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Louisiana deep oil drilling disaster
Monday, May 3, 2010

Oceanographer "Cannot Think Of Any Scenario Where The Oil Doesn't Eventually Reach The Florida Keys"

As I explained in detail yesterday, the oil spill may be carried by the "loop current" to Florida:
How could the oil get all the way from Louisiana to Florida, where the Gulf
Stream flows?

As Discovery explains:

Many ocean scientists are now raising concerns that a powerful current could spread the still-bubbling slick from the Florida Keys all the way to Cape Hatteras off North Carolina.
These oceanographers are carefully watching the Gulf Loop Current, a
clockwise swirl of warm water that sets up in the Gulf of Mexico each spring and summer. If the spill meets the loop -- the disaster becomes a runaway.
"It could make it from Louisiana all the way to Miami in a week, maybe less." said Eric Chassignet, director of the Center for Ocean Atmospheric Prediction Studies at Florida State University. "It is pretty fast."
Right now, some computer models show the spill 30 to 50 miles north of the loop current. If the onshore winds turn around and push the oil further south: "That would be a nightmare," said Yonggang Liu, research associate at the University of South Florida who models the current. "Hopefully we are lucky, but who knows. The winds are changing and difficult to predict."
Imagine the loop current as an ocean-going highway, transporting tiny
plankton, fish and other marine life along a watery conveyor belt. Sometimes it even picks up a slug of freshwater from the Mississippi River -- sending it on a wandering journey up to North Carolina.
The Gulf Loop Current acts like a jet of warm water that squirts in from the Caribbean basin and sloshes around the Gulf of Mexico before being squeezed out the Florida Strait, where it joins the larger and more powerful Gulf Stream current.
Oceanographer George Maul worries that the current could push the oil slick right through the Florida Keys and its 6,000 coral reefs.
"I looked at some recent satellite imagery and it looks like some of the oil may be shifted to the south," said Maul, a professor at Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Fla. "If it gets entrained in the loop, it could spread throughout much of the Atlantic."
In fact, new animation from a consortium of Florida institutions and the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, predicts a slight southward shift in the oil over the next few days.
A graphic from the Discovery article shows what the Gulf loop current
looks like:

[Image: gulf-loop-278x225.jpg]
The Gulf Loop Current enters from
the Caribbean basin,
moves around the Gulf of Mexico and
exits out the
Florida Strait, where it joins
the more powerful Gulf Stream current.
Naval Oceanographic Office

According to ROFFS, the oil spill is getting close to the loop current:
[Image: NEGOM02MAY2010OilLG.jpg]
Unfortunately, we may be only 24 hours away from oil entering the loop current. As AP writes today:
Scientists say the Gulf oil spill could get into the what's called the Loop
Current within a day, eventually carrying oil south along the Florida coast and
into the Florida Keys.

Nick Shay, a physical oceanographer at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, said Monday once the oil enters the Loop Current, it likely will end up in the Keys and continue east into the Gulf Stream.


Shay says he cannot think of any scenario where the oil doesn't eventually reach the Florida Keys.
As Orlando's Fox 35 notes:
Brevard County oceanographer, Mitchell Roffer is watching the oil on the
south end of the spill. He says it's starting to push into the gulf stream.
"Thats going to then get pulled around into the loop current then get pulled
down around the east side of loop current off of Tampa and into the Keys," said

He's tracking winds and currents to try to determine where and
when the oil slick hits Florida's East Coast. He says its only a matter of time.
"I think its a question of when, and my colleagues all believe the same thing, I don't believe it will be an if," Roffer said.


