Saturday, October 16, 2010

Killing the Gulf - There Is No Justice

The Obama administration announced today it is lifting the moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico that was imposed in the aftermath of the BP oil spill. But Interior Secretary Ken Salazar gave few details about how soon drilling would resume in the Gulf.

Salazar said he believes it is “appropriate” to allow drilling again in the Gulf now that the Interior Department has reviewed offshore drilling safety and issued new rules on the practice. But he noted that drilling will be allowed only for “those operators to clear the higher bar that we have set.”

  Washington Independent

Yes, they really set some high bars. Like they “bar” they set with the Oil Pollution Act of 1990:

The law stated that companies must have a "plan to prevent spills that may occur" and have a "detailed containment and cleanup plan" for oil spills.


The U.S. Constitution, as interpreted in Gibbons v. Ogden (1824), gives Congress the sole authority to regulate navigable waters.


The [1990] bill was introduced to the House by Walter B. Jones, Sr., a Democratic congressman from North Carolina's 1st congressional district, along with 79 cosponsors following the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, which at the time was the largest oil spill in U.S. history. It enjoyed widespread support, passing the House 375-5 and the Senate by voice vote before conference, and unanimously in both chambers after conference.


So Congress, in its fired-up glory after the Valdez disaster, with this law put a cap on the amount an oil company could be liable for in such a disaster at $75 million. That’s it. Do you think BP is jumping for joy over that? If you do, you’re right. Seventy-five million is a drop in the proverbial bucket to the amount of damage they’ve caused in the Gulf. And, guess what?

[Y]esterday in federal court, an attorney for the oil giant sent shockwaves throughout the Gulf region by suggesting that BP may seek shelter under the $75 million liability cap polluters can invoke under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990.


Frankly, I don’t know who was shocked by that.

U.S. District Judge Carl J. Barbier, who's presiding over the more than 300 consolidated lawsuits against the company, was taken aback when BP attorney Don Haycraft floated the idea of the liability cap. Barbier replied simply that "BP said it would pay whatever [is] necessary."

”Whatever is necessary.” Anyone paying attention should have known that didn’t mean whatever is necessary for the benefit of the damaged.

Haycraft did not dispute BP's oft-repeated stance [that it would “make this right”] -- but he also noted that the company has already forked over "lots and lots" of money.

Add your own expletives. I'll wait.

Following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, numerous U.S. Senators attempted to pass a bill to raise the $75 million cap limit to $10 billion, retroactive to before the spill occurred. Senators of both Republican Party and Democratic Party blocked efforts for new legislation on multiple occasions due to the potential unintended consequences that a new law could have. Democratic Party senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana was quoted in saying “We want to be careful before we change any of these laws that we don’t jeopardize the operations of an ongoing industry, because there are 4,000 other wells in the Gulf that have to go on.” [The ironically – or satirically - named Oil Pollution Act of 1990] limits BP's monetary damages to $75 million for losses to private parties, although it still remains liable for all cleanup costs under the law.


Yeah. They already “cleaned up.” If you haven’t read about that, please do a search of this website. Or go check out Dahr Jamail's posts.

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