Chamber of Commerce Flip-Flops on Retroactive Legislation

As you’ve likely heard, the Chamber of Commerce has officially endorsed government welfare to limit corporate risk. (Again.)

The head of the United States Chamber of Commerce said Friday that his group is not yet lobbying against legislative efforts to raise BP’s liability cap, viewing the issue as not yet “ripe.”

He signaled, however, that his group would figure out a way to get the government to share in the cost of cleaning up the Gulf Coast.

It is generally not the practice of this country to change the laws after the game,” said Tom Donohue, the president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “. . . Everybody is going to contribute to this clean up. We are all going to have to do it.  We are going to have to get the money from the government and from the companies and we will figure out a way to do that.” [my emphasis]

And like an obedient orange puppy, John Boehner has embraced the Chamber’s call for government welfare for corporations.

I do agree with Steve Benen that the Republican (and Mary Landrieu) embrace of big oil ahead of taxpayers ought to be a game changer.

But I’d also like to note how, um, opportunistic the Chamber is with its insistence that “it is generally not the practice of this country to change the laws after the game.” This is what the Chamber wrote to pressure the House to support a FISA amendment that invalidated a law holding telecoms liable for illegal wiretapping of private citizens.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region, strongly supports S. 2248, the “FISA Amendments Act of 2007,” as passed by the Senate on February 12, 2008. The Chamber believes that this bill, in its current form, provides necessary, appropriate, and targeted relief commensurate with the threat to national security that arose in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks.

The Chamber represents companies across various industries which own or operate vital components of the nation’s critical physical, virtual, and economic infrastructures. The federal government continually depends upon such industries for cooperation and assistance in national security matters, including homeland security programs and activities. The government also turns to these companies in times of crisis, when the speed, agility, and creativity of the private sector can be critical to averting a terrorist attack.

Therefore, the Chamber urges the House to consider S. 2248 and pass this bipartisan compromise legislation. The Chamber firmly believes that the immunity provisions in S. 2248 are imperative to preserving the self-sustaining “public-private partnership” that both Congress and the Executive Branch have sought to protect the United States in the post-September 11 world. [my emphasis]

Of course, the Chamber is being utterly consistent on one point. That’s in lobbying to make sure big corporations never pay for the negative consequences–be they legal or financial–of their actions.

Bhopal Justice, Sort Of

Twenty-some years after one of the biggest industrial disasters in history, seven former Union Carbide executives have been sentenced to a few years in jail.

A court in central India ruled Monday that seven top executives and the company they worked for are guilty for their role in the 1984 industrial disaster that killed thousands in Bhopal, India.The leaking of poisonous gas from Union Carbide India Limited — the now-defunct local subsidiary of the American chemical company — was one of the world’s worst industrial disasters. Plaintiffs had waited more than two decades for the verdict.

The convicted former employees have been sentenced to the maximum punishment allowed in the case. The judge imposed a two-year prison term and a fine of about $2,000 each after convicting the men of negligence causing death, endangering public life and causing hurt.

While I’m happy that a handful of people will finally pay, however inadequate a price, I’m more interested in this because of the timing.

After Bhopal and a smaller–but still devastating–Union Carbide accident in West Virginia, the US passed regulations on similar volatile processes. During the 1990s, paper mills and chemical plants and oil refineries implemented new processes to make their plants safer for workers. But it didn’t take long for OHSA to back off of big fines. So by the time BP’s Texas City refinery disaster, some oil companies were already calculating that accidents would be less onerous than complying with the regulations passed in response to the Bhopal disaster.

The regulations passed in response to Bhopal specifically exempted drilling activities; those weren’t the regulations BP took lightly in the lead-up to the disaster.

But the treatment of BP’s violation of them at Texas City did contribute to the disaster. As bmaz has written, BP was already a corporate convict because of its past indifference to safety and regulations. Yet that didn’t prevent BP from having the opportunity to gamble with the entire ecosystem of the Gulf so it could profit.

I’m glad Union Carbide execs will finally see some prison time. But it’s not enough to hold executives accountable 26 years after huge disasters. We need to get more serious about holding corporations–and corporate executives–accountable for their crimes.

BP Well Bore And Casing Integrity May Be Blown, Says Florida’s Sen. Nelson

Oil and gas may be leaking from the seabed surrounding the BP Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico, Senator Bill Nelson of Florida told Andrea Mitchell today on MSNBC. Nelson, one of the most informed and diligent Congressmen on the BP gulf oil spill issue, has received reports of leaks in the well, located in the Mississippi Canyon sector. This is potentially huge and devastating news.