Based on a comment to the above:

Here's What You Need To Know About BP's Insurance Setup

BP owns its key insurance company, Jupiter Insurance LTD, according to the company's SEC filings. Jupiter Insurance LTD. [COLOR=#1D637D ! important][COLOR=#1D637D ! important]insures[/COLOR] the company's international oil and gas assets from a base in Guernsey, the offshore UK tax haven. It is likely located in a special purpose vehicle (SPV), which prevents BP from having to make public the firm's assets or liabilities.
Jupiter Insurance retains its BP liabilities, not re-insuring them through another firm or selling them off to further buyers. BP may be forced to pay some of the insurance payments on its own facilities, if it has not prepared Jupiter [COLOR=#1D637D ! important][COLOR=#1D637D ! important]Insurance[/COLOR][/COLOR] to make such payouts.
The company does have to have public insurance on some of its properties. This insurance is suspected to be through Lloyds of London, and be related to loss of property and liability claims.
But through all these less-than-public insurance arrangements, BP's stock is tanking. Maybe the market knows something about BP's insurance liabilities its filings don't reveal?
"Where is the intersection between the world's deep hunger and your deep gladness?"
BP Offering $5K In Quick Cash To Poor Fishing Community in Alabama; State AG Asks Them To Stop By Susie Madrak Monday May 03, 2010 10:00am
This is certainly an effective way to get the American public on your side. Yes, paying off poor people to sign off on their rights is really a thoughtful and generous public relations gesture:
Alabama Attorney General Troy King said tonight that he has told representatives of BP Plc. that they should stop circulating settlement agreements among coastal Alabamians.
The agreements, King said, essentially require that people give up the right to sue in exchange for payment of up to $5,000.
King said BP's efforts were particularly strong in Bayou La Batre.
Close to 30 percent of Bayou La Batre residents (the so-called "Seafood Capital of America" and home to the fictional Bubba Gump shrimp in "Forrest Gump) live below the poverty line. They are people to whom $5000 is indeed a lot of money, and it's of course very kind of BP to offer them a token something for the long-term destruction of their livelihood and environment - especially after the battering they took from Hurricane Katrina. Who knew that BP was a company run by a veritable Mother Theresa?
The attorney general said he is prohibited from giving legal advice to private citizens, but added that "people need to proceed with caution and understand the ramifications before signing something like that.
"They should seek appropriate counsel to make sure their rights are protected," King said.
Tags: attorney general, bp, British Petroleum, Hurricane Katrina, Money, public relations

[CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Massey Energy Co. is offering $3 million to each of the families of 29 men killed in an explosion at its Upper Big Branch coal mine in West Virginia, the daughter of one of the victims said Thursday.

The offer came a week earlier when Massey officials visited the family, said Michelle McKinney, daughter of Benny Ray Willingham. McKinney said other families have received the same offer..... [URL=""] ]
"Where is the intersection between the world's deep hunger and your deep gladness?"
The new revelations came to light after government investigators turned up new emails from Goldman employee Fabrice "Fabulous Fab" Tourre in which he bragged to a girlfriend that the firm was taking a "big short" position on the Gulf.
"One oil rig goes down and we're going to be rolling in dough," Mr. Tourre wrote in one email. "Suck it, fishies and birdies!"
Quote:Alabama Attorney General Troy King said tonight that he has told representatives of BP Plc. that they should stop circulating settlement agreements among coastal Alabamians.
The agreements, King said, essentially require that people give up the right to sue in exchange for payment of up to $5,000.
King said BP's efforts were particularly strong in Bayou La Batre.

Corporate capitalism personified.

This is analogous to the robber capitalism that raped Russia in the 90s, immediately after Glasnost, when the "oligarchs" and western "investors" bought up the shares that ordinary Russians had acquired in return for working for strong nationalized industries for most of their lives. These shares were "bought" for a fraction of their true value from often starving Russians who had no conception of their true value. And so Russia was looted.

It's also analogous to the vulture scum who descend on people whose innocent families have been slaughtered in predator drone and similar attacks, offering a couple of thousand dollars of blood money in "full settlement" for the loss of a loved family member.
"It means this War was never political at all, the politics was all theatre, all just to keep the people distracted...."
"Proverbs for Paranoids 4: You hide, They seek."
"They are in Love. Fuck the War."

