Category Archives: Gulf oil spill

>Hands Across The Sand

>Beautiful. Already seeing pictures from today’s event like this one:

The video from February’s event made me cry:

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Filed under energy future, Gulf oil spill, protests

>Summer Of Oil

>Lovely Destin, Florida, June 23, 2010, 3 p.m.:

I’m watching a toddler get this crap on the bottom of his/her feet and have to wonder at the people letting their kids play in this stuff. Do they not know that it’s toxic? Their great solution is to pack Goo-Gone with them? Are you people insane? Goo Gone is petroleum based, for crying out loud. Even the manufacturer says to avoid repeated and prolonged exposure to the skin.

Is Florida’s tourism business more important than people’s health? Why in God’s name has Destin not closed its beaches? This is incredibly irresponsible.


Filed under Florida, Gulf oil spill

>Activist Judges In Louisiana?

>The judge who overturned the Obama Administration’s six-month deepwater drilling moratorium which affects just 33 rigs in the Gulf of Mexico should have recused himself from the case:

According to Feldman’s 2008 financial disclosure form, posted online by Judicial Watch [pdf], the judge owned stock in Transocean, as well as five other companies that are either directly or indirectly involved in the offshore drilling business.

It’s not surprising that Feldman, who is a judge for the Eastern District of Louisiana, has invested in the offshore drilling business—an AP investigation found earlier this month that more than half the federal judges in the districts affected by the BP spill have financial ties to the oil and gas industry.

Doesn’t bode well for any future lawsuits on this.

Remember people: the moratorium affects just 33 rigs. Hundreds are still operating in the Gulf of Mexico. The industry has not come to a grinding halt, fearmongering about economic destruction and job loss and all the rest are completely overplayed. It’s the oil barons trying to show their muscle.

Thirty-three rigs, people. All of this fearmongering and lawsuits are over 33 rigs.


Filed under Gulf oil spill, oil industry

>A Picture Worth $20 Billion+


Posted by Irish-Canadian journalist Alex Kearns, who now lives in St. Mary’s Georgia, and reposted on Naked Capitalism blog

Killing crabs and the American dream:

A researcher captured this image. A discarded flag (or one that has fallen from one of the many vessels in the area) rests on the ocean floor amid the oil and the bodies of dead crabs.

A two-inch layer of submerged oil is coating portions of the Gulf seafloor off the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge: a week after a smothering layer of floating crude washed ashore there. This scenario is being played out all along the Gulf shoreline.

Says it all.


Filed under Gulf oil spill

>Why Are Gas Prices Dropping?

>Yet more evidence that Newt Gingrich’s “Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less” campaign is bullshit: we’re two months into a six-month ban on deepwater oil drilling and gas prices are tumbling:

CAMARILLO, Calif. — The average price of regular gasoline in the United States has dropped more than 11 cents over a three-week period to $2.72.

Not possible! We were told that unless we drill for oil offshore, we’d be paying $4 and $5 a gallon! Instead, gas prices have been dropping since the oil spill started:

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — U.S. consumer prices decreased in May for the second straight month as gasoline prices fell, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

And no, I’m not suggesting that the oil spill is responsible for lower gas prices. That’s just stupid.

So why are gas prices dropping like a rock, despite a ban on offshore deep water drilling? Here’s an idea:

Analysts say a sluggish start to the summer vacation season has increased gas inventories, and serious economic problems in Spain, Portugal and Greece have helped lower prices as the dollar rose in value against other currencies.

The price drops, which began May 7 when the financial crisis in Europe worsened, have reversed a trend in early 2010 that had seen gasoline prices rising considerably higher than the previous year.

Hmm. So apparently the price of gasoline is more affected by world events and the global financial market than how many rigs are drilling off the coast of Mississippi.

Interestingly, the story goes on to say that hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico could disrupt drilling operations and cause prices to go back up. That is an excellent reminder to us all that there is, in fact, offshore oil drilling going on in the Gulf of Mexico right now, as I type this. Republicans and even a few Democrats keep telling us that unless the deepwater moratorium is lifted, it will be an economic disaster for states already crippled by the oil spill, like Louisiana. Which ignores the fact that the oil industry is still chugging along down there.

So talk about platforms, specialized equipment and even the workforce leaving the Gulf of Mexico strikes me as unnecessary fearmongering. There’s still drilling going on, just not in water deeper than 500 feet. In fact, only 33 deep water rigs have stopped operations: so little that we haven’t even felt it at the pump. Gas prices are actually going down.

