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Bleeding Gulf Is Evidence of Corruption in Oil Drilling Oversight


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19 May 2010, 11:35 AM
President must step in to prevent Arctic from being next victim

Revelations flooding out of the Gulf oil spill disaster provide damning evidence about the main federal agency tasked with regulating offshore oil leases. Corrupted by its closeness to the oil industry and lax oversight from political leaders, the Minerals Management Service allowed British Petroleum to drill under risk-heavy circumstances, in waters too fragile to sustain a major spill, without an adequate plan to keep a spill from being catastrophic.

Sec. of Interior Ken Salazar is taking small steps to address the inherent conflicts of interest that have crippled the MMS mission, but much more is needed. Most immediately, decisions MMS already has made must be dealt with -- especially with regard to the Arctic Ocean.

Direct intervention from the president and the secretary of interior are needed to prevent the potential for another Gulf disaster from spreading to America's Arctic Ocean, where Shell Oil—with a plan approved by the MMS —is poised to begin drilling this summer. If you think you've heard the president say that there will be no new drilling until the cause of the Gulf blow-out is understood, think again. So far, there has been no reconsideration of the permits to drill in the Arctic this summer.

The reasons for intervention are twofold. First, marine scientists agree that drilling's impacts on the Arctic Ocean have yet to be adequately studied. The Chukchi and Beaufort seas, where the drilling would take place, are among the world's most remarkably wild places; home to many animals, fish, and the native people who depend on them. We have a responsibility to ensure that these American treasures won't be spoiled in the event of a large oil spill like the one unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico.

This is particularly true because an oil spill in the Arctic Ocean's icy waters, far from significant infrastructure, would be much more difficult to stop, contain and clean up than a spill in the temperate and accessible Gulf of Mexico.

Second, MMS is supposed to thoroughly review drilling proposals to ensure they comply with environmental laws and that detailed plans are in place to deal with possible accidents. Shell—like BP in the Gulf of Mexico—downplayed the likelihood of a spill in its drilling plans.

Right now, we don't have assurance that Shell—or any company—can effectively contain an Arctic spill. MMS never required Shell to submit a plan of what it would do if its drill rig, which the company says it would use to respond to a major oil spill, was disabled, as happened in the Gulf. In light of the Gulf spill, Shell is scrambling to come up with its version of a plan.

And no analysis was done of the likely effects of a spill from Shell's drilling in Arctic waters on wildlife or Alaska Natives, who have long warned—based on their intimate familiarity with the region—that an Arctic oil spill would be disastrous. Without much better spill response plans that prove Shell could clean up spilled oil in the Arctic, more scientific data, a full assessment of impacts, and a full investigation of the failures that led to the Gulf spill the Obama administration must prevent Shell's Arctic drilling plans from going forward.

Back in the Gulf of Mexico, it's abundantly clear that having response plans at the ready is critical to swiftly and effectively containing a spill. BP has been struggling for a month to stop its hemorrhaging deepwater well, which has fouled the Gulf's waters with hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil a day. The company's obvious lack of preparation for dealing with the catastrophe is attributable in part to the fact that MMS waived key requirements for oil spill response strategies in BP's plan to drill.

Most frightening, the rubber-stamped BP permit isn't one-of-a-kind. In 2008, MMS sent a notice instructing oil companies operating in the Gulf of Mexico to not bother submitting worst-case oil spill scenarios and response plans in their drilling plans. Earlier this week, Earthjustice filed suit to challenge these unlawful exemptions, which may have been given to as many as 60 additional Gulf of Mexico drilling plans.

MMS's "anything goes" drilling policy is a serious national threat, and the stain on their reputation is indelible. Charged with collecting billions of dollars in annual royalties on offshore oil drilling permits as well as ensuring drilling complies with environmental safeguards, MMS is a bit like a casino owner who's also responsible for helping gamblers beat their addiction to gambling.