Gravity's Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon

"Ccollanan Pachacamac ricuy auccacunac yahuarniy hichascancuta."
The last words of the last Inka, Tupac Amaru, led to the gallows by men of god & dogs of war
Bernice Moore Wrote:The new revelations came to light after government investigators turned up new emails from Goldman employee Fabrice "Fabulous Fab" Tourre in which he bragged to a girlfriend that the firm was taking a "big short" position on the Gulf.
"One oil rig goes down and we're going to be rolling in dough," Mr. Tourre wrote in one email. "Suck it, fishies and birdies!"

This issue among many others gets into the issue of "corporate personhood" that enables a corporation to spend dollars putting forth a political POV (to say nothing of buying judges and legislators), and the not-yet-recognized corollary that if a corporation is a person, it ought to be able to be imprisoned and/or put to death as appropriate to the level of its criminality.

The earth is not dying, it is being killed. And the people who are killing it have names and addresses. -Utah Phillips
"Where is the intersection between the world's deep hunger and your deep gladness?"
But go back to the original Horowitz piece...

It is satire, no? It is tagged as Comedy News and it also speaks of having a "short" on Lindsay Lohan's career.
"Where is the intersection between the world's deep hunger and your deep gladness?"

Americans Call for Corporate Death Penalty After Massey and BP Debacles

[Image: 6a00e550a478bc88340134805924fe970c-500wi]
“Money often costs too much.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

There is no other way to frame it. In the battle for democracy the corporatists are winning. Under the 14th amendment, they believe the corporate 'person' shall not be discriminated against and should receive equal protection under the law. Wal-Mart has argued this corporate position as it insinuates its 'always low prices' and 'always low wages' into inner-city neighborhoods. The legal fiction of corporate personhood has allowed entities that never die and possess incredible resources to assert their own political will on almost every aspect of American life. The US Supreme Court has all but handed the rights of individuals over to multinational conglomerates. But with freedom comes responsibility, or so it does with human beings. Within the same month, neglect on the part of two major corporations, Massey Energy and British Petroleum (BP), have caused the deaths of 4o people. If a 'natural person' were responsible for these atrocities, our government would have them in chains awaiting a trial that might lead to their execution. So why don't we treat the corporate 'person' the same way? As progressive radio personality, Thom Hartmann, puts it: It's time to bring back the corporate death penalty.
Hartmann wrote this on the subject:
President Barack Obama pretty much stated the obvious when he called the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico "a massive and potentially unprecedented environmental disaster."

The oil well pouring a river of crude into the Gulf of Mexico didn't have the normal type of remote-control shut-off switch used in Norway and the UK as last-resort protection against underwater spills, largely because the oil companies themselves are responsible for "voluntary" compliance with safety and environmental standards. It was in 1994, two years into the Clinton administration, when this practice of putting the fox in charge of the henhouse was legalized, about the same time George W. Bush was doing the same thing in Texas, a program pushed hard in the previous administration by Dan Quayle's so-called "competitiveness council" charged with deregulating industry. The accident has led to one of the largest ever oil spills in U.S. water and the loss of 11 lives. Voluntary safety for oil wells, but you and I can get stopped by the police if we don't fasten our safety belts? Eleven people have died because Halliburton and BP wanted to save money. In the first hundred years of this republic it was commonplace for rogue corporations to get the corporate death penalty - being shut down, dissolved, and having their assets sold off. Through the 19th century, it averaged around 2000 companies a year that got the axe. If the Supreme Court now says that corporations are people - and they did - then these corporations should be eligible for the corporate death penalty. Time to break up and sell off the pieces of Halliburton and British Petroleum.

