BP and contractors face "pathetically inadequate" fines. BP convinces a federal judge to let them avoid some lawsuits. BP refuses to help clean beaches. Family oil-support business still struggling after gusher. The newly-split BOEMRE names leadership. New Orleans Times-Picayune editorial: Hold BP accountable. The Federal probe might not help much, but sets stage for some new rules.
You are in the current Gulf Watchers BP Catastrophe - AUV #556. AUV #555 is here.
|Follow the Gulf Watchers tag by going clicking on the heart next to the Gulf Watchers tag at the bottom of this diary.||Follow the Gulf Watchers Group by going here and clicking on the heart next to where it says "Follow" in the Gulf Watchers Group profile on the right. You will have to scroll down a little to see the profile.||Bookmark this link to find the latest Gulf Watchers diaries.|
Gulf Watchers Diary Schedule
Wednesday - afternoon
Sunday - late morning
Friday Block Party - evening
Please be kind to kossacks with bandwidth issues. Please do not post images or videos. Again, many thanks for this.
Michael Bromwich, the current head of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, soon to be chief of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) says the fines to be assessed on BP and its contractors involved in the Deepwater Horizon blowout are "pathetically inadequate".
The notice of the fines for non-compliance in violation of seven offshore drilling regulations will be sent to BP, Transocean and Halliburton in the coming week.
The investigation by the Coast Guard and the BOEMRE found that the three companies violated seven regulations, such as failing “to take necessary precautions to keep the well under control at all times.” The breakdown of the infractions has BP in violation of all seven; Halliburton and Transocean were found to have violated three.
(To read the report, please click here. It's 244 pages long, and very dry...)
The joint committee maintains that BP and its contractors, Transocean and Halliburton, violated the following federal regulations, with the first one looking like a total disregard for everything in general...
30 CFR § 250.107 – BP failed to protect health, safety, property, and the environment by (1) performing all operations in a safe and workmanlike manner; and (2) maintaining all equipment and work areas in a safe condition.
Bromwich says the fines assessed for the abject flaunting of all known safeguards by BP and its contractors are not enough, given the amount of money the companies make and their ability to pay said fines.
“The fine structure has got to be increased,” Bromwich added, so that there are “meaningful dollars” attached to violating offshore drilling regulations.
Well, duh... Your heart may be in the right place for the most part, Mr. Bromwich, but good luck with the situation regarding oil companies ever changing.
BP has found a federal judge in Houston to dismiss several lawsuits brought by institutional investors of the company on the grounds that the suits should have been filed in the United Kingdom rather than in the United States, because BP is a British company. (Could this be the beginning of a legal gambit to enable BP to weasel out of even more litigation? Stay tuned...)
U.S. District Judge Keith P. Ellison in Houston agreed with BP’s arguments that the claims should be filed in U.K. courts because the company is based in London. Ellison said he may reverse this dismissal if English courts “refuse to accept jurisdiction” for reasons other than the plaintiffs’ failure to comply with procedural requirements.
Investors maintain that BP was in the wrong when they knowingly put profits ahead of safety, a claim upheld by the BOEMRE in the National Response Team's report.
Judge Ellison ruled that US law does not hold in the suits; that English law governs the dispute.
“The primary concern of this derivative litigation is the internal affairs of an English corporation, and the suit seeks to recover damages for the benefit of BP only,” Ellison said in his ruling. “English law governs this dispute and will determine whether the individual defendants breached their fiduciary duties and harmed BP in the process.”
I am not a lawyer (IANAL) but this sounds to me like a real stretch on Judge Ellison's part. (See: conference table, money under?) Maybe a lawyer-type person can explain...
The beaches bordering the Alabama town of Gulf Shores are dirty again after Tropical Storm Lee churned the ocean and threw up a new crop of oil and tar balls. Local crews are working longer shifts in an effort to once again clean up the mess. Grant Brown, city spokesman for the town, says BP has not been very helpful with this current cleaning project, agreeing to send a few representatives, but declining to make any of the specialized cleanup equipment available, as the company did shortly after the spill.
Neighboring Orange Beach has also requested help.
Phillip West, the city's coastal resource manager, said shovels and rakes often aren't enough to remove the oil and tar soaked in the sand by the storm's surge. He said the beach needs a thorough cleaning and a crewman with a shovel may not do the trick.
The spokesman for BP, Ray Melick, said the crews would "go out and get an assessment of what's needed to handle the cleanup."
R&D Enterprises in Harvey, Louisiana, saw its business drop by 80 percent after the Deepwater Horizon blowout initiated a moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf.
Leslie Bertucci and her husband, Dan Ness, founded R&D 11 years ago in their house in Metairie to manufacture and rent specialized equipment to deepwater drillers. When the moratorium clanged down and the Gulf went quiet, Bertucci said revenue plunged 80 percent almost overnight.
Bertucci says their firm was informed it did not qualify for a slice of the $20 billion BP fund, although more than $144 thousand dollars worth of their businesses' equipment that was on the Deepwater Horizon rig is now lying on the floor of the Gulf.
"We haven't received a penny. Not a penny," she said.
Yeah, it's the BOEMRE press release, but that's as good a place to start as any...
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today named current Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) Director Michael R. Bromwich to lead the newly formed Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and current BOEMRE Senior Advisor Tommy P. Beaudreau to lead the newly formed Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).
Okay, that's enough. You now know just about everything you need to know. Suffice it to say that it will probably be two-part harmony on the same old song rather than the solo we've gotten used to...
In today's editorial, the New Orleans Times-Picayune again says BP is responsible for death and destruction, and should pay...
The federal government's most conclusive report on the Deepwater Horizon disaster reaffirms the crucial finding shared by some of the other probes into the tragedy: that BP's failure to assess the well's risks and the company's relentless drive to cut corners at the expense of safety were the main catalysts for the catastrophe. That unequivocal conclusion should demolish BP's efforts to deflect blame for the blowout and the subsequent oil spill, especially when it comes to determining payment of the massive fines related to the incident.
(Please click here for the whole thing. It's a good read.)
The Joint Commission's report may change the way offshore drillers do business...or not.
The report provides fodder for legal battles over the disaster and sets a foundation for new government mandates on offshore wells and the emergency equipment that secures them.
But others say that nothing will actually change.
A contention that BP has argued from the beginning is that they were not completely to blame for the blowout, and others - Transocean and Halliburton to be specific - should shoulder some of the financial blame. The report does include others in the blame, but has BP as the main culprit.
“It’s favorable to BP in that it doesn’t find BP solely at fault,” said Joseph Soliz, a Houston oil and gas attorney and law instructor following the case.
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:
|9-16-11 06:45 PM||Gulf Watchers Block Party: Road Trip Edition||BlackSheep1|
|9-14-11 04:00 PM||Gulf Watchers Wednesday - Final Report on Spill Out Today - BP Catastrophe AUV #555||shanesnana|
|9-11-11 03:57 PM||Gulf Watchers Sunday - BP Fouls Gulf Beaches Again - BP Catastrophe AUV #554||Lorinda Pike|
|9-09-11 06:59 PM||Gulf Watchers Block Party: Burning State Editio||BlackSheep1|
Previous motherships and ROV's from this extensive live blog effort may be found here.
Again, to keep bandwidth down, please do not post images or videos.