Saturday, June 19, 2010

BP denies Anadarko 'negligence' claim.

It can't be helpful to BP that one of it's own partners working on the Deepwater Horizon rig has accused it of "gross negligence" for it's handling of the Gulf oil spill.

BP said it "strongly disagrees" with Anadarko Petroleum, who said BP's behaviour in the run-up to the disaster was "reckless".

Anadarko, the largest independent oil and gas company operating in the Gulf, owns 25% of the well.

Of course, there is probably a financial implication for any company which owns 25% of the well, especially now that Obama has forced BP to hand over $20 billion as a down payment for those who have lost their livelihoods.

But still, it is at times like these that the truth can come out, with companies fighting to avoid paying the huge costs of cleaning this up.

James Hackett, chief executive of Anadarko Petroleum, said it was considering "contractual remedies" for what the company has described as BP's "gross negligence or wilful misconduct" over the spill.

"The mounting evidence clearly demonstrates that this tragedy was preventable and the direct result of BP's reckless decisions and actions," he said.

Mr Hackett added that Anadarko would have acted differently in the lead-up to the April blowout.

Hackett, of course, is making these accusations at a time when public confidence in BP is at an all time low.

Naomi Klein reports on patience running thin at a meeting between BP and people who have lost their livelihoods because of this spill.

A shrimper named Matt O'Brien approached the mic. "We don't need to hear this anymore," he declared, hands on hips. It didn't matter what assurances they were offered because, he explained, "we just don't trust you guys!" And with that, such a loud cheer rose up from the floor you'd have thought the Oilers (the unfortunately named school football team) had scored a touchdown.

The showdown was cathartic, if nothing else.

I can well understand the anger these people feel. For all the reassurances in the world won't make this right again.

If Katrina pulled back the curtain on the reality of racism in America, the BP disaster pulls back the curtain on something far more hidden: how little control even the most ingenious among us have over the awesome, intricately interconnected natural forces with which we so casually meddle. BP cannot plug the hole in the Earth that it made. Obama cannot order fish species to survive, or brown pelicans not to go extinct (no matter whose ass he kicks). No amount of money – not BP's recently pledged $20bn (£13.5bn), not $100bn – can replace a culture that has lost its roots. And while our politicians and corporate leaders have yet to come to terms with these humbling truths, the people whose air, water and livelihoods have been contaminated are losing their illusions fast.

"Everything is dying," a woman said as the town hall meeting was finally coming to a close. "How can you honestly tell us that our Gulf is resilient and will bounce back? Because not one of you up here has a hint as to what is going to happen to our Gulf. You sit up here with a straight face and act like you know when you don't know."

That woman speaks a truth which Obama, BP, and everyone else is trying to avoid. There is simply no way on Earth that anyone can guarantee that this can be "put right". We simply don't know how many decades it will take to repair the damage which BP have inflicted on the ecosystem of the Gulf coast.

If they did this, as Anadarko alleges, through "gross negligence", then some of them deserve to be prosecuted.

But the stupidity of the "drill, baby, drill" brigade cannot be forgotten.
Drilling without thinking has of course been Republican party policy since May 2008. With gas prices soaring to unprecedented heights, that's when the conservative leader Newt Gingrich unveiled the slogan "Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less" – with an emphasis on the now. The wildly popular campaign was a cry against caution, against study, against measured action. In Gingrich's telling, drilling at home wherever the oil and gas might be – locked in Rocky Mountain shale, in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and deep offshore – was a surefire way to lower the price at the pump, create jobs, and kick Arab ass all at once. In the face of this triple win, caring about the environment was for sissies: as senator Mitch McConnell put it, "in Alabama and Mississippi and Louisiana and Texas, they think oil rigs are pretty". By the time the infamous "Drill Baby Drill" Republican national convention rolled around, the party base was in such a frenzy for US-made fossil fuels, they would have bored under the convention floor if someone had brought a big enough drill.

Obama, eventually, gave in, as he invariably does. With cosmic bad timing, just three weeks before the Deepwater Horizon blew up, the president announced he would open up previously protected parts of the country to offshore drilling. The practice was not as risky as he had thought, he explained. "Oil rigs today generally don't cause spills. They are technologically very advanced." That wasn't enough for Sarah Palin, however, who sneered at the Obama administration's plans to conduct more studies before drilling in some areas. "My goodness, folks, these areas have been studied to death," she told the Southern Republican leadership conference in New Orleans, now just 11 days before the blowout. "Let's drill, baby, drill, not stall, baby, stall!" And there was much rejoicing.
The Republicans are trying has hard as they can to turn this into Obama's Katrina, but the mindset which BP displayed, this reckless belief that deep water drilling's dangers could be safely ignored, is actually the nearest thing to their own.

You can't insist on drilling and then try to make the spillage someone else's fault. That's simply not feasible.

Click here for full article.

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