If Nelson is correct in that assertion, and he is smart enough to not make such assertions lightly, so I think they must be taken at face value, it means the well casing and well bore are compromised and the gig is up on containment pending a completely effective attempt to seal the well from the bottom via successful “relief wells”. In fact, I have confirmed with Senator Nelson’s office that they are fully aware of the breaking news and significance of what the Senator said to Andrea Mitchell.

Furthermore, contrary to the happy talk propounded by BP, the Obama Administration and the press, the likely success of the “relief well” effort on the first try in August is nowhere near a certainty; and certainly nowhere near the certainty it is being painted as.

About five days ago, I responded to someone in comments with the following:

Yeah, but I am absolutely convinced there is such a lack of integrity, from pretty much top to bottom, of the well that totally plugging it at the top just creates the blowout of whatever remaining seal they have with the cement at the wellhead. I believe they have a total clusterfuck in about every regard and are just not admitting it:

1) BP used, if not substandard, then very close to it, casing that under the circumstances was inappropriate. It is fragile.

2) They did not install somehow or another at least one major casing segment seal, and the remaining seals are now either completely blown out or on their way to it and as a result oil and gas flow is not only coming up the inside of the casing, but the outside of the casing between the casing and well bore walls in the rock.

3) BP specified a light and fluffy cement and, additionally, there may be significant breaches and voids making the cement job weak and disintegrating.

4) Even at best, the cement is in the upper depths of the well bore where the natural geologic rock structure is the loosest, weakest, most porous and fragile (hell some of it may effectively be silt). The oil and gas, which has a natural well pressure of 12,000 or so psi is going to erode and corrode through and around the cement and the porous well bore rock.

5) Being attached to the Deepwater Horizon rig by the riser, and perhaps drill string too, when all hell broke loose and it exploded, shifted and sank, it put various pressures and forces through attachment to the BOP in turn attached on the well casing head. This action may have kind of reamed out and loosened that whole situation making it even looser and more susceptible to 2 and 4 above.

6) The BOP, to the extent it had restrictions present initially, has now been eroded and reamed out by the long term flow of gas and oil upwards and then the caustic flow of drilling mud the other direction from the attempted Top Kill. It is totally fucked way worse than it even was initially.

7) The reservoir of oil in Macondo is way larger than most anybody realizes and certainly bigger than BP will admit. It is a huge mother lode. Could flow forever.

8) Did I mention that the natural well pressure may be as high as 12,000 psi??

The Gulf of Mexico, the Gulf States and all of us are totally fucked.

As Sir Richard Mottram famously said:

We’re all fucked. I’m fucked. You’re fucked. The whole [thing] is fucked. It’s the biggest cock-up ever. We’re all completely fucked.

I may have been uncomfortably close to the mark. And the quote from Sir Richard Mottram was dead on the money; if Senator Nelson is correct about the breach of fundamental well integrity, the game is close to over for the Gulf of Mexico. We shall see where this goes from Nelson’s initial comment. But make no mistake, Nelson is a careful guy not prone to overt hyperbole, and he clearly understood the ramifications of what he was saying.

It also means, of course, that BP and the Obama Administrations continue to give the American public short shrift in the truth and honesty departments. How surprising.

Our Former Coup Client Speaks

As I’ve said before, one of the best ways to see the absurd nature of the relationship between our government and BP as they partner to try to fix BP’s disaster is to remember that fifty-some years ago, the CIA overthrew the democratically elected government of Iran because it had nationalized BP’s facilities.

I invite you to think about that fact while you read this exchange with BP’s CEO Tony Hayward from the Beeb’s Andrew Marr Show.

ANDREW MARR:

What happens if, as a lot of American politicians are talking about, the US government takes control of BP or at least BP’s American operations? Is that plausible? Is that possible?

TONY HAYWARD:

I think you know what we’re doing is focusing on the response. We’re absolutely focused on the response. I think it’s for the US authorities to determine what they wish to do. All I can say is that we’re working hand in hand with the US authorities. I am talking all the time with Secretaries Chu, Salazar, Thad Allen, the incident commander to deal with the response.

ANDREW MARR:

Do you feel you’re being unfairly treated by the American political system and the media given where we are in the electoral cycle?

