cricketdiane, crude oil drilling accident in the Gylf of Mexico, hazardous chemical spills petroleum, hazardous waste cleanup and restoration, marine aquatic coastal wildlife, oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico
Environmental and Disposal Liabilities as of September 30
(In billions of dollars) 2008 2007
Department of Energy:
Environmental management program…… 185.4 188.6
Legacy environmental liabilities – other ….. 51.2 45.8
Active and Surplus Facilities …… 29.4 29.2
Total Department of Energy…… 266.0 263.6
Department of Defense:
Environmental restoration ……32.0 33.1
Disposal of weapon systems program …… 28.8 31.4
Base realignment and closure…… 5.2 5.1
Environmental corrective other…… 4.5 2.9
Total Department of Defense…… 70.5 72.5
All other agencies …… 6.3 5.9
Total environmental and disposal liabilities …… 342.8 342.0
During World War II and the Cold War, DOE (or predecessor agencies) developed a massive industrial complex to research, produce, and test nuclear weapons. The nuclear weapons complex included nuclear reactors, chemical-processing buildings, metal machining plants, laboratories, and maintenance facilities.
At all the sites where these activities took place, some environmental contamination occurred. This contamination was caused by the production, storage, and use of radioactive materials and hazardous chemicals, which resulted in contamination of soil, surface water, and groundwater. The environmental legacy of nuclear weapons production also includes thousands of contaminated areas and buildings, and large volumes of waste and special nuclear materials requiring treatment, stabilization, and disposal.
Of those environmental liabilities, this report presents only cleanup costs from Federal operations known to result in hazardous and radioactive waste that the Government is required to clean up by Federal, State, or local statutes and/or regulations. Some of these statutes are: the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA); the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act; the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, which provides for permanent disposal of the Nation’s high-level radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel; and Public Law No. 105-204, which requires a plan for the conversion of depleted uranium hexafluoride.
DOE is responsible for managing the legacy of contamination from the nuclear weapons complex. The environmental management baseline estimate includes projections of the technical scope, schedule, and costs for environmental restoration; managing nuclear materials waste treatment, storage and disposal activities; and post-cleanup monitoring and stewardship at each installation. The baseline estimate includes costs for related activities such as landlord responsibilities, program management, and legally prescribed grants and cooperative agreements for participation and oversight by Native American tribes, regulatory agencies, and other stakeholders. Active and surplus facilities represent anticipated remediation costs for those facilities that are conducting ongoing operations but ultimately will require stabilization, deactivation, and decommissioning.
Estimated cleanup costs at sites for which there are no current feasible remediation approaches are excluded from the baseline estimates, although applicable stewardship and monitoring costs for these sites are included. Significant projects not included are the nuclear explosion test areas (e.g., Nevada test site).
Estimating DOE’s environmental cleanup liability requires making assumptions about future activities and is inherently uncertain. The future course of DOE’s environmental management program will depend on a number of fundamental technical and policy choices to be made in the future. The sites and facilities could be restored to a pristine condition suitable for any desirable use, or could be restored to a point where they pose no near-term health risks. Achieving pristine conditions would have a higher cost but may or may not, warrant the costs and potential ecosystem disruption, or be legally required. The environmental estimates include contingency estimates intended to account for the uncertainties associated with the technical cleanup scope of the program.
DOE’s environmental liability estimates are dependent on annual funding levels and achievement of work as scheduled. Congressional appropriations at lower than anticipated levels or, unplanned delays in project completion, would cause increases in the estimates.
DOE is also required to recognize closure and post-closure costs for its active and surplus facilities and environmental corrective action costs for current operations. The cleanup cost associated with active and surplus facilities that is allocated to operating periods beyond the balance sheet date is identified as the unrecognized portion. The DOE unrecognized portion of the cleanup cost associated with active and surplus facilities is $698.0 million and $760.0 million for fiscal years 2008 and 2007, respectively. The unrecognized portion of the cleanup cost is recognized over a predetermined period of time.
Please refer to the financial statements of the Department of Energy for significant detailed information regarding DOE’s environmental and disposal liabilities, including cleanup costs.
DOD is required by law to adhere to CERCLA and the Superfund Amendment and Reauthorization Act to clean up contamination resulting from waste disposal practices, leaks, spills, and other activities that have created a public health or environmental risk. CERCLA requires DOD to clean up contamination in coordination with regulatory agencies, other responsible parties, and current property owners.
DOD must restore active installations, installations affected by base realignment and closure, and other areas formerly used as defense sites. DOD also bears responsibility for disposal of chemical weapons and environmental costs associated with the disposal of weapons systems (primarily nuclear powered aircraft carriers and submarines). DOD is responsible, as well, for training range and other nonrange unexploded ordnance cleanup.
DOD is currently using two independently validated estimating models, in addition to engineering estimates, to report its environmental liabilities. The models are the Remedial Action Cost Engineering Requirements (RACER) and the Department of Navy Normalization of Data System (NORM). DOD uses the models to estimate cost during the preliminary assessment and initial site investigation phases of restoration projects. Engineering estimates are generally used to estimate cost from the remedial investigation/feasibility phase of the project forward. DOD is also required to recognize closure and post-closure costs for its general property, plant, and equipment and environmental corrective action costs for current operations. The cleanup cost associated with general property, plant, and equipment that is allocated to operating periods beyond the balance sheet date is identified as the unrecognized portion. The DOD unrecognized portion of the cleanup cost associated with general property, plant, and equipment is $1,953.9 million and $1,589.1 million for fiscal years 2008 and 2007, respectively. The unrecognized portion of the cleanup costs is recognized over a predetermined period of time.
