Wednesday, August 5, 2020
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Great Reporting From The Gulf By The Green Miles

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Great job by Miles Grant on this. I also strongly recommend The Oil Drum for superb, albeit technical, discussion of the Deepwater oil disaster. Often, over the past couple months, I've learned about things at The Oil Drum that didn't appear in the "mainstream" press until weeks later, if ever. Check it out.

New DNC Ad Goes After the Big Oil Apologist Party

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This is excellent messaging which also has the virtue of being true. The fact is, if the GOP (aka, the "Greedy Oil-company Party") take back control of the House of Representatives this November, then Rep. Joe "I Apologize" Barton would be overseeing BP.  More broadly, if Republicans were in charge, Big Oil would rule the roost, as would Wall Street and other wealthy, corporate interests.  In short, if you want a new "Robber Baron Era" to take hold in tighten its grip on this country, then you most definitely want to vote Republican this November.  If, on the other hand, you prefer government that looks out for the "small people" (as BP calls them) once in a while, then you might want to think twice about that.

“Yours truly, BP”

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Powerful video courtesy of the Natural Resources Defense Council, where I start working on Monday.  Oil disaster courtesy of BP ("Beyond Pathetic") and its CEO ("Covering Everything in Oil") Tony "I'd like my life back" Hayward.

So Much for “Drill, Baby, Drill”

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It's now Day #52 of the Gulf of Mexico Oil Disaster, and we've learned a great deal. First and foremost, we've learned that all those oil industry apologists, including several who used to post comments here, were absolutely, completely, and horribly wrong when they claimed that offshore oil drilling was "safe." Most of us here at Blue Virginia always knew that this argument was an outright lie, or at best "truthy," but now it's deader than the Gulf of Mexico's fishing industry that BP's arrogance and irresponsibility has killed. :(

Second, we've learned that gutting the government, slashing oversight and regulation, and letting the industry - in this case, Big Oil - run amok, is a catastrophe waiting to happen.  For more on this topic, see this article in today's Washington Post. In short, the horrors we're experiencing right now in the Gulf of Mexico - pelicans covered in oil, turtles floating dead in pools of black goo, an entire way of life threatened, billions of dollars in tourism revenue down the tubes, etc. - is the inevitable result of  Club for Growth-style "conservative" "thinking."  Never let anyone fool you again or claim to represent a "compassionate" strain of this nihilistic ideology.  If they try to tell you that, just remind them what happened to the Gulf of Mexico after years of their "let industry get away with murder" policies.

Finally, we've learned what many of us already knew, that Sarah Palin's crazed chants of "drill, baby, drill" were as mindless and toxic as everything else that comes out of her mouth (or read off her hand).  Check out these poll results, which finds that just 25% of Americans now support increased drilling in U.S. coastal waters, compared to 31% who say it should be decreased and 41% who say it should be kept the same. In contrast, 87% of Americans say we should develop more solar and wind power (correct answer!).  In addition, majorities of Americans blame "weak federal regulations on offshore oil drilling," as well as "Inadequate enforcement of existing regulations" and "Unnecessary risks taken by BP and its drilling partners" for this debacle. Once again, correct answers!

In sum, after 52 days (and counting) of horror in the Gulf of Mexico -- all courtesy of the worldview espoused by people like Sarah Palin and Ken Kook-inelli -- any politician who continues to align himself or herself with Palin should be automatically disqualified from serious consideration for public office.  That includes Palin endorsees Carly Fiorina in California, Rand Paul in Kentucky, and Nikki Haley in South Carolina, none of whom should be allowed anywhere close to the seats of power. Unless, that is, you like seeing pictures of dead, oil-soaked dolphins and pelicans, and people whose way of life has been utterly devastated.

Yes, President Obama, Please Kick BP’s Ass!

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Fascinating interview, Barack Obama calm, cool, collected, and in control as always, but also at times sounding a bit un"Vulcan"-like. On second thought. Mr. Spock seriously "kicked ass" when he needed to, and it didn't seem to hurt him any! :) So, I say, "Go Obama, kick Tony Hayward's, BP's, and Big Oil's sorry butts!" Oh, and while you're at it, please turn this crisis into an opportunity - for comprehensive, clean energy and climate legislation that breaks our foreign oil addiction and tells corporate polluters like BP where to shove their dirty money.

P.S. Oh yeah, and please remind people, President Obama, that we're in the mess we're in thanks overwhelmingly to the big oil companies and the Republican politicians (Bush, Cheney, DeLay, Boehner, Cantor, etc.) who love them (and take huge wads o'cash from the same).

President Obama’s Weekly Address, From Louisiana

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...this is the largest response to an environmental disaster of this kind in the history of our country.

