Oil Shill Mary Landrieu Claims Ignorance of ConocoPhillips

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has voted to have its own commission investigate the BP disaster. The Committee finds that necessary, according to Mary Landrieu, because Obama hasn’t appointed a representative from the oil industry to his own commission.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted Wednesday to create a congressional bipartisan commission to investigate the spill, with Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and others saying a separate panel is needed because the White House commission has four environmental advocates — three members and the executive staff director — but no oil industry representation.

“Maybe the commission that the Congress sets up, in a more balanced fashion, with both very strong environmental views and very strong industry views, could actually come up with something that really might work for the dilemma and the challenge that this nation faces, which briefly is this: We use 20 million barrels of oil a day,” Landrieu said. “That was true the day before the Deepwater Horizon blew up. It is true today. And we need to get that oil from somewhere.”

Aside from the problem of the oil industry investigating the oil industry, there’s another problem with Landrieu’s complaint.

Bill Reilly, the Republican Co-Chair and one of the people Landrieu’s calling an “environmental advocate”? He serves on ConocoPhillips’ board. ConocoPhillips is a much smaller player in deepwater drilling than, say, BP. But it’s still the sixth largest driller.

But I guess that kind of obvious conflict isn’t enough to reassure Landrieu.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including Vice, Motherboard, the Nation, the Atlantic, Al Jazeera, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse in Grand Rapids, MI.

  1. prostratedragon says:

    Well, so he’s committed to environmental exploitation —what’s a little word, anyway? /goofyfont

    Hard to believe the discourse has always been this unrelentingly dishonest and dumb (though I guess nothing is dumber than a lie that’s immediately seen through).

  2. BoxTurtle says:

    I think it’s a good idea. We’ll be able to see exactly how the oil industry would like to spin this and compare it to reality.

    But I would like to see some oil folks on the panel. Like say a few of the engineers BP overruled while setting things up for their geyser.

    Boxturtle (And her definition of “very strong environmental views” probably differs from mine)

  3. Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle says:

    I am becoming convinced that Mary Landrieu is just plain stupid. In that case it makes me wonder how she ever got elected to the Senate. I have to believe people are telling her to shut her trap, but she just can’t help herself.

    • Hugh says:

      Stupid people get elected to the Senate all the time. It’s practically a job requirement. No conscience though is a must.

      An OT question to emptywheel: Pelosi I think has completely blown her credibility with her most recent effort to backstab Social Security. With that in mind, is there any reason now to believe what she says she knew or did not know about torture?

      • PJEvans says:

        Is there a reason why you assume that she must be lying about everything if she does something you don’t like on another?

        • MaryCh says:

          Maybe the challenge and frustration is in separating the wheat from the chaff. In the comments here (but more starkly and nastily over at DailyKos) I absolutist purity tests trotted out to turn the spectrum of political compromise into a binary function – with us or agin’ us.

          Following Barney Frank’s famous observation, that the only politician he ever agreed with 100% was Barney Frank before his first reelection campaign, I’m inclined to identify and believe in my allies, but also to be skeptical about them and hold them to account when I perceive them to WTF up.

          Go Nancy! Go Jane! (go figure?)

      • emptywheel says:

        Sure there’s a reason. The CIA did a study and found the only evidence to support that claim is the altered record by a guy who obstructed justice. That, and the guy who cooperated in that obstruction of justice–Porter Goss–actually endorsed Pelosi’s view, against his own interest.

        You may want to ignore the actual evidence because you don’t like Nancy Pelosi–in effect, trusting Jose Rodriguez, who has a lot more reason to lie here, over Pelosi and Goss. But that doesn’t make it true. Nor does is eliminate all the OTHER evidence that claims about Dems being briefed or being complicit are false.

      • BoxTurtle says:

        With that in mind, is there any reason now to believe what she says she knew or did not know about torture?

        Available evidence outside her statements tends to support her position. The exceptions are self serving statements by Rodriguez and an altered record by Goss.

        Boxturtle (Agreed, one should be cautious of taking anything Pelosi says at face value)

        P.S. Edited for correctness after reading [email protected]

        • emptywheel says:

          Again, Goss’ statement SUPPORT’s Pelosi’s, even though he has every incentive to state something else.

          This case was pretty cut and dry over a year ago. The only thing that’s changed is we now know the source of claims that she was briefed: Jose Rodriguez.

