Thursday, May 13, 2010

Really? Sen. Lisa Murkowski Blocks Efforts To Make BP Pay Full Oil Spill Cleanup Costs

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Big Oil) today blocked the Senate from passing the Big Oil Bailout Prevention Act, a self-explanatory piece of legislation from Sen. Bob Menendez that would raise the liability cap on British Petroleum to $10 billion, making sure the company - and not U.S. taxpayers - shoulders the full cost of cleaning up its ever-worsening mess in the Gulf of Mexico.

Currently, the company's liability is capped at a meager $75 million, a mere fraction of an anticipated cleanup bill that is expected to reach into the billions.

What did Sen. Murkowski have to say for herself?

"Well, I just don't think a company that's already given my campaign $7,000 this year should have to pay another $10 billion on top of that."
Whoops! No, silly... no politician worth his or her salt would ever say a thing like that! What Sen. Murkowski really said was:

“We want to ensure that those that are responsible pay for the economic loss, the damages that are incurred. We’re with you on this. But the reason I stand and object at this point in time is I don’t believe that taking the amount of the liability cap from $75 million, where it is currently, to $10 billion in strict liability – 133 times the size of the current strict liability limit – is where we need to be right now. And I’m not the only one who suggests that maybe we need to understand just a little bit better how much we might need to look at raising the limit.”
That's some superb logic, Senator. According to Murkowski, we're going to ensure that the company responsible for a multi-billion dollar oil spill pays the full cost of cleanup by leaving in place a $75 million cap on that company's liability.

It seems that Sen. Lisa Murkowski would rather see U.S. taxpayers foot the bill for cleaning up BP's disaster than hold the company accountable. Watch her fearlessly defending Big Oil here (start at 17 minutes in).

The Gulf Oil Spill in Numbers

Here is a look at some of the shocking data surrounding BP's role in the Gulf disaster:

$450 MILLION: The estimated total BP has spent so far to clean up its catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

$93 MILLION: BP’s daily profit during the first quarter of this year.

Five: The approximate number of days of BP’s profits that would cover its total cleanup costs thus far.

11 percent: The percentage of Americans who hold a positive view of BP, according to a new poll from NBC and the Wall Street Journal.

2 percent: The size of the current leak relative to what BP promised federal regulators it could handle in its drilling permit application.

260: The number of failure modes the supposedly “fail-safe” blowout preventer used on BP’s leaking Mississippi Canyon 252 well had.

This is why Big Oil can't be trusted with our nation's safety and economy; they are too busy making massive profits to bother investing in effective safety mechanisms. It's time to stop pouring our money into the pockets of the oil industry and transition to cleaner, safer, more sustainable energy sources.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

BP, Halliburton and Transocean At Congressional Hearing: "Don't Blame Me!"

Fresh off of today's Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing, Josef Hebert of the Associated Press writes about the apparent PR strategy of the three companies involved in the catastrophic and ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico:
BP PLC told Congress Tuesday its massive Gulf oil spill was caused by the failure of a key safety device made by another company.

In turn, that company said BP was in charge, and that a third company that poured concrete to plug the exploratory well didn't do it right. The third company, which was plugging the well in anticipation of future production, says it was only following BP's plan.
It wasn't an accident that all three companies - BP, Halliburton and Transocean - used the stage provided by the hearing to blame each other: the Wall Street Journal reported this morning that Halliburton and Transocean had been making a concerted effort to heap blame for the problem on BP alone.

Which leaves us to wonder: exactly how much manpower are these companies spending developing PR strategies at a time when their efforts to contain the spill are failing so miserably?

Monday, May 10, 2010

BP May Plug Leak With Golf Balls and Tires

BP officials, still licking their wounds from a failed attempt to place a dome over the Gulf oil leak this weekend, are now thinking "outside the box" for alternative solutions. In other words: they're getting desperate.

One such official told the BBC today that the company may attempt to clog the rig's failed blowout preventer with shredded debris - like tires and golf balls. The method is "not much different to the way you might plug up a toilet," said BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles.

Now there's an analogy that inspires confidence. Still, as goofy as it may sound, it must be better than doing nothing at all, right? Not necessarily:
"Experts have warned that any further damage to the blowout preventer - a huge valve system meant to turn the oil off - could see it shooting out at 12 times the current rate."
Officials from BP, Transocean, and Halliburton will have to answer a litany of uncomfortable questions this week at a series of hearings on Capitol Hill. (Like, why didn't the blowout preventer actually prevent the blowout?)

It's looking more and more like a plan never really existed for dealing with a spill of this magnitude. And now as BP scrambles to come up with solutions, it's clearly far too late.

At this point, they might have better luck calling a plumber.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Really? Serously? Quote for the Ages

Reacting to the failed...err...unsuccessful...err...whatever...

Here's what BP chief operating officer Doug Suttles said when the oil giant's first attempt to stop the oil spill with a dome didn't work.
"I wouldn't say it's failed yet. What I would say is what we attempted to do ... didn't work."
All we can say is...really? Seriously?