Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.: Bush, Not Obama, To Blame For BP Disaster

In a column wonderfully titled Sex, Lies and Oil Spills, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. explains with damning clarity how the BP spill, far from being "Obama's Katrina" as the noisemakers on the Right claim, is directly attributable to the lax, industry-friendly regulatory policies of the Bush administration:
A common spin in the right wing coverage of BP's oil spill is a gleeful suggestion that the gulf blowout is Obama's Katrina.

In truth, culpability for the disaster can more accurately be laid at the Bush Administration's doorstep. For eight years, George Bush's presidency infected the oil industry's oversight agency, the Minerals Management Service, with a septic culture of corruption from which it has yet to recover. Oil patch alumnae in the White House encouraged agency personnel to engineer weakened safeguards that directly contributed to the gulf catastrophe.

The absence of an acoustical regulator -- a remotely triggered dead man's switch that might have closed off BP's gushing pipe at its sea floor wellhead when the manual switch failed (the fire and explosion on the drilling platform may have prevented the dying workers from pushing the button) -- was directly attributable to industry pandering by the Bush team. Acoustic switches are required by law for all offshore rigs off Brazil and in Norway's North Sea operations. BP uses the devise voluntarily in Britain's North Sea and elsewhere in the world as do other big players like Holland's Shell and France's Total. In 2000, the Minerals Management Service while weighing a comprehensive rulemaking for drilling safety, deemed the acoustic mechanism "essential" and proposed to mandate the mechanism on all gulf rigs.

Then, between January and March of 2001, incoming Vice President Dick Cheney conducted secret meetings with over 100 oil industry officials allowing them to draft a wish list of industry demands to be implemented by the oil friendly administration. ...

(Emphasis mine.)

Read the entire column. It only gets worse, and is surely the inevitable consequence of leaving foxes in charge of hen houses. These people, particularly Dick Cheney, belong in jail. And all that oil belongs in their back yards.

UPDATE: regarding the as-yet-unrevealed Senate climate bill under negotiation, Bradford Plumer of TNR informs us that Joe Lieberman still insists that offshore drilling must be a part of any compromise legislation: "I mean, accidents happen," says Revoltin' Joe. It raises my gorge to think I ever voted for that man,

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