Rod Dreher

Rod Dreher

‘It’s BP’s oil': How BP captured government

Read this report. Excerpt:

The blockade to Elmer’s [Island] is now four cop cars strong. As we pull up, deputies start bawling us out; all media need to go to the Grand Isle community center, where a “BP Information Center” sign now hangs out front.
Inside, a couple of Times-Picayune reporters circle BP representative Barbara Martin, who tells them that if they want passage to Elmer they have to get it from another BP flack, Irvin Lipp; Grand Isle beach is closed too, she adds. When we inform the Times-Pic reporters otherwise, she asks Dr. Hazlett if he’s a reporter; he says, “No.” She says, “Good.” She doesn’t ask me. We tell her that deputies were just yelling at us, and she seems truly upset. For one, she’s married to a Jefferson Parish sheriff’s deputy. For another, “We don’t need more of a black eye than we already have.”
“But it wasn’t BP that was yelling at us, it was the sheriff’s office,” we say.
“Yeah, I know, but we have…a very strong relationship.”
“What do you mean? You have a lot of sway over the sheriff’s office?”
“Oh yeah.”
“How much?”
“A lot.”
When I tell Barbara I am a reporter, she stalks off and says she’s not talking to me, then comes back and hugs me and says she was just playing. I tell her I don’t understand why I can’t see Elmer’s Island unless I’m escorted by BP. She tells me BP’s in charge because “it’s BP’s oil.”
“But it’s not BP’s land.”
“But BP’s liable if anything happens.”
“So you’re saying it’s a safety precaution.”
“Yeah! You don’t want that oil gettin’ into your pores.”
“But there are tourists and residents walking around in it across the street.”
“The mayor decides which beaches are closed.” So I call the Grand Isle police requesting a press liason, only to get routed to voicemail for Melanie with BP. I call the police back and ask why they gave me a number for BP; they blame the fire chief.
I reach the fire chief. “Why did the police give me a number for BP?” I ask.
“That’s the number they gave us.”
When I tell Chief Aubrey Chaisson that I would like to get a comment on Barbara’s intimations–and my experience so far–that BP is running the show, he says he’ll meet me in a parking lot. He pulls in, rolls down the window of his maroon Crown Victoria, and tells me that I can’t trust the government or big corporations. When everyone saw the oil coming in as clear as day several days before that, BP insisted it was red tide–algae. Chaisson says he’s half-Indian and grew up here and just wants to protect the land. When I tell him BP says the inland side of the island is still clean, he spits, “They’re fucking liars. There’s oil over there. It’s already all up through the pass.” The spill workers staying at my motel later tell me they’ve been specifically instructed by BP not to talk to any media, but they’re pissed because BP tried to tell them that the crude they were swimming around in to move an oil containment boom was red tide, dishwashing-liquid runoff, or mud.


Read the whole thing. Why is the government — local and federal — letting BP get away with this?! John Robb has a theory.

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posted May 30, 2010 at 8:01 pm

just what BP needs a bunch of left wing journalists traipsing through a disaster area
of course they would rather go against the big bad evil corporation than to ask the hard questions of the administration they ie Mother Jones and its readers helped to elect
Mother Jones has an agenda

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Scott Lahti

posted May 30, 2010 at 8:52 pm

Ladies and gentlemen, the Britis Petroleum Memorial Service Professor of Ad Hominem Studies will be arriving on the 8:01 tonight on schedule. Title of tonight’s lecture: “How to Disarm Parody Irony-Free in Living in the Eighteenth Century by Holding Your Fingers in Your Ears While Emitting an Unedited Cloud of Run-On and Punctuation-Free Verbal Oil Worthy of Your Endowed Chair’s Benefactor.” Audience members are requested to refrain from laughter until the end of the lecture, or until 8:02, whichever comes first.

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posted May 30, 2010 at 9:43 pm

Here’s an idea, go to Mobile (the city) or whereever, rent yourself a boat, and motor over there.
Coast guard interferes? Well, go to the local airstrip, put out a call for a local pilot to fly you over the area. Bring your photog with his big big lense.
Really, is this so difficult?

