Sunday, May 30, 2010

Mismanagement, Misconduct, and Spills

The fifteen month delay between the end of Bush Administration and the BP oil spill may allow those already despising Obama to suggest the systemic forces that led to the spill had something to do with his administration, but the evidence is overwhelming that the culture of the Minerals Management Service (MMS – now Mismanagement, Misconduct, and Spills) is a solid byproduct of the Bush administration energy policies and Dick Cheney's secret Energy Task Force. Remember the secret meetings?

CNN has a good piece providing a fair overview and some details of the MMS fiasco, which includes outrageous behavior like having the companies fill out the inspection forms in pencil that government inspectors would then overwrite in pen, oversight officials receiving tickets to ball games, restaurants, and yes, the happy bunch literally doing drugs and having sex with each other.

In what is beyond infuriating, BP officials now say it will be August before they can stop the flow, at the earliest. As this outrage starts hitting the beaches in earnest (like it hasn't already, but that said, this is nothing compared to what's coming), as the entire coastlines of multiple states including Florida become grotesque, the outrage will approach hysteria and the awareness of the MMS orgy will go mainstream. It will be interesting to see how Obama's adversaries try to obscure the inconvenient fact that the MMS culture of hanky panky was put in place years before he took office.

The Exxon Valdez oil spill was about 10.8 million gallons. This spill does that about every ten days, so we're looking at a good 10 to 15 Valdez size spills dumped into the Gulf over three to four months. The math points to over 150 million gallons, perhaps 200 million, which would make it the 2nd worst oil spill in history worldwide, surpassed only by the intentional holocaust perpetrated by the Iraqi military during the first gulf war. The 5 worst oil spills so far:

1.Arabian Gulf/Kuwait - January 19, 1991
Location: Persian Gulf, Kuwait. Oil Spilled: 380-520 million gallons
Iraqi forces, attempting to thwart a potential landing of American soldiers, opened the valves at an offshore oil terminal and released enough oil to cover the entire state of Rhode Island one foot deep in oil.

2. Ixtoc 1 Oil Spill - June 3, 1979 - March 23, 1980
Location: Bay off Ciudad del Carmen, Mexico. Oil Spilled: 140 million gallons
Pemex, a state-owned Mexican petroleum company was drilling an oil well when a blowout occurred. The oil ignited causing the drilling rig to collapse. Oil began gushing out of the well into the Gulf of Mexico at a rate of 10,000 to 30,000 barrels a day for almost an entire year before workers were finally able to cap the well and stop the leak.

3. Atlantic Empress Oil Spill - July 19, 1979
Location: Off the coast of Trinidad and Tobago. Oil Spilled: 90 million gallons
This Greek oil tanker was caught in a tropical storm and collided with another ship, the Aegean Captain. The damaged ship continued to lose oil before finally sinking on August 3, 1979.

4. Kolva River Oil Spill - September 8, 1994
Location: Kolva River, Russia. Oil Spilled: 84 million gallons
A ruptured pipeline caused this enormous oil spill. The pipeline had been leaking for eight months, but the oil was contained by a dike. When the dike collapsed, it sent millions of gallons of oil into the Russian Arctic.

5. Nowruz Oil Field Spill - February 10 to September 18, 1983
Location: Persian Gulf, Iran. Oil Spilled: 80 million gallons
This spill was the result of a tanker collision with an oil platform. The platform tilted and was closed, but the weakened platform collapsed sending oil spewing into the Persian Gulf. Delays in getting the leak capped were caused by the ongoing Iran-Iraq War.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Infuriating. This is going to get ugly. The Bush/Cheney disaster just keeps on ruining the country, over and over again. So much for our southern coastline.

5/30/2010 5:53 PM  
Anonymous Observer said...

Intended largely to promote offshore drilling, the MMS was also responsible for ensuring that all such operations complied with the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act and other environmental laws. Full adherence to these laws could have slowed the expansion of drilling or blocked it altogether—but the MMS provided the leases without making the companies, including BP, obtain required environmental permits. MMS officials routinely ignored warnings from the agency's own scientists and from those at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that this sort of deepwater drilling posed a risk of massive oil spills with devastating consequences for protected marine species. Such preferential treatment for industry is hardly surprising, given the cozy—in some cases criminal—relationships that developed between senior MMS officials and their corporate counterparts.

5/30/2010 8:33 PM  
Blogger The Navigator said...

How is it possible to prevent these corporate monsters from destroying the planet without a government that has the chutzpah to do it?

The hypocrisy of Republicans now decrying the lack of government horsepower in the oil spill is staggering. At least Rand Paul is open about his lack of regard for corporate oversight.

To Rule Big Oil, we need big government.

5/30/2010 9:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Say it ain't so:

http://www.mediaite.com/online/bp-hires-dick-cheneys-former-press-secretary-to-quell-pr-disaster/

6/01/2010 3:44 PM  

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