Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Rivers Of Death / An American Chernobyl ?


Oil rivers in Gulf

The exploding Rivers of Death are flowing in the Gulf and have the potential to be America's Chernobyl ~ a living testament to America's addiction to oil, deregulation and top down negligence starting with Dick Cheney and the notorious Mineral Management Service: Allen L Roland

Who, besides BP, is ultimately responsible for the exploding rivers of death in the Gulf which may well be on their way to becoming America's Chernobyl ?

First, let's deal with BP ~ as Democracy Today reveals " BP is a London-based oil company with one of the worst safety records of any oil company operating in America,” says Tyson Slocum of Public Citizen. “In just the last few years, BP has paid $485 million in fines and settlements to the US government for environmental crimes, willful neglect of worker safety rules, and penalties for manipulating energy markets.” We speak with Slocum and with an attorney representing several workers who survived the blast that sank BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig. He’s also representing the wife of one of the 11 workers now presumed dead who is filing a lawsuit accusing BP of negligence."

Peter Sutherland, chairman of BP’s board for the past decade, had headed Goldman Sachs International and, in the 1990s, was a director of the World Trade Organization. "The Goldman Sachs connection remains to be investigated, but it appears Sutherland had a conflict of interest in his dual roles at BP and the Wall Street giant. BP and Goldman were involved heavily in the 1990s and in 2000 in achieving deregulation of energy futures trades from the previous oversight of the Commodities Futures and Exchange Commission (CFTC). As most crude oil futures trades became deregulated, the price of oil skyrocketed from $18 per barrel in 1988 to $36 in 2000, to $110 in 2008." ( Sounds like a Goldman deal ! )

Second, let's go to the top of the oil corruption chain where we find America's Darth Vader, the death lord himself ~ Dick Cheney.

Alex Pareene / Salon explains ~ " Here's the evidence: The Wall Street Journal reports that the oil well didn't have a remote-control shut-off switch. The reason it didn't have a thing that it seems every single offshore drilling rig should have? According to environmental lawyer Mike Papantonio, it's because Dick Cheney's energy task force decided that the $500,000 switches were too expensive, and they didn't want to make BP buy any.

Is that not enough reason to blame the former Dark Lord of the Naval Observatory? Guess what: Halliburton is involved, too! The Los Angeles Times reports that BP contracted Dick Cheney's old company to cement the deepwater drill hole. Cementing the hole was, according to the U.S. Minerals Management Service, "the single most-important factor in 18 of 39 well blowouts in the Gulf of Mexico over a 14-year period." And Halliburton is already under investigation for faulty cementing in an Australian well last year. "

Without elaborating, one of these suits filed by an injured oil-rig technician charges Halliburton " improperly and negligently " performed its job in cementing the well. "increasing the pressure at the well and contributing to the fire, explosion and resulting oil spill."

If cementing is to blame, it could spell new troubles for Halliburton ( who is no stranger to trouble ). For example, It's well work was also suspected in a similar well explosion last August in the Timor Sea, near Australia. It took 71 days to fully cap and contain the spill, according to Australia's Sunday Times. The official investigation is still under way but guess what ~ cementing was the main area of investigation.

Back to the Gulf black Rivers of Death ~ The U.S. Coast Guard estimates that 200,000 gallons a day are gushing into the Gulf but officials say it's impossible to know exactly how much is leaking and engineers are powerless to stop it. ~ mainly because of the incredible pressure behind this huge untapped oil pocket .
Officials say it could take at least three months to cap it which means it would exceed the Exxon Valdez spill of 11 million gallons in 1989 and far surpass the Santa Barbara oil blowout in 1969 which spilled 4.2 million gallons into the ocean.

As Andrew Leonard correctly points out in Salon ~ " If fingers must be pointed, it's just as easy to look back to the previous administration and recall how under Bush's watch the regulatory authority for offshore oil, the Mineral Management Service, was a farcical operation in which oil lobbyists and regulators partied together in

sex-and-cocaine-fueled binges. Oil companies have long gotten what they wanted from whomever was in control in Washington.