President Obama has endorsed plans to divide the hopelessly compromised agency into separate entities. But, while reorganizing MMS may be a small step in the right direction, we need much more significant reform to change the laws and regulatory agencies that govern offshore drilling. We must focus on balanced management of the ocean ecosystem rather than a rush to drill. We should not sacrifice the very ecosystems we depend on in pursuit of ever more fossil fuels.

Our energy future will not be found by Shell and BP in coastal waters, but rather in a national embrace of real, 21st century solutions that promote conservation, invest in clean renewable energy, protect our natural heritage, and wean us off of coal and oil. Success in these efforts—a national imperative—may be the crowning achievement of this century.

Like so many other folks I'm completely fed up with the rampant greed and complete disregard for the enviornment that companies like BP exhibit. I guess being a mere millionaire isn't enough anymore. You've got to be a billionaire or you're just a loser. Politicians and corporate heads are going to continue to take, take, take until there's nothing that's worth taking left for anyone. I think they should all be lined up in front of a firing squad for injustices towards humanity and planet earth. At some point Mother Earth will show us who's the boss here unless "We The People" figure out how to stop this kind of insane greed. sesli sohbet

I cannot send you money on the internet but I can through the mail. Please send me an address to send it to.

Stop the drilling before it is too late!
Our very lives hang in the balanace all because of greed.
With out our healthy ocean we will become unable to live on this planet.
I love this earth and it breaks my heart to think that these people are not being held accountable for the major distruction they have caused all in the name of greed and the all mighty dollar!

they should start by firing Ken Salazar and bring criminal charges against ceo of BP it just goes to show that money get things done in Washington regardless to the detriment of all spices on this earth.If we allow these corporation to run the country we are all complacent in there destruction of our environment We need to make the planet and all that live on it more important that corporate profits.WAKE UP PEOPLE.

We could have had alternative energy a decade ago if it was'nt for Congress and the big oil companies. It is disgusting that BP has such little regard for the environment that they did'nt have a plan if there was an accident. All they care about is money, why did'nt they attempt to plug this hole 3 weeks ago? I think it's because they just wanted to see how many ships they could fill with oil! The people of Louisiana should sue the government and BP, and Off-shore drilling should be banned forever! This whole disaster is sickening and could have been avoided!

Why is the Obama administration not being called out on this? we elected him into office expecting change from Bush's cozy alliances with big petrol, just to find out the democratic party is in the same bed taking fists full of cash from the same people, why isn't the federal govt dealing with this disaster? in the end this will be much worse than anything that ol bush did in iraq. at least sadams oil wont be spilling up on florida beaches, oh by the way BP contributed 70 thou to Obama's campaign, so it looks like republican or democrat both parties are bending us over to the oil compaines!!!

Regardless of whose in the driver seat politically. Man is greedy and selfish and our attitude is until it breaks ignore it. Step 1. Boost how great it is. Step 2. Manipulate the public. Step 3. Gotcha! Step 4. Blame Game. Step 5 Lessons Learned. Step 6. Consequences Step 7. Accountibility (not applicable in the last administration) Step 8. Smear Campaign Step 9. More Whining Step 10. Man's destruction is his own obstruction. Kill Baby Kill.

Every permit issued by the MMS should be suspended until the agency is re-structured and then every permit should be re-evaluated with more stringent guidelines to prevent environmental damage and disasters like is occurring now in the gulf.
Also, the laws on liability should be changed to remove any limits on potential liability to companies mining or extracting minerals.

The statement..."In 2008, MMS sent a notice instructing oil companies operating in the Gulf of Mexico to not bother submitting worst-case oil spill scenarios and response plans in their drilling plans."...is extremely bothersome to me. If these exclusions are unlawful, and they should be, the individuals who ordered the issuance of the exclusions must be held accountable for their actions. We need to send a message that government agency rules and regulations are in place to serve the whole population and cannot be ignored for the benefit of a few individuals or corporations.

Mr. President! It is now time to set an example for the entire USA as well as the world!

Please reinstall all of those solar panels back on the White House, as well as all the government buildings in Washington DC! Let's show the world we mean business by example!

Mr President, it's time to write a Presidential Order to Stop Oil Exploration, and Production of these fossil fuels in our USA lands, as well as our waters.