          Apparently Hugh thinks Pelosi’s betrayal makes a criminal obstructionist and torturer more reliable than Pelosi AND the others who back her in spite of the fact that their own interest ought to lead them to do the contrary.

  4. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    …the dilemma and the challenge that this nation faces, which briefly is this: We use 20 million barrels of oil a day,” Landrieu said. “That was true the day before the Deepwater Horizon blew up. It is true today. And we need to get that oil from somewhere.

    We use oil, so we need oil because we use oil. Closed loop, taking us nowhere fast.

    So Landrieu is putting her energy into ensuring that we keep doing the same stupid-ass bullshit that has us in a mess today?
    Wow.

    So much for ‘leadership’.
    Oxymoronic.

  5. Hugh says:

    PJEvans, Social Security is not just another issue. It is fundamental. It is core. If Pelosi can’t be trusted on that, she can’t be trusted on anything.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Amen. As if they needed it, this is the death knell of the old Democratic Party. Social Security, along with civil rights legislation, was their great accomplishment and the one generally recognized untouchable program in the federal government. It was and is the difference between livable old age and breadline poverty, where survival depends on whims and weather.

      If Ms. Pelosi is saying major cuts to Social Security are A-OK with her – such as the absurdity of making its benefits to the elderly unavailable until the age of 70 – she is no longer a Democrat and neither are the Democrats.

    • tanbark says:

      Hugh: we needed, and hoped for, FDR.

      We got Herbert Hoover.

      How ironic that the man whom we thought would effect real change, and his party, is doing it by such things as flirting with the permanent republican wet dream of turning Social Security over to the tender mercies of Wall Street.

  6. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The selection of Bill Reilly seems facially corrupt. I see it as Landrieu playing the same game as punters on Asian stock markets, notably Hong Kong’s. They never make bets/buy or sell stocks without insider information; that’s for suckers whose money they take. She’s also constructing the opportunity to do what Cheney did for the Iran-Contra investigation: create a platform for the inevitable oil company-derived dissenting opinion.

    This will pressure the notoriously risk averse Obama – and the committee of like-minded people he chose – to avoid overt conflict by bending the results of the presidential commission toward the oil companies interests.

    It legitimizes the official flow of information to Reilly and his oil colleagues. That will tip them off about awkward facts coming to light; it may allow them to prevent that or to prepare their response ahead of time, including doing advance lobbying to prevent the government from adopting any proposals mooted by the presidential committee. Lastly, it gives oil lobbyists another reason to enhance the war chests of Ms. Landrieu and her colleagues.

    It’s one hell of a game, but not one that ordinarily should be paid for by the taxpayer, Ms. Landrieu.

    • emptywheel says:

      She’s also constructing the opportunity to do what Cheney did for the Iran-Contra investigation: create a platform for the inevitable oil company-derived dissenting opinion.

      Really brilliant point, EOH. Maybe worth a diary?

    • harpie says:

      OY!

      They’ll be able to say [like Cheney]:

      Yes, “mistakes were made”, but “In my opinion, there’s no justification for further restrictions on the power and flexibility of future Presidents” [oil companies].”

      IRAN-CONTRA HEARINGS: SUMMING UP A SUMMER’S WORK; Final Remarks by Leaders of the Panels: A Litany of Mistakes.” NYT, Aug. 4, 1987.

  7. Hugh says:

    emptywheel, you are reading into my question a bias that betrays your own. I do not find Pelosi credible on any issue on the basis of her own statements. But I was asking precisely whether the record, independent of those, supported her contentions or not. I do not ignore evidence. I simply don’t accept the word of liars.

    • emptywheel says:

      And I am saying the case is already made. The case is made with Porter Goss’ statements against interest and the CIA’s likewise against interest. I’m not relying on Pelosi’s statements in the least.

      So why ask again?

  8. fatster says:

    Pardon the O/T, but they’re now going micro with the drone stuff.

    Military plans bummingbird-sized spies
    Nano Aerial Vehicle will help soldiers fighting in crowded urban areas

    Such as NYC, DC, . . . ?

      • rosalind says:

        Or how about the rifles that shoot around corners

        OT: but your comment – and ew’s current twitter feed about the lousy state of flying – reminded me of an article I read recently in Southwest Magazine. First time I’ve been brought to tears at 30,000 feet by an in-flight magazine article: “How Mya Saved Jacob”

        It’s about an Iraq war veteran suffering from severe PSTD, his incredible service dog, Mya, and the female inmate who trained her. Really touching, and inspirational. (And John’s comment reminded me of one thing Mya is trained to do – she will walk ahead and check around corners, then signal “all clear” in the event the Vet is flashing back to being on patrol).

