Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Oil spills are already great

Some of you may remember back about six years ago when one especially ugly offshore disaster briefly focused our attention on the environmental devastation* wrought by the rapacious practices of the oil and gas industry.  Thankfully the resultant political outrage focused our resolve to create and enforce new safety standards, invest more in moving away from reliance on destructive fossil fuel production and bring about a better world for ours and future generations to enjoy.

Just kidding! Actually we screamed at Obama for "killing our jobs" even as he worked to protect industry interests to the best of his ability. (Obama was eventually shamed into somewhat less bad behavior) We allowed a class of politically connected trial lawyers to steal much of the settlement fund meant for oil spill victims. And we failed to hold the industry accountable for its role in the destruction of the Louisiana coast.

Oh also we kept dumping oil into the Gulf.  It's actually something we do all the time.
Recent discoveries of illegal, unreported oil discharges and systematic dumping of chemicals from rigs and platforms have raised new fears about environmental damage in the Gulf of Mexico, more than six years after the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

Tracking of federal data by the environmental watchdog group SkyTruth shows more than 11,700 oil spills have been reported in the Gulf of Mexico since the BP oil spill ended in July 2010.

But the rate of spills also has slowed significantly, from 245 a month in 2012 to 80 in October 2016.

As a part of its series “Oil & Water,” WWL-TV is taking a fresh look at how these often-overlooked spills – and an unknown number that never get reported at all – might affect the Gulf environment.

The station aired shocking video last month from a whistleblower who recorded his supervisors on an oil rig in 2014 opening a valve on a deep sea oil pipe and brazenly letting pollutants flow into the Gulf for 90 minutes, then talking about how they could cover it up.
Meanwhile, despite the fact that America has always been great at spilling hydrocarbons and chemicals into the ocean, we're about to find out if we can make that even greater.
WASHINGTON ― President-elect Donald Trump is just starting to arrange the team that will advise him and implement his policy agenda. But the list of names that have been floated to fill the top job at the Interior Department includes many people who would slash environmental regulations.

David Bernhardt, who served as the Interior Department solicitor in the George W. Bush administration and is now a lobbyist in the natural resources sector, is leading Trump’s transition work for the department.

Those rumored to be on the list of potential picks for secretary of interior include: oil executive Forrest Lucas, venture capitalist Robert Grady, oil and natural gas magnate Harold Hamm, Former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R), Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) and Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R).
We have not yet begun to spill. 

*Also the loss of 11 lives on the Deepwater Horizon due to gross negligence.  I wonder what Trump's OSHA will look like. 

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