What you saw recently in the Gulf Of Mexico should send a clear message!

We are counting on you now!

BP, Shell and all the other environmental spoilers on this earth, you need to STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING! You are using your money to buy congress and Americans are sick and tired of your lies! Look what happened to our Guld of Mexico, the Exxon Valdez, and now you all want to drill in the artic? Why in the would do you want to continue to contaminate our earth. FOSSIL FUELS ARE OUT, PERIOD!
You need to use your money to delevop other sources of energy production, like Solar, Wind, and etc. Why dont you spend your dirty money there? It would be a huge support to turn your names around for the greener good!

Look how many people you have unemployed because of your dirty fossil fuel? You need to take responsibility for more than a trillion dollars, clean up our environment, and if you still want to stay in business, then start exporation and production of CLEAN ENERGY!

We are not going to sit on our behinds and wait. Thank Earthjustice for stopping Chevon in California from pollutiong anymore. Now you have to pay for your mistakes and going back and making sure that you pay for all the past residents for health monitoring, and present residents as well!

CLEAN ENERGY IS NOW THE THING FOR THE 21ST CENTURY! Not fossil fuels or coal!

For the sake of this planet and all the species that live here...... we need to end the "polluted politics" now. I cannot comprehend how anyone in their right mind, especially after this astronomical environmental disaster, would support the "slick and sleazy" oil companies. Could it be that pollution is finally affecting our brain cells?

For those who want to DO something about this, SEN has posted on a single page links to over 30 petitions and other on-line actions you can take, at http://sen4earth.org/articles/2010/05/05/gulf-oil-disaster-action-central/

This is so huge, I cannot believe EVERYONE is not marching on Washington, in the same method as tea parties. Ken Salazar needs to be nailed to a wall about what he has/has not done during his time in office. My blood runs cold whenever I consider that this drilling could cause another spill of the magnitude of the Gulf spill. We all need to really reconsider how we might vote in November. We need to flood the White House and Congress with protest mail and letters of enlightenment. This President, who so many of us trusted to do the right things with our lands and seas, is not fulfilling his campaign promises. WE NEED TO REMIND HIM OF WHAT HE PROMISED, REGARDING THE ENVIRONMENT.

We must move to better energy alternatives, this is abundantly clear in the light of this tragedy.

The oil companies are not to be trusted. They are motivated solely by their greed for profits. British Petroleum originally called the Gulf oil spill "tiny" in comparison to the size of the Atlantic Ocean. Then BP minimized the amount of oil gushering out of the underwater hole they created. Then they announced a limit to the amount of money they were willing to spend to cap the gusher. Evidence has come forth revealing that they didn't install the proper safety precautions in the first place. IF OIL COMPANIES ARE ALLOWED TO CONTINUE TO DRILL EITHER OFF-SHORE OR IN FRAGILE ECO-SYSTEMS AREAS, THE DAMAGE TO OUR PLANET WILL BE MONUMENTAL. IT MUST BE OUTLAWED NOW AND FOREVER.

I am so angry about this spill in the Gulf. It wouldn't have happened if regulations had been in place. But do to greedy corporations that didn't want to spend a half million more when building the platform and complicit oil people like Bush and Cheney, the proper emergency turn-off valves weren't installed. So here we are watching while thousands and thousands of barrels of oil fill the Gulf waters every day killing all kind of sea animals and birds and contaminating the sea and filling the Gulf with oil. It is quite possible this spill could destroy the Gulf ecosystem beyond any future remedy to make it whole again.

I am so angry about this spill in the Gulf. It wouldn't have happened if regulations had been in place. But do to greedy corporations that didn't want to spend a half million more when building the platform and complicit oil people like Bush and Cheney, the proper emergency turn-off valves weren't installed. So here we are watching while thousands and thousands of barrels of oil fill the Gulf waters every day killing all kind of sea animals and birds and contaminating the sea and filling the Gulf with oil. It is quite possible this spill could destroy the Gulf ecosystem beyond any future remedy to make it whole again.

