Pharyngula

Who to blame for the oil spill?

Everyone knows by now that there has been a catastrophic oil platform disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, the biggest oil spill in American history…and it is still spewing and people are still talking about expanding offshore drilling. The actual causes of this accident stem from deregulation and exceeding legal restrictions, but you know, that assumes that no one wanted this environmental disaster to occur; we are presuming that it actually is a horrible accident.

It takes a mind unfettered by the constraints of reason and evidence to assume otherwise. It requires the brain of Rush Limbaugh.

The cap and trade bill was strongly criticized by hardcore environmentalist wackos because it supposedly allowed more offshore drilling and nuclear plants. What better way to head off more oil drilling and nuclear plants than blowing up a rig? I’m just noting the timing here.

Limbaugh’s official transcript is different (don’t ask me why), and even crazier — he babbles about SWAT teams sent down to the Gulf and Al Gore inciting civil disobedience to further his crazy claims.

I think he’s been reading too many Michael Crichton novels.

Comments

  1. #1 Glen Davidson
    May 4, 2010

    Aha, and the Exxon Valdez incident must have been due to environmentalists too.

    They do that, create environmental disasters in order to stave off environmental disasters. Cause that’s how they think, which Rush knows because he’s got ESP and a major projector.

    I wonder how environmentalists caused the oil well fires in Kuwait?

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p

  2. #2 Jeeves
    May 4, 2010

    Oil rig truthers, great even more crazy people to argue with.

  3. #3 snurp
    May 4, 2010

    Well of course, PZ. We whacko America-hating flag-stomping environmentalist types don’t actually give a shit about causing serious damage to habitats. The whole biophilia thing is a scam so we can institute a muslimofascicommunistic elitist atheist scientocracy and steal your SUVs and corndogs while setting bras on fire and eating tacos made with a mixture of tofu and babies.

    I thought you knew that.

  4. #4 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    May 4, 2010

    I think he’s been reading too many Michael Crichton novels.

    I am not surprised. I listened to his show for a while in the mid nineties. Not that I agreed with him, I was trying to understand what some people liked about him. (And that is an other topic.) On one episode, Limbaugh read a few pages from Crichton to emphasize his point that regulation is not needed because nature is too vest for humans to have and impact. This also folds nicely with Limbaugh’s contention that environmentalists are merely Reds who have gone Green. That laws that try to protect the environment are really authoritarian attempts to control people’s lives.

    Needless to say, I was and still am unimpressed by Limbaugh’s reasoning abilities.

  5. #5 Jeeves
    May 4, 2010

    The whole biophilia thing is a scam so we can institute a muslimofascicommunistic elitist atheist scientocracy and steal your SUVs and corndogs while setting bras on fire and eating tacos made with a mixture of tofu and babies.

    Wait, we aren’t supposed to be working towards that? Did I miss a meeting or something?

  6. #6 broboxley OT
    May 4, 2010

    Much like the exxon valdez disaster, for years people had fought to make those tankers double hulled and exxon fought it tooth and nail. What is more depressing is that since 1994 there was a plan in place to handle an incident like we have here put in place by the feds.
    http://blog.al.com/live/2010/05/fire_boom_oil_spill_raines.html

    The “In-Situ Burn” plan produced by federal agencies in 1994 calls for responding to a major oil spill in the Gulf with the immediate use of fire booms.

    even with the change in admini9stration the inertia in the federal bureaucracy is mind boggling, It will take 20 years just to assess the damage and a recovery time of much longer.

  7. #7 Sgt. Obvious
    May 4, 2010

    Oh, it gets better. Michael Brown claims that Obama intentionally waited until it got worse so he’d have an excuse to end offshore drilling. Yes, THAT Michael Brown.

    http://tpmlivewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/05/michael-brown-obama-wanted-the-oil-spill-to-happen.php

    Is there no depth these jackasses won’t sink to?

  8. #8 KOPD
    May 4, 2010

    the brain of Rush Limbaugh

    I’m afraid I’ll need physical evidence before I’ll accept that exists.

  9. #9 Brownian, OM
    May 4, 2010

    Needless to say, I was and still am unimpressed by Limbaugh’s reasoning abilities.

    Oh c’mon. I’m sure he’s no worse at reasoning than the Pope is at cunnilingus.

  10. #10 pete d
    May 4, 2010

    Rush Limbaugh is actually Herb Grossman.

  11. #11 MAJeff, OM
    May 4, 2010

    Is there no depth these jackasses won’t sink to?

    No.

  12. #12 blf
    May 4, 2010

    (Reposted from Dispatches from the Culture Wars.)

    My contribution for dumb-ass quote of the day (or week) is Rush Limbaugh blaming the BP oil rig explosion in the Gulf on “environmentalist whackos”

    http://mediamatters.org/mmtv/201004290038

    I loved this reply by one of the commentors (MiniTru):

    Rush would fail miserably as a terrorist. They would tell him to blow up a bus, and he would burn his mouth on the exhaust pipe.

  13. #13 timrowledge
    May 4, 2010

    Hmm. So I guess we won’t be hearing Limblah excoriate BP for being a foreign owned corporation out to destroy Amurrican businesses. Oh, wait; that might involve some logical thought about having already blamed someone else. My bad.

  14. #14 AJ Milne OM
    May 4, 2010

    Wait, we aren’t supposed to be working towards that? Did I miss a meeting or something?

    Oh, no no no… It’s still on. There’s just some technical stuff to work out, and we’re a go.

    The main thing we’re still stuck on is the baby ‘n tofu taco recipe. Keeps comin’ out kinda bland. Or too salty. Either way, not good. If we’re gonna be stealin’ SUVs, torching bras, blowing up oil rigs, we’re gonna need need a properly tasty taco. A rabid, baby-eating atheist horde fights on its stomach, y’know…

    But wait, tho’… Oregano? Mebbe more oregano…

    Hrm. Back in a bit.

    (/Heads to kitchen…)

  15. #15 SteveM
    May 4, 2010

    Colbert showed a clip of Rush going on about how there’s no need to clean up the spill, it’s all natural and left to itself the ocean will clean it up.

