Thursday, June 17, 2010

"Smokey Joe" Barton Sends Tony Hayward A Loving Apology

A great video came across this R?S? blogger's email today following Rep. Joe Barton's (R-TX) absurd apology to BP's Tony Hayward. Let's just say that Buckcherry + Joe Barton + Tony Hayward = Super.

Rep. "Smokey Joe" Barton APOLOGIZES To BP For Company Having To Create Cleanup Fund

Is Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) a real person? Or is he just a really long-running SNL sketch of a member of Congress?

"Smokey Joe" has said some pretty ridiculous things about energy in recent months. But at today's House Energy and Commerce Committee Hearing on the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, Barton took straight-faced comedy to a new level. According to The Hill:
A top Republican lawmaker apologized to BP on Thursday for what he said was a "shakedown" by the government of the oil company in forcing it to create a $20 billion fund to pay out damages resulting from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce, said that the relief fund that President Barack Obama had forced the company to create was, in essence, a "slush fund."

“It is a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown, in this case a $20 billion dollar shakedown,” Barton said during opening remarks at a hearing today at which BP CEO Tony Hayward will testify.

Never mind that ExxonMobil never paid what it owed for the Valdez spill cleanup. Let's just trust BP! Because they've been so trustworthy and forthcoming so far, totally never denying that massive underwater oil plumes have formed in the Gulf of Mexico, and totally never misunderestimating the flow rate of the ongoing spill.

Yet Barton's remarks get even better:
“I am ashamed of what happened in the White House yesterday," Barton said, apologizing to the oil company.

Barton called the $20 billion account a "slush fund," and said he did not want to live in a country where private companies could be compelled by the government to create such accounts.

“It's unprecedented in our nation’s history, it has no legal standing, and it sets a terrible precedent for the future," he said.
On what we are sure is an unrelated note, Barton has taken more than $27,000 in campaign cash from BP, making him the third-highest recipient in the House.

Watch "Smokey Joe" apologize to BP here.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Spill Response "Plans" From Oil Majors Are Sloppy, Downright Absurd

Executives from Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips, Chevron and Shell joined BP on the Hill yesterday for a House Energy Committee Hearing. Facing questions about their disaster-response plans, the executives whose companies were not involved in the BP disaster insisted that such a spill would not have happened on their watch (because surely, the other big oil companies of the world wouldn't be so careless as to make the same mistakes).

While these companies hoped to distance themselves from rival BP and its shoddy contingency plan, it became clear that theirs were equally useless. In fact, they were shown to be near carbon copies, all written by the same firm.

One portion of these regional response plans – filed for drilling efforts in the Gulf of Mexico – listed “sea lions, seals, sea otters (and) walruses” as wildlife that could be affected in the event of a Gulf spill. How kind of big oil to look out for the cute and cuddly creatures of the world. Yet there's one, minor problem: those animals' don't even inhabit the Gulf of Mexico. Their ranges are confined to much, much colder climates; places like, you know, the Arctic.

Other particularly ridiculous facets of these plans:
  • Exxon Mobil revealed its emergency response plan includes 40 pages on dealing with the media and only nine on dealing with an oil spill.
  • Some of the plans direct media spokespeople never to make “promises that property, ecology or anything else will be restored to normal."
  • Two of the companies also incorporated contact information for a Florida marine researcher who died in 2005.
Well done, gents.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

BP CEO Tony Hayward Is Lady Gaga's Newest "Little Monster"

BP, the company responsible for the ongoing oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, is sparing no expense... when it comes to protecting its reputation, that is.

According to multiple reports, the company is engaged in a costly public relations campaign, ranging from paid television ads in which CEO Tony Hayward promises to "make this right" to buying up search terms on Google and Yahoo so that people searching for "oil spill" will get BP's official site as their top result. According to ThinkProgress, it's a tactic designed to drown out non-profit groups (like environmentalists) who might use the Web to criticize the company.

Yet BP ads are cropping up in much more bizarre places, like YouTube music videos for the popular artists Lady Gaga and Ke$hia.

That's right: it appears BP is so desperate for love these days that the company is begging fans of pop music to "friend BP on YouTube." Check out this screenshot, in which a smiling Tony Hayward tries to make BP some new internet buddies among viewers of the hit single "Telephone."

Maybe they're trying to push back against this slick little YouTube shenanigan, in which a user doing a pretty good impression of Lady Gaga remakes "Bad Romance" into a hatred-filled ballad about the, um, less than honest nature of the company's public statements regarding its spill. Opening lyrics include:
BP...lie lie lies
Yeah so what, some birds die
Laugh, laugh to the bank
HA HA, an oil rig sank.
Good luck competing with that, Tony!