We now know that oil is not environmentally sound. Lets end drilling in our waters.

This is terrifying. We need to protect the Earth before it becomes an unrecognizable and unpleasant place to live. Stop catering to Big Oil and instead look to the larger picture - we are destroying the Earth with our dependency on FF. It's time to let these large companies fail. Their time has come. Bring in the solar and wind! It's criminal that we are not using the sun as our MAIN source of energy. It's pathetic, really. When humankind looks back on this time many years from now (provided we survive as a species), they will certainly be looking at us the way we today look at the cave man: small brains.

Amen to that!

This is a very important cause. Please pass this bill!

Mr. President - please step in and prevent Arctic from being the next oil spill victim.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE meet the promises to which you committed when WE THE PEOPLE committed to you and put you in office. If it's lobby-strength that sways you - then know this...the same lobby that put you in office - WE THE PEOPLE - can take you out of office. Keep your promises if you want to keep your job!

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE meet the promises to which you committed when WE THE PEOPLE committed to you and put you in office. If it's lobby-strngth that sways you - then know this...the same lobby that out you in office - WE THE PEOPLE - can take you out of office. Keep your promises if you want to keep your job!

BP's disaster in the Gulf should be ample warning that off shore drilling in Arctic waters should be prohibited. What we need is systematic energy conservation plan that encourages using less energy not more.

This is ridiculous, all the promises that a supposedly environmental president" have gone by the wayside. I supported him fully, now he is just an embarassment.

This is a very important cause. Please pass this bill!

Like so many other folks I'm completely fed up with the rampant greed and complete disregard for the enviornment that companies like BP exhibit. I guess being a mere millionaire isn't enough anymore. You've got to be a billionaire or you're just a loser.
Politicians and corporate heads are going to continue to take, take, take until there's nothing that's worth taking left for anyone.
I think they should all be lined up in front of a firing squad for injustices towards humanity and planet earth.
At some point Mother Earth will show us who's the boss here unless "We The People" figure out how to stop this kind of insane greed.

It is amazing to me that with the tragedy unfolding in the Gulf which will more than likely soon be spreading up the entire east coast of the US that we are continuing to allow deepwater offshore drilling as well as drilling in any environmentally sensitive area. Why do these oil companies have the right to kill our oceans?This simply must stop before our oceans reach the tipping point from which there will be no recovery. When our oceans die, our planet dies as well.What will BP tell us then? That all things being considered the damage is very ,very modest.

It has been a series of disappointments with the Obama administration's environmental record so far. Offshore drilling, nuclear power, oil shale mining, etc. Obama even supports the International Whaling Commission's decision to resume commercial whaling. This is an environmental president?

Tired of corruption, take care only of interest of rich people, and destroying are planet, thousand of lifes are suffering now for that disaster. We need more fair laws. Of course BP need and has to pay for all damage caused, but who give to us back all lifes, please take out of this county those stupid companies.

BP better shape & speed up the process.
They need to start listening public..The public is trying help BP with tons of ideas to help clean up the mess.
BP completely ignores customers ideas & its all their faults.
Too much blames games going around...Stop the cry baby crap.

HURRICANES SEASON IS COMING SOON
If the hurricanes hit the areas where all the oil spills.
Its going to spread wide & far when Hurricanes hits.
Going to be a tragic disastrous if they don't speed up.
And Its will cost BP even more money for clean up.

SO SPEED UP & LISTEN FOR ONCE!!!
CUT THE CRY BABY CRAP!!!

Doesn't Dick Cheney's "Secret Energy Policy" ever get the scrutiny it deserves? Even after the worst ecological catastrophe in our history?

British Petroleum has treated the US as Britain did under King George. BP must pay in full measure for the damage they caused.

Generalized answer: Yes, Empire. No, regulation!

There will be no regulation of the Global Empire --- financial, ecological, social, military, legal or otherwise.

The Global corporate/financial/militarist Empire that controls 'our' country does not want, and will not suffer, regulation of any kind to get in its way!

Best luck against this Empire,
Alan MacDonald
Sanford, Maine

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