Or you can get more granular, and put BP's efforts to ward off and weaken safety regulations under the microscope. BP relied on technology that some petroleum engineers had been warning for years had flaws. But BP's profits depend on extracting oil at the lowest cost possible, not with the greatest safety possible. Just as Don Blankenship made sure everyone at Massey Coal knew that "running coal" was the primary responsibility of mine operators, and skimped on safety, so too did Tony Hayward's BP ruthlessly cut costs to increase profitability. And that, of course, put pressure all down the line ~ on Transocean, the rig operator, and Halliburton, the oil services contractor ~ to get the job done cheaply. "

We're talking about the ultimate culprit here being GREED spelled in capital letters and in BOLD ~ which was the top down mantra of the Bush/Cheney administration and still carries over to the Obama Administration..

Leonard uses the infamous Mineral Management Service as a prime example in his excellent Sept 11, 2008 article on the shenanigans at the U.S. Minerals Management Service (MMS) and prophetically writes " The Royalty-in-Kind Program of the U.S. Minerals Management Service is where offshore drilling meets the U.S. government. And gosh, is it ever one heck of a mess. You want a toxic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico? Just read the reports...."

Leonard concludes his expose with this obvious yet perceptive observation " Does such a cavalier disregard of the responsibility inherent in government office remind you of anyone? If there is one thing that history will remember about the Bush-Cheney years, it will be that this administration was profoundly confident that it was above the law, that the rules governing other mortals simply did not apply to them. What cues do you take from a White House that concocts legal rationales for torture, makes up evidence to justify invading a sovereign nation, and willfully ignores climate change science that might hurt the profit margins of their most avid contributors -- energy companies ? Anything goes! Send out for some more office supplies! Drill, baby, drill! "

As Greg Palast writes about BP ~ " Last year, CEO Hayward boasted that, despite increased oil production in exotic deep waters, he had cut BP's costs by an extra one billion dollars a year. Now we know how he did it. As chance would have it, I was meeting last week with Louisiana lawyer Daniel Becnel Jr. when word came in of the platform explosion. Daniel represents oil workers on those platforms; now he'll represent their bereaved families. The Coast Guard called him. They had found the emergency evacuation capsule floating in the sea and were afraid to open it and disturb the cooked bodies."

So, in reality, the black oil slick of corporate GREED, fed by our oil addiction, has already not only contaminated our shores but is effecting all aspects of our environment ~ For example, the deeply disturbing evidence that honeybees are in terminal decline has emerged from the United States where, for the fourth year in a row, more than a third of colonies have failed to survive the winter. All scientists can deduce is that it's likely a multitude of complex factors (though mostly attributed to pesticides), making a simple fix nearly impossible. It remains potentially one of the worst ecological disasters in history ~ far worse than the BP oil spill for it affects the global food supply across the board. It is estimated that a third of everything we eat depends upon honeybee pollination, which means that bees contribute some 26 Billion to the global economy.

We are all interconnected on this living planet and our well being and survival depends on altruism and mutual cooperation but our oil addicted society and corporate greed lie behind the current Gulf river of death which could well end up being America's Chernobyl.

Stop renewed Offshore Drilling and hold BP accountable ~ Here are the numbers. It's 40 years since the Santa Barbara spill and 20 years since Exxon Valdez and yet we're still being held hostage to big Oil, our oil addiction and greed.

105: Deaths caused by accidents on offshore drilling operations from 1996 to 2009

165: Spills caused by accidents on offshore drilling operations from 1996 to 2009

1,945: Injuries caused by accidents on offshore drilling operations from 1996 to 2009

1,515: Fires and explosions caused by accidents on offshore drilling operations from 1996 to 2009

Take action now !

Allen L Roland

This weblog is sustained through donations from people like yourself. Please send check or Money Order to Allen L. Roland, PO Box 1221, Sonoma,CA 95476 Also accept Visa, MasterCard and Discover ~ call (707) 935-1908.

Allen L Roland is a practicing psychotherapist, author and lecturer who also shares a daily political and social commentary on his weblog and website He also guest hosts a monthly national radio show TRUTHTALK on

Freelance Alternative Press Online columnist and psychotherapist Allen L Roland is also available for comments, interviews, speaking engagements and private consultations ( )


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