Gulf of Mexico, Late Jurassic - 2010
"Drill, Baby, Drill"
w/ Brad & Desi
w/ Brad & Desi
w/ Brad & Desi
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(Note: See bottom of toon for a quick comment of mine in response. - BF)
I just wanted to pull out and highlight here my closing comments in regard to the BP Oil Disaster, from the end of today's Green News Report, because no matter how often I keep repeating a similar refrain, nobody --- particularly the Democrats in Washington --- seems to be hearing it...
Don't sell me on anything that you don't know how to fix if something goes wrong.
Why we continue moving forward with such technology that cannot be corrected in the case of a disaster is beyond me.
Why Democrats, including Barack Obama, have not used this opportunity to demand passage of serious climate change and energy legislation --- including a Manhattan Project for clean, renewable energy for all --- remains an absolute outrage.
UPDATE 5/27/10 A bit of, perhaps, encouraging news. At today's White House presser, Obama noted that the BP underscores the need to pass clean energy legislation. Details in today's Green News Report...
So that means, as Think Progress notes, so far the clean up costs for BP have amounted to a little less than four days of profits for them. "At $93 million a day in profits, BP makes $350 million in about 3.8 days."
It seems that recklessness for the fossil fuel industry remains a very safe business model for the time being.
In 1990, following the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, federal legislation was passed to make oil companies responsible for the cost of clean up from such disasters, and liable for up to (a paltry) $75 million in damages. While Congress is currently considering legislation to raise that cap from $75 million to $10 billion, there remains a question of whether or not such legislation would be retroactive to cover damages from the Gulf oil disaster or not.
If it does, as "the largest oil producer in the Gulf of Mexico," and one of "the world's five largest companies," according to WaPo, BP ought to be able to handle it.
Not that they ultimately will have to.
As both WaPo and TP remind us, thanks to a recent decision by the Bush Supreme Court, the "punitive damages against Exxon for the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil-tanker spill were originally set at $5 billion in 1994 but were reduced on appeal. The company agreed last year to pay less than $1 billion, including interest."
It's good to be
king a corporate "person".
CORRECTION: Currently proposed federal legislation would raise the cap on damages to $10 billion, not $5 billion as we originally wrote above. The article has been edited to correct that error. By the way, even at $10 billion, says Daphne Wysham at Huffington Post today, the damage to property and to the fishing and tourism industries, as well as others, could eventually far exceed even that much. As Wysham notes in concurrence with the above: "Crime pays for BP."
Two quickie items from Public Citizen's latest DontGetRolled.org "e-newsletter about the movement to curb corporate influence in politics and restore our democracy," as brought to my attention by Ernie Canning today...
Election spending by third parties and special interest groups is up dramatically
Spending by independent and third-party groups on TV ads for seats in the House of Representatives and the Senate are nearly four times the amount from four years ago - $48 million vs. $11.2 million, reports the Campaign Media Analysis Group, an organization that tracks political spending. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is one of the big spenders, as is the conservative group Americans for Job Security.
Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning
If a picture is worth a thousand words, this short ad from Friends of the Earth says it all about the obscenity that is the Republican slogan, "Drill baby, drill!" The ad was released almost contemporaneously to Sarah Palin's insistence on "drill here, drill now" despite knowledge of the devastation unfolding in the Gulf states as a result of the BP disaster...
I wonder if that one is "too confusing" for Fox "News"?
John M. Broder and Tom Zeller Jr. of The New York Times are kind enough today to offer a front page "News Analysis" which works very hard to offer "balance" on the Gulf oil rig gusher by downplaying concerns of an unprecedented ecological disaster noting "the Deepwater Horizon blowout is not unprecedented, nor is it yet among the worst oil accidents in history."
They even offer a scientific "expert" to help support that thesis:
What they don't do, however, is let readers know that Dokken's "conservation group," the Gulf of Mexico Foundation, is actually sponsored in large part by the offshore oil drilling industry!
Moreover, when asked for comment about the failure to disclose that rather important piece of information, the Times' Zeller is offering what has now become an all-too-familiar-for-the-"Paper-of-Record" rationalization to explain it all away...
Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning
In a May 3 New York Times editorial, "Drilling, Disaster, Denial," Paul Krugman points to a Gallup poll which found: "Americans are now less worried about a series of environmental problems than at any time in the past 20 years" --- a finding mirrored by surveys conducted by the Pew Research Center which revealed that the percentage of Americans who believe "there is solid evidence that the average temperature on earth has been getting warmer over the past few decades," had dropped from 71% in April 2008 to 57% in September/October 2009.
After pointing to the catastrophic events --- the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill and the fire atop a polluted Cuyahoga River --- which gave rise to the first Earth Day in 1970, the Clean Water Act and the Environmental Protection Agency, Krugman suggested that the success alleviating "visible pollution" that was involved in these "photogenic crises" led to reduction in public concern for the less visible impact "of pollution that's invisible, and whose effects unfold over decades rather than days" --- an invisibility which opened the way for hard-right, denialist, anti-environmental propagandists like Rush Limbaugh to succeed.
While there is empirical data supporting Krugman's suggestion of an adverse impact of anti-environmental propaganda, often funded by the likes of Exxon-Mobil and others in or connected to the fossil fuel industry, Krugman's analysis falls short because he fails to examine the role of the mainstream corporate media, especially television, in fostering the invisibility he decries...
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