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joseph cecil smith

posted May 30, 2010 at 10:12 pm

our land is taken by a foreign company, and you cannot even clean it or protect it.. the police guard the soiled land against our citizens who would care for it, as the real enemy combatants, the oil poison soldiers, advance on our southern shores at 5 miles per hour. The enemy gave us WEEKS of advance warning, yet still our govt fails to prevail, the enemy has ruined our southern economy and perhaps for a generation. so much of this could have been sucked into ships fast, except for BP’s “stock-price-sensitive” conduct, lies, obfuscation.
They ruined our economy!
this is shocking, but not as shocking as watching Obama, whom i voted for, sit and watch and say ‘bp will pay’ meekly as the enemy soldiers took our shores, and obama did not have enough speed to make up his mind to protect it with all our people.. he could easily have had one million people out in and around the waters protecting the land. we could have pulled in supertankers and pumped out all the oil while the relief wells get drilled..
but no triumph for slow obama.. he and his lawyers have selected their commission, got the popcorn, and getting ready for a big STUDY, while the rest of us HOPE for CHANGE.

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posted May 30, 2010 at 10:16 pm

“just what BP needs a bunch of left wing journalists traipsing through a disaster area
of course they would rather go against the big bad evil corporation than to ask the hard questions of the administration they ie Mother Jones and its readers helped to elect”
But I thought private enterprise was the answer to all our problems, PeterK. Is that only the case when there is a profit to be made? Are you like most freepers who scream for more free markets until one of your corporate sponsors makes a mess? Is that when you want the nasty big gubbermint to come in and clean it up?
Sorry brochacho, but BP needs to be held to the fire on this one. If it bankrupts them, oh well…capitalism has its risks. It’s time we let the corporations and their stockholders stand on their own two feet.
I’d say it is a good time to take the CEO, CFO, Chairman and Board of Directors of BP and give them free rides in that area of the gulf. Let’s see if the CEO will still call it red tide when he’s on a whoopie board popping wakes in it.

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posted May 30, 2010 at 10:25 pm

Makes you wonder just what kind of connections there are between BP and our enemies.
How much of BP is owned by Arab nations?

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posted May 30, 2010 at 11:28 pm

Looks like there are “Many Roads to Serfdom.”

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posted May 31, 2010 at 5:12 am

Usually private enterprise is the answer to most overall long-term problems, but this is an emergency whether or not the President thinks so or not. And that is different.
The President is correct on one point, he and the government do not have the expertise at hand to stop the leak. However, the clean up of the spill is not so high tech.
However within 3 days after the disaster and spill he should have organized and mobilized co-operative and parallel clean up efforts along with BP and others. He also should have had the CEOs and operating presidents of BP, SHELL, and ExxonMobil in his office.
But what did he do? He sent in the lawyer and bureaucrat brigade.

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posted May 31, 2010 at 9:30 am

“However within 3 days after the disaster and spill he should have organized and mobilized co-operative and parallel clean up efforts along with BP and others. He also should have had the CEOs and operating presidents of BP, SHELL, and ExxonMobil in his office.”
And in doing so he would have been castigated by folks like our BP apologist above for interfering in what was still a rescue operation. Recall that for the first 36-48 hours the primary concern was putting out the fire and rescuing any of the missing crew. It was not until the 3rd or 4th day that reports came out that there was a substantial leak beneath the rig. BP was insisting that the leak, if there was one, was small. Only when underwater robots were brought in on the 3rd and 4th days did the nature of the leaks come to be known. Even then BP downplayed the size of the leaks.
I agree that the government should have done and should be doing more. Heck, they should have been doing a LOT more prior to the fire and explosions in the way of inspections and sanctions. But your answer is a typical 20/20 hindsight answer that assumes knowledge that was not present at the time.

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posted May 31, 2010 at 1:16 pm

Um, how is this different than bailing out Lehman Bros (to which the US gummint said no) and AIG et al. (to which the chastened US gummint said yes, only to be chastened in turn)? Had Obama gone in there with guns blazing, he would have been accused of another bailout at taxpayer expense.

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Robert C

posted May 31, 2010 at 5:49 pm

Aside from not demonstrating one iota of leadership skill in any of his elected positions, Obama is inextricably linked to BP in many ways heretofore unknown to the general public. Here are links to three pieces of interest that partially explain why BP is being handled with kid gloves.

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Not A Lumberjack

posted May 31, 2010 at 10:49 pm

Yeah, mate, that black ooze is just mud and dishwater runoff. You know those Cajun restaurants down there cook some real greasy stuff. And no, the Deepwater Horizon platform isn’t sunk, it’s just resting. It’s pining for the fjords. It’s a lovely semi-submersible, beautiful propulsion system.

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Jim Mann

posted June 1, 2010 at 1:38 am

I’m surprised Sarah Palin hasn’t been hired as the spokesperson for BP.

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