Was the US Gov't In Cahoots With BP All Along?



What I Want To Know Is #13
an original post 
by Johanna Faust



The Obama administration blocked efforts by government scientists to tell the public just how bad the Gulf oil spill could become and committed other missteps that raised questions about its competence and candor during the crisis, according to a commission appointed by the president to investigate the disaster.
                        "Panel: Gov't blocked scientists on spill estimate" 
DINA CAPPIELLO, Associated Press Writer



So I find out (from BP to cut production amid impact of Deepwater Horizon spill  by Tim Webb) that BP is expected to pump about 10% less oil this year than in 2009. The new CEO, Dudley, will finally give up on plans (originally made weeks before the spill) to increase the then-4mn-barrel-a-day production by 1 - 2% each year until 2015.  He is settling for posting a $5bn profit as of the last quarter of 2009 -- the same as is expected of Shell. That is, the same as is expected of a company NOT found "partially" responsible for the single worst man-made environmental catastrophe in human history. 

This is a step down indeed from the success BP originally expected from the new fields it was developing in  the Gulf -- but it is still a hefty profit.  Despite their unfulfilled promises, unwritten checks, and unprocessed claims; despite fact-finding missions, Federal inquiries, widespread reports of corruption, negligence, and blatant disregard for any authority but their own or any motivation besides profit; despite any acknowledgment, even close to realistic, of the damage done to the Gulf, to the economy, and to the people.

This was of course BP's plan all along, the sons of bitches.  (Wait, that's insulting to dogs.    

How did they manage it?  How are they guaranteeing, as they are, that spill related damages will be kept to 39 billion?

Sources close to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also told the Observer that the US government is likely to agree to reduce its estimate of the size of the gulf spill, which would cut BP fines.
Water samples from the gulf by US government scientists investigating the environmental damage caused by the spill are also understood to be showing a stronger than expected recovery in fish stocks, further limiting the damages payable by BP. Shell fish stocks remain severely affected however.        

If i may have your mind, Gentle Reader, for a moment?  In the following I am advancing no one's but my own, humble, opinion -- and would of course welcome informed comment:

This show by BP plc of their mastery of the cold assed fashion had  been planned from the beginning, and not only by BP.  In fact, the foundation for the arguments that BP would later be using to have much of the consequences of their actions  mitigated was laid extremely early.


by Dina Cappiello 

BP's argument could be bolstered by the federal government's missteps in coming up with a final estimate for the spill's volume. The Obama administration has offered nearly 10 estimates of how much oil flowed from the BP well, coming up with a refined conclusion late last month of 206 million gallons, which is likely its last.
Internal documents released late Friday under the Freedom of Information Act show that the White House was intimately involved in deciding how scientific information was portrayed to the public, particularly when it came to the August 4 release of a document that showed where the spilled oil had gone. The five-page report, which was touted by Carol Browner, the president's energy adviser, on morning talk shows and at White House press briefing showed that half the oil was gone – either from evaporation, burning, skimming or recovery at the well head.

The 3,500 pages of documents reveal that the administration wanted the oil budget to show its efforts to respond to the disaster were working, despite objections from top EPA officials, including Administrator Lisa Jackson, over how some of the data was presented.

So it emerges that of the Deepwater Horizon oil somehow captured or mitigated, the exact amount was revised from the "33%" of the first draft of the document to "the vast majority" of its final version, only to be revised upward again ex tempore by Browner when, on national television and before the White House press, she stated -- with a straight face -- that, according to the preliminary findings of federal scientists, "more than three-quarters of the oil is gone."  Oh sure, they took it back.  The errata page never has quite the same reach, does it?  Between statements like that -- which sure look  on purpose -- and the wall-to-wall lies that came out of Tony Hayward's mouth, many many Americans thought the situation in the Gulf was 'handled.'  Many stockholders were I am sure if not satisfied then mollified.  Mission accomplished -- profits posted.

It is not too far a stretch of the imagination, then, to think that the Obama administration -- or at least parts of it -- were in at least as much collusion with BP as Rep. Joe Barton was (see Rep. Joe Barton apologize to BP chairman Tony Hayward) and very possibly much, much more.  This would be the answer to the question, below emphasized, which otherwise has not been addressed: "Why exactly the administration didn't want to emphasize the worst-case scenario."


by Dina Cappiello

 The Obama administration blocked efforts by government scientists to tell the public just how bad the Gulf oil spill could become and committed other missteps that raised questions about its competence and candor during the crisis, according to a commission appointed by the president to investigate the disaster.
In documents released Wednesday, the national oil spill commission's staff describes "not an incidental public relations problem" by the White House in the wake of the April 20 accident.
Among other things, the report says, the administration made erroneous early estimates of the spill's size, and President Barack Obama's senior energy adviser went on national TV and mischaracterized a government analysis by saying it showed most of the oil was "gone." The analysis actually said it could still be there.
"By initially underestimating the amount of oil flow and then, at the end of the summer, appearing to underestimate the amount of oil remaining in the Gulf, the federal government created the impression that it was either not fully competent to handle the spill or not fully candid with the American people about the scope of the problem," the report says.