Please refer to the financial statements of the DOD for further detailed information regarding DOD’s environmental and disposal liabilities, including cleanup costs.
NOTES TO THE FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
pp. 76 – 77
of this document (pdf pp. 81 – 82)
My Note –
Some of these figures show a detraction in funds in 2008 from the levels in 2007.
Department of Energy, Nuclear Waste Disposal Fund….. 39.4 3.2 42.6
Balance 2007 …….. 39.4
Net Change During Fiscal Year 2008 ……… 3.2
Balance 2008 …… 42.6
Intragovernmental Debt Holdings: Federal Debt Securities Held as Investments by Government Accounts as of September 30 –
Intragovernmental debt holdings represent the portion of the gross Federal debt held as investments by Government entities such as trust funds, revolving funds, and special funds. This includes trust funds that are earmarked funds. For more information on earmarked funds, see Note 21─Earmarked Funds. These intragovernmental debt holdings are eliminated in the consolidation of these financial statements.
pp. 69 – (pdf pp. 74)
H. Environmental and Disposal Liabilities
Environmental and disposal liabilities are recorded at the estimated current cost of removing, containing, treating, and/or disposing of radioactive waste, hazardous waste, chemical and nuclear weapons, and other environmental contaminations, assuming the use of current technology. Hazardous waste is a solid, liquid, or gaseous waste that, because of its quantity or concentration, presents a potential hazard to human health or the environment. Remediation consists of removal, decontamination, decommissioning, site restoration, site monitoring, closure and post-closure cost, treatment, and/or safe containment. Where technology does not exist to clean up radioactive or hazardous waste, only the estimable portion of the liability, typically monitoring and safe containment is recorded.
pp. 47 (pdf pp. 52)
Most stewardship land managed by the Government was once part of the 1.8 billion acres of public domain land acquired between 1781 and 1867. Stewardship land accounts for 28 percent of the current U.S. landmass.
DOI uses units as a measure to more accurately reflect the major categories of uses of stewardship land. As of September 30, 2008, they have 548 national wildlife refuges, 378 park units, 134 geographic management areas, 67 fish hatcheries, and many other categories. At the end of fiscal year 2008, the Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service managed an estimated 193 million acres of public land, while the Department of Commerce (DOC) had 13 National Marine Sanctuaries, which included near–shore coral reefs and open ocean, covering a total of 19 thousand square miles.
Stewardship lands are used and managed in accordance with the statutes authorizing their acquisition or directing their use and management. Additional detailed information concerning stewardship land can be obtained in the financial statements of DOI, DOC, DOD, and USDA.
Heritage assets are Government-owned assets that have one or more of the following characteristics:
Historical or natural significance.
Cultural, educational, or artistic importance.
Significant architectural characteristics.
The Government classifies heritage assets into two broad categories: collection type and non-collection type. Collection type heritage assets include objects gathered and maintained for museum and library collections. Non-collection type heritage assets include national wilderness areas, wild and scenic rivers, natural landmarks, forests, grasslands, historic places and structures, memorials and monuments, buildings, national cemeteries and archeological sites.
The discussion of the Government’s heritage assets is not all-inclusive. Rather, it highlights significant heritage assets reported by Federal agencies. Please refer to the individual financial statements of the DOI, the USDA, the National Archives and Records Administration, and the websites for the Library of Congress (http://www.loc.gov/index.html) and Smithsonian Institution (http://www.si.edu), for additional information on multi-use heritage assets, agency stewardship policies, and physical units by major categories and conditions.
pp. 114 (pdf pp. 119)
My Note –
Some things I have noted –
Some of the cleanup funds for hazardous waste and similar things were decreased over each of the Republican administration years. I also found that information onsite at the EPA and Superfund online information.
Another thing I have noticed is that the oil companies had completed their requirements for a back up or disaster contingency plan by placing themselves in the membership of a corporation that they created called the Marine Spill Response Corporation. Then, when the explosion happened on the Deepwater Horizon, the BP executives alerted them, as the President said today and the MSRC then started bringing their prepared list of contractors to the situation from that plan.
Then, the fishermen who were out of work because of the spill were told to be on standby for opportunities to work, help lay boom using their boats and crews and to help with containment and cleanup. Many were approached within the first days or couple weeks by BP representatives offering a $5,000 settlement check in exchange for a signed document of some kind – probably relating that they would not hold BP liable beyond that payment.
But, at the same time – BP was using the Marine Spill Response Corporation to call the contractors on their list and put them into work under contracts that adhered to terms earlier determined. Those contracted by these terms of the “plan” that was intended to satisfy the Minerals Management Service, EPA, EOs (see below), and other federal regulations were put into work on the containment, cleanup and other operations – some 17,000 people more or less.
Then, the attorneys at BP who have been obviously running the show in the background and maybe as insurers and re-insurers, because of contract terms with them – began a systematic process of using the same federal guidelines about the backup / prevention / safety / disaster contingency and mitigation requirements against the US government officials working to coordinate and maintain their authority to manage the assets and their placements.
So, the other thing that was occurring at the same time has been an extreme awakening of public relations, marketing, attorneys, lobbyists and others involved with BP and by their contracts with them to cover their collective interests and those of BP.
And, I noticed one day when Commander Thad Allen said he was working without an attorney and without a net – and I thought that was a rather strange concern for a man who has the complete authority of the United States government to be running the show and placing assets as needed where they belong.
