The oil disaster in the Gulf continues to dominate the news and our thoughts, as most Americans watch helplessly, frustrated by the inability to do anything, as the Gulf seeps slowly toward death. BP is trying one more tactic
to contain the oil leak in the Gulf (contain - not stop). They are cutting off the pipe and trying another dome that will allow them to pump oil to the surface. This is a risky maneuver and the oil will flow even heavier until they get the dome in place. With hurricane season underway, there is also the question of what happens if the ship on the surface has to deal with a hurricane.
While the government lets BP handle the job of stopping (or containing) the leak, they are looking to other places
for help with dealing with the oil already in the water:
"We are looking at offers of foreign assistance, we are actually reaching out to foreign governments," Mr Allen said.
"Some of the equipment that is most valuable to us right now is skimming equipment. There are different types of skimmers. Some of the inventories are present in other countries," he said.
"We're actually reaching out to folks like the Netherlands, Canada and Mexico as sources of supply for that."
Meanwhile, as the oil continues to flow in the Gulf, there are other actions swirling around that show the priorities of the people involved. One of the most jaw-dropping news items that surfaced yesterday was that BP hired a former Cheney spokeswoman to help salvage their image. Really??... Really
As if the water wasn't deep -- or oily -- enough around British Petroleum's public relations, the company has hired a former spokeswoman for Vice President Dick Cheney to be its public face for the disaster.
Anne Womack Kolton, former head of public affairs at the Department of Energy and Cheney's onetime campaign press secretary, will take the baton from BP this week.
While at Cheney's side, Kolton defended the secrecy of the Vice President's Energy task force, a group which held secretive meetings with energy company executives. When the General Accounting Office -- the research arm of Congress -- sued the Administration for records relating to Cheney's meetings, Kolton (then Womack) was at his side.
"We are ready to defend our principles in court," she said. "This goes to the heart of the presidency and to the ability of the president and vice president to receive candid, discreet advice."
A blogger at the liberal web site Daily Kos notes that BP was reportedly among one of the companies that Cheney met with.
It's really disgusting that the coziness between the oil companies and the previous administration is so blatant. It's practically incestuous. But wait - there's more. To underscore where Republicans' loyalties lie, they are against forcing BP to pay more than some arbitrary cap. You would think that a Senator from Louisiana - a state getting the worst of the oil leak - would hesitate, but you'd be wrong
What happens when you're a small government, pro-business conservative and your state gets pummeled by one of the worst man made disasters ever – not five years after getting pummeled by one of the worst natural disasters (Hurricane Katrina)? If you're Louisiana Senator David Vitter, you double down on offshore drilling and push for a liability cap for BP.
Doubling down on drilling is not particularly surprising. Much of Louisiana's much-needed revenue comes from off-shore drilling leases. “By the same token, after every plane crash, you and I should both oppose plane travel,” Vitter quipped on Sunday to CNN's Candy Crowley. “I don't think that is rational.” Even Vitter's Democratic challenger, Rep. Charlie Melancon, reiterated his support for expanded drilling in the wake of the disaster.
But it's Vitter's early support of a liability cap – he introduced legislation that he promoted in last weekend's weekly GOP radio address – that's landing the son of a Chevron petroleum engineer in trouble. Local and national Democrats have been pounding Vitter for seeking to limit the amount of legal damages BP would be responsible for to the last four quarters of profit. “Unlike Republicans, Democrats are not going to protect BP – and given their track record, we are certainly not going to rely on BP's word as the only thing ensuring that taxpayers are not left on the hook to pay for the disaster they caused,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said in a statement.
So while the Republicans work to protect a company that - through its own negligence - may be doing irreparable damage to the Gulf of Mexico and all the states (and countries) that border it, the Democrats are actually trying to ensure that they pay penalties and cleanup costs. Both the President
and AG Holder
have stated that criminal investigations are underway:
Administration officials said they were reviewing violations of the Clean Water Act, which carries criminal and civil penalties and fines; the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, which can be used to hold parties responsible for cleanup costs; the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Endangered Species Act, which provide penalties for injury and death of wildlife.
I've always said that Republicans favor business over the American people (in this case - a foreign-owned
business). Thankfully, they are not in power anymore.