TONY HAYWARD:

I think it’s understandable when something of this scale occurs with this sort of environmental impact – the impact it’s had on the Gulf Coast – that people are angry and frustrated and emotional. It’s a perfectly reasonable thing. And you know I’m angry and frustrated and you know …

ANDREW MARR:

I mean no British company has been on the receiving end of American presidential anger like this I think ever before. That and the possibility of some political action and criminal action against the company has led people to start to ask whether BP itself is going to survive this.

TONY HAYWARD:

BP’s a very strong company. Its operations today are running extremely well. It’s generating a lot of cash flow. It has a very strong balance sheet. Our reputation has been based on thousands of people over a long period of time in BP doing the right thing, and we are doing everything we can to do the right thing. We are going to stop the leak. We’re going to clean up the oil. We’re going to remediate any environmental damage and we are going to return the Gulf Coast to the position it was in prior to this event. That’s an absolute commitment, and we will be there long after the media has gone making good on our promises.

ANDREW MARR:

And once you’ve done all of that, will you be paying the dividend to your investors?

TONY HAYWARD:

We’re going to take care of all of our stakeholders.

Don’t worry, Hayward told his British audience. The US won’t take over BP (or even its US operations). Nothing the US will do will prevent us from paying our dividend on time.

You see, the US can take over a country to serve BP’s interests. But it would be absurd, Hayward clearly believes, to think the US would take over BP to serve its own people.

Obama Monty Hall To Give Lovely Parting Gifts To BP Death Victims

The title pretty much tells the tale. It was just stated on The Ed Schultz Show on MSNBC that:

Family of 11 victims of the Deep Horizon explosion to visit White House next week.

Well, that is just swell.

On the day a forlorn paucity of the media belatedly report on the deceptive collusion that the US Government and BP have been sitting on physical evidence, and factual conclusions drawn therefrom, contained in the full set of video feeds they both have been viewing from the outset of the BP Macondo/Deepwater Horizon blow out, we learn the White House is suddenly going to submit to external pressure and grant the victims of the BP/Deepwater Horizon homicides a walkby meet and greet ceremonial dog and pony show. After nearly two weeks of the victims screaming they have been forgotten, the audience has been approved from on high.

How refreshing. I hope the bereaved at least get an official White House coffee cup and Presidential keychain for their participation.

This is just wrong. It is not wrong for Obama to meet with the relatives and next of kin to the wrongfully deceased of an American natural disaster. It is wrong they had to beg for it, wrong it is being sold like a new product release, and wrong it is used as a convenient image makeover for an Obama Administration recalcitrant to treat mass scale criminal, and wholesale recklessly wanton environmental behavior as what it really is.

Think this is an exaggeration? Just wait and watch. Let me know when there is individual criminal liability where it belongs, as opposed to an inbred with the corporate culture, wink and nod plea and fine scheme in collusion with BP, Transocean, Halliburton and/or their powerful lobbyists. You know, criminal prosecution of the truly criminally negligent actors and authorities. The ones making the imminently foreseeable, cold, craven and disastrous decisions precipitating the needless death of eleven souls and the biggest environmental disaster in the history of the United States. Not the kind of cozy package deal the US government is known for giving BP when they have wreaked wholesale death and environmental destruction.

I do not presume to speak for the Deepwater deceased and their survivors; but I find it hard to believe they would not rather the President and American government show they will no longer accept the absent regulatory effort, coddling of profit before morals corporate greed, and “looking forward” blind ignorance of accountability for dereliction and destruction of the ethos we should, and claim to, stand for. The dead and their relatives are entitled to better than is given the latest basketball team to win a championship.

Mr. Obama, show the victims of the negligent homicide at Deepwater Horizon you have something more than meager food for souls forgot.

[Graphic from Rachel Maddow Show via Jalopnik]

BP Gulf Disaster and Its Failed Russian Experiment

A couple of interesting, tangentially related things happened today.

First, in a bid to wall off the PR disaster of the Gulf spill from the rest of the company, BP has assigned someone–an American BP employee–to take charge of cleanup efforts.

BP is to hive off its Gulf of Mexico oil spill operation to a separate in-house business to be run by an American in a bid to isolate the “toxic” side of the company and dilute some of the anti-British feeling aimed at chief executive Tony Hayward, the company said today.

The surprise announcement was made during a teleconference with City and Wall Street analysts in which Hayward attempted to shrug off the personal criticism saying words “could not break his bones”.

In tangentially related news, a business unit in BP’s Russian subsidiary, TNK-BP, has filed for bankruptcy.

Russian-British oil venture TNK-BP says a subsidiary that holds the license to a huge Siberian gas field has filed for bankruptcy.

