Saturday, October 08, 2011

Speaking of BP

“If you got caught humping another woman – [if] you’re both naked and caught in the act – you’d want BP to explain to your wife how it didn’t happen.”

This colorful analogy was proposed by Dean Blanchard, a seafood distributor on Grand Isle, Louisiana, to explain oil giant BP’s continuing machinations to evade liability in the aftermath of the April 2010 disaster.

During a recent discussion in his office, Blanchard told Al Jazeera that the fishing waters off Louisiana are only producing one per cent of the shrimp they formerly produced. “Half of the local fishermen have shut down,” he stated. “They are dying. And [as] for the fishing, every day they are hauling dead porpoises in front of my place. I have a claim filed with BP, but none of us in the seafood business are being paid.”

  Dahr Jamail

Led by Valero Energy Corporation, one of the nation's largest petro-dealers, at least 16 huge refiners are trying to poke a lucrative loophole into the [Texas] state's tax laws. Since 2007, these refiners have been required by the EPA to help cut the deadly air pollution spewing from America's vehicles by installing "hydrotreater" equipment that removes toxic sulpher dioxide from the gasoline they sell.

They did – but they're petulantly demanding a retroactive refund on property taxes they've paid since then on the hydrotreaters, claiming that any industrial equipment that reduces on-site pollution is tax-exempt. Nice try, but the professional staff of the state environmental agency points out that this reduction in air pollution doesn't occur on-site, but in people's cars. Indeed, the air around the refineries is actually more toxic now, because the corporations are simply burning off the sulpher dioxide they remove from the gasoline.

However, Valero appealed to the agency's political appointees, all named by Texas' corporate-hugging governor, Rick Perry. Sure enough, the politicos are expected to hand out some $135 million in tax refunds to the oil giants. Where will that money come from? Nearly half would be ripped right out of the local school budgets that were already decimated by Perry's $4-billion cut this spring in state funding for local districts.

  Jim Hightower

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

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