    What a fucking dumb shit.

  16. #16 Celtic_Evolution
    May 4, 2010

    See, this is great insight into the mind of the psychotic right winger…

    It never occurs to an evil little trollop like Limbaugh that no environmentalist would ever intentionally cause an unprecedented environmental disaster of this magnitude to further a political agenda. Ever. It would contradict everything that person would be fighting for / against.

    But since his mind is so deviously pre-programmed to begin with, it’s assumed as his default position… cause ya know, that’s what he’d do, and do so without compunction…

  17. #17 Michelle R
    May 4, 2010

    He’s asking questions! It’s always cool to say things just as long as he’s asking QUESTIONS!

    …Sigh. What a retard… Last thing some hippies would want is to oil up animals.

  18. #18 tsg
    May 4, 2010

    It takes a special kind of crazy to believe that people would deliberately cause an environmental disaster just to make Republicans look bad[1]. That’s some paranoia right there.

    [1] I mean, why? They do it so well all by themselves.

  19. #19 hobbitjeff22369
    May 4, 2010

    @AJ Milne (#14)–cumin, not oregano. And some cayenne pepper for zip.

  20. #20 blf
    May 4, 2010

    The problem is you’re forgetting the bacon-and-puppy garnish.

  21. #21 Alverant
    May 4, 2010

    And let’s not forget Perry claiming this accident was “an act of God”.

  22. #22 raven
    May 4, 2010

    Limbaugh is, of course, wrong as usual. They will round up the usual suspects.

    1. It is all the fault of atheists. God is punishing Louisiana because of the atheists. Never mind that most atheists are up north and Louisiana is a fundie xian stronghold. God has notoriously poor aim for an all powerful being.

    2. The gays. It is always the gays.

    3. It is all the fault of the Kenyan, Moslem, terrorist in the White House, Obama, and the Democrats.

    I’ve already heard the one about sabotage by environmentalists and global warmers.

    It is never the fault of the oil companies. FWIW, I know someone who works in the oil industry. He says BP is notorious for shoddy substandard operating practices.

  23. #23 broboxley OT
    May 4, 2010

    @AJ Milne OM #14
    you could try the following recipe, just adjust for size

    http://everything2.com/title/Whole+roast+human+%2528Long+pig%2529

  24. #24 snurp
    May 4, 2010

    Jeeves @5
    Shut up and eat your baby, man. We’re supposed to make it sound ridiculous so it never occurs to them to gather arms against us.

    On that note, it sounds like the environmentalists will be getting the buck if there’s a nuclear disaster, too. You’re a prince, Rush. It’s this weird mentality that accuses the ACLU of forcing people to say Happy Holidays and the despised social minorities of oppressing the majority. No one you oppose can be acting on principle, it’s all an attempt at “winning” against the opposition, who might as well just be an opposing sports team since simple membership in a group rather than what that group stands for is apparently the important bit.

    Sorry for the incoherence. I blame exams. :/

  25. #25 AJ Milne OM
    May 4, 2010

    ‘Kay… That’s a lot of recipe suggestions… I’m gonna be a bit…

    (/Running out of tofu, too… Listen, I know part of the point there was supposed to be a nice nod to vegetarianism… So how ’bout if I just throw in some vegetarian babies?)

  26. #26 Cay
    May 4, 2010

    Apparently lax regulations aren’t the biggest problem here. The sheer physics of drilling 5000 feet underwater is ripe with potential disasters and our technology, forget our policing and human inputs aren’t up to it.

  27. #27 eMel
    May 4, 2010

    As usual, some far-righters have to have some way to blame the current administration. In this thread on this right-wing board, if the President had acted with more authority, government would be too pushy; but as one can see, the government isn’t doing enough. Just another case of damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

  28. #28 Jeeves
    May 4, 2010

    snurp@24

    Shut up and eat your baby, man.

    Hmmm… tastes ilke toddler.

  29. #29 snurp
    May 4, 2010

    And Celtic_Evolution at 16 said what I meant to much better. Also, I thought we could do the babies up like that tofu and pork dish. That might not work in a taco, though. It’s more of an over rice thing.

  30. #30 Blondin
    May 4, 2010

    A rabid, baby-eating atheist horde fights on its stomach, y’know…

    I think Napoleon said an army “marches on its stomach”. I usually fight from a sitting or reclined position in front of a keyboard (with the tacos & dip in reach).

  31. #31 snurp
    May 4, 2010

    AJ Milne @25

    Are the babies free range and cage free?

  32. #32 MAJeff, OM
    May 4, 2010

    The whole biophilia thing is a scam so we can institute a muslimofascicommunistic elitist atheist scientocracy and steal your SUVs and corndogs while setting bras on fire and eating tacos made with a mixture of tofu and babies.

    Baby tacos?

    I prefer fetus sashimi.

  33. #33 Ray Moscow
    May 4, 2010

    @Raven @22:
    Can’t we counterargue that God is punishing Louisiana for having a foreigner as their governor?

    I mean, if we can’t beat ‘em at craziness, why not join ‘em?

  34. #34 daveau
    May 4, 2010

    I’m not sayin’; I’m just asking the question…

    How many times have we heard this ridiculous statement from how many right-wing pundits, so that they can abdicate responsibility for the crap that they spew? What a lying weasel.

    Good thing I was already boycotting gulf shrimp, so I won’t miss them so much.

  35. #35 Jarred C.
    May 4, 2010

    @SteveM # 15 “Colbert showed a clip of Rush going on about how there’s no need to clean up the spill, it’s all natural and left to itself the ocean will clean it up.”

    Well, technically, that’s true. Left to itself, the ocean will breakdown the oil into smaller molecules via mechanical force (from the waves), higher temperatures will evaporate the lighter weight molecules, and heavier molecules will sink to the bottom.

    The question is: what kind of environmental damage will occur while we’re waiting for that to happen?

    One of the first questions environmental toxicologists ask to themselves about oil spills is: Should anything be done? A lot of times, the answer is “No.”