        The article is written by Kate Silver, with photography by Tyler Stableford.

        • bmaz says:

          Shhhhh!! This may all be my fault. See, when I went to New York New Nork last summer (kind of summer; turns out summer starts later in NY than Arizona. It was cold and I brought shorts and polo shirts) to see mom get the big Hillman Prize, my aggressive NY cabbie apparently went to JFK via Poughkeepsie or something. Got to the airport with 15 minutes left before takeoff. They laughed hysterically at me when I tried to cut in line to make the flight. Doors had been closed for 20 minutes.

          You know, I saw movies like Boeing Boeing, Come Fly With Me and Coffee, Tea or Me back in the early day and I had always pictured JFK International as a gleaming edifice to humanity in honor of my childhood hero.

          Was a hell of a lot closer to a fucking Continental Trailways bus terminal (yeah, a step below Greyhound). Jeebus.

          So, obviously, I rang up Marcy and started bitching about the lame ass airport and being stuck there until the next morning. And I can bitch okay if you know what I mean. Now she carps about the sad state of airports; especially those in and around NYC. Go figure.

          • rosalind says:

            heh. my last international flight i took off from clean, modern super efficient Roma and emerged into the subterranean hellhole that is the bowels of Kennedy. truly embarrassing this is the welcome we’re giving the world when they – decreasingly – come to visit.

            as to mom’s other point – that the D.C. bubble people “might have a FAR better perspective on their jobs if they experienced a fraction of misery in this country” – my favorite fantasy if able to empower my magic wand is to make every Senator and Congresscritter experience the full effects of any legislation personally prior to their vote.

            “Want to do a massive give-away to the Pharma industry called Medicare Part D? Great, here’s the 100 page form to sign up for the damn program. Go in that room, by yourself, fill out in full, then we’ll talk. You have an hour. And no, a gold plated Waterman pen is not acceptable. #2 Pencil only.”

  9. Gitcheegumee says:

    I am going to ask a very simple question here.

    Has anyone read anything about FEMA being involved in aiding citizens in the aftermath of the worst environmental disaster this country has experienced ,to date,ie BP “Deepwater Horizon ” horror?

    • bmaz says:

      Yes. Last night CNN reported that the famous FEMA Formaldehyde Trailers have been dispatched to the Gulf coast for the recovery and cleanup workers to live in.

      • Gitcheegumee says:

        I do not possess the eloquence to adequately express the degree of depravity to which this bureaucracy has descended.

        God help us all… the government sure as hell won’t.

        Most assuredly,they are doing a job on us and not a job for us.

      • Hugh says:

        Yes. Last night CNN reported that the famous FEMA Formaldehyde Trailers have been dispatched to the Gulf coast for the recovery and cleanup workers to live in.

        Perhaps the theory is that the formaldehyde will make the oil fumes less noticeable.

  10. Gitcheegumee says:

    Oil Stains Battered Port, ResidentsJul 20, 2006 … One of the largest oil spills the area has ever seen spread down its main ... Pelican Refinery, CONOCO Refinery and Facility, CITGO Refinery and Facility, … Moving boom for Lake Charles Oil Spill. LAKE CHARLES, La. …

    http://www.piersystem.com/go/doc/425/125064/ – Cached – Similar

    MAYBE Mary ought to ask them about the Conoco oil spill at the Lake Charles ,Louisiana Conoco refinery that shut down the ship channel, and resulted in MANY lawsuits from homeowners.

  11. Teddy Partridge says:

    The whole idea of this headline makes me laugh.

    Really, it’s a fill-in-the blank: Landrieu Claims Ignorance of [xxx]

    We can all get behind that, right?

  12. Mauimom says:

    Could someone provide a list of those sterling members of the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee who voted for this Fabulous Investigative Committee?

    And a reference to Obama’s many shout-outs in support of Landreiu would be helpful as well.

    Finally, amount of $$$$ support DSCC provided Lady Landreiu?

  13. laborite57 says:

    Here’s one that may surprise some of you:

    Also on the ConocoPhillips Board of Directors is the wife of Sen. Tom Harkin. So Sen. Harkin, who I think is good on most issues, is literally sucking at the tit of ConocoPhillips.

