BP Disaster: Brewed By Corporate Greed And Republican's Corruption
The Bush White House 2005 energy billâ€”shelved â€œacoustic switches.â€ These devices couldâ€™ve shut off the oil flow on the ocean floor when the manual switches malfunctioned. The acoustic switch costs around $500,000.
[Speaking Truth To Power]
Last Thursday, British Petroleum’s CEO, Tony Hayward, apologized before Congress saying he was “deeply sorry” for his
company causing the worst oil spill in American history.
The April 20 explosion, at the company’s Deepwater Horizon offshore rig, killed 11 workers and for the last month has
been spewing several hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil in the Gulf of Mexico region from its undersea well.
Anywhere from 30,000 to 60,000 barrels a day is gushing from the blowout. An estimated 66 million to 120 million gallons has already spilled. Some 120 miles of U.S coastline has been affected by the disaster.
CEO Hayward told the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations: "The fire and explosion on the Deepwater Horizon never should have happened and I'm deeply sorry that it did." He also stated "I understand the seriousness of the situation, the frustrations and fears that continue to be voiced."
Hayward said no one was fired because “I have seen no evidence of reckless behavior.” In response to questions of BP’s safety records, Hayward said “We’ve engaged in systematic change at BP over the past three years. We have begun to change the culture.”
Some lawmakers were skeptical of Hayward’s sincerity. Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA) accused Hayward of “stonewalling” the committee by answering vaguely and avoiding specifics. He bluntly told Hayward "You are not taking responsibility. You are kicking the can down the road." Congressman Waxman argued that BP disregarded safety and took “tremendous risk” to beef up their bottom line. “BP’s corporate complacency is astonishing,” he said adding “BP cut corner after corner to save a million dollars here and a few hours or days there. And now the whole Gulf Coast is paying the price.”
Internal BP documents showed engineers warned of potential problems with installing cheaper components to the oil well—as
well as possible safety violations. Those concerns were ignored. Reportedly, the committee scoured some 30,000 company documents. Waxman told the CEO: “There is not a single e-mail or document that shows you paid even the slightest attention to the dangers at the well.”
Why should billionaire oil executives care about the dangers that "small people"—a description used by a BP executive to refer to Gulf area people, albeit he felt he was saying something positive—will have to face? With only toothless “regulations” in place, these kinds of outrages will continue to occur. The BP Disaster isn’t just an “accident.” It’s a direct result of the deregulation movement.
Ironically, some Republicans have the audacity to blame President Barack Obama for mismanaging the government’s response. Some even claim that this is President Obama’s “Katrina.” Curiously, these are likely the same people who said nothing of the Bush Administration’s ineptitude during Hurricane Katrina, which took the lives of nearly 2,000 people—even though their was advance warning that storm was approaching.
This disaster, like the recent West Virginia mine explosion and the Wall Street financial meltdown was created by those who’ve championed the doctrine of deregulation. During the Ronald Reagan years, the argument was that “big government” was the enemy of big business. Reagan said “government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem." Apparently, “big government” is acceptable when the U.S. is ready to invade another country or to legislate restrictions of what people do with their bodies.
It isn’t acceptable to Reaganites when government creates social welfare programs, such as Healthcare Reform, to help working-class Americans. On the other hand, the Reaganites push legislation to imprison people for drug usage. Given the chance, they will repeal abortion rights.
The disciples of this flawed, failed philosophy are now asking for “big government” solutions to cleaning up the Gulf. Former Vice President Dick Cheney --architect of the Iraq disaster-- recently talked about “the President's lack of action in the Gulf oil leak" claiming President Obama "doesn't have enough executive experience, or experience in Washington, to make things happen."
Let's start with Cheney’s company: Halliburton. One of the more underreported facts is that at the time of this explosion Halliburton was involved in cementing the spaces between the pipes on Deep Water Horizon’s 18,000 foot well. Experts point to the cementing process as the source of this disaster.
Cheney has long been in bed with the oil industry.
Between January to March, 2001, the newly elected vice-president, had covert meetings with some 100 oil executives, to discuss how the Bush White House could help big oil. By 2003, the Minerals Management Services was gutted then appointed with industry-friendly sycophants. This agency is responsible for managing the nation’s oil and natural gas resources in the outer continental shelf. Not surprisingly, the incoming appointees—several of whom were from Cheney’s home state of Wyoming—weakened the safeguards by watering-down the oversight and regulation functions.
One of the regulatory measures shelved—by the Bush White House 2005 energy bill—was the use of “acoustic switches.”
These devices could’ve shut off the oil flow on the ocean floor when the manual switches malfunctioned. But, the 2003 Minerals Management Services study said “acoustics systems are not recommended because they tend to be very costly.”
The acoustic switch costs around $500,000.
So, there you have it. In the end, this disaster is about greedy corporate criminals and those corrupted politicians who’ve ushered in the cancer of deregulation.
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