The oil company said in a statement Thursday that RUSIA Petroleum was unable to repay debts to its parent company.

Note, this is just one subsidiary of TNK-BP, but still presumably a significant deal.

I say it’s tangentially related because the dude BP has put in charge of cleaning up our Gulf was run out of Russia a few years ago.

Responsibility for the leaking well and the clean-up strategy will placed in the hands of Bob Dudley, one of the company’s most able directors.

Dudley, a US citizen, has been looking for a suitable role in the company since he was thrown out of Moscow in a battle with the Russian shareholders of the TNK-BP joint venture in the middle of 2008.

Hayward said the clean-up business would be run separately by Dudley with his own staff but the finances and budget would come from the main BP group. The BP chief executive said the purpose of the split was to allow Dudley to concentrate on the Gulf problem while he and other directors were not distracted from keeping the main business on track.

Until 2008, Dudley was CEO of TNK-BP, when he got run off by the Oligarchs. The guy in charge of negotiating with the Russians at TNK-BP during the same period was James Dupree.

Mr. Hayward delegated much of the handling of TNK-BP and the relationship with the Russian partners to James Dupree, the head of Russia and Kazakhstan for BP. He knew the business well, having worked as a senior TNK-BP executive. But that history also complicated relations in his new role, since he’d been formally a subordinate to some of the Russian shareholders, who also held management jobs.

“Dupree was a midlevel functionary who wasn’t senior enough to make any decisions,” said one person close to AAR. BP officials acknowledge they mishandled the relationship. A spokesman said Mr. Dupree wasn’t available for comment.

Around the same time Dudley was run off, Dupree was replaced by a triathlon partner of Tony Hayward. Here’s more extended background on BP’s 2008 Russian fiasco.

Dupree was–at least when this whole mess started–BP’s Senior Vice President for the Gulf of Mexico. He was the guy who first told Congress about the negative pressure tests the Macondo well failed, but neglected to mention the company pushed ahead on capping the well in spite of the tests (company lawyers corrected that version). I haven’t heard a peep from Dupree since.

In addition to Hayward’s triathlon partner, after Dudley was chased out by the Russian Oligarchs, BP brought in Lamar McKay.

Mr. Hayward also brought in a top troubleshooter with years of Russian experience, Lamar McKay, to take over talks with the AAR partners instead of Mr. Dupree, the executive who had worked for them inside TNK-BP.

Fearing detention, Mr. Dudley fled Russia in secret in late July. BP’s board was meeting the day he left and several directors were stunned when told of the news, according to people close to the company.

Before being brought into save BP Russia, McKay had negotiated several of the legal settlements–for Texas City and Prudhoe Bay–for which BP remains on probation. McKay was in Russia for just a few months before he got put in charge of BP America. McKay’s the guy who spent a chunk of time in the last month–as President of BP America–testifying before Congress.

Now, I don’t know what any of this means. But I do think it worth noting that BP keeps putting the guys who had been in charge of its failed Russian project in charge of our Gulf. It makes me ask several questions:

  • Some of the dudes who botched the Russia relationship are portrayed as very close to Tony Hayward. Is this part of a pissing contest between Hayward and Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg? (The Guardian article that reported this has Hayward denying tensions between himself and Svanberg.)
  • Is this, instead, an effort to isolate the ballooning financial responsibilities of BP from the rest of BP?
  • Why has BP chosen to put a bunch of guys who fought the Russian Oligarchs–and lost–in charge of our Gulf?

I can’t help but wonder whether this move is about protecting Tony Hayward, rather than protecting what’s left of the Gulf Coast.

NOAA Director Lubchenco Plays Dumb on Plumes

I”m not aware of any studies before this spill, to follow up on those plumes.

That’s what NOAA Director Jane Lubchenco claimed a week ago in response to a question from Louisiana Congressman Bill Cassidy.

Elizabeth Birnbaum, who was fired last week because she wasn’t engaged enough with this issue (or maybe because they wanted a scapegoat), apparently did know of the studies MMS has been doing going back a decade on the topic.

Well, now Lubchenco is trying to play even dumber than she did last week. As Dan Froomkin reports, she refuses to acknowledge what scientists have shown evidence of for weeks: that much of the oil released from the BP gusher has formed gigantic plumes far below the surface of the Gulf.

Despite more than three weeks of accumulating scientific evidence that gargantuan plumes of oil lurk beneath the surface of the Gulf of Mexico — presenting an imminent threat to sea life and a possibly decades-long threat to the nation’s coastlines — NOAA Director Jane Lubchenco on Wednesday refused to contradict BP CEO Tony Hayward’s statement over the weekend that “the oil is on the surface” and “there aren’t any plumes.”