Then, there were these odd notes as we’ve gone along where BP had the FAA stop flights over the coastal and ocean areas if any media were found to be onboard and they grounded planes from local airports preventing them from taking off such that continuing journalism and scientific inquiry about the extent of the oil on the surface and as seen aerially “below the surface” would be brought to a complete halt.
And, the turning back of researchers, concerned scientists and state leaders, oceanographers, engineers and marine toxicologists, marine biologists, reporters, journalists, interested parties from state and federal agencies from the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, from beaches and coastal areas, from islands and from areas anywhere within the zone where the crude oil was originating.
There were, as reported by CNN and international sources – the downplaying of the extent of the spill and damages including from those in positions of responsibility and oversight in the government as well as by BP executives. And, many times they seemed (in federal government authorities) to sound more like representatives of BP than independent and offering an independent honest representation of the facts.
The, that kind of started to be corrected although still downplaying much of the available facts and their extensiveness and degree of magnitude. And, then – a discrediting of those independently analyzed facts and their results began from sources throughout the oil industry and from Republican Party pundits, news anchors with Republican backing, Republican Congressional members and right-wing radio show hosts along with their online media outlets.
And, then -the fishermen and others with boats, materials, equipment and resources started asking why they were sitting idle while the problems grew exponentially and quickly and grossly more catastrophic. About that time, more and more international sources of information was coming to bear on the situation to express that no matter what we were being told, the oil was already shown on their satellites in the loop current and already, there were international researchers finding massive and disastrous oil zones under the water with zones of (what will become nothing but death for marine animals) within the overall areas where any part of the spill had been.
But, BP was still saying at every opportunity that the damage would be moderate and telling the fishermen that local didn’t mean “local” and that they would be taken care of financially. The fishermen that were sent out were not given face masks / respirators to protect them from the chemicals – nor were they told of the real health risks they would be facing such that they could protect themselves. BP representatives were sent like a small army to be everywhere from Florida to Texas and at every opportunity explained to local media – the BP party line about whatever question or concern might be raised, even while there was something else in fact – that was the truth or something else that was occurring in fact.
Then, the strange chain of command that made BP’s word the law with the use of every federal and government agency resource doing whatever they said to do the way they said to do it – when and where they said to do it that was intended to do nothing else but serve their own managed image and their own corporate interests. And, there has been a strange closing off of open resourcing and open thinking and options and solutions along with literally running off people that have come from around the world to help. And, nations (17) that offered help were turned away. And, those local resources were turned away or stopped in the midst of doing anything and run off at the insistence of BP using our federal resources to violate rights, deny US and state sovereignty and to back up BP’s interests in the region whether it was to stop oceanographers and researchers or to halt journalists taking pictures or to stop aerial photography of the oil spill rapidly increasing in scope and size.
And, about that time – we were all told on the television news at every single source, online, on basic news shows, on cable news and throughout every journalistic traditional newspaper outlet, that the spill was small, isolated and manageable – or that they had the situation under control and didn’t need any help – or that there were no animals dead and only a couple birds – or that the volume coming from the pipes didn’t matter and there was no way for them to know how much that quantity might be – or that the only focus that could be accommodated was to work on stopping the leak with these “unusual experimental” methods.
But every one of the things they tried were on the list in the first place, have been used before on land or in shallower water and not one unusual, experimental or new idea ever seemed to get on that menu of options. – and despite knowing the level of toxicity of the dispersants they were using and that they were supposed to request authority to use them before doing it – they used them undersea at the point of the leak from the very first day it was discovered. The lethal toxic suffering of marine animals known to be caused by that dispersant were ignored as they covered the ocean with over a million gallons at hundreds of thousands of gallons at a time.
At every point, the same original plan registered with the MMS was used just as it had been intended when the size and magnitude of this spill were not a known possibility in the minds and knowledge of those that created it. And, at every point, despite the best minds supposedly working around the clock for BP in Houston to engineer options that would work – the only things that came from it – were the same things they started with that are already known.
And, then – there were all kinds of Republican spokespeople running around every public opportunity and place where it could be written and published or the ear of a reporter given to it – that started claiming this was Obama’s hurricane Katrina and we’ve all had to hear a host of questions, with some expert political analysis team – each giving their versed opinion about whether it is or not.
And then, about a day after that started – the group out of the Republican Party policy makers decided that maybe public opinions were running too far against the oil industry and we got to watch countless financial experts, government policy experts and energy specialists who’ve worked as CEOs or other profit-driven executives in the oil industry – tell us that the oil industry has never had an incident before this and that we should be grateful to have their services to our nation and that they have all these safe wells and platforms and operations that never have any events causing any problems whatsoever – which just isn’t the truth.
Another thing I noticed is that President Obama said several times today, that BP was “not forthcoming” about everything they knew about the oil leaks, etc. and another time he said they had not given full disclosure of it – I think it was. But, I think the oath they took before testifying to the Congressional and Senate inquiries had those famous words we are all taught growing up – “I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.” But, maybe they’ve changed that now. At that point, when they failed to make “full disclosure” of facts that had to have known – since they’d been seeing the video feeds and they had been apprised of the situation by “experts” they have in-house, but also because they had their own corporate history of previous situations that quickly expanded and it is their business, after all – they were no longer being “not forthcoming” but engaging in perjury.
