Of course the lower the spill the lower the payout, but hey BP promised to pay for all of it, they wouldn’t low-ball spill amounts. If you don’t count the complete ban on information or the repeated readjustment of the oil spill amount,  then today’s news is really nothing to be concerned with either and you can go back to the “Land of BP”. For the rest of us, today Government scientist have finally be able to verify  that it’s not 5000 barrels like we’ve been told repeatedly by BP, it’s worse.. much much worse..

government scientists said Thursday that the undersea gusher was spewing oil at a rate of 12,000 to 19,000 barrels a day, more than twice the 5,000-barrel estimate given by BP.


To put this into perspective

That would mean 260,000 to 520,000 barrels had been leaked as of 10 days ago. The Exxon Valdez leaked about 250,000 barrels into Alaska’s Prince William Sound in 1989.



10 days ago we surpassed the Exxon Valdez and it’s still not over.
From day one BP has insulted the people in this country, demanded cooperation from our government, taken over operations and barred the press,independent scientists,volunteers and experts from the scene and the data. They have knowingly misjudged the amount of flow by repeatedly low-balling the numbers and have told their own media outlets in Britain after the explosion and the death of 11 men that the leak is “relatively tiny” compared with the “very big ocean.”

Yesterday, Lt.Gen Russel Honoré, who commanded the military response to Hurricane Katrina, had this to say(emphasis mine)

(CNN) — It’s interesting how many people have swallowed the BP public relations’ bait to call the explosion from Deepwater Horizon oil rig the Gulf oil spill. We need to call it what it is: the BP oil spill. The federal government needs to take control and take punitive action against BP and any negligent government regulators immediately.

As a concerned citizen, preparedness speaker and author, and former commander of federal troops in disaster response, I watched with interest as BP brought out its big PR guns to protect its brand and its platoon of expert engineers, paid by BP to talk about how it happened and how they intended to fix it.

BP’s reaction was much like Toyota’s when it was confronted with safety issues. It, too, focused on PR to protect its brand, versus telling the truth, and sent out its engineers to talk about the problem and the fix.

The U.S. Coast Guard was the first responder. The Coast Guard’s priority always is to save lives. They spent days looking for the 11 missing men. Meanwhile, BP took advantage of this time to make itself the authoritative voice in the news about the spill and blame other companies.

The U.S. government response was based on laws and rules that were created after the Exxon Valdez oil spill. After Valdez, the law changed to make the offending company responsible for the cleanup. A fund was created that all oil companies contributed to. If there was an emergency oil spill, a company could draw up to $75 million from this fund to fix the problem. But the fund was meant to help small wildcat operations, not huge conglomerates like BP.

Sticking to that regulation was part of the problem. The No. 1 rule when dealing with disaster is to figure out which rules you need to break. Rules are designed for when everything is working. A democracy is based on trust. BP has proved it can’t be trusted.

The government needs to change the game and make this a punitive effort. The government has been too friendly to oil companies.

The government should immediately freeze BP’s assets and start to charge the corporation — say $100 million — each day the oil flows. The money could be held in a fund that U.S. government draws on to take care of the people along the Gulf Coast and pay the states for doing the cleanup.

Next, BP and the government bureaucrats who broke a law and put the public at risk need to go to jail.




Gen Honore’… James Carville…  they’re right. It’s time we stop letting the fox clean up the hen house and tell the farmer he’s just as important as the farmer is. It’s time for President Obama to take over this mess and start the punitive effects. While he says the government is in charge, everything we’re seeing contradicts that the government has done anything except give complete trust in BP and their actions. I know we will hear nothing but outrage that here is another industry Obama is socializing, but for right now those people can go pound sand and watch Palin and Beck re-runs. They don’t offer anything to the conversation  as it is, so let them sit on their couch in their foil-hats crying about how they want their country back. No one with a brain can watch the Anderson Cooper piece from last night and not see that this has gone far too long enough. BP, private industry, you were once again given a chance to police yourself, prevent catastrophe and clean up the mess you made, and once again you have failed. Once again it is us, the people of this country who will suffer from your destruction and it’s our government who has to step in where they are rightly loathed to step in, an act like the adult and fix your mistake.  We would demand a thank you, but we’ll be too busy arguing with the lunatic fringe who will be having more apoplectic fits that this is just more proof that this president is a Muslim,Nazi,Socialist.

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3 responses to “to err is human, to err in favor of profit is BP?

  • cwolf

    After the skirmish, “…top Transocean man Jimmy Harrell” said,
    “Well, I guess that’s what we have those pinchers for.”

    Now the annular is a rubber gasket that clamps the mouth of a well shut in the event of a problem while drilling. We know that chunks of this annular were observed on the surface before the blast.

    Since Mr. Harrell is quoted as relying on the pinchers, It would follow that he was aware that the annular was damaged or more likely, destroyed.

    I think the implications of this are important insofar as all subsequent corporate steps that did not involve repair of critical components must be examined for criminal negligence.

  • ekg

    I heard something about this last night.

    It was from Keith Jones, whose son Gordon was one of the 11 guys who died. Gordon was the ‘mud man’ and sadly was only there because regs required it, his job was done but had to be there just because there had to be a ‘mud guy’ on rig.

    anyway, his father said on MSNBC last night that Gordon had mentioned to him that ‘things were coming up that weren’t supposed to come up‘ because nothing else would be coming up since they weren’t drilling thru rubber on the bottom of the ocean..

    at the time Gordon mentioned it, he didn’t really get into details, but his dad knows what he meant now and his son meant the hard rubber pieces of the annular

    somehow I don’t believe there will ever be a criminal complaint.. congress will do an investigation and promise no jail time, make it something like a ‘fact-finding’ investigation and promise no criminal charges if everyone cooperates.. and that would be a travesty .

    if we can’t hold private corporations, be they banks,hedge-fund corp,health insurance,mining, or oil.. accountable then 1) they shouldn’t be treated as a person when it comes to campaign donations and 2.) the average person cannot be held responsible for anything they do either. the imbalance of one repeatedly paying for the others greed and mistakes is unsustainable..

    This business of letting corporatism get away with whatever it wants, all because some idiots don’t know the difference because they can’t educated themselves and have bought into the lie that Corporatism is Capitalism, has to stop and be corrected.

  • Howey

    Tight work! It seems as if the President has realized the need for far tighter regulation of oil companies, deny all oil drilling permits until proper safety measures are in place, thorough inspection of every well out there, as well as the pitiful engineering companies who they work with. Along with that, a clean sweep of the MMS and it’s Bush-era partiers is needed as well as a tax (ordered to not be passed on to consumers) to pay the full price for future disasters such as this.

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