[snip]

For the first time, the documents — which are preliminary findings by the panel's staff — show that the White House was directly involved in controlling the message as it struggled to convey that it, not BP, was in charge of responding to what eventually became the biggest offshore oil spill in U.S. history.
Citing interviews with government officials, the report reveals that in late April or early May, the White House budget office denied a request from NOAA to make public its worst-case estimate of how much oil could spew from the blown-out well. The Unified Command — the government team in charge of the spill response — also was discussing the possibility of making the numbers public, the report says.
The report shows "the political process was in charge and science really does not have the role that was touted," said Christopher D'Elia, dean of environmental studies at Louisiana State University.
The White House budget office has traditionally been a clearinghouse for administration domestic policy. Why exactly the administration didn't want to emphasize the worst-case scenario is not made clear in the report.

[snip]

BP's drilling permit for the well originally estimated the worst-case scenario to be a leak of 6.8 million gallons per day. In late April, just after the spill began, the Coast Guard and NOAA received an updated worst-case estimate of 2.7 million to 4.6 million gallons per day.
While those figures were used as the basis for the government's response to the spill — they appeared on an internal Coast Guard situation report and on a dry-erase board in NOAA's Seattle war room — they were never announced to the public, according to the report....


From Rolling Stone's workup:

...the disaster in the Gulf was preceded by ample warnings – yet the administration had ignored them. Instead of cracking down on MMS, as he had vowed to do even before taking office, Obama left in place many of the top officials who oversaw the agency's culture of corruption. He permitted it to rubber-stamp dangerous drilling operations by BP – a firm with the worst safety record of any oil company – with virtually no environmental safeguards, using industry-friendly regulations drafted during the Bush years. He calibrated his response to the Gulf spill based on flawed and misleading estimates from BP – and then deployed his top aides to lowball the flow rate at a laughable 5,000 barrels a day, long after the best science made clear this catastrophe would eclipse the Exxon Valdez.

Even after the president's press conference, Rolling Stone has learned, the administration knew the spill could be far worse than its "best estimate" acknowledged. That same day, the president's Flow Rate Technical Group – a team of scientists charged with establishing the gusher's output – announced a new estimate of 12,000 to 25,000 barrels, based on calculations from video of the plume. In fact, according to interviews with team members and scientists familiar with its work, that figure represents the plume group's minimum estimate. 
Hours after BP’s rig sank on April 22nd, a white board in NOAA's "war room" in Seattle displays the administration's initial, worst-case estimate of the spill — 64,000 to 110,000 barrels a day. 
Photo courtesy of al.com














It is my hypothesis that they were laying the groundwork for BP's case.  Like Joe Barton, barely able to restrain himself from leaping over the banister and fellating Tony Hayward outright in lieu of apology, the Obama administration had predictably begun to uneasily resemble an overly willing, if cheap, whore. 

Under the Clean Water Act, the oil giant – which owned and operated the well – faces fines of up to $1,100 for each barrel of oil spilled. If BP were found to have committed gross negligence or willful misconduct, the fine could be up to $4,300 per barrel.

So the animals disappear under cover of night; the whales are exploded, and the court finds BP not alone in its responsibility.  All we need then to keep the price of the worst oil disaster in history 'doable' is to keep the actual estimates low. By appearing inept at this estimation early on, proof is provided for the argument of a future litigation, and its outcome is all but assured.

Last month BP formally challenged the official estimate of the size of the spill, made by US government scientists, of 4.9m barrels, making it the world’s largest offshore accident. BP argues that scientists have miscalculated the flow rate from the Macondo well, and that the actual spill size could be half the official estimate. It will also point to the number of different estimates of the flow rate made by the US government as evidence of their fallibility, and the EPA is understood to accept that no estimate can be 100% accurate.              


What I want to know is: did they plan this all along?  Ask yourself this: would you put it past them?

SELLOUT: Feds Cave In To BP On Spill Size Estimate   
                          
- Stuart H Smith  Oil Spill Action, January 31, 2011 


... our government is poised for a massive corporate sellout.

[snip]

Oddly, this estimate “adjustment” is going virtually unnoticed in the United States, but is mentioned as a done deal in the United Kingdom. It could be that the Brits have a much more realistic view of how little our government values the Gulf, but there is still time to let officials know that we’re not about to support a cut-rate deal with BP.
We recommend letting a jury in New Orleans decide how much oil spilled, and whether BP was reckless. That way, the Obama Administration cannot be accused of selling out the people and the environment of the Gulf Coast – particularly since fines will be used to fund restoration projects.

(Read more)


they've done it before.  


Crash course -- REQUIRED READING:



(Same as it ever was).






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