The other thing I noticed is that the two ideas which have just not seemed to quit from BP executives, their representatives and the Republican Party members that have been working to protect the oil industries’ interests – are 1. what is a little oil in such a big ocean – it won’t hurt anything, and 2. the oil will disappear on its own and be assimilated, eaten by microbes, settle to the bottom and stay there, weather away, be cleaned by the surf without any other thing being done to clean it up, and magically all be naturally and by the forces of nature – not in existence anymore without hurting anything.
Those two ideas along with the continued insistence on propagating the idea publicly that there have never been any other incidents involving the oil industry of any kind or any other safety issues or any other spills or leaks or disasters or whatever – seems to be being placed in every opportune outlet on media sources around the world, especially those throughout the US. And, no one has at the moment there is anyone saying that – challenged the person saying it as an untruth or a lie, or presented – “what about the list of incidents anyone can find in a multitude of places that have happened from wikipedia to books to online government and international resources of information about it including the UN and the International Maritime Organization.”
I don’t get that part.
And, even after it was known that the volumes coming from the three leaks were substantially more than originally reported, why are there a multitude of “news” organizations written and otherwise who continue to use the old figures as if they are accurate? I don’t get that part either. But, that has been going on at the same time, and even more so over the course of the last few days in sources that traditionally would’ve been considered trustworthy reporting sources.
Personally, as I had been researching along through this event – I had discovered inadvertently a piece of information (which I posted) about how the hazardous chemicals and hazardous health effects from hazardous chemicals lists didn’t have petroleum, nor crude oil on the lists although they are known to have serious health hazards. The change was made at some point during the Republican administrations and they haven’t been changed back to what they should be to reflect the facts.
And, so when communities, community health centers, doctors, owners of fishing vessels taking a crew out into the Gulf, township mayors along the coast, health clinic workers and others (including reporters) who went to look up what those health hazards would be – didn’t find petroleum or crude oil on those lists. And, then they went out into those areas covered with petroleum and / or dispersants with crude oil and were exposed without any real understanding of what those health dangers would be or how to properly protect themselves from it.
And, that really pissed me off, too.
But, I know that is not all. There are places which were funded, legitimate and reasonable regulations were made concerning and enforcement systems were in place to do – which were also changed significantly. Some of those changes were to deplete the financial sources to back up there practical needs to do their jobs. Some of the changes were to how documents and information was handled, logged and disseminated. And, some of those changes were in how the regulations, enforcement, safety requirements and multiple agency requirements were applied by policy made from agency heads that were appointed by Republican administrations.
There have to be a multitude of documents that are missing or have been re-designated to be unavailable across agencies who used to receive them regularly to help them to do the jobs they were legislated to do. Some, I’ve found have been re-designated to be only available in the bowels of some federal agency website and nowhere else and some I know from my reading and research were designated as national security matters, especially in those concerning energy sources of petroleum and petroleum industries, facilities, storage facilities and transport.
That may or may not have been necessary and much of it was done prior to 9-11 events, despite being public documents and resources that are needed by emergency management teams and responders. By the time they might get their hands on them the event could be days and days underway with resulting amplitudes of disaster associated with them that could’ve been prevented – which is exactly what we have all seen happen in numerous events.
And, I keep wondering if the BP and oil industries think of the environmentalists, tree-huggers, animal huggers, touchy feely visceral reactions to suffering cruelties of wildlife in the throes of death – to be their enemies and the enemies of their operations and profits. And I wonder if they think the safety requirements, the people who demand safety of people and surrounding townships, environments and animals – to all be their enemies and the enemies of their operations and profits, too.
The major laws and EOs are listed on this page and can be roughly divided into two … Federal Water Pollution Control Amendments – See Clean Water Act … EO 13175: Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments · Federal …
These EOs are not aimed at anti-hoarding but rather at seizure or confiscation … cedes (gives over) authority of his/her state to the federal government. …. They are all printed in the U.S. Federal Register and have the force of law …
(Authority: E.O.s 12549 and 12689; 20 U.S.C. 1082, 1094, 1221e–3 and 3474; and Sec. … Federal agency or agency means any United States executive department, … or services for the Federal Government’s direct benefit or use; and …
My Note –
Now, I’ve heard it twice after watching these shows several times – first when, the Shell Oil ex-president said – “panicky” reaction to stop offshore drilling permits and then when T. Boone Pickens said to “not panic”. And, those were both on Larry King Live from tonight’s show in separate segments. Earlier in this process – there was a lot of desire on the part of the Unified Command at the insistence of BP not to be “alarmist” and to be careful how things were presented to the public to not “alarm” them. Now, wait a minute.
The BP executives and incident commander taking part in the Unified Command and the two oil men on the Larry King Live show all have the same things in common and the same friends. And, they are members of the same petroleum organizations. They are also part of a very isolated and elite club that get to talk to one another and to a number of other very powerful people from Congressmen to Republican Party and Democratic Party leaderships. And, they get the ear of nearly any media outlet, too.
§ 84.645 Federal agency or agency.
Federal agency or agency means any United States executive department, military department, government corporation, government controlled corporation, any other establishment in the executive branch (including the Executive Office of the President), or any independent regulatory agency.
(Authority: E.O.s 12549 and 12689; 20 U.S.C. 1082, 1094, 1221e–3 and 3474; and Sec. 2455, Pub. L. 103–355, 108 Stat. 3243 at 3327.)