Hartmann says that the US should re-invoke the 'death penalty' for corporations by breaking up those negligent companies and selling off their interests. If corporations want the same rights as people, their 'limited liability' should no longer apply. It's a position that makes sense, especially considering the way the financial, energy and health care industries have operated with impunity over the past several years. Is there any real force to this idea, though?
Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virgina has been cited for 1342 violations and nearly $1.9 million in fines since 2005 alone. Some were much more egregious than others. For example, when rescuers finally got into the mine after 29 people had already lost their lives, they found the fans that were used to pump out methane gas were actually turned the wrong way. The explosion is thought to be the result of high concentrations of methane. Massey's CEO Don Blankenship has shown little remorse for the deaths and even less fear of facing criminal charges, though the violations and some communications between himself and mine management are quite damning. From the outside it looks like pure criminal negligence. In an industry as important as coal, however, will anyone really be held accountable?
Currently, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico is dumping 5,000 barrels of crude oil per day. The slick is quickly approaching the Gulf Coast and residents are preparing for an ecological disaster. Eleven workers are dead after an explosion that some believe could have been avoided. A simple mechanism could have been installed, but in the name of profit, safety again took a back seat. It might not have saved the workers' lives, but it could have thwarted the oncoming environmental onslaught. According to the Wall Street Journal:
The U.S. considered requiring a remote-controlled shut-off mechanism several years ago, but drilling companies questioned its cost and effectiveness, according to the agency overseeing offshore drilling. The agency, the Interior Department's Minerals Management Service, says it decided the remote device wasn't needed because rigs had other back-up plans to cut off a well.

An acoustic trigger costs about $500,000, industry officials said. The Deepwater Horizon had a replacement cost of about $560 million, and BP says it is spending $6 million a day to battle the oil spill. On Wednesday, crews set fire to part of the oil spill in an attempt to limit environmental damage.

This is a classic example of American big business at work. The perpetual quest for short-term profit clouds the better judgment of management. Simply put, if it's not an immediate problem, why worry about it? If it blows up in our face, we'll pay a fine and move on. It appears that the larger a corporation gets, the more it takes on a casino style mentality, playing the odds with the house money because business has been so good for so long, why would it stop now? BP's spill is rare in oil drilling, but might have been avoided by spending as little as 0.01% of their profit margin on an additional safety measure. But the mindset is that it doesn't matter that the acoustic trigger is law in Brazil and Norway, if we don't have to use it, we won't. Keep in mind, this attitude didn't appear out of nowhere. It was developed over many years by the fantasy of nigh-limitless profits, lax government regulation and nominal fines that barely amount to a slap on the wrist.
BP is, of course, unhappy it has to clean up what may be hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil. However, the market will correct the problem when crude oil jumps $15 or $20 per barrel. The increase in price will help BP recover its losses. When the stock price of BP plummets, it will present as a golden opportunity for investors to buy a load of cheap stock that will only increase in value once BP is back pumping oil instead of cleaning hundreds of miles of shoreline. The oil giant will simply write off its clean-up losses and live to fight - and pollute - another day. And don't worry about civil damages. BP's total liability is limited to $75 million thanks to a 1990 law passed when Big Oil lobbied our Congress immediately after the Exxon Valdez spill.
So why is it so unlikely that either of these companies will be found criminally negligent, resulting in the imprisonment of any or all of its officers? Because, contrary to the popular TEA Party belief that big government controls our lives, it is actually the corporate candy of cheap goods and cheap energy that the American people can't live without. Most of us have no idea how to even begin thinking of a world that doesn't revolve around billions of barrels of oil or miles of processed coal. Big Energy knows it has us and our government wrapped around its greasy finger. Year after year our leaders pay lip service to the idea of a new way, a green energy future. But so little has come of it, thus far. It takes catastrophes like these to remind us that the energy business is dirty in so many ways. We can rely on fossil fuels as long as we're willing to pay the consequences; death, dismemberment, environmental disasters, terrorism, unstable nuclear states, all in the name of getting what we think we need. Hartmann's call to reinstate the corporate death penalty, actually holding big business responsible for its actions, is novel and admirable. In a world where money controls a government and its people, however, its only a pipe dream. Unless we decide that enough is enough, we're left to sit around and wait for the next fossil fuel debacle over and over again.
Slavery is the legal fiction that a person is property. Corporate personhood is the legal fiction that property is a person.

Posted at 10:07 AM in Current Affairs | Permalink
"Where is the intersection between the world's deep hunger and your deep gladness?"
Quote:Slavery is the legal fiction that a person is property. Corporate personhood is the legal fiction that property is a person.