[snip]

“I can tell you that there have been a number of anomalies identified by a number of different cruises,” she told reporters in a conference call. “Those anomalies are features at various different depths in the water column that may be oil, they may be other features.”

“It is quite possible that there is oil beneath the surface,” Lubchenco finally acknowledged under repeated questioning. “I think there is reason to believe that may be the case.” But that’s as far as she would go.

More troubling, those ongoing studies Lubchenco boasted of to Congressman Cassidy? NOAA is sitting on the data.

HuffPost has learned that a NOAA-commissioned research cruise the week of May 10 took extensive samples up and down the water column near the Deepwater Horizon spill site — and that those samples have in fact been processed, and logged in with the incident command.

Deborah French McCay is the director of Applied Science Associates, an environmental consulting company based in Rhode Island that is working as part of NOAA’s Natural Resources Damage Assessment. She told HuffPost she organized a mission on the private research vessel Jack Fitz more than three weeks ago.

“They went out and sampled all the way up and down the water column,” she said. That included tests for chemistry, oil concentration, temperature, salinity, oil droplet size and so on. Preliminary descriptions clearly indicated the presence of oil beneath the surface — and the final lab results, she said, came in Monday night.

But NOAA hasn’t publicly released those results and a video showing the oil.

Remember how BP stalled before it agreed to release live videos of the oil gushing from its well? Presumably, BP didn’t want Americans to know just how bad this disaster is.

This NOAA stonewalling may be worse. The video may not so much evoke the emotional responses that the gusher and the robots do. But it shows that the disaster is far far worse than BP currently admits (and that estimates of the total flow may not have accounted for a significant portion of the oil). Worse, it suggests that the dispersants, which may be making the plumes worse, serve only to hide the damage.

BP has real incentives to hide the abundant evidence that the spill is far worse than we know–and may be doing grave danger underwater where we can’t see it.

But you and I pay Director Lubchenco to protect our seas and oceans. And instead, she seems increasingly complicit in BP’s efforts to cover-up the extent of their disaster.

Dick Cheney’s Wyoming’s Face at MMS

Since we’ve been discussing the way that BP has adopted Dick Cheney’s face for its Deepwater Horizon disaster, I thought I’d link to this article, noting how close the Mineral Management Service and Cheney’s state of Wyoming are. (h/t POGO)

The federal agency cited for an overly “cozy relationship” with the energy industry, which may have contributed to the Deepwater Horizon drilling disaster, has enjoyed extensive Wyoming political and economic connections since its creation in 1982 by then-Secretary of Interior James G. Watt, a native of Lusk in eastern Wyoming.

[snip]

The Wyoming connection was especially evident from 2000 to 2008, during the two administrations of President George W. Bush and his vice president, Wyoming native Dick Cheney. A former chief executive of Halliburton, Cheney took an early and very active interest in energy policy and placed several Wyoming political friends in key positions in the Department of Interior.

Before he took office, for example, Cheney selected David J. Gribbin III, a high school and college friend from Wyoming, to be his transitional liaison with Congress. Gribbin previously worked for Cheney as Halliburton’s chief lobbyist in the capital.

Cheney then chose Thomas Sansonetti, a prominent Cheyenne lawyer and GOP activist, to head the team choosing top personnel for the Department of Interior, which oversees Minerals Management Service.

Sansonetti, a member of the conservative Federalist Society, picked Gayle Norton to head Interior. Although not from Wyoming, native Coloradan Norton was a longtime protégée of James Watt in the Mountain States Legal Foundation, of which Watt was the founding director. Like Sansonetti, Norton was a member of the Federalist Society.

Norton, in turn, named former Sheridan, Wyoming, lawyer Rebecca W. Watson as assistant Interior Secretary for Land and Minerals Management. Watson was responsible for the Bureau of Land Management, the Office of Surface Mining and the Minerals Management Service.

[snip]

Most importantly, from 2002 to 2008, the Minerals Management Service was directed  by two former Wyoming GOP legislators, Rejane “Johnnie” Burton of Casper  and Randall Luthi, of  Freedom.

Burton, who had managed the Wyoming Department of Revenue under former Gov. Jim Geringer, in 2007 resigned under fire from her $168,000-a-year Minerals Management director’s job after the Department of Interior Inspector General found widespread corruption in the agency’s Colorado-based royalty collection office, and questions were raised in Congress about Burton’s handling of offshore leases.