    However, sometimes (as in the current case) the potential damage to wildlife and our own beaches are of a huge concern, and serious mediation needs to be done.

    One of my old professors (Chair of the Environmental Toxicology department at my university) told me of a time when he was called as a consultant for an oil spill in the Galapagos Islands. They were seriously (and rightfully) concerned about what the oil would do to the wildlife there. Turns out that the temperatures were high that week, and the oil was relatively light weight. My old prof told them to do nothing, it would go away within a few days; the majority of it would be evaporated, and what little was left would be broken down by the waves. A few days later, the oil was gone without ever reaching the islands.

    All that said, Rush is not a dumbass because he said that oil is natural (it is) or that the ocean will take care of it (it will) [given enough time]. He’s a dumbass because he’s not taking into consideration all the damage that will happen in the interim. He’s also a dumbass for most of everything else he says.

  36. #36 https://me.yahoo.com/a/O.jullMj0I2VvJaxMMVeNKSfOPf73voLSxJAe9PdlOWwi8Y-#258ec
    May 4, 2010

    I had the unfortunate experience of having to listen to the fat man on a job (it was hell) I had once. my lead man would listen to him on the radio every day while we drove around fixing holes in the street for the city. I was amazed that my boss could support opinions that were so against his own interests.
    I do not speak German but listening to Rush and his “ditto heads” I began to get an insight into how the Fascist state came to power in Germany in the 30′s. The key seems to be to keep pounding on resentments and feelings of victimization of the target audience and them blame someone. it makes no difference if it is rational or not and may work better if the reasoning is divorced from all reality.

    That the fat man would think that the environmental movement is about controlling him and his life and not saving and protecting the environment is bizarre and telling.

  37. #37 blf
    May 4, 2010

    The nutters at Rapture Ready on on the case:

    I know this is kind of late in mentioning, and I don’t know if it has been mentioned before…but do they know what actually created the explosion? I find it interesting that this happened just as the okay was coming from the White House for exploration drilling. As my husband says, “this stinks of environmentalist greenies!”.

    I agree Nan.The safety record of off-shore drilling rig’s has been excellent.When was the last time you heard of something like this happening??Years??

    IMHO which is comming from my gut,Something is REALLY strange about this whole thing.

    God is in control…

  38. #38 theshortearedowl
    May 4, 2010

    I HAD THE SAME THOUGHT a few days ago! The timing is perfect, if you think about it – just as the Obama administration is about give the go-ahead for huge expansion of off-shore drilling, a mysterious explosion on an oil rig, the biggest spill in US history heading for prime beach coastline, and they do a complete U-turn…

    Yeah, I thought about it for about 2 minutes and decided it was daft. The kind of coincidence conspiracy nuts thrive on, of course.

  39. #39 phoenixwoman
    May 4, 2010

    PZ, it’s all about revenge with Limbaugh and his crowd.

    The anti-Clinton witchhunts were part of the extended revenge for Watergate — that’s why they insisted on trying to impeach Clinton early and often, and over trivial or nonexistent offenses. (Remember, Bob Barr introduced the first anti-Clinton impeachment resolution back in 1995, well before Ken Starr’s OIC fishing expedition had got underway.)

    Similarly, the Cons are still smarting over Bush’s and their ownership of the Katrina disaster, which is why they are so intent on using ad-agency Big Lie techniques to falsely pin the BP spill on Obama — first and foremost by constantly subliminally trying to undo the Bush-Katrina link by putting our current president’s name next to the word “Katrina” whenever possible.

    Here’s a little and by no means complete reminder of why Bush and the Cons will own Katrina forever:

    ? There?s Bush?s and the Republican Congress? refusing to replace the Delta wetlands that once served as speed bumps to slow down and weaken oncoming hurricanes.

    ? There?s rejecting millions of dollars? worth of post-Katrina aid from foreign countries.

    ? There?s Bush?s FEMA providing toxic trailers for Katrina refugees.

    ? There?s the sharp contrast between how FEMA operated under Clinton and James Lee Witt with how it operated under Bush and Michael ?Heckuva Job, Brownie? Brown.

  40. #40 Kevin
    May 4, 2010

    You know… while typing up a silly response, I actually think I came out with something remotely close to the mindset of the Republican moron.

    Okay, for a moment, turn off your brain. Not ALL the way off mind you (for those who have, umm… hopefully someone calls 911) but just enough to think exactly like your average Republican.

    Now, the environmentalists blew up the oil rig to cause a massive disaster. Hopefully, this environmental disaster will either cause Obama to stop offshore drilling or cause states (read: California) to ban it. Similarly, the disaster will make the Gulf Coast fisheries shut down because they won’t have any business.

    If you turn off your brain, it actually makes sense! Of course, I doubt any environmentalist would do it because of the immense damage to the natural ecosystem, but in a stupid “I have no common sense” Republican way… it does make some sense!

  41. #41 SteveM
    May 4, 2010

    Just read the transcript [shit, who prints 8pt black type on dark blue background?] He goes on and on about SWAT teams. Now just imagine for a moment that this oil rig exploded during the Bush administration. I have little doubt that the first assumption would be terrorism and instead of SWAT teams; SEALS, Green Beret and every other special forces would have been swarmed over every other oil rig in the Gulf. And Rush would be applauding this action as a reasonable response to a clear act of terrorism. Obama sends SWAT teams to investigate the possibility of terrorism and gets accused of sending them to sabotage them. What a fucking prick.

  42. #42 broboxley OT
    May 4, 2010

    @daveau #34 why the boycott?

  43. #43 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 4, 2010

    Good thing I was already boycotting gulf shrimp, so I won’t miss them so much.

    Buy SC Shrimp

    /advert over

  44. #44 Randomfactor
    May 4, 2010

    Now, if Obama had decided to *EXTEND* the ban, saying “any day now the drilling already approved could prove a big catastrophe” and *THEN* the rig had blown up…the conspiracy theorists might have something.