Okay – let me think –
BP had a disaster. They acted to coordinate the demands from their attorneys to serve the interests of the corporation. They interacted with their insurance and re-insurance companies and their attorneys first and throughout the process. They activated their publicists, public relations department, public relations companies, marketing departments, lobbyists, lobby firms in Washington and elsewhere, and company representatives to send onsite to locations throughout the Gulf of Mexico to answer reporter’s questions, and mange public image for the company.
Then, they activated the emergency plans and started up the team of 300 – 400 engineers to work on it from what had been a training center in Houston and to work with the Unified Command. And, they activated the Marine Spill Response Corporation as expected using the prepared plans that had been in place before the event. But, as a corporation – what intentional misleading they were doing at that point was directed behind the scenes by their attorneys? their board members? their shareholders? their executive team? the petroleum industry insiders and associations such as the American Petroleum Institute and others? And, then they went to Congress for the hearings and lied to them. And, lied to the public, while using public resources to be their strong arm and hinder researchers, reporters, photographers and scientists examining or recording the extent of the event.
Okay – now I’ve got that part, sort of – but then I keep thinking I’m missing something. They did examinations of the other oil platforms and operations – government agencies or their contractors or somebody did. And, the US government Unified Command incident commander was Admiral Landry? or Commander Thad Allen? or DOE Secretary Chu? or Department of Interior Secretary Salazar? or the EPA Secretary whose demands to change dispersants were met with contempt and disregard? or the requirement that anything which might be done be studied by the Army Corps of Engineers first? or the Department of Commerce who has NOAA and also the authority over the economic zone of the Gulf of Mexico? or the SuperFund? or the Minerals Management Service? – or have they all simply found themselves being required legally to defer to BP with its powerful team of lawyers and corporate interests? HMMMM>
Or has it all been waiting for the proper requests to be made properly from the state Governors? although most of what they’ve asked or said or said they needed or demanded to be considered in – like to have a say in the choice of dispersants – seemed to have been denied or ignored.
And one other thing that I keep having roll around in my mind is that when a reporter in the marshes dead from the oil – several days ago – said that when he put his hand into the oil (within a rubber glove), it was hot – really hot compared to what water would’ve been. And, this year is expected to be a busy year for hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico according to the NOAA projections – and extensive oil makes the water denser and if it makes the water hotter, too?
Hurricanes are built by heat from the waters of the Gulf of Mexico – they are built bigger and stronger but only because of the condensating effects and drawing the heat up from the water which is usually only water – so now what happens? And, where do the storm surges go with oil and oil mixed with dispersants and dead animals? That doesn’t seem like it will change any in such a short period of time between today and any of those storms that will come within a four – five month window, I think it is.
And, if it is already significantly hotter in these waters because of the oil, and the equilibrium is already changed in water densities and salinity – then what will it do as the normal summer afternoon coastal showers cycle happens and other meteorological events?
T. Boone Pickens said “don’t panic” and we should not “panic” four times at least that I counted in the one segment on Larry King Live – and Mr. Hofmeister of the Shell Oil ex- CEO expertise, said “panicky” at least one time and something similar another time. So, thinking about that and about the other thing I remembered about Southern states only getting 1 % revenue where New England states have a 50-50 deal on the revenues with the oil companies from what comes out of their state waters. And, the other thing repeated by oil industry people on Rick’s List and on LarryKing Live oil men – to let the experts do their work and everybody just back off and let the experts do it – they are the smartest and most capable and experienced with these things – which has been re-iterated on multiple occasions by BP executives. So, wait there was one other continuing theme which is our need for the petroleum – just how much is coming from imported oil and getting it from our resources and how alternatives aren’t ready and won’t be ready any time soon if ever. And, yesterday, I just found a note on a wikipedia entry about petroleum that said it only takes one American dollar per barrel of oil to be extracted from the Arabian peninsula.
I swear I’m seeing something that is staring right at me and I don’t see it.
The documents and news stories from 2007, 2008 and before that time, almost all – nearly every last one of them repeat the same things about how they describe the “experts” in the oil industry and the same identical arguments about how much oil is required for the American market every day and how much the imports are costing America and repeating the exact same thing about alternatives for transportation and energy not ever going to be ready to go online – and those same arguments have been identical since 1971 or 1972. Its 2010 now. It doesn’t make sense.
35 minutes ago
… Obama is heading to coastal areas of Louisiana for an update on the latest efforts to stop the devastating spill of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. …
The Associated Press
Critics say plan to cut Coast Guard personnel will harm readiness for crises
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 28, 2010
Three months before the massive BP oil spill erupted in the Gulf of Mexico, the Obama administration proposed downsizing the Coast Guard national coordination center for oil spill responses, prompting its senior officers to warn that the agency’s readiness for catastrophic events would be weakened.
That proposal is feeding a mounting debate over whether the federal government is able to regulate deep-sea oil extraction. Defense analysts and retired agency leaders question whether the Coast Guard — which shares oversight of offshore drilling with the Interior Department’s Minerals Management Service — has the expertise and resources to keep pace with industry advances.
President Obama‘s $10.1 billion spending plan for the Coast Guard would scale back funding and active-duty personnel by 3 percent. As part of a proposal to cut 1,100 military personnel, it would decommission the National Strike Force Coordination Center in Elizabeth City, N.C., and reorganize parts of it elsewhere.
The center serves as the national command for the Coast Guard activity responsible for sending technical experts and specialized equipment such as pumps and chemical dispersant monitors to support on-scene commanders.
