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Sunday, June 06, 2010

As I said before, it's almost enough to make you think they did it on purpose
Posted by Jill | 5:36 AM
Last week I posted about how the Deepwater Horizon disaster seemed almost too convenient as a way to completely derail the rest of Barack Obama's presidency. I mean, it isn't as if oil companies and the politicians they own give a fig about the environment, other than to the extent that it might interfere with tourism dollars. Do you think that Haley Barbour cares about the people in his state who are losing their livelihoods? Do you think Bobby Jingles cares? These are guys who live solely for their own political careers. They've been touting free unfettered corporatism, and the result is washing up on their shores now. Barbour is out there saying the beaches are completely safe, and Jingles is just whining for more money from the federal government he'd like to dismantle if elected president.

But for Barbour and Jingles, both still touted as 2012 presidential hopefuls, the best thing that could happen is for Barack Obama to continue to seem apathetic and hapless in the face of this disaster (not that Obama can actually DO much of anything, and he's not the tear-in-his-eye, suck-in-the-lower-lip kind of guy that Clinton was). And that is why my tinfoil started tingling just a bit last week when the meme of derailing Obama's agenda found its way into the New York Times.

But while that's a bit far-fetched, you have to start wondering what's going on when you find out that BP CEO Tony Hayward sold a whole bunch of company stock just weeks before his company murdered the Gulf of Mexico:
Tony Hayward cashed in about a third of his holding in the company one month before a well on the Deepwater Horizon rig burst, causing an environmental disaster.

Mr Hayward, whose pay package is £4 million a year, then paid off the mortgage on his family’s mansion in Kent, which is estimated to be valued at more than £1.2 million.

There is no suggestion that he acted improperly or had prior knowledge that the company was to face the biggest setback in its history.

His decision, however, means he avoided losing more than £423,000 when BP’s share price plunged after the oil spill began six weeks ago.

Of course there's no suggestion. Just like there was no suggestion when military planes were ordered to stand down on 9/11/01 and unusual safety drills were held at the World Trade Center two weeks before that day, that it meant any foreknowledge of what was to happen. They have to say that.

But someone ought to be asking Tony Hayward exactly what it was that prompted him to sell his stock. George Bush received a briefing on August 6, 2001. Tony Hayward had the BP Regional Oil Spill Response Plan for the Gulf of Mexico in June 2009. Karen Dalton Beninato at NewOrleans.com went through the whole thing, which is 600 pages of convoluted organization charts (the better to say "Not me, him"), flow charts, and other typical corporate boilerplate, and summarizes:
1) In the worst case discharge scenario (on chart below), an oil leak was expected to come ashore with highest probability in Plaquemines Parish within 30 days (see map above from the Advance Response Plan). This makes it clear that BP could have stored adequate boom there before a rig failure like the Deepwater Horizon, and workers could have been mobilized to apply the boom in the 30 days that the response plan predicted oil would hit our wetlands.


2) Spokespersons were advised never to assure the public that an ecosystem would be back to normal after the worst case scenario, which we are now living through. "No statements shall be made concerning any of the following: promises that property, ecology, or anything else will be restored to normal." Even in BP CEO Tony Hayward's new television commercial his assurance is an ambiguous, "We will make this right," which does not specifically address preserving or restoring America's Wetlands.


3) Corexit oil dispersant toxicity has not been tested on ecosystems, according to the Oil Spill Response Plan. "Ecotoxilogical effects: No toxicity studies have been conducted on this product." It is contradictory that the question and answer section discusses the choice of a dispersant with: "Have environmental tradeoffs of dispersant use indicated that use should be considered? Note: This is one of the more difficult questions" and "Has the overflight to assure that endangered species are not in the application area been conducted?" Brown pelicans and sea turtles would have been the answer to the latter.
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Blogger PurpleGirl said...
Somewhat OT but one of the stories highlighted this morning on RR is one (from the Daily Beast) about an Obama gaffe: he didn't wear white shrimp boots at a photo op/tour/speech. He hurt the LA people's fee-fees. Rudi on the other hand wore FDNY gear when he went to the WTC site... kill me now, please. Can we find a psychic who can channel Edward R. Murrow?

Blogger Elayne said...
Wow, I'm not that conspiracy minded - I usually don't attibute malice to anything that can be just as easily explained away by incompetence - but I don't doubt for a minute that BP knew there was a POSSIBILITY of disaster at any minute, in the same way the WTC builders knew the buildings were far from safe.