  45. #45 broboxley OT
    May 4, 2010

    @keniv #39, you are working too hard. It was obviously the AGW supporters who want to stop any drilling on or off shore who did this

  46. #46 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    May 4, 2010

    Did Rush Limbaugh RAPE AND MURDER A LITTLE GIRL IN 1995? Was it a conspiracy with Glenn Beck? I’m just asking questions!

  47. #47 SteveM
    May 4, 2010

    re 35:

    All that said, Rush is not a dumbass because he said that oil is natural (it is) or that the ocean will take care of it (it will) [given enough time]. He’s a dumbass because he’s not taking into consideration all the damage that will happen in the interim.

    That is of course what I meant, I assumed everyone here would understand that given enough time, just about anything will “clean itself up”, but it is what happens in the meantime that is important. Just because something is “natural” doesn’t mean its okay to let it coat hundreds of miles of coastland, marshland, and millions of animals and birds. But according to Rush all that can be taken care of by a little Dawn detergent and everything will once again be “pristine” like Prince William Sound.

  48. #48 Kevin
    May 4, 2010

    @broboxley:

    Well, actually my name is Kevin…

    And I think I wasn’t working hard at all, having little-to-no brainpower doesn’t seem like much difficulty…

    Still seems like I have no brainpower, that sentence made no sense. Cashews to the rescue, give me energy!

  49. #49 https://me.yahoo.com/a/O.jullMj0I2VvJaxMMVeNKSfOPf73voLSxJAe9PdlOWwi8Y-#258ec
    May 4, 2010

    36 = uncle frogy

  50. #50 daveau
    May 4, 2010

    broboxley OT@41-

    The shrimping methods destroy the ecosystem. It’s hard to find the boycott story amidst the oil spill stuff, but here’s one.

    Additionally, some shrimp are wild-caught, and while they aren’t raised in a chemical cocktail, the vast majority is caught using trawling, a highly destructive fishing method. Football field-sized nets are dragged along the ocean floor, scooping up and killing several pounds of marine life for every pound of shrimp they catch and demolishing the ocean floor ecosystem as they go. Where they don’t clear-cut coral reefs or other rich ocean floor habitats, they drag their nets through the mud, leaving plumes of sediment so large they are visible from outer space.

    After trawling destroys an ocean floor, the ecosystem often cannot recover for decades, if not centuries or millennia. This is particularly significant because 98 percent of ocean life lives on or around the seabed. Depending on the fishery, the amount of bycatch (the term used for unwanted species scooped up and killed by trawlers) ranges from five to 20 pounds per pound of shrimp. These include sharks, rays, starfish, juvenile red snapper, sea turtles and more. While shrimp trawl fisheries only represent 2 percent of the global fish catch, they are responsible for over one-third of the world’s bycatch. Trawling is comparable to bulldozing an entire section of rainforest in order to catch one species of bird.

  51. #51 Capital Dan
    May 4, 2010

    So, is Rush saying that it’s okay for me to dump all my old motor oil in his yard? I mean, it’s nature. It’ll take care of itself.

  52. #52 wfr
    May 4, 2010

    Shouldn’t that be “Whom to blame…”?

  53. #53 wfr
    May 4, 2010

    Shouldn’t that be “…for the oil leak”?

  54. #54 Anti_Theist-317
    May 4, 2010

    Isn’t Rush the world’s highest paid talk show host? We do know most of these fringe violent enviromental activests act on their own, or act as small unstructured cells. As a comparison. . . .I believe flying an airplane into a building is an easier task than crossing part of an ocean in a dingy, illegally boarding an oil rig, by passing ‘security’, knowing the area to place the bomb and clearing the area of all prying eyes. Then all the necessary materials had to be brought abord the rig in the same manner. Have you ever been on one of these things? These are some of the largest man made structures in the world, if not the largest considering the biggest rigs http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sn2M6krVZEQ&feature=related

    Flying a plane into a building, not to belittle the disgusting act. But all one literally needs to do is use their legs to walk aboard(like tens of millions do), have some flight training and be able to over power or kill the piolt and control 100-400 people whose exact location is not difficult to know or track and who have extremely limited mobility.

    Although total speculation lets face it the 100-400 passengers who fly planes at a time are of a differnt variety compared to the 100-400 people on the rig. Even if you believe the people on the plane are as ‘adventerous’ as those on the rig the simple openess and size of the rig makes those workers more difficult to control and monitor.

    For all this and 10,000 more reasons you can see it was most likely not a small unstructured cell as Rush pointed out – he openly and publicly did so. Rather this was a plan that took a lot of money.

    Although just an opinion and I have no evidence I believe Rush was responsible for funding the oil rig explosion. It is my opinion this is why he invented such a silly cover up story. Why would anyone assume the explosion was a criminal act, unless they had some type of knowledge it was? I believe this should be repeated. Then Rush should be brought to trial, if evidence found convicted and if agreed upon by a jury of peers executed. MSNBC did seem to agree though there might be a very small possibility this was Rush’s doing.

    Repeat
    Trial
    Convict
    Execute

    Tony
    Indianpolis, Indiana
    *Please keep in mind like Rush was just saying. I am just saying. However, followed to logical conclusion to me it makes more sense.

  55. #55 broboxley OT
    May 4, 2010

    @Daveau #49 ahh, you see the only shrimp I will eat is from the gulf coast, or Carolinian or Atlantic coast because they dont trawl they drift net. Its mostly small family operations and because of that the cost is more expensive that the antifreeze fed farmed shrimp but the taste is fabulous. Oh well, moot point at this time. Guess its SC and Georgia shrimp for a while

    @Kevin, sorry dyslexic 2 fingered typist here

  56. #56 kidcharles
    May 4, 2010

    Okay, if we are playing the conspiracy theory game, how’s this:

    BP, after years of solidifying its hold on the levers of American power, grows confident that it will never suffer more than trivially if it causes a disaster. This, coupled with the fact that instabilities in the oil supply invariably cause prices to shoot upward, lead them to calculate that an explosion on one of their rigs will net them a significant profit.

    How is that more crazy than environmentalists causing a massive oil spill?

