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Friday, April 29, 2011

Collusion keeps spilling, spinning, drilling, destroying

Oil industry, Government against common defense, general welfare 
“In the last quarter of the eighteenth century, there was no country in the world that governed with separated and divided powers providing checks and balances on the exercise of authority by those who governed. A first step toward such a result was taken with the Declaration of Independence in 1776, which was followed by the Constitution drafted in Philadelphia in 1787. In 1791 came the Bill of Rights. Each had antecedents back to the Magna Charta and beyond.” [Warren E. Burger, Chief Justice of the United States 1969-1986]

From policy analyst, author and activist Antonia Juhasz’s April article “Voices from the Gulf Oil Disaster” Excerpt and editing with end comment by Carolyn Bennett

Deepwater Horizon “lost a game of chicken with the Macondo oil well — the ‘Well from Hell.’ Oil buried 18,500 feet below the ocean’s surface fifty miles off the Louisiana shore had made it clear time and again that it had no intention of being pumped out of the earth.…”

The fourth largest corporation in the world, third largest oil company, British Petroleum or BP, “refused to listen” and Government regulators, “playing out their overly intimate and trusting relationship with the oil industry, rubber-stamped every cost-cutting and progressively deadly decision.”

Eleven men died. The Deepwater Horizon capsizing released BP’s oil and gas monster into the Gulf of Mexico. …

“Five million barrels of oil and some 500,000 tons of gas were released. Ripped out of the earth’s core, forced out of the well, the oil and gas exploded into the U.S. Gulf of Mexico spewing forth in a torrent as much as 80,000 barrels of oil a day strong. The monster laid forth a deadly rampage that would take it across the Gulf and onto the beaches, wetlands, and shores of four states.

“Both BP and the Obama administration did their best to hide the truth”  — It was well over a month before the public was let-in on the secret of the full size of the monster — and then they assured us that the monster was gone long before this was so…. “Though the administration launched a historic response effort in the wake of the disaster including tens of thousands of government employees, national guardsmen, and military personnel who made heroic sacrifices, the ultimate failure of the administration was its attempt to make the whole thing disappear from public sight and mind — whether through propaganda or dispersants.”

The ‘cure’ proved to be worse then the disease. “Nearly two million gallons of toxic chemical dispersants were simultaneously mixed into the water and sprayed from the air, while at least 410 fires were ignited on the water’s surface to burn the oil away.

The consequences for those living in, on, and from the water have been profound, ongoing, deeply interrelated.

“Thousands of animals have died, including sperm whales, endangered sea turtles, dolphins, fish, and birds — among them Louisiana’s State Bird, the brown pelican. The entire food chain has been affected. The long-term effect on countless species and their habitats remains an open question.”

The administration left far too much of the response effort to BP. It relinquished to a corporation what should have been the duty of government: “to determine life and death decisions about public health, worker safety, economic livelihoods, the environment, and entire ecosystems. …” The administration instead “minimized the size and significance of the disaster” and in doing so “played into the hands of [effectively colluded with] an oil industry working to ensure that no meaningful long-term policy changes emerge.…”

What happened to the promise of 1787?

 We the people of the United Statesin order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity do ordain and establish this CONSTITUTION …” [Preamble to the Constitution of the United States of America]

“… [I]t is time to call for a full moratorium on offshore drilling to ensure such an event never occurs again,” Antonia Juhasz concludes. “We must demand immediate financial compensation to those whose lives and livelihoods continue to be devastated.” We must also demand the immediate start of Gulf restoration.

Burger continued —
“The work of 55 men at Philadelphia in 1787 marked the beginning of the end of the concept of the divine right of kings. In place of the absolutism of monarchy, the freedoms flowing from this document created a land of opportunities… 
“It is important that all who love freedom have an appreciation and understanding of our national heritage—a history and civics lesson for all of us.” [Warren E. Burger, Chief Justice of the United States 1969-1986, Chairman of the Commission on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution]

Sources and notes

“Voices from the Gulf Oil Disaster — It is the largest oil disaster in U.S. history (Antonia Juhasz), http://www.tyrannyofoil.org/article.php?id=776; Antonia Juhasz on Twitter: ww.twitter.com/AntoniaJuhasz

Guardian UK: “Obama administration accused of helping BP hide the oil in the Gulf — The Macondo well is plugged but environmental groups say government agencies are still helping BP play down the spill” (Suzanne Goldenberg, U.S. environment correspondent, guardian.co.uk), September 17, 2010, http://www.guardian.co.uk/envir

Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with Antonia Juhasz, who talks about the economic and political power of the oil industry to weaken regulations on drilling safety — and the widespread belief that the current spike in oil and gas prices is due to oil market manipulation and speculation. Juhasz is author of Black Tide: The Devastating Impact of the Gulf Oil Spill, http://tyrannyofoil.org/article.php?id=780

Between the Lines – “Economic and Political Power of Oil Industry Succeeds in Weakening Deep Water Drilling Regulations” (Scott Harris interview with Antonia Juhasz, Between the Lines, RealAudio   MP3), April 27, 2011, http://btlonline.org/2011/seg/110506cf-btl-juhasz.html

Antonia Juhasz
Policy analyst, author and activist Antonia Juhasz is a leading oil industry expert and critic who also specializes in international trade and finance policy.  Juhasz is Director and Founder of the Energy Program at Global Exchange, a San Francisco-based human rights non-profit organization.

She is the lead author and editor of the 2009 and 2010 editions of “The True Cost of Chevron: An Alternative Annual Report.” In addition to Black Tide: the Devastating Impact of the Gulf Oil Spill, she is author of The Tyranny of Oil: the World’s Most Powerful Industry, and What We Must Do To Stop It. Antonia Juhasz holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in public policy from Georgetown and Brown universities. 

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