In a February interview on Laird’s Web site, Second Line of Defense, the National Strike Force’s executive officer said that although federal law requires industries to be able to respond to spills and to pay for them, it is the Coast Guard that inspects whether they can meet their obligation. The Coast Guard also keeps databases of cleanup companies, storage sites and equipment.
“The elimination of the national command element could well lead to a reduction in core competencies in capabilities needed in a crisis,” said Cmdr. Tina Cutter. The absence of large spills in recent years has “degraded” the skills of responders, making it more critical to maintain technical experts, particularly in catastrophes, she said.
My Note –
You know, I’m reminded of a story – a true story from my own life. There was a camporee I put together for a bunch of adults in a group one time – it probably covered fifty people, maybe more. There was everything they could possibly need for anything sitting in the kitchen and dining room of a cabin being used as the central coordinating area. A friend – an older military man, sat with his elbow right next to a huge box of supplies which included the things to make coffee, creamers, sugar, cereals, salt, pepper, breakfast danish and donuts, cups, spoons and plastic cutlery. He knew everything in the box and was sitting in the cool air of the cabin to stay comfortable. When anyone came and asked where anything – including the things in the box at his elbow which he had helped pack with me and had watched us go through the night before once it came into the cabin – he told them they needed to go find me. And, let them believe that he didn’t know where any of it could be found, despite every last thing being within his hand’s reach and he knew it – he even admitted later that he did know it but he told them to go find me each time they looked for any of those items. People sat hungry, angry, disgusted, without their breakfast or cereal for their children or coffee with it all sitting right there and they thought he meant they couldn’t even look for those things themselves – whatever he told them.
What I learned from this is a lesson I learned having to run around after the event asking people why a person would do such a thing. I asked my parents, who had been a military family at one point -and I asked friends who had been in the military and in big organizations and those who had organized small events and had any knowledge of how people are about things. What came of that is that I know now, sometimes people who feel slighted or that “their team” is not in charge can do some of the most petty, misleading, creating stumbling blocks kinds of things to get even or to make the other look bad or for whatever reason makes them feel better about it.
And, I think to some great extent our nation is suffering from the same thing in agencies and efforts across huge situations where doing things that way is impacting people’s lives and whether our nation deals with things, like the oil crisis and others – successfully and in a timely, efficient way. It is very damaging and sometimes, the consequences are a great deal more than inconvenient and annoying – they can be life-threatening and make a crisis, into a disaster and that quickly and expansively into a catastrophic event.
At the same time, I always thought that seeing those consequences – that people acting that way to create stumbling blocks or be misleading or pretending not to know some information exists – or refusing to provide it or whatever – that they upon seeing those dire consequences being made worse would stop doing it that way – but they don’t. They relish it and seem to cherish that point of personal power that gave them the ability to stop progress, alter success to be failure or to send people off in the wrong directions entirely to waste time and resources costing the success of whatever it is. And, I’ve watched people relish that and be proud of doing it upon seeing the consequences rather than realizing it is wrong and stopping.
It sure looks like that is happening in many of our federal and state agencies when another administration comes into place that maybe they don’t consider their team – but rather an opportunity to make “their enemy team” look bad at every turn. It is a kind of scorn and I swear it is so wrong when we are all on the same team and people’s lives are at stake.
I don’t like what the Republicans have done. I really don’t and I have not always agreed with what the results have been that Democrats or Republicans have done the way they’ve managed to do it. But, it isn’t the principles of either party that I disagree with. It is the way that sometimes in the hands of some people – those principles have been all twisted up until they are literally unrecognizable. That is the part where I feel that there becomes no distinction between the good guys doing ill, rotten, evil and bad things – torturing people or murdering by ineptitude or intention and the bad guys who are doing the same things – but at least they are upfront about it and you can see ’em coming.
US coast guards harass journalists covering BP’s oil spill disaster
News photographers and TV camera crews are claiming that they are being prevented from reporting on the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
They complain that US federal and local officials, including coast guards, are blocking access to beaches where the effects of the spill are most visible.
A CBS TV crew was threatened with arrest when attempting to film an oil-covered beach last week. On Saturday, reporter Mac McClelland was blocked by police from visiting an island in Louisiana.
On Tuesday, a photographer with the New Orleans Times-Picayune was prevented from flying over the ocean after the plane company was issued with a temporary flight restriction after BP officials learned that a member of the press would be on board.
( . . . )
Reporters and photographers view BP’s influence as unhelpful. They are escorted by BP officials on BP-contracted boats and aircraft. So the company is able to determine what reporters see and when they see it.
My Note –
It makes it look to the rest of the world like America has no freedom of the press, no freedom of speech, no open society, and no control and authority of our own national waters and access to them.
It isn’t right. Not only did they downplay the extent of it knowingly and lie about it to Congress, and not only did they refuse to make it known what the health hazards are for the people going out in it and the communities along the coast – but they are restricting access to the event – which is historic – and restricting access to reporting and scientists and decision-makers from the States and from the Congress and Senate. I don’t think that is tolerable in any respect. Does BP really operate outside the law? and do they really have more rights and authority over our national and state waters and coastal areas than our own government? It is really happening that way – how could that happen?
People are seeing it all over the world. Have these people in BP and in our government not caught up with the fact that we can know this from all over the world now whether they want us to see it or not?
Live Feed Video of the Leak on top of the blowout preventer – which now has more holes in it than it did before they started adding the drilling mud
Video from earlier – clips –
SenBillNelson — May 18, 2010 — from May 8
And the live video feed on the global warming House of Representatives site – never did come up but I’ve heard its very, very busy and has crashed from the traffic – so maybe that’s it. I watched the one on the BP site for awhile but somewhere there are live feeds of the other leaks and I was trying to find them.