  57. #57 ckitching
    May 4, 2010

    It never occurs to an evil little trollop like Limbaugh that no environmentalist would ever intentionally cause an unprecedented environmental disaster of this magnitude to further a political agenda.

    I hate to disagree with you, Celtic, but it’s not true. A few years back, some unbalanced environmentalists set off some bombs on a sour gas pipeline in BC. If they had succeeded in rupturing that pipeline, the toxic gas released would’ve caused a lot of damage to wildlife in the area, not to mention possible loss of human life as well.

    There are a lot of unbalanced people out there, and there’s inevitably a few associated with any cause. Some causes attract the insane better than others, but no cause is immune.

  58. #58 Asclepias
    May 4, 2010

    It really hurts that there are so many braindead adults out there who will swallow this hook, line, and sinker. Come on! The reasoning is akin to shooting yourself in the face to cure acne! I think these people would be better off if we threw them into the oil slick and let them swim to shore.

  59. #59 daveau
    May 4, 2010

    broboxley-

    Same by-catch issue with drift nets, which is the main reason large-scale drift netting has been banned internationally, but at least they don’t destroy the sea floor.

    OTOH, I haven’t given up burgers.

  60. #60 Kevin
    May 4, 2010

    @broboxley:

    It’s okay. I do it too.

  61. #61 Blind Squirrel FCD
    May 4, 2010

    broboxley OT @54 SC shrimp are also caught by bottom trawling. Daveau is correct about the destructiveness of bottom trawling.

    BS

  62. #62 Celtic_Evolution
    May 4, 2010

    A few years back, some unbalanced environmentalists set off some bombs on a sour gas pipeline in BC.

    This is unsubstantiated, AFAIK.

    To the best of my knowledge, only one person has been arrested in connection with this… and an “environmental group” connection has never been proven.

    My info could be out of date however… I will put my Google-fu to work and see if I can dig up more info, or feel free to provide me with a link that substantiates that claim better than the info I remember.

  63. #63 Fred The Hun
    May 4, 2010

    Who to blame for the oil spill?

    May I suggest that we have met the enemy and he is us!

    Our transportation systems? Based on oil.

    Our electricity generation? Mostly fossil fuels.

    Our Agriculture? Based on petrochemicals

    Our Industry? Oil…

    Our entire modern civilization is based on cheap fossil fuel energy.

    So if you want to place blame for this spill, look in the mirror!

  64. #64 broboxley OT
    May 4, 2010

    @Blind Squirrel #60 Daveau is certainly correct about bottom trawling, I spent many years in alaska and well understand the depredation it causes. When I get shrimp from Biloxi I buy at the dock from drift netters where the bycatch ratio is not as bad. Since I dont know any boats in SC it looks like I wont be eating their shrimp either. A lot of trawlers according to the fish n fur SC guide.
    sigh

  65. #65 mothra
    May 4, 2010

    @Celtic Evolution #16
    “It never occurs to an evil little trollop like Limbaugh that no environmentalist would ever intentionally cause an unprecedented environmental disaster of this magnitude to further a political agenda. Ever. It would contradict everything that person would be fighting for / against.”

    I’ll venture to add that since wingnuts have this mindset it reflects acts they themselves would do, i.e. anything for the win.

  66. #66 Pierce R. Butler
    May 4, 2010

    Damn, it’s so hard to sneak one by Detective Limbaugh! Every disaster that happens, he tracks it down and nails treacherous lefties for every bit of it.

    How long until he figures out it was us scheming anti-capitalists who put Bill Clinton in place to destroy American finance by signing the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act?

  67. #67 Celtic_Evolution
    May 4, 2010

    I’ll venture to add that since wingnuts have this mindset it reflects acts they themselves would do, i.e. anything for the win.

    I think I did add that (essentially) in the paragraph immediately following the one you quoted…

    Just sayin’… ;^)

  68. #68 mothra
    May 4, 2010

    It really is a leftist commie plot to destroy our drinking water. Everyone knows there will be a freshwater crisis- already is in many areas. Desalinization technology is improving so, what better way to discourage future desalinization plants than massive hydrocarbon pollution. After all, we need our pure bodily essence purified by pure clear clear pure water, right Mandrake?

    /Sterling Hayden

  69. #69 Matt_
    May 4, 2010

    what better way to save environment by destroying it? :D

  70. #70 mwsletten
    May 4, 2010

    Can someone elaborate on how ‘lack of regulation’ contributed to this disaster? The only stories I’ve been able to find are here and here.

    The WSJ article says BP doesn’t install (and the US government doesn’t require) on their wells ‘acoustic switches,’ last-resort devices designed to remotely close a valve to shut off a leaking well. But the article notes these devices have never been used or tested in real-world conditions, so there is no way of knowing whether one would have prevented the spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

    The CBS News article suggests that oil rig accidents (much like aviation accidents) rarely result from causes other than human error.

    The FAA has been ‘regulating’ aviation since 1958, yet accidents still occur almost daily. Despite numerous regulations and guidelines (not to mention plain common sense) requiring pilots to properly plan and carry enough fuel to complete each flight with a minimum 30 minutes reserve, rules that have been on the books nearly since the agency’s inception in 1958, the most common cause for emergency landings in the US is running out of fuel.

    As Defenders of Wildlife senior policy adviser Richard Charter noted, “You can’t outlaw human error.”

    Setting all that aside, isn’t it a bit premature to suggest deregulation contributed to the accident aboard Deepwater Horizon since authorities have yet to determine exactly what caused it?

  71. #71 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 4, 2010

    The FAA has been ‘regulating’ aviation since 1958, yet accidents still occur almost daily. Despite numerous regulations and guidelines (not to mention plain common sense) requiring pilots to properly plan and carry enough fuel to complete each flight with a minimum 30 minutes reserve, rules that have been on the books nearly since the agency’s inception in 1958, the most common cause for emergency landings in the US is running out of fuel.

    So not having the regulations would be better? Would reduce human error more than having them?

  72. #72 Alukonis
    May 4, 2010

    @#67
    “I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.”