So quit yer whining. If there’s some deep-well engineering firm that’s going to have to leave the Gulf of Mexico because they are out of work for six months, see ya. Go pollute the waters off of Norway or Brazil (if you can). Take your trashy, polluting, risky, unsafe industry somewhere else. I’m not going to have a sad. I’d rather have some shrimp to throw on the barbecue and you guys screwed that up for us for good.


Filed under gas prices, Gulf oil spill, oil industry

>Grand Old Petroleum


Nobody could have anticipated this! Oh, wait …


Rep. Joe Barton of Texas just apologized to BP for being forced to set up a $20 billion fund to compensate the Gulf Coast. He called it a “shake down.”

I see.

This is why we don’t want any more Texas oil men in Washington. This is precisely the attitude we saw from Bush, Cheney, Condi (she had an oil tanker named after her!) and all the other Big Oil cronies handed the reins of power for eight years.

Meanwhile, you wacky kids on the internet are already having your fun:

Honestly, after months of hissy fits from the right wing about President Obama “apologizing for America” you’d think apologizing to BP over the oil spill might raise a few eyebrows in the Texas Teanut Party. But word has it Limbaugh opened his radio show today criticizing the “BP shakedown.” Guess they got the memo.


Video courtesy of JR Lind at Post Politics:


Filed under BP, Gulf oil spill, Rep. Joe Barton, Texas

Memory Hole, Obama Edition

Remember when right-wingers like Glenn Beck were in a tizzy over all of those Obama “Czars”?

Remember when our glorious Liberal Media was so worried about how Obama was doing “too much, too soon”?

We heard the “doing too much” line a lot. I mean really, really a lot.

So just curious how you folks now Monday morning quarterbacking the President on his failure to clean house at MMS and anticipate the worst environmental disaster in the country’s history would have reacted if he had come in and done exactly what you are now saying he should have done 18 months ago.

And that’s not even getting into the issue of secret holds on Obama nominees (and some not-so-secret ones.) Or the fact that President Bush “burrowed” industry-friendly appointees at the Interior Dept. into career civil-service positions.

So you folks whining about how Obama should have magically come in and swept out all the corrupt industry cronies at Interior need to shut your gobs. And yes, Rudy Giuliani, I’m looking at you.

There are plenty of things to criticize Obama for on this oil spill but let’s remember the narrative of the past 18 months, shall we? The same people yammering about death panels and FEMA concentration camps and birth certificates and “Czars”–and some of you idiots are still whining about the Czar thing–would have turned any housecleaning at Interior into some kind of Socialist-Sierra Club conspiracy bent on turning our resources over to the United Nations or some such.

Our narrative in this country is so stupid. For months we heard nothing but how Obama was doing too much, oh my word, it was all just too much. Now you assholes want to say he didn’t do enough? Just zip it.

Time to move on.


Filed under Gulf oil spill, President Barack Obama, Rudy Giuliani

>Vision Problems

>There was good and bad in President Obama’s Oval Office speech tonight.

The good: the President made clear he understands the magnitude of the problem we face capping that gusher in the Gulf. I’m convinced, finally, that he understands the long term effects of the oil spill. He “gets it.”

He also made clear he understands the urgency of our need to leave behind our carbon-fueled ways and transition to a clean energy economy. He made clear he understands the magnitude of that challenge, he recognizes that we have failed in this task too many times in the past, and that we are running out of chances. He “gets” that, too.

But what I didn’t hear, what I truly wanted to hear, was some kind of stated vision for how we will manifest this desperately needed change. I didn’t hear the words “Apollo Project for energy,” I didn’t hear the words “national priority,” I didn’t even hear a call for us all as Americans to actually do anything. While he said we all have a role to play, he didn’t articulate what that is.

I wanted a call to action and I didn’t get it. I want to know that we as a nation are harnessing the best and brightest minds to come together and figure this energy thing out. I want to know that we are doing something, that the government is leading the way, that the doors of industry, technology, policy-making and the halls of higher education have been thrown open and every sector of our public life will be focused, laser-like, on making this transition finally happen.

I wanted a battle plan–not for cleaning up the oil spill, but for getting over our fossil fuel addiction. I didn’t get one.

You know, we spent $22 billion in today’s money to develop the atomic bomb. That was considered a national priority. More than 30 laboratories in three countries were involved, all to develop a massive killing mechanism.

In 1961 a president told Congress he had a vision of landing a man on the moon by the end of the decade. From that vision was launched the Apollo Program, perhaps the greatest achievement of the modern era.