– cricketdiane, my note
Sep 16, 2007 – “The Republicans have kind of lost touch with reality.” At the behest of the White House, which made accelerated oil and gas leasing the top priority of the …
http://www.washingtonpost.com › Politics
News » Press Releases
Mica Statement from Gulf Oil Spill Hearing
May 19, 2010
Washington, DC – The following is the opening statement of U.S. Rep. John L. Mica (R-FL), Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Republican leader, from today’s oversight hearing on the DEEPWATER HORIZON incident and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Mica referred to the permit approval of the BP drilling plan by the Obama Department of the Interior “a carte blanche recipe for disaster”:
Mr. Chairman, I am pleased the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is holding this hearing, first requested by our colleague from Louisiana, Representative Joseph Cao.
In the month of April, the nation lost 29 miners and 11 oil rig workers in two avoidable disasters. Federal agencies failed and federal actions failed to prevent these disasters.
While this hearing is intended to cast blame on BP oil executives, the failure of the federal government in leading up to this disaster must also be documented. I have carefully researched the timetable of the Obama Oil Spill:
Obama Oil Spill Timeline
March 10, 2009 – BP submits an Initial Exploration Plan to MMS for its Macondo well
April 6, 2009 – Obama Administration issues permit for Macondo well (Click here for MMS permit)
February 2, 2010 – Obama proposes cuts to Coast Guard budget
February 2010 – TRANSOCEAN DEEPWATER HORIZON begins drilling Macondo well
March 31, 2010 – Obama proposes expanded offshore drilling
April 20, 2010 – TRANSOCEAN DEEPWATER HORIZON explodes, killing 11
April 21 – Coast Guard named Federal On-Scene Coordinator
April 23, 2010 – TRANSOCEAN DEEPWATER HORIZON sinks. Fractured riser and drilling pipe begin leaking oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Administration summary of events finds “No Apparent Leak”
April 29 – President declares a Spill of National Significance (SONS)
May 1 – Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Thad Allen appointed National Incident Commander pursuant to the declaration of the Spill of National Significance
The DEEPWATER HORIZON sank after an April 20th explosion caused a catastrophic fire on board, killing 11 crewmembers and causing the ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The Coast Guard was the first agency to respond to this accident on April 20, and on May 1st was selected to lead the unified command that is conducting the current response.
Sadly, even before the disaster the Obama Administration, in February, chose to pay the Service back by proposing cuts to the number of Coast Guardsmen who would be available to respond to such catastrophes next year and to cut the number of ships and planes available to those service members.
If nothing else good comes from this disaster, I hope Congress will at least reject those Obama Administration cuts, which if enacted, will surely affect the Coast Guard’s ability to respond to the next disaster.
Within the realm of sound planning and preparedness the responsibility clearly rests with the federal government.
We must look at the Obama Administration’s failed process for approving the Environmental Assessment for the exploration phase of the well.
A permit approval of the BP exploration and backup safety plan by the Department of the Interior on April 6, 2009 failed to include measures that could ensure protection of the environment in drilling or in the event that problems arose.
This was essentially a carte blanche recipe for disaster.
We must also examine the Obama Administration’s cursory review of the adequacy of BP’s spill response planning.
There are real concerns about whether all parties were equipped to respond to this event beyond the assurances contained in the various response and contingency plans. The delay from April 21 to May 1st to declare a Spill of National Significance lost valuable time in containing the spill.
I am concerned about the apparent failure by all parties to carry out their responsibilities to plan for and prevent this tragedy.
We need to have a systematic review of what was required of the industry. With the March 31st Obama declaration of support for additional offshore drilling, remedial action now is essential.
We need to know why actions were not taken to avoid a drilling disaster, and whether the planning and operations were adequate to prepare for an event of this magnitude.
If legislative or regulatory changes need to be made, we should address them as soon as possible.
We must responsibly utilize our offshore energy resources to reduce our dependence on foreign sources of oil. We can do this safely but we must insure better oversight by the federal government and industry.
The American people have serious questions about what happened. Congress must investigate why it happened, and what we should do to prevent this from occurring again. With dozens of deep water permits having been issued by the Obama Administration, we must act now to prevent another disaster. (Click here for a list of deepwater rig activity during the Obama Administration.)
Deepwater Horizon: Oil Spill Prevention and Response Measures and Natural Resource Impacts
2167 Rayburn House Office Building
May 19, 2010
Video of Hearing:
|Mr. Steven Newman|
|Dr. Jane Lubchenco|
|Ms. S. Elizabeth Birnbaum|
|RADM Brian Salerno|
|Mr. Larry Schweiger|
|Mr. Pete Gerica|
|Ms. Carys L. Mitchelmore Ph.D.|
|Ms. Nancy E. Kinner Ph.D.|
My Note –
But weren’t these the people in Congress responsible for the legislation and getting the budgets to enforce the safety regulations and agencies concerning enforcement during all the years preceding this that last of all have left us with the self-regulating environment without proper preparations for this disaster? And aren’t these the committees specific to it – that are listed on this site? Why didn’t they do their job in these agencies long before this?
Aren’t these the committees and subcommittees that demanded the change in culture and mission at these agencies including the FAA such that they were agents of the industry instead of agents of the federal government – when the Republicans have been in power with all the resources at their command for the last thirty years – including the last ten years?