    At least Limbaugh doesn’t have the nuclear attack codes, right?

  73. #73 Celtic_Evolution
    May 4, 2010

    it was only a matter of time before resident asshat mwsletten showed up to show us all how much smarter and more rational he is than everyone else here.

    Can someone elaborate on how ‘lack of regulation’ contributed to this disaster?

    Well… for example…

    The WSJ article says BP doesn’t install (and the US government doesn’t require)

    You’re answering your own question… that’s a “lack of regulation” for one example. What more do you want? I’d say that lack of regulation pretty clearly has “contributed” to this disaster.

    But the article notes these devices have never been used or tested in real-world conditions, so there is no way of knowing whether one would have prevented the spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

    “Never been tested in real-world conditions” doesn’t mean “never been tested”. It just means they’ve never been actually needed to avert a disaster in the places they are installed. They work. And either way, how is this in any way an excuse for not having them?

    The CBS News article suggests that oil rig accidents (much like aviation accidents) rarely result from causes other than human error.

    Human error can and often does result from a lack of proper safety procedures and regulations. What’s your point?

    The FAA has been ‘regulating’ aviation since 1958, yet accidents still occur almost daily.

    And? What the fuck does that have to do with anything? Accidents occur so regulation is over-rated? And what does that say in any way about the adequacy of regulations in the US for the oil industry? Nothing. Nothing whatsoever. Stop being stupid.

    Setting all that aside, isn’t it a bit premature to suggest deregulation contributed to the accident aboard Deepwater Horizon since authorities have yet to determine exactly what caused it?

    No… since there was an existing safety mechanism that could have helped mitigate the level of disaster here, and it was not employed because it was NOT REQUIRED by US regulation, it is entirely plausible to suggest that deregulation contributed to the disaster. However, It would be somewhat premature to suggest that deregulation caused the accident in the first place… we simply don’t know (yet)… but we’re not (well, at least I’m not) talking about what caused or contributed to the initial accident itself, we’re talking about what contributed to the ensuing spillage since, which frankly is the larger problem and potentially could have been averted with a device that better regulation would have required.

  74. #74 Celtic_Evolution
    May 4, 2010

    ok… the first line of my last post was gratuitous and unnecessary… so I apologize to mwsletten for that… (trying to curb that habit a bit)

    I stand by the rest of it.

  75. #75 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 4, 2010

    Has Pat Robertson blamed this on the immoral evil homosexual atheist bastards in New Orleans yet?

  76. #76 Tuxedo Cartman
    May 4, 2010

    Also, it looks like BP was drilling much deeper than they were permitted to. If we had any kind of substantial oversight to our regulations, that wouldn’t have happened.

  77. #77 mwsletten
    May 4, 2010

    Chimp@70, I didn’t say that. I simply noted that it’s illogical to assume deregulation contributed to this disaster before we even know what caused it.

    I would add there are good reasons to eliminate ineffective regulations. The cost tax dollars to maintain and enforce, and they burden individuals and industry with the expense of compliance.

    I’m all for regulation that actually results in, well, results. The FAA (much like the NHTSA) has a ton of regulation regarding equipment design, manufacture, maintenance, etc that demonstrably improves safety (although one might argue diminishing returns in some cases).

  78. #78 Celtic_Evolution
    May 4, 2010

    I would add there are good reasons to eliminate ineffective regulations.

    Great. I agree. Prove which regulations are conclusively ineffective and you can eliminate them. Makes sense.

    Has fuck-all to do with anything we’re talking about in this thread, but whatever…

    I’m all for regulation that actually results in, well, results. The FAA (much like the NHTSA) has a ton of regulation regarding equipment design, manufacture, maintenance, etc that demonstrably improves safety (although one might argue diminishing returns in some cases).

    Is there a point in there somewhere? Other countries require the acoustic shut off valve on off-shore oil platforms. We don’t. We don’t because it’s a half-million dollar piece of equipment and we allow oil companies to lobby our politicians. An effective means to remotely shut off an underwater oil pipe at the source is about as obvious a no-brainer as I could think of from a regulation standpoint. This is a significant lack of regulation. Are you telling me regulating this is an undue burden that would cause diminishing returns?

  79. #79 mothra
    May 4, 2010

    @Celtic Evolution
    Upon re-reading, of course you did say that. On my first reading of your (excellent)post, I took away the idea of a default position of paranoia as the main point, but should have read the last part with more perspicularity- you did indeed say “. . that’s what he’d do,and do so without compunction.”

    This whole wingnut mindset then leaves rational people with the dilemma: do we adopt a similar paranoid mindset in guarding against wingnuttery, or, stay the rationalist course and be whittled away by a thousand cuts. Probably a false dichotomy here. It is frustrating such loons are believed by anyone, let alone a significant minority of the American public. Too bad rational thought does not have a popular American forum from which laughter and ridicule could not be rained upon these idiots (pharyngula helps).

  80. #80 mothra
    May 4, 2010

    Note to self: Must use preview more often.

  81. #81 Joffan
    May 4, 2010

    I think the acoustic switch thing is probably a red herring – after all, the blow-out preventer was almost certainly triggered (by the dead-man switch if nothing else) but failed to operate, and an acoustic switch is just another trigger. The ROVs can’t get the BOP to operate either.

    The most likely culprit of the bits and pieces I’ve read is the casing fill, the cementing outside the production piping that should localize any leak but if it goes could give another path for the oil to escape into the sea (and would bypass/damage the BOP on the way). Time will (hopefully) tell.

    Anyway, the whole process of drilling in a mile-deep sea is a bleeding-edge technological exercise only undertaken in the desperate search for more hydrocarbons. Fred the Hun @62 has the ultimate reason for this – our need for the damned coal, oil and gas.

  82. #82 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 4, 2010

    I would add there are good reasons to eliminate ineffective regulations. The cost tax dollars to maintain and enforce, and they burden individuals and industry with the expense of compliance.

    Such as?

