Yanking the BP Disaster Out of the American Memory Hole
It’s been two years. Two years since our collective shock and awe over the worst environmental disaster in American history.
Horrified we watched for three long months as hundreds of millions of gallons of oil relentlessly bled into the Gulf of Mexico.
BP pr handlers and Obama spokespeople asked America to trust that this corporation and our government were seriously responding to the crisis and would do everything possible for future prevention of another such catastrophe.
Here is a stack of resurrected revelations and new revelations about the disaster that we must not let disappear into a national memory hole.
Eleven men died when BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig exploded. (Robert Weissman)
The blowout spewed nearly 5 million barrels of oil and more than 6 billion cubic feet of natural gas into the Gulf of Mexico. (Common Dreams)
BP made a conscious decision not to install a $500,000 safety device that could have prevented the blowout. (Robert Weissman)
As a cleanup strategy, BP flooded the Gulf with nearly 2 million gallons of chemical dispersants. BP claims the dispersants broke up the oil. Some scientists insist they simply made the oil less visible while poisoning even further the food chain. (Jordan Flaherty)
“To this day, however, not a single executive—from BP, rig owner Transocean, or rig contractor Halliburton—has been held criminally responsible.” (Andre Damon)
After imposing a brief moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf, the Obama administration continues to do business with BP, continues to give BP lucrative governmental contracts. BP is one of the Pentagon’s largest fuel suppliers. (Robert Weissman)
BP has yet to pay any fines to the US government. (Andre Damon)
“BP is pulling in bumper profits. The company posted a $26 billion profit in 2011, erasing a $4 billion loss the year before. BP anticipates even higher profits in the coming years, with oil prices on the rise and new drilling projects in the offing.” (Andre Damon)
“Last November, the Coast Guard approved drilling for BP's first offshore oil well since the spill, located 250 miles southwest of New Orleans and 1,000 feet deeper than the Macondo Prospect, the site of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. The company has stepped up its efforts to drill in even more remote areas, including the Arctic.” (Andre Damon)
Dolphins are sick and dying, deepwater fish species are stricken with lesions, oyster reefs are gone, sport fish have disappeared from traditional locations. (Common Dreams)
Shrimp are born without eyes, crabs with holes in their shells. Tarballs continue to wash up on beaches. There are mass deaths of deepwater coral, dolphins and killfish. (Jordan Flaherty)
The focus on the Gulf of Mexico after the disaster illuminated the problems of that area over a generation. Land and population loss from grossly excessive oil company drilling. The insane amount of poisoning pollution from treatment plants across the state, especially “cancer alley”, a lineup of industrial facilities along the Mississippi River south of Baton Rouge. (Jordan Flaherty)
"On Wednesday, BP finalized a $7.8 billion settlement with some 100,000 fishermen, hotel owners and others whose livelihoods and health were affected by the spill. The deal puts an end to any speculation that BP might be made to pay the full $20 billion it set aside for damages." (Andre Damon)
"Under the Clean Water Act, the company is liable for up to $17 billion in fines to the government. Confident that it will be made to pay far less than this, the company has put aside just $3.5 billion for this purpose."( Andre Damon)
Both Bush and Obama administrations “fast-tracked” BP’s Deepwater Horizon drill plan. It proceeded without doing an environmental impact study. Obama’s secretary of the interior, Ken Salazar, intervened to oppose a ruling that would have delayed the operation. BP execs cut costs and safety when the operation fell behind schedule and government regulators “turned a blind eye” to accommodate the rush to profit-making. They gambled with the lives of their workers and the welfare of the environment and the many human, animal and plant lives dependent upon it. (Andre Damon)
The White House left the responsibility for cleanup and recovery in the hands of BP, the main perpetrator of the disaster. BP tampered with and destroyed evidence. The US Coast Guard served the needs of BP, as BP dictated activities along the Gulf coast in the months following the spill. (Andre Damon)
The Obama regime asserted that this disaster would not impact expansion of offshore oil drilling.Three days after the 11-death explosion, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs cavalierly and “pragmatically” told the media,“We need the increased production … I doubt this is the first accident that has happened and I doubt it will be the last.” (Andre Damon)
A campaign of disinformation followed the explosion. The government and media were uncritical of BP. They enabled BP to spread false and gross under-estimates of the scope and nature of the environmental crisis. Concerned scientists and engineers were prevented from mobilizing and taking emergency measures to contain the disaster. (Andre Damon)
“The government's response to the BP disaster was analogous to its response to the financial crisis.” Continue to reward as well as trust the perpetrators to do the "right" thing at the expense of the national welfare. Money buys impunity. (Andre Damon)
So, we have undergone the worst financial crisis in American history. We have undergone the worst environmental crisis in American history.
And the aftermaths? The perpetrators of both continue to be green-lighted to greater heights of greed and depths of disaster by our pimped-out betraying government representatives and their media lackeys.
A bit of a slap on the wrist rhetorically for the bad boys and girls and after a nominal bit of check writing (what a lot of financial bang for the buck) they are all back to the business of destroying the planet and all that live upon it.
Profits uber alles.
No, we and the earth deserve better than to let all of this slide into a national memory hole!
[cross-posted on correntewire and open salon]