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This diary is part of the 3 day Gulf Recover blogothon.  Thanks to all participants!  Enjoy!

BP has given $1.3 million to candidates and members of congress since 1999.  That's not even that much, compared to the $3.9 million that Exxon has given, or the whopping $4.4 million that Koch has given in that time. (Check the amazing that launched yesterday for more juicy details.)

These are direct contributions, not including money funneled into 501c3 'educational' efforts or to libertarian think tanks.  That's before Citizens United opened up the gates.  This is normal operating procedure in Washington, and what does it buy the oil companies?

The energy industry spends money in congress so to ward off congress from doing it's job: protecting the lives and livelihoods of citizens. Not corporations, not consumers, but citizens.  They spend money to keep us from knowing things, they spend money to get their friends in there.  

What are they so afraid of?  What is worth millions of dollars of money on that could be going to pay bonuses?  Are there instances when the interests of oil companies directly contradict those of citizens?  Are they afraid they'd be on the losing side of decisions made by congressmen not so indebted to oil's largess?

I've been reading a lot of posts by Marine Toxicologist Rikki Ott over on HuffPo.  Her insights into the 20 year saga of the Exxon-Valdez spill have been shocking.  Having endured the Exxon aftermath and lobbied on toxics issues since then, Ott headed straight for the Gulf and has been reporting on the great cover-up ever since.  

Did you know that BP was assuring clean-up workers they didn't need respirators, even as they were getting sick from the fumes?

Does it shock you that Exxon knows more about the effects of an oil spill on people than the public or the government?  Ott writes:

In 1989 Exxon knew cleanup workers were getting sick: Exxon's clinical data shows 6,722 cases of upper respiratory "infections"--or more likely work-related chemical induced illnesses. Exxon also knew workers were being overexposed to oil vapors and oil particles as verified through its air-quality monitoring program contracted to Med-Tox. The cleanup workers never saw results of this program. Neither did OSHA, the agency supposedly charged to oversee and independently monitor Exxon's worker-safety program.

There was no long-term health study set up after the Exxon spill.  Ellen-Marie Whelan and Lesley Russell from the Centery for American Progress write:

No systematic long-term monitoring and oversight was put in place with the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989, and now we wonder what we missed. Several studies following the Prestige oil spill off the coast of Spain in 2002 indicate that some respiratory problems in cleanup workers didn’t show up until years after the spill. Additionally, evidence suggests DNA damage occurred to these workers that could lead to cancers and alterations in hormone status.

And yet, BP executives have the gall to claim that "long term health studies" of oil spill cleanup workers were used as guidance to prevent future illnesses among workers, but immediately admits there were no such studies.  Listen to BP Medical Unit Leader Dr. Kevin O'Shea interviewed by Dr. Sanjay Gupta.  He sounds like he either a) has no idea what he's talking about, or b) trying very hard not to say the wrong thing:

This diary is part of the Gulf Recovery blogathon, and others have said it much better than me.  I would particicularily call attention to Daniel Kessler's amazing piece on ending the age of oil.

The question is: Are we going to take that anger and summon the courage to break our addiction to fossil fuels? Can we spark a global movement that holds governments accountable to develop new energy sources and lead us into a future with an economy powered by clean renewable energy?

Thanks to Daniel's excellent work and Greenpeace's amazing history of bringing national attention to where the fight is the dirtiest, I heartily endorse the Greenpeace petition asking congress to permanently ban offshore drilling, and encourage everyone to dig deeper into this issue.  We can't afford to dig any deeper into the ground for oil.

Gulf Recovery Blogathon Calendar (All times Pacific)

Wednesday August 11

1pm noweasels

2pm boatsie

3pm  Daniel Kessler (Greenpeace)

4pm mogmaar

5pm  Patriot Daily

6pm Project Gulf Impact

Thursday August 12

1pm pico

2pm  Fishgrease

3pm  citisven

4pm Bill Mckibben

5pm  oke

6pm Project Gulf Impact

7pm JekyllnHyde

Friday August 13

1pm  La Feminista

2pm   Pam La Pier

3pm rb137

4pm  Meteor Blades

5pm  Laurence Lewis

6pm Project Gulf Impact

Originally posted to mogmaar on Wed Aug 11, 2010 at 04:52 PM PDT.

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