  83. #83 Celtic_Evolution
    May 4, 2010

    I think the acoustic switch thing is probably a red herring – after all, the blow-out preventer was almost certainly triggered (by the dead-man switch if nothing else) but failed to operate, and an acoustic switch is just another trigger.

    And this means it certainly wouldn’t have worked and therefor isn’t necessary? And therefor shouldn’t have been required by US regulation even though other countries require it?

    I’m not following that logic…

  84. #84 Joffan
    May 4, 2010
    I think the acoustic switch thing is probably a red herring – after all, the blow-out preventer was almost certainly triggered (by the dead-man switch if nothing else) but failed to operate, and an acoustic switch is just another trigger.

    And this means it certainly wouldn’t have worked and therefor isn’t necessary? And therefor shouldn’t have been required by US regulation even though other countries require it?

    The problem is not the triggering – it’s the operation of the BOP valve. The acoustic trigger is one possible extra backup trigger for the other two trigger mechanisms in place – there may be other possibilities, maybe via an ROV on stand-by for example – but at some point having extra triggers doesn’t help because the triggers are working and the valve isn’t.

    It’s an easy answer, but that doesn’t make it true.

  85. #85 Celtic_Evolution
    May 4, 2010

    but at some point having extra triggers doesn’t help because the triggers are working and the valve isn’t.

    Well, the reason for the third safety measure (in addition to the hard-wired controller and the dead-man switch) is in case the first two measures are compromised by a catastrophic event… this is the reason the acoustic device was developed and implemented in the first place.

    Ask NASA about triple-redundant systems. They are there for a reason. Shit happens, and sometimes shit happens twice. And for really, really important things (like space flight), you’d batter make sure you are prepared if it does.

    I’d classify offshore oil rigs and their safety and the safety of the environment as a “really really important thing”.

  86. #86 SteveM
    May 4, 2010

    Maybe the “lack of regulation” more properly refers to the allowable drill locations. In this case in water too deep to address equipment failures in a timely manner (or really at all, since BP doesn’t have any ROV’s that can operate at those depths).

  87. #87 mwsletten
    May 4, 2010

    Celtic@72, the acoustic switch is a tertiary control system that hasn’t been proven. You say ‘it works.’ I’m not sure what you base that on, I can only assume you believe its manufacturer tested it in the lab (or other setting). Because it ‘works’ doesn’t mean it would have worked in this case — especially since we don’t have all the facts. Perhaps the well head was broken off below the shut off valve, which would render this particular safety device superflous.

    Even if it wasn’t, however, this is a piece of hardware that costs money to manufacture, install and maintain. Whether you agree with it or not, clearly BP made a decision that the cost outweighed the unproven benefit for the device. We may well find, as the investigation continues, the BP made a mistake. We certainly don’t know that yet, however.

    …since there was an existing safety mechanism that could have helped mitigate the level of disaster here, and it was not employed because it was NOT REQUIRED by US regulation, it is entirely plausible to suggest that deregulation contributed to the disaster.

    My original comment was directed to PZ, who in his post above didn’t ‘suggest’ deregulation contributed to the disaster.

    The actual causes of this accident stem from deregulation and exceeding legal restrictions…

    Given the link, PZ seems to base this statement on an opinion piece in another log — not factual evidence (as far as I can tell, which is why I asked). I would think as a scientist PZ would prefer his readers question such statements (I’m fairly certain you would if I made one like it).

    Be that as it may, it seems you are suggesting that simply because a device exists that has a chance of mitigating such a disasters it should be required by regulation. Do you see any limits to such a proposition?

    In looking at the diagram associated with the WSJ article I saw two other devices installed (neither of which seems to have worked) to prevent a well blowout. Do you know if either of these devices are required by regulation? Do you know if BP takes any action above and beyond federal/state regulations to prevent/mitigate oil spills? I know in the aviation world airlines and other aviation businesses often comply with rules much more restrictive than the federal regulations — to meet insurance requirements.

    Would your opinion of this disaster change if you knew BP (and other players in the industry) was voluntarily meeting restrictions above and beyond that required by federal regulation?

    At any rate, given it installed a primary and backup control system, it’s not as if BP made no effort whatsoever to prevent and/or mitigate such a disaster.

    My comments regarding FAA regulation serve only to demonstrate that regulation, in and of itself, is not a panacea — especially when it comes to regulation intended to avoid human error. There is often (it seems to me) an ‘outta-be-a-law’ reaction in the press following dreadful disasters, and just as often the resulting laws/regulations serve no purpose other that to show that government has ‘done something.’

    …the first line of my last post was gratuitous and unnecessary… so I apologize…

    Ahhh, who said Pharyngula killed civility?

  88. #88 Celtic_Evolution
    May 4, 2010

    Joffan –

    erm… I meant to put this in my last post because it actually addresses the piece I quoted from your post…

    addressing your point about the valve not working, sure… you are right… at some point if the valve isn’t working no amount of triggers matters… but I’m not sure that it’s been concluded that the valve is the problem in this case.

    however… it seems that the prudent thing would be a multiple valve system… but hey… that’s just more regulation…

  89. #89 mwsletten
    May 4, 2010

    Also Celtic, just because something is required by another country’s government doesn’t automatically make it smart.

  90. #90 Pierce R. Butler
    May 4, 2010

    mwsletten @ # 86: We may well find, as the investigation continues, the BP made a mistake. We certainly don’t know that yet, however.

    Ya think?

  91. #91 Celtic_Evolution
    May 4, 2010

    You say ‘it works.’ I’m not sure what you base that on, I can only assume you believe its manufacturer tested it in the lab (or other setting).

    Yes… this is based on something I read about these devices… it was attached to an article about technology used on off-shore rigs in Norway… I wish I remembered the publication… I’ll try to find it and link…

    Because it ‘works’ doesn’t mean it would have worked in this case — especially since we don’t have all the facts.

    It also doesn’t mean it wouldn’t have, and still is no argument whatsoever for not having it. My point is that this device does exist, and may have (or may not have, really not the point) helped prevent the ensuing spillage disaster, and was discussed as a regulation by the US Dept. of the Interior, but was lobbied away by the oil industry because of it’s $500,000 price tag. This is a problem.

