Screw around for a couple of months with pantyhose, golf balls and toxic chemicals, and then don’t pay.
Like other oil companies seeking permits for offshore drilling projects in U.S. waters, BP was required to submit an oil spill response plan to the Minerals Management Service (MMS), a sub-agency of the U.S. Interior Department. The question is whether anybody in the federal government actually read it before giving BP its offshore drilling permits?
A careful review of BP’s 583-page oil spill response plan by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), a national alliance of local state and federal resource professionals, shows a document that is “studded with patently inaccurate and inapplicable information,” according to the PEER assessment.
There’s a certain symmetry here: the Minerals Management Service spends their time watching porn, whacked out on crystal meth, rather than reading spill response plans – but on the other hand, BP writes those plans as if they were high on crack.
The people in MMS probably said, “Hey, this plan is a piece of shit, so we might as well get fucked up and horny rather than read it.” Or maybe they were just too busy going out to dinner and to the game on the oil companies’ dime to do their jobs – so much easier to “let oil and gas company workers fill out their inspection forms.”
After all, if there’s a spill, BP will get it dealt with, right? It’s not like it will drag out for months. They must have a real response lying around somewhere. And the law says they have to pay for damages…
What’s that? Damages to wildlife and livelihoods are capped at $75 million? Really? And how much does BP make? $66 million a day.
Million dollar fines and compensation claims may dent the profits of BP and other companies admitting responsibility for ecological disasters but, on their own, are they enough of a deterrent?
The full cost of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to marine and coastal ecology along the US south east coastline, both now and in the future, is only just being realised.
BP has admitted ‘full responsibility’ for the spill, which occurred after an underwater explosion on its Deepwater Horizon oil rig. A blow-out prevention device that guards against such accidents was not working and an extra device fitted for emergencies was not present on the oil rig.
How much is enough?
In a damning statement, the US environmental group the Sierra Club said that BP, which makes more in profit in a week than it has spent on responding to the oil spill so far, should be liable for a limitless amount of costs.
‘There is no limit on the damage done to wildlife. There is no limit on the damage done to coastal communities. There is no limit on the loss of jobs in fishing and tourism. There shouldn’t be a limit on the amount that oil companies like BP are required to pay for cleanup,’ a spokesperson said.
Already more than 19,000 compensation claims have been made, mostly from fishermen. However, the maximum oil companies like BP are liable to pay for such claims is $75 million. A bill aimed at increasing that liability cap to $10 billion has so far been blocked by lawmakers in the Senate who offer the excuse it could adversely impact on small oil drilling companies who can’t afford the liability.
(via The Ecologist.)
Congressional Republicans are trying to make sure that BP’s bill for the losses they have inflicted on the people, communities, plants and animals of the Gulf of Mexico is limited to little more than a day’s profit.
In light of all this, Daniel Gross looks for answers to the question, “What’s the best way to punish BP for the oil spill?“, but isn’t able to come up with anything that seems proportionate to BP’s arrogance and negligence, or to the scale of the environment catastrophe still – with yet another attempt by BP to cap the spill having failed – going on…
How To Punish BP – Fine? Boycott? Lawsuit? What’s the best way to make the company pay for the oil spill?
The damage from BP’s oil spill is mounting. The lucrative tourism business in Florida is suffering. Housing predictor estimates that homes in the path of the leak will lose ‘at least 30 percent in value as a result of the environmental catastrophe.’ The thriving seafood industry in the Gulf has largely been shut down. Huge quantities of oil have been wasted. The spill may cause severe long-term damage to sea life in the Gulf, destroy sensitive coastal marshes, and send oil washing up on Atlantic Ocean beaches. And don’t forget all the jobs and profits that could have materialized from opening up new areas to offshore drilling—but that likely won’t thanks to the spill.
Meanwhile, BP is displaying a frustrating combination of incompetence and insouciance. What with this spill, the explosion in 2005 at an oil refinery in Texas City that killed 15 people, and another spill in the Trans-Alaska pipeline, which it operates, you get the sense that BP is very unlucky or not particularly good at running its operations safely or not particularly interested in the well-being of America’s environment.
Which brings us to the $64 billion question: BP should pay—and pay dearly—for the damage. But how much? And, more importantly, how? What should the United States do to BP that would be satisfying, punish the company appropriately, and, most importantly, provide incentives for BP and other oil firms to act with greater care? I’ve puzzled over this and have come up with a few ideas—none of them very satisfying….(via Slate Magazine.)
For “live” coverage of the attempt to stop the spill of oil, check out: BP oil spill: ‘top kill’ live coverage | Environment | guardian.co.uk.