Great quotable!

Yeah, the Corporations are 'winning' and everyone and everything living other are loosing! IMHO Capitalism was never a good idea, but now it is killing us - especially in its 'wild/untamed/uncontrolled' American version!

This spill, even IF their planned suction hood or [in six months] relief well 'works', this will be an environmental disaster of epic proportions and effect the entire Gulf and all of its coastline. If the 'hood' fails, the oil may well get into the Gulf Stream itself. The fact that there is a monetary cap [didn't 'ya know?] on the money BP can be held accountable for [and that sum is small compared to the damage this will cause no matter what!] shows how legislation, polity and power are all biased towards the 'Big Corporations' and against life on this Planet.
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
U.S. exempted BP's Gulf of Mexico drilling from environmental impact study

By Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Interior Department exempted BP's calamitous Gulf of Mexico drilling operation from a detailed environmental impact analysis last year, according to government documents, after three reviews of the area concluded that a massive oil spill was unlikely.

The decision by the department's Minerals Management Service (MMS) to give BP's lease at Deepwater Horizon a "categorical exclusion" from the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) on April 6, 2009 -- and BP's lobbying efforts just 11 days before the explosion to expand those exemptions -- show that neither federal regulators nor the company anticipated an accident of the scale of the one unfolding in the gulf.

More here:
"Where is the intersection between the world's deep hunger and your deep gladness?"
Beyond BP: Lessons from Valdez and Bhopal
Tuesday, May 04, 2010 :: [url=javascript:OpenWindow('/news/users/op/usersViewNW/uid/2','OpenWindow','600','330')]Staff infoZine[/url]
[Image: environment.png]What BP has done is just a giant example of what happens constantly with the chemical and oil companies in the Gulf"

Washington, D.C. - infoZine - Luci Beach ( gwichin1@alaska.netgwichin1 at ) is executive director of the Gwich'in Steering Committee in Alaska. She said yesterday afternoon: "Today I'm in Gulfport, Mississippi, one of the areas that's going to be impacted. These people have no idea what they're in for. People buy the oil companies' propaganda and allow them to do what they want without a plan or real safeguards.

"Many are claiming that BP will cover the costs, but people in Alaska waited for 20 years to be compensated by Exxon for the Valdez spill and even then only got a pittance of what they were due, if they were still alive." [Image: external.png]

Texas fisherwoman and environmental campaigner, Diane Wilson ( wilsonalamobay@aol.comwilsonalamobay at ) is author of the book "An Unreasonable Woman: A True Story of Shrimpers, Politicos, Polluters, And the Fight for Seadrift, Texas [Image: external.png][Image: ir?t=kansascityinf-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B001C6GQYK]".

She said yesterday: "Corporations, whether it's BP in the Gulf or Dow Chemical / Union Carbide in Bhopal, India, don't follow the precautionary principle. They say that their worst-case scenarios won't ever happen and so we shouldn't dare threaten their profits with extra safety costs. Thanks in part to the deregulation from Dick Cheney's energy task force during the Bush administration, the U.S. doesn't require an emergency 'acoustic' shut-off valve that costs $500,000 and could have prevented BP’s disaster. ... Yet most of the other oil-producing nations require the 'acoustic switch' and it has been used in Norway since l993. These corporations don't want to spend a tiny portion of their billions of dollars on something that can prevent a disaster. They get the legal rights of being people and yet take actions that destroy the lives of real people.

"What BP has done is just a giant example of what happens constantly with the chemical and oil companies in the Gulf. They pollute, then they say it didn't get into the water, then they say, well, it was only 20 gallons, then they say it was 200 gallons. Then it's too much to clean up. One big problem is that so much is dependent on industry's self-reporting. You can't get decent information from companies. I find out a great deal because I work with an injured workers group."

Background: On April 2, President Obama stated: "It turns out, by the way, that oil rigs today generally don't cause spills. They are technologically very advanced."
"Where is the intersection between the world's deep hunger and your deep gladness?"

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