Topics: Senate Repugs preparing to ram through ambitious new environment-destroying oil and gas drilling plans. Blowout preventers are no guarantee against disaster. The Obama administration flags idle oil and gas leases, while the industry says there aren't any idle leases. Missing BP laptop has personal information on claimants. New Orleans Times-Picayune editorial: Learn from mistakes. Anniversary flight to Deepwater Horizon site planned. Scientists find 2,000 year old corals near spill site.
You are in the current Gulf Watchers BP Catastrophe - AUV #495. ROV #494 is here.
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Largely hidden in legislation unveiled Thursday in the Senate, Sens. David Vitter (R-Pampers) and John Cornyn (R-Oilsucker) have slipped in items that would open the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve to drilling, restrict environmental groups from taking legal action against habitat-destroying projects, and force the government to approve a pipeline to bring Canadian oil-sands crude to the Gulf Coast.
“This measure will take the boot off the neck of domestic energy producers and unlock our domestic energy potential,” Cornyn said.
...an immediate balm for rising oil prices... Yeah, right. Doesn't matter that it takes at least six to eight years from drill to gas tank... as long as the robber barons get their pockets lined as quickly as possible. And since oil prices/supplies are set globally, even "our" oil is not, nor has it ever been, "our" oil... But it is what the unwashed masses want to hear. The pipe dream of cheap gas again one day (and that's 'Murican gas, don't 'cha know) is enough to generate votes from the woefully uninformed... And that is just what Sen. Pampers is counting on.
But Vitter said he thinks the political pressure from rising gasoline prices could change the dynamic on Capitol Hill.
And with the American Petroleum Institute policing the safety of oil and gas drilling, less restrictive legislation would allow the industry virtual free rein with the environment, sinking a well wherever they please, even in a national park...
David Alberswerth, a senior policy adviser at The Wilderness Society, said the Republicans’ drilling bill “puts the foxes in charge of the hen house” by effectively ceding control of federal lands to oil and gas companies.
**And for your Friday morning listening pleasure, the theme song for today's diary, compliments of our very own Crashing Vor, is... They Want It ALL.
From the "well, duh!" files... Blowout preventers are no guarantee against disaster.
As expected, oil and gas producers are fearful of reports that blowout preventers are actually not as advertised - even in optimal conditions (which never occur) BOPs are not a sure-fire way to stop a raging gusher, especially at depths of a mile or more beneath the ocean's surface. Gary Luquette, Chevron’s president for North America exploration and production, says he hopes the perceived problems with the BOPs will not discourage the permitting process.
The best way to deal with a blowout is never to have one. In this case, the pipe was blown up the hole because of a loss of control situation. If you have complete loss of control, you can’t imagine a BOP that can be designed for that.
Bromwich says that the system needs to be strengthened, and the blowout preventer should not, as he says others have, be accepted as the best safeguard against disaster.
There was a complacency that existed. The companies believed their own reassurances. It’s never been a riskless activity. There are risks. All you can do is drive down risks and prepare for the ‘what ifs’.
And speaking of permits and leases...as noted in the report from the Department of the Interiorthis past Tuesday, more than half of the oil and gas leases in the US and territorial waters are not currently being used, prompting accusations that the oil and gas industry - and not the government - is restricting production by sitting on leases, waiting for energy prices to increase, and the pain at the pump to become so uncomfortable that a bought-off Congress will let Big Oil drill anywhere they like.
“We continue to support safe and responsible domestic energy production, and as this report shows millions of acres that have already been leased to industry for oil and gas productions sit idle,” said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar in a statement. “These are resources that belong to the American people, and they expect those supplies to be developed in a timely and responsible manner and with a fair return to taxpayers.”
Representative Ed Markey, (D-Mass) was less magnanimous, and said that “multi-billion dollar corporations (are) warehousing millions of acres of public lands, waiting for the price of oil to skyrocket.”
Sounds logical to me...
Senator Robert Menendez, (D-NJ) said that before opening new areas to drilling, Congress should do more to force companies to develop the leases they already have. He has accused oil companies of camping out on leases to pad their portfolios.
“It’s simply wrong for oil companies to be sitting on federal leases to boost their stock prices while American families feel the pain at the pump,” Menendez said.
Jack Gerard, president of the American Petroleum Institute called the accusations a political stunt.
“This is clearly an effort to divert the attention of the American people away from the fact that the administration at every turn has delayed or deferred or restricted our own access here at home,” Gerard said in an interview. “It is a way to divert the public’s attention from their outright inaction.”
A*holes... And remember, boys and girls...a department of the American Petroleum Institute is tasked with human and environmental safety on oil rigs. I know that makes me feel so much better...
And the excuses just keep on coming. Industry: No such thing as ‘idle leases’.
In his speech Wednesday outlining a broad national energy strategy, President Obama cited an Interior Department report that says the oil and gas industry has vast numbers of leases sitting idle.
And if the claimants in the BP gusher legal wrangling didn't have enough to worry about already, like how to pay the mortgage and feed their families, now they have to worry about identity theft.
BP says one of its employees lost a laptop containing personal data belonging to thousands of residents who filed claims for compensation after the Gulf oil spill.
An editorial from the New Orleans Times-Picayune says BP and government officials had no idea what they were doing after the Deepwater Horizon blowout.
Numerous reports and investigations have established that BP and government officials generally didn't know what they were doing in their early efforts to stop last year's Gulf spill. Now the experts who examined the blowout preventer from the Deepwater Horizon have concluded that some of those attempts to stop the flow may have inadvertently opened a wider path for the oil to gush.
Federal scientists say they have dated coral living near the site of the busted BP oil well in the Gulf of Mexico at 2,000 years old.
The owner of the rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico nearly one year ago is quietly arranging to fly relatives of the 11 men who died out to the disaster site on the anniversary next month.
PLEASE visit Pam LaPier's diary to find out how you can help the Gulf now and in the future. We don't have to be idle! And thanks to Crashing Vor and Pam LaPier for working on this!
Previous Gulf Watcher diaries:
|3-30-11 06:00 AM||Gulf Watchers Wednesday - DOJ Cornering BP for Prison Orange - BP Catastrophe AUV #494||peraspera|
|3-28-11 06:30 PM||Gulf Watchers Monday BP Catastrophe #493 Same old BP||Phil S 33|
|3-27-11 11:56 AM||Gulf Watchers Sunday - Feinberg Gets A Raise; Dolphin Deaths Silenced - BP Catastrophe AUV #492||Lorinda Pike|
|3-25-11 06:24 PM||GW Friday Block Party--Movie Edition||Phil S 33|
Previous motherships and ROV's from this extensive live blog effort may be found here.
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