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Gulf Oil Disaster: Why Obama Was Slighted

Posted by feww on May 6, 2010

BP Granted ‘Categorical Exclusion’ From Enviro Safety

When Our Reader Called Obama: A Serious Self-Hater, Google Promptly Buried The Reasons!

Had the U.S. regulators NOT exempted BP drilling in the GoM from a detailed environmental impact analysis, the deadly explosion and ensuing oil spill disaster might have been averted.

The Minerals Management Service (MMS) granted BP exploration a “categorical exclusion” from a full environmental impact analysis, which is a basic requirement under the National Environmental Policy Act, “according to documents made available by the Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental group,” said a report.

A shrimp boat takes part in a cleaning operation for oil leaked from the Deepwater Horizon wellhead, east of the mouth of the Mississippi river, near the coast of Louisiana, May 5, 2010.  Credit: Daniel Beltra/Greenpeace/Handout via REUTERS

BP’s project was promptly approved in April 2009 by the MMS, the U.S. Interior Department branch that is responsible for managing fossil fuels and all other resources on the outer continental shelf.

“Kieran Suckling, the environmental group’s executive director, said the incident showed the Obama administration’s support for increased offshore drilling had obscured Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s pledge to reform the MMS.” he report said.

“Instead of protecting the public interest by conducting environmental reviews, his agency rubber-stamped BP’s drilling plan, just as it does hundreds of others every year in the Gulf of Mexico,” Suckling said.

“The Obama administration has recognized that there should be more oversight of how agencies use categorical exclusions,” an official at the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), a White House agencysaid.

“That is why CEQ issued draft guidance in February 2010, that addresses the need for monitoring the use of categorical exclusions to ensure that they are being applied in a way that meets their intent.”

MMS has since admitted that up to 400 exploration projects in the Gulf have been granted categorical exclusions!

Corruption, Sex, Cocaine

BP could have demanded the first-born babies of every third family along the coast line and the MMS would have probably accommodated.

“Speaking of the MMS, ProPublica reminded us that it recently faced a scandal when an investigation discovered ‘a culture of ethical failure’ at the agency. The report found that some MMS officials ‘frequently consumed alcohol at industry functions, had used cocaine and marijuana, and had sexual relationships with oil and gas company representatives.’ Another recent investigation found that MMS has withheld data from its own staff involved in environmental analyses and that ‘some of its own scientists have alleged that their findings have been suppressed’ – an allegation which the Department of Interior ‘generally agrees’ with,” said a report.

Just How Much Damage?

About 40 percent of the lower 48 states’ annual commercial fishing is caught in the Gulf Coast, a report says, which is worth $2.4 billion to Louisiana alone. “Right at the beginning of the shrimping season, losses are at least $8 million a day. [A] professor of socioeconomics at the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University, says the region’s catch is expected to fall by hundreds of millions of pounds, costing hundreds of millions of dollars.”

72-hour Trajectory Map of the BP DWH Oil Spill

Click image to enlarge.

Cumulative Trajectory Map

Click image to enlarge.

Just how terrible is BP’s legacy of pollution in the U.S.?

BP was responsible for the largest oil spill to-date on Alaska’s North Slope, writes Craig Welch of Seattle Times, and “faced criminal charges for intentionally dumping hazardous waste near Prudhoe Bay and was excoriated by Congress for a string of oil-pipeline leaks on the tundra.”

“BP’s policies are as rusty as its pipelines. I’m even more concerned about BP’s corporate culture of seeming indifference to safety and environmental issues. And this comes from a company that prides itself in their ads on protecting the environment. Shame. Shame. Shame.” Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, told BP executives during a heated September 2006 hearing,  Welch reported.

Where Next?

BP technicians, welders and seamen have constructed 98-ton 40x24x14 feet steel monstrosity called a “dome” or “chamber” which they intend to lower over the ruptured undersea oil well which has been gushing tremendous volumes of  crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

The barge carrying the massive metal box, painted in morbid white, arrived at the source of the oil spill about 65km (410 miles) off the Louisiana coast earlier today. The oil giant intends to lower the metal box some 1.5km below the sea surface, place it on the ruptured wellhead and then pump the oil out through a pipe placed on top of the box. Will it work? BP says they have never tried it at that depth!

Meanwhile, drilling has already begun for a relief well (May 2), BP reported, but it could take up to three months, before it can be tested.

PORT FOURCHON, La. – Crewmen aboard the motor vessel Joe Griffin guide a cofferdam onto the deck as the ship prepares to depart Wild Well Control, May 5, 2010. The chamber was designed to contain the oil discharge, that was a result of the Deepwater Horizon incident, before it reaches the surface. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Patrick Kelley.
Click image to enlarge.

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Serial No 1,682. Starting April 2010, each entry on this blog has a unique serial number. If any of the numbers are missing, it may mean that the corresponding entry has been blocked by Google/the authorities in your country. Please drop us a line if you detect any anomaly/missing number(s).

2 Responses to “Gulf Oil Disaster: Why Obama Was Slighted”

  1. CNN reported last night that BP supplied cocaine to regulators of the MMS as a way to skirt Federal Rules and regulations. President Obama needs to revoke all drilling permits in all of US waters. All of the issued permits are tainted with corruption and must be revoked and banned.

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