  14. edve says:

    All I can say is: Oink! Oink! Mary…

    You will find the bigger piggies

    Stirring up the dirt

    Always have clean shirts to play around in.

    In their sties with all their backing

    They don’t care what goes on around

    In their eyes there’s something lacking

    What they need’s a damn good whacking.

    the Beatles

  15. tanbark says:

    Note that Mary doesn’t say anything about reducing the amount of oil we’re using, by doing something as socialistic as mandating that any car or light truck sold in America by 2014 gets 28 MPG, city and country.

  16. tanbark says:

    Am I the only one who’s confused by the fact that Coast Guard spokeswoman “Mary Landreau”, 3 days after the platform exploded and sank, was saying:

    “No oil is escaping from the wellhead.” ?

    It was, of course, arrant horseshit. But then, so is what the OTHER Mary Landrieu is saying.

  17. conradcelledge says:

    And of that 20 million, it is 10 million that is consumed by the US military.
    So if we have killed a million Iraqi civilians in 8 years of invasion/occupation, then that is 125,000/year. 10 million gallons per day times 365 days in a year is 3,650,000,000 gallons a year. 3,650,000,000 gallons per year divided by 125,000 dead Iraqi civilians each year equals 29,200 gallons per dead Iraqi civilian.

    That doesn’t seem like very good mileage. In the interest of the environment and the peak oil inevitability we really need to bring that number down. Would this be President Obama’s or President Bush’s fault. Could the Republicans genuis power be applied to this problem. Couldn’t this same level of murder be achieved through the use of some alternative fuel. Can’t the government do anything right.

  18. conradcelledge says:

    2) The Department of Defense is the single largest consumer of petroleum in the U.S and the US military is the biggest purchaser of oil in the world. In 2006 the US Military consumed 117 million barrels or 320,000 barrels per day.
    http://www.newlaunches.com/archives/top_5_facts_on_us_military_oil_consumption.php

    Yes, my bad. They use far less. I wasn’t talking about total energy. I was talking about oil and of that the DOD consumption represents 1.6 per cent or using the original calculation 934.4 gallons per murdered Iraqi civilian which is certainly well within reasonable limits. Forget about conservation. We are doing just fine.

  19. conradcelledge says:

    http://www.energyandcapital.com/articles/oil-consumption-military/237

    According to the DESC, the Defense Department consumed 132.7 million barrels of oil in 2005!
    Obviously that’s a jaw-dropping amount of oil. But that number has actually decreased over previous years.

    The DoD uses about 1.8 percent of the country’s total transportation fuel annually — close to 400,000 barrels per day. To put that in perspective: That’s the same daily oil consumption as the entire country of Greece.

    ————————

    So the numbers move around a little but when you’re number one who cares by how much. Who places the most depleted uranium in Iraq? Who places the most radio-nuclear waste in the waterways of the US? Who cares who number two is?

  20. BruceWebb says:

    There is an argument that the Pelosi Rule is NOT in fact a sell-out of Social Security, not after you parse the language, and put it in the context of the Catfood Commission’s charter and in consideration of CBO scoring rules. Jane and I in fact are having a mini-debate on this on a different forum.

    The key is that the Catfood Commission’s Charter and its not very hidden goals are in conflict. The Charter says the effects have to be seen by 2015, while even the most severe position, that held by Simpson, will show zero effect from SS cuts on the deficit prior to 2017 and little within CBO’s 10 year scoring window. Meanwhile the Ryan Roadmap’s proposed cuts and transitions to PRAs don’t show any savings until 2022. Sure either Simpson or Ryan’s proposals score big under Peterson’s preferred ‘intergenerational equity’, give a big dollar figure over the Infinite Future Horizon model, they get literally trillions in savings over the long term using PGP methods. But CBO doesn’t do intergenerational accounting as a rule, they score things over 10 year or at a stretch 20 year time-periods.

    In order for the Catfood Commission to achieve their real goal of gutting Social Security they need to have the cover of enough revenue increases and spending restraint to at least claim they are targeting their 3% of GDP in 2015 deficit mandate. Pelosi’s move commits the Blue Dogs to an all or nothing at all vote on the entire package which as things shake out HAS to include tax increases and at least slowing in projected defense expenditures. Because all the entitlement savings come AFTER 2015 and mostly decades after.

    Now it is an open question whether Pelosi actually INTENDED this trap, so feel free to bash her all you want, but the fact is that the trap has been set, the only question is whether the Catfooders and Blue Dogs step into it.