We can do big things, but we need a big vision and we need a leader to give us this challenge. The fact that President Obama did not do any of these things worries me. It’s as if he’s taking a backseat, hoping Congress will do the dirty work — it’s the healthcare bill all over again. He wants something done, but he hasn’t said exactly what, he hasn’t given specifics or deadlines. He hasn’t presented his vision.

I know President Obama has that vision. I have seen hints of it in the past, in previous speeches, and during the presidential campaign. Why oh why is he not sharing his vision with us?

Our clean energy future presents some unique challenges. Unlike the Apollo Program or the Manhattan Project, there are very powerful, wealthy and firmly established forces fighting every modest step made in that direction. This means our clean energy messaging needs to be very clear, very profound, and very powerful. It’s not enough to say “The time to embrace a clean energy future is now.” We need to know what that means, what it will look like, and what it will take to get there. We need to know what those first steps will be and what are the benchmarks. We need to be sold on a vision so we can share it.

Mr. President, we need leadership. The battle isn’t just in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s in the Houston offices of ExxonMobil and the Wichita, Kansas offices of Koch Industries. You will need us to carry your vision forward. Please share it with us.


Filed under energy future, Gulf oil spill, President Barack Obama

>Oil Spills Rarely Happen & Other Fairy Tales

>I can no longer remember the name of the first wingnut Republican to claim oil spills are rare, for some reason I’m thinking David Vitter of Louisiana or perhaps Haley Barbour of Mississippi but regardless we’ve heard it from several folks by now. And I have to say, it’s one of the stupidest right wing talking points to come out of the collective Republican gob since Saddam’s mythic WMD’s. I mean yeah, if oil spills are so rare, then why do oil companies make chemical dispersants by the truckload?

Anyway, today we learn of yet another oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico:

A second leak, discovered at the Ocean Saratoga rig, is leaking oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Initial reports claim the the volume of crude oil being released is much less than that of the Deepwater Horizon, but a 10 mile long oil slick has been detected by satellite. The site is visible in satellite images gathered by, which first reported the leak on its website May 15.

The Ocean Saratoga site, owned by Taylor Energy, is located approximately ten miles off the coast of southern Louisiana. Official figures released report only 14 gallons of oil per day being emitted into the Gulf of Mexico to account for the massive oil slick.

Reports admit that small amounts have been leaking daily since Hurricane Ivan hit in 2004 causing an undersea mudslide that destroyed the rig. Taylor Energy says they have been working since that time to stop the leak.

I’m sorry, there’s been a leaking oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico for six years? WTF?

Meanwhile out West in Utah, Chevron’s weekend oil spill looks to be another environmental disaster:

SALT LAKE CITY — Emergency workers believe they have stopped a 21,000-gallon oil leak from reaching the environmentally sensitive Great Salt Lake, one of the West’s most important inland water bodies for migratory birds that use it as a place to rest, eat and breed.

But the spill has taken a toll on wildlife at area creeks and ponds, coating about 300 birds with oil and possibly threatening an endangered fish.

Lovely. This reminds me of how after the Kingston coal sludge disaster, we started hearing about all those other leaky coal ash ponds.

Another story which hasn’t received much national attention is the Pennsylvania natural gas well which blew last week, courtesy of the former Enron Corp. That spewed 35,000 gallons of toxic chemicals into the air after a blowout preventer failed. Here’s the best part:

Though the industry says blowouts are rare, another natural gas well, in West Virginia, blew up on Monday, burning seven workers.

Well, if “the industry” says it, it must be true! Just don’t pay attention to that other eco-disaster happening in another part of the country. Look, shiny-sparkly Lindsay Lohan thingie over there!

Folks, we’re doing it wrong. We’re fouling our nest. Fossil fuels are a dirty, nasty business. Pipelines and oil rigs leak. Tankers leak. Oil spills happen all the time, and when we aren’t polluting our food supply pulling this stuff out of the ground or transporting it, we’re polluting our air and water when we actually use the stuff.

And speaking of stupidity coming from Republican gobs, the best one yet came from my own Senator Lamar Alexander, writing in the Wall Street Journal on Friday. Lamar has continued to perpetuate the myth that nuclear energy is somehow safe and clean and even affordable. Right after dissing wind energy because “windmills generate electricity—not transportation fuel” he writes:

If we need more green electricity, build nuclear plants. The 100 commercial nuclear plants we already have produce 70% of our pollution-free, carbon-free electricity. Yet the U.S. has just broken ground on our first new reactor in 30 years, while China starts one every three months and France is 80% nuclear. We wouldn’t mothball our nuclear Navy if we were going to war. We shouldn’t mothball our nuclear plants if we want low-cost, reliable green energy.