We've also ordered BP to pay economic injury claims, and we will make sure they pay every single dime owed to the people along the Gulf Coast.  The Small Business Administration has stepped in to help businesses by approving loans and allowing deferrals of existing loan payments.  And this week, the federal government sent BP a preliminary bill for $69 million to pay back American taxpayers for some of the costs of the response so far.  In addition, after an emergency safety review, we're putting in place aggressive new operating standards for offshore drilling.  And I've appointed a bipartisan commission to look into the causes of this spill.  If laws are inadequate -- laws will be changed.  If oversight was lacking -- it will be strengthened.  And if laws were broken -- those responsible will be brought to justice.

The full transcript is here.

Barack Obama: “A Full and Vigorous Accounting of the BP Oil...

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This is good, now let's hear a clear, compelling, powerful moral narrative about the policies that led to this disaster, how this situation stemmed directly from our addiction to fossil fuels (and our failure to kick that addiction), how the power of corporations vis-a-vis government oversight and regulation is completely out of whack (in favor of the "robber barons"), and how we need to move forward to a completely different energy economy.

I'd also love to hear that, in addition to the moratorium on "new" offshore oil drilling, that current oil rigs will not be allowed to operate unless and until they can prove that they truly have "fail safe" methods to deal with any contingencies and to prevent a future catastrophe like this one. I'd give the oil companies 60 days to present their plans to the federal government. If acceptable, they can continue drilling. If not, they should be shut down until they prove they have satisfied the stringent requirements to drill in our waters. Period.

Unfortunately, to date, I haven't heard either the compelling moral narrative or the tough, new conditions for offshore oil drilling.  The question is, why not?

BP Has New Plan To Distract Us From How Screwed We...

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As I reluctantly predicted last week, BP's "top kill" effort to stop the oil gusher in the Gulf of Mexico didn't work. The inescapable conclusion is that offshore oil drilling technology is far more advanced than offshore oil spill stopping technology.

But wait! BP has a new plan to keep us from seeing this spill as an inevitable overdose of our ongoing addiction to oil! Put down that clean energy & climate bill and check this out:

[BP Managing Director] Bob Dudley said there was a greater chance of success with this operation  than with the "top kill" procedure that was tried last week.

"This is a better chance, definitely better. We're not working with  those high pressures and pumping that we weren't sure we were able to  even connect up. The guys that are running the robots, this is something  that they know how to do. The cutting is probably the critical piece.  We may have to try a couple of blades to do it. But from an engineering  sense, this is much more straightforward. 

If this plan was really so much better than the "top kill" scheme, wouldn't BP have done this a lot sooner? Of course. Because this plan has one major drawback -- it inherently has to make the gusher a lot worse before it has any chance at all of making it better:

VoteVets on Oil Spill: “America Needs a New Mission”

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Another excellent ad by VoteVets.org. What about this clear, powerful message do opponents of clean energy and climate legislation fail to understand?

Live Video: BP’s “Top Kill” Attempt Underway

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Live Videos by Ustream

UPDATE: Also, see the ABC News live feed of what's going on.

UPDATE #2: CCAN (Chesapeake Climate Action Network) has issued a statement on President Obama's cancellation of Lease Sale 220.

The Chesapeake Climate Action Network applauds President Obama for taking the much-needed and prudent step of canceling Lease Sale 220, proposed for 50 miles off Virginia's coast. Canceling the lease sale is an important first step towards what Virginia ultimately needs:  a permanent ban on offshore oil drilling along Virginia's coasts and a sharpened focus on promoting offshore wind and other forms of clean, safe energy.

Now is the time to develop Virginia's clean offshore energy resource: Wind power. The commonwealth could easily get 10 percent of its electricity from offshore windmills, creating up to 10,000 jobs and enough power to run 3.6 million electric cars, with no threat of environmental or economic devastation.

Oil drilling can never be made entirely safe, and the consequences - as we now vividly see - can be catastrophic. The Hampton Roads area is home to the world's largest Naval Station and relies heavily on tourism. An oil spill off of Virginia's coast would be devastating not only to the environment but also to the economy. Industry and government estimates say there is untapped oil off the Virginia coast equal to just 6 to 24 days' worth of national demand. The risks of drilling are far too great for a potential reward that is far too small.

Governor Bob McDonnell wants to make Virginia the energy capital of the East Coast. We agree. Instead of recklessly drilling for oil, Virginia should lead the nation in offshore wind power. Virginians want windmills, not oil spills.


UPDATE #3: The Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club has issued a statement. I've posted it after the "flip."

UPDATE #4: Environment Virginia has a statement as well, after the "flip."