Canada uses military might in Arctic scramble
· Building programme is response to Russian move
· UN to decide on seabed claims to huge oil deposits
An international scramble for the Arctic’s oil and gas resources accelerated yesterday when Canada responded to Russia’s recent sovereignty claims with a plan to build two military bases in the region.On a trip to the far north, the prime minister, Stephen Harper, said: “Canada’s new government understands that the first principle of Arctic sovereignty is: use it or lose it. Today’s announcements tell the world that Canada has a real, growing, long-term presence in the Arctic.”
An army training centre for 100 troops is to be built in Resolute Bay, and a deep-water port will be built on Baffin Island, to bolster Canada’s claim to ownership.
The move comes a week after a Russian sub planted a flag on the Arctic seabed. Moscow claims rights to half the Arctic. The US, Norway and Denmark also have claims.
As Canada was making its move, Danish scientists were preparing to head for the Arctic tomorrow as part of their bid for a share of the region’s wealth. A US coast guard icebreaker was heading to the Arctic to map the seafloor north of Alaska.
Although the US and Canada enjoy good relations, the American ambassador to Canada, David Wilkins, has expressed annoyance with the prime minister’s claims in the past.
No country owns the Arctic Ocean and north pole, but there are international laws governing its use. Under one UN convention, each country with a coast has sole exploitation rights in a limited “exclusive economic zone”, beyond which mineral resources are controlled by the International Seabed Authority. However, upon ratification of the UN convention, each country was given a 10-year period within which to make claims to extend its zone. Norway (ratified in 1996), Russia (1997), Canada (2003), and Denmark (2004) have all launched claims that certain Arctic sectors should belong to their territories.
The UN’s ruling on these submissions will determine who gets the right to extract the Arctic’s huge reserves of oil and gas, estimated at 10bn tonnes.
Arguments over the Arctic were until recently academic because of the depth of the ice, but global warming has seen some of it melt, making drilling feasible. The US geological survey estimates that 25% of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas could be located under the polar cap.
Last month, he announced that six to eight navy patrol ships will be built to guard the Northwest Passage sea route in the Arctic, which the US insists does not belong to Canada.
Russian researchers claim the Lomonosov ridge, a 1,240-mile underwater mountain range. Denmark, which owns Greenland, is claiming the same landmass, saying the Lomonosov ridge is an extension of its territory.
“The preliminary investigations done so far are very promising,” Helge Sander, Denmark’s minister of science, technology and innovation, told Denmark’s TV2 on Thursday. “There are things suggesting that Denmark could be given the north pole.”
( . . . )
The US’s position is complicated because the Senate has refused since the 1990s to ratify the 1982 UN convention on the law of the sea, mainly because Republican senators refused to recognise the right of the United Nations to broker it.
Under the convention, countries are entitled to control any waters above landmasses which extend from their continental shelf, the basis of the Russian and Danish claims to the Lomonosov ridge. If the US operated on the same principle, it would be able to claim half of the Arctic.
Ewen MacAskill in Washington
My Note – This is the livecam with a live video feed from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill but I never did get to see it – and I went back to it several times. So, it may not be available.
The other thing on CNN AM Morning – just said President Obama is going to be in the Gulf Coast today – but I think they said he is only going to be there for three hours – what in the hell can the President see in three hours? He needs about three days there and what is he going to be able to see in three hours? Will they fly him over the area where the oil spill is obvious? Will he have watched last night’s CNN show AC360 where they showed that BP forced the bird and animal rescue group taking the oil off the animals into taking the list of those injured and dead animals off their website to have the only place where that information to be found to be the website at the Unified Command as they decide? What will the President have seen by the time he has been there such a short time – will he see the dead marshes without a sound – will he see just whatever BP wants him to see?
And, what right does BP to tell a US citizen or wildlife organization of any kind that they can’t post publicly on their website – the information about the birds and animals they are finding in distress in the oil or covered with oil or dead. Why can’t that information be in both places rather than BP acting like the SS Gestapo and forcing their site to stop placing that information on it? What legal authority does BP have to do that – they aren’t our government and they don’t own our Constitutional rights.
Damn that pisses me off and I hate BP even more. They are so completely anti-American everything but to take authorities and rights that don’t belong to them and force people to comply with them who are US citizens and organizations involved in cleaning up the disaster they’ve made which has killed damn near everything it has touched! How dare they exist in our waters or in our lands anywhere.
They aren’t even abiding by our laws – and then to make themselves the law and authority. No. No. No. No. Our Coast Guard has no business being commanded by BP and being used by BP to do their bidding in antithesis of our laws and Constitution. That is completely wrong and further evidence of BP as a criminal racketeering concepted business.
Will the President ever know BP has been doing that and getting away with it – from chasing off aerial photography to forcing people to cede their rights to freedom of speech to post publicly the animals that they are cleaning and rescuing and finding dead – what kind of nightmare is this? It is like having a dictator in charge and a criminal one at that – instead of being in the United States at all – but then Georgia has been that way most of my adult lifetime with it led by Republicans in the US and across many states anyway – but damn.
That isn’t the way things are done during a crisis in the United States. As if it isn’t bad enough that the experts and BP specialists continue doing the same plan they started with although it isn’t working in any respect . . . and then they get to tell everybody what to do and use our national resources like the Coast Guard and police to enforce it in negation of every law, every right, every guarantee of the Constitution? What is this, the Soviet Union or World War II Germany under Hitler – but this time the Stalin and Hitler character is British Petroleum Global corporate entity?