Without even getting into how environmentally damaging mining uranium fuel is (I talked about it last year), let me remind Lamar Alexander of one very simple fact: what we are dealing with in Kington, TN, the Gulf of Mexico, Utah, Pennsylvania and hundreds of other places I haven’t even mentioned is a failure of our technology. Accidents happen. Blowout preventers fail. Coal sludge ponds fail. Pipelines break. Anything made by human hands can and most assuredly will fail.

Imagine if any of the accidents I mentioned in this post had been radioactive? Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. You can count on it. You can take that piece of wisdom to the bank. You want to do that with radioactive fuel? Spent nuclear waste? A nuclear reactor? You, sir, are an idiot.

But fine, you want your nukes? Sure, as soon as you repeal the Price Anderson Act which places a liability cap on nuclear power accidents. If there’s another Chernobyl or Three Mile Island, then by God let the utility responsible pay for it, not the taxpayers. Just as everyone is crying for BP to clean up the oil spill, let’s make sure we don’t socialize the losses of a nuclear accident. I’m sure as a fiscal conservative you would support that, right?

Comments Off on >Oil Spills Rarely Happen & Other Fairy Tales

Filed under Gulf oil spill, nuclear energy, Sen. Lamar Alexander

>Who Thinks BP Will Pay?


Wonder if there’s any truth to this:

BP hides assets from potential oil spill lawsuits


Internal sources confirmed last night that the company is seeking shelter by transferring assets off the books of BP North America, a fully owned subsidiary of BP plc, to other entities that fall outside of any US jurisdiction.

Such action means that claimants or any US court issued order for full payment and restitution cannot be applied to those hidden and transferred assets. It was already previously reported that BP was seeking ways to protect itself from large liabilities and it was confirmed that a bankruptcy filing was being worked on by their legal department.</blockquote

Still think BP will pay?


I’ve been sort of stunned at the reaction various people have when I ask why there haven’t been telethons and benefits to help those affected by the Gulf oil spill. I get a swift almost visceral “make BP pay!” reaction from folks, and it’s not a liberal/conservative thing, because plenty of liberals have told me that as well.

I guess I”m the biggest cynic on the planet because I don’t think BP will pay for everything — they can’t. We don’t even know what “everything” is right now.

Yes they will pay for some things. I’d love to stick it to them where it hurts as much as the next person. But come on, people. We don’t even know the full extent of the damage here. This is going to be with us for decades. Oil is still vomiting out of the seabed, now they say it will be gushing until fall. The Exxon Valdez was a comparatively small 11 million gallons and oil still washes up on the rocks of Prince William Sound to this day, after 21 years. The fish there have not returned.

People on the beaches of Louisiana know the tourist industry is gone, not just for this summer but for good:

Expensive flood insurance bills are due for many residents this month. At least one home was put up for sale because of the spill, a broker said, but it was unclear if anyone would buy it now.

The only “person” who is going to buy that house is BP. Think they will? I’m guessing … no.

And it’s not just people on the Gulf who are impacted. Now there are fears the oil spill will affect Mississippi River shipping lanes, which farmers in the Midwest use to transport agricultural products to overseas markets. This might affect how an Iowa farmer ships his soybeans to wherever we send soybeans.

I am thinking the magnitude of this disaster is lost on people. I don’t think we are getting it. Hell, I’ve been saying we aren’t getting for a month now. I don’t think Washington gets it and I don’t think the media gets it. This is not just a tragedy for the Gulf Coast. This is a tragedy for the entire nation.

And let’s take a minute and look at BP. I thought we as a nation were supposedly reeling from the repeated failure of our major institutions? Maybe I’m the only one. You really think BP will pay, knowing Exxon Mobil, the most profitable corporation in the history of human enterprise, appealed their judgment all the way to the United States Supreme Court, dragging the case out for 20 years and spending millions on lawyers so they wouldn’t have to pay? Why do you think they did that? Because they couldn’t afford the settlement? Bullshit. They did it because they knew this day was coming. They knew someday there would be a massive oil spill that would make the Valdez look like your kid brother pissing in the swimming pool. They did it for the precedent. And here it is.

Look, I’m just being realistic here. Who thinks BP is going to pay? I don’t. Oh sure, they’ll pay some. They’ll pay a lot. But they won’t pay it all. Have we learned nothing from past corporate failures? Nothing at all?


Filed under Gulf oil spill