[snip]

Burton now works as a $49,000-a-year aide for longtime friend and former legislative colleague Wyoming U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis.

There’s lots, lots more at the link.

Lummis, Wyoming’s only Congressperson, is one of the many BP apologists on the Natural Resources Committee. But I guess it must be easy to be such an apologist, given that you’ve got former top Administration staffers working for you for less than a third of what they used to get in DC.

All of which suggests that one of the reasons the regulatory agency overseeing drilling on public lands is so lax is that it is captive to a bunch of Wyoming hacks who use the revenue from drilling in lieu of income taxes. You see, we’ve just sacrificed the Gulf’s ecosystem because a bunch of folks from Wyoming want to pretend that drilling creates free money.

Cheney photo Copyright World Economic Forum (www.weforum.org) swiss-image.ch/Photo by Jean-Bernard Sieber

Holder Emphasizes 11 Dead When Discussing DOJ Investigation of BP Disaster

While it is not news that DOJ is conducting an investigation of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, Eric Holder’s speech in New Orleans about the spill reiterated that DOJ is doing so. I’m most interested in the particular emphasis Holder placed on the 11 men who died in the explosion.

There is one thing I will not let be forgotten in this incident: In addition to the extensive costs being borne by our environment and by communities along the Gulf Coast, the initial explosion and fire also took the lives of 11 rig workers. Eleven innocent lives lost. As we examine the causes of the explosion and subsequent spill, I want to assure the American people that we will not forget the price those workers paid.

True, Holder focused primarily on civil liability and named statutes that focus on fines. But he also said that Department attorneys were reviewing “other traditional criminal statutes” with regard to the accident, which might include things like negligent homicide (bmaz described negligent and reckless homicide, as well as other relevant statutes, in this post). (This would be particularly useful, IMO, as an HJC hearing last week made it clear that there were some limits to the support BP can be made to pay the families of those who died.)

Mind you, as always with this Administration, I’m not holding my breath. But given the mounting evidence that BP was using a negligent well design and proceeded with attempts to close the well in spite of signs of looming disaster, I do hope DOJ gives due consideration to the deaths that such corporate negligence may have caused. Treating those 11 deaths with the seriousness it deserves may well be the only thing that might teach BP a lesson here.

BP’s LMRP: Claws, Craws, Saws and Jaws

As you undoubtedly know by now, BP has failed miserably at every “fix” they have attempted so far. There is growing evidence of what a total sham exists in the craven use by BP of any number of subsidiaries to insulate itself from criminal and civil liability.

But right now the focus is on the ongoing LMRP attempt that BP now is warning could drag on from four days to a week. Many of you have been keeping up the monitoring of this back on the previous Top Hat and Tails: BP Has Yet Another “Solution” thread from Sunday. Please continue that discussion and reporting here.

One other thing I would like to point out; despite making a big dog and pony show of its commitment to speak with a single voice, Thad Allen, and quit making a media show of parading a series of Cabinet Officers down to the Gulf in a vain attempt to look like they are on top of things, the Obama Administration is …. wait for it …. making a media show of sending Attorney General Eric Holder down to the Gulf to make it look like they are on top of things. From Reuters:

Attorney General Eric Holder will survey the damage from the Gulf Coast oil spill on Tuesday and meet with federal prosecutors and state attorneys general, the Justice Department said on Monday.
…..
After a tour and briefing by the U.S. Coast Guard, Holder will meet with the state attorneys general from Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi as well as U.S. attorneys from those states. Holder is also scheduled to speak to reporters in New Orleans.

The Justice Department has already demanded that the companies involved in the spill, including BP Plc, Transocean Ltd and Halliburton Co to preserve paperwork related to the accident that could become part of an investigation.

Experts have said the Justice Department was likely eyeing potential violations of the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Refuse Act.

Notice what is missing from that last paragraph? There is no mention of prosecution under the negligent and/or reckless provisions of the Federal manslaughter law for the eleven deaths occurring on Deepwater Horizon as a result of BP’s willful and wanton conduct. The article mentions the deaths, but the Obama Administration and Holder DOJ never does. When it comes to talk of potential accountability, it is like the eleven deaths never happened to the Obama Administration. But hey, there are business interests and military fuel contracts they must protect and, clearly, that takes precedence for this Administration.

[Graphic – BP: Broken Promises. Logo design by Foye 2010 submitted as part of the Art For Change BP Logo Redesign Contest and used with permission]

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