May 1, 2010

As Karoli already noted, Halliburton has been tied to the Deepwater Horizon spill. Mike Papantonio implicated Dick Cheney as well on Ed Schultz's show. As Papantonio pointed out and The Wall Street Journal reported, the Leaking Oil Well Lacked [a] Safeguard Device:

The oil well spewing crude into the Gulf of Mexico didn't have a remote-control shut-off switch used in two other major oil-producing nations as last-resort protection against underwater spills.

The lack of the device, called an acoustic switch, could amplify concerns over the environmental impact of offshore drilling after the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon rig last week.

...U.S. regulators don't mandate use of the remote-control device on offshore rigs, and the Deepwater Horizon, hired by oil giant BP PLC, didn't have one. With the remote control, a crew can attempt to trigger an underwater valve that shuts down the well even if the oil rig itself is damaged or evacuated.

...The U.S. considered requiring a remote-controlled shut-off mechanism several years ago, but drilling companies questioned its cost and effectiveness, according to the agency overseeing offshore drilling. The agency, the Interior Department's Minerals Management Service, says it decided the remote device wasn't needed because rigs had other back-up plans to cut off a well.

...An acoustic trigger costs about $500,000, industry officials said. The Deepwater Horizon had a replacement cost of about $560 million, and BP says it is spending $6 million a day to battle the oil spill. On Wednesday, crews set fire to part of the oil spill in an attempt to limit environmental damage.

Some major oil companies, including Royal Dutch Shell PLC and France's Total SA, sometimes use the device even where regulators don't call for it. Read on...

Papantonio laid the blame squarely in Dick Cheney's lap and said this was one of the deregulations of the energy industry that was negotiated during his secret meetings with oil industry and other energy executives during George Bush's first term in office and called this the biggest under-reported aspect of this disaster. It would be nice if the media would look into this and start asking some more questions about why these companies were allowed not to have this last resort safeguard. I'm not holding my breath with most of them but maybe we'll see more information on this from the likes of Amy Goodman, Ed Schultz, Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow.

In the mean time most of the media is busy repeating the GOP talking point that this is "Obama's Katrina" like Mrs. Greenspan and Grandpa Pat on MSNBC.

h/t ericlewis0 at Daily KOS for the WSJ link.

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