Hell to Pay

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“BP is responsible for this leak. BP will be paying the bill.”

Barack Obama, May 2, 2010

At the current rate, estimated at 200,000 gallons of oil a day, that would mean about 18m gallons of oil will escape, and make the Deepwater Horizon a significantly larger spillage than the Exxon Valdez disaster in 1989, when 11m gallons ended up in the Alaskan sea.  uk guardian

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I noticed this article this morning at alternet by Riki Ott, PhD, who is “a community activist, a former fisherm’am, and has a degree in marine toxicology with a specialty in oil pollution. She is also the author of Sound Truth and Corporate Myth$: The Legacy of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill.” This is a good read: Here’s How Exxon Tried to Avoid Paying for Its Massive Oil Spill — Let’s Not Allow BP to Do the Same

In Alaska, the killing did not stop in 1989. Twenty-one years later,  buried oil is still contaminating wildlife and Prince William Sound has not returned to pre-spill conditions – nor, honestly, will it. The remnant population of once-plentiful herring no longer supports commercial fisheries and barely sustains the ecosystem.

While local efforts to boom Louisiana’s fragile coasts to keep the oil out will help people feel productive and empowered (and this is important), it is an unfortunate truth that the booms have limited utility and effectiveness. In even mild sea conditions, oil will wash over and under boom. Further, underneath the visible oil slick, there is an invisible cloud of toxic oil dissolved into the water column and this dissolved oil is deadly to shrimp and fish eggs and marine life.

Still, the Gulf spill has one advantage over the Alaska spill – hot weather and the relatively warm ocean will speed the work of bacteria to degrade the Louisiana crude. Even so, the initial toxic hit is likely to harm generations of wildlife, similar to what happened in Prince William Sound.

The oil industry has had over 40 years – since the 1967 Torrey Canyon tanker spill in England – to make good on its promise to cleanup future oil spills. This latest spill highlights the harsh truth that the industry has failed to live up to its promise. It is time for Americans to demand of our leaders accountability and closure of fossil fuel industries – as we transition to new energies.

Well guess who they had on Democracy Now this evening?

(Video embed success! thanks to edger!!)



Riki Ott

PLEASE NOTE: Rachel Maddow is set to air live from Venice, La tonight, 9PM Eastern, msnbc. I’ll update with video of that, if I deem it worthy. 😛

Why does all this remind me of this now famous quote?

But why should we hear about body bags and deaths, and how many, what day it’s gonna happen, and how many this or that or what do you suppose? Or, I mean, it’s not relevant. So, why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that… Barbara Bush

29 comments

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  1. Photobucket

    • Edger on May 4, 2010 at 3:27 am

    Curious how their logo looks so much like it was inspired by an oil well drill bit instead of an environmental friendly flower, isn’t it?

  2. missed it but here

    • Edger on May 4, 2010 at 5:21 am

    hat tip to slinkerwink today

    In other news, the White House has said it’s premature to change its position on offshore drilling, citing the need for the review by Department Interior Secretary Salazar to be completed first:

    The Obama administration said on Monday that it remains “premature” to rule out including additional offshore drilling as part of comprehensive energy legislation, even as Senate Democrats warn that such a provision would make the bill “dead on arrival.”

    White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said that the president will determine whether to stay with or abandon his call for additional drilling off various parts of the coast once he gets the findings of an investigation into the massive oil spill in the Gulf.

    Asked if the president’s thinking on the matter had evolved as the news of oil spilling in the Gulf has grown worse, Gibbs said that the administration’s priority remains “to plug the leak in the floor of the ocean, deal with the spread of the oil on the surface, to ensure that we are doing all that is possible to prevent environmental and economic damages.”

    “The investigation [by Salazar] is to determine what happened and to use that information going forward to dictate any changes in our policy,” he added.

    IOW, asked if the president’s thinking on the matter had evolved as the news of oil spilling in the Gulf has grown worse, Gibbs said:

    No.

  3. h/t to A Siegel at L’Orange who included this link … and Im glad b/c this has been nagging at me.

    The problem with the April 20 spill is that it isn’t really a spill: It’s a gush, like an underwater oil volcano. A hot column of oil and gas is spurting into freezing, black waters nearly a mile down, where the pressure nears a ton per inch, impossible for divers to endure. Experts call it a continuous, round-the-clock calamity, unlike a leaking tanker, which might empty in hours or days.

    and

    Most of the media is calling the undersea volcano of oil a “leak” or “spill, which creates a serious misimpression of what BP and the government are up against.

    We need to stop referring to it as a ‘spill’. At this point, a spill is quaint in comparison.

  4. that clean-up technology is still so primitive and ineffectual.  They’ve turned drilling into a complex (obviously flawed) art form.  

    But where are sea-skimming tankers (think floating, oil-filtering sea surface scrapers/scoops)?  Where are methods for causing the oil to clump into large, scoopable wads?  Oil attractors?  Oil vacuums?  Giant “fishing net” type collectors, maybe dragged between two large ships with super booms?  Effective barriers to corral the oil?

    You’d think effective spill cleanup would be a growth, high-profit industry, worth some high-tech investment and research.

  5. Obama playing his tough sherrif straight shooter role.

    Seen it before, means n-o-t-h-i-n-g.

    BP will spend a bunch of money, could be billions, but there is now way that this disaster will cause BP to go bankrupt, which is should. The BP CEO will not lose his job, in fact he will probably end up getting a large bonus after he successfully “socializes” most of the “losses”.

  6. very interesting, dont see that too often, eh?

    Gulf Oil Spill: Government Regulator Downplayed Environmental Impact Of Spill

    n the wake of the growing environmental catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, BP is being blamed for discounting the potential for a massive oil spill and underestimating its effects.

    But the federal agency tasked with oversight of offshore oil drilling may be even more responsible for understating the impact of a spill in the environmentally-sensitive area.

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