    Be that as it may, it seems you are suggesting that simply because a device exists that has a chance of mitigating such a disasters it should be required by regulation. Do you see any limits to such a proposition?

    Yes… conclusive proof that such a device offers no benefit.

    Would your opinion of this disaster change if you knew BP (and other players in the industry) was voluntarily meeting restrictions above and beyond that required by federal regulation?

    I’d need more info than just that… like the actual cause of this accident, the rig’s safety record, etc…

    But ummm… I’m pretty sure if BP made a habit of such a policy their PR group would have been pimping that fact pretty hard at this point… don’t you? Just sayin…

    At any rate, given it installed a primary and backup control system, it’s not as if BP made no effort whatsoever to prevent and/or mitigate such a disaster.

    Granted (I actually don’t know for certain if they are required to have redundant shut-off systems or not)… but that’s shifting the goalposts… your original question asked if it was premature to say that deregulation contributed to this disaster… and in that the oil industry successfully lobbied against a suggested safety regulation, I’d still make the argument that it is prudent to suggest that such actions may have contributed to this disaster.

  92. #92 Celtic_Evolution
    May 4, 2010

    Also Celtic, just because something is required by another country’s government doesn’t automatically make it smart.

    Yeah, right… heard this argument during the health care debate. It was just as vacuous then.

    It also doesn’t mean it’s NOT smart. And I’ve yet to hear an argument yet that conclusively demonstrates that it isn’t.

  93. #93 MultiTool
    May 4, 2010

    SPILL BABY, SPILL!

  94. #94 Numad
    May 4, 2010

    “What better way to head off more oil drilling and nuclear plants than blowing up a rig?”

    Actually, if one follows this (dubious) logic properly, I’d think that blowing up the other tyoe of facility would be a “better” way.

  95. #95 MATTIR
    May 4, 2010

    The great thing about Rush is that his fulminating, particularly when he names names, is a sign among some environmental activists that they’ve made the big time. (I personally think that the oil spill is the fault of lesbians in New Orleans.)

  96. #96 Jeep-Eep
    May 4, 2010

    It couldn’t be done. Not without a nuclear bomb or some such. Those things are nearly impossible to breach. My grandad worked on those things. Tried ramming a train into the dome for it, or so I was told. Been a while since I heard the story. I was pretty young.

  97. #97 mwsletten
    May 4, 2010

    and still is no argument whatsoever for not having it. It also doesn’t mean it’s NOT smart. And I’ve yet to hear an argument yet that conclusively demonstrates that it isn’t.

    You seem to arguing from the position it’s up to everyone else to prove this device wouldn’t have prevented or mitigated this disaster. Hell I can dream up any number of contraptions that might have helped; would you pay me 500 grand for one? It has been noted a time or two here that it’s difficult to prove a negative.

    I’d say a half-million dollar price tag (plus maintenance costs) puts the burden of proof on the seller. How many such accidents have occurred where the primary and secondary control systems have failed?

    [I] heard [the just-because-another-country-does-it-doesn't-make-it-smart] argument during the health care debate. It was just as vacuous then.

    Just as you did during the health care debate you’re suggesting the test of good regulation is whether or not another country uses it. I don’t think it vacuous to point out the flaw in such an argument.

    Besides, didn’t your mother ever hit you with the if-Johnny-jumped-off-a-cliff-would-you argument? I bet you didn’t call her vacuous, at least not to her face…

  98. #98 MATTIR
    May 4, 2010

    On the subject of whether BP should have sprung for the additional acoustic trigger device or even whether it should have been required, I’m certain that there are a bunch of BP executives and engineers second-guessing that decision right now. I think it’s pretty clear that the costs of environmental damage and partial mitigation are going to exceed the cost of such safety devices by several orders of magnitude (and not everything has a monetary price, btw). This is not to say that I have any idea about whether the acoustic device would have prevented this catastrophe.

  99. #99 MadScientist
    May 4, 2010

    Of course people are talking about expanding offshore exploration and extraction; your oil and gas and related products have got to come from somewhere and restricting operations to onshore projects would severely slash the availability of oil products.

    I don’t know anything about the equipment used in offshore operations, but with onshore operations you use an “anti-blowout” device (which, by the way, is generally not used on all projects because it costs a hell of a lot of money). That device will shear the drill (if it happens to be there, which is usually the case) and close up the hole in a flash. I don’t know if there’s an underwater equivalent though. An offshore rig typically costs around $200M or so, so what’s a few million more for a safety device? Governments should simply mandate safety devices; spills like this are just not acceptable and unlike onshore operations, these rigs are far more difficult to work with.

    I wouldn’t trust that NY Times article too much either; the description of the cementing process and its purpose is just so wrong. Also note that there are only allegations of drilling too deep, nor can I imagine why anyone would drill too deep. You select the formation you want to drill into (and sometimes that’s as little as 5 yards thick, but you know your drill’s position to within a few inches anyway) and then drill. If you want to drill into another formation, you get permission to – it’s not that hard. Well, OK, there’s lots of paperwork, but it’s all routine.

    Don’t forget – there are thousands of offshore oil rigs (and gas rigs too); this incident is extremely rare, so don’t go accusing Big Bad Oil of not operating safely in general. The government needs to impose regulations and severe penalties though, because the operators won’t pay half a cent more than they are required to by law to meet the licensing requirements.

    Let’s see how they get along with their attempts to control this one; they’ve been fumbling so much that I wonder if the leak won’t stop on its own due to the drop in pressure in the reservoir.

  100. #100 strange gods before me ?
    May 4, 2010

    BP has to pay for it. That’s how capitalism is ‘supposed’ to work. If we’re going to have capitalism, we should do it right, not create perverse incentives.

  101. #101 MadScientist
    May 4, 2010

    @SteveM: Yeah, that “natural is good” stuff. Rush should drink a few cups of crude oil every day. He probably defends mine tailings in a similar way: hey, it’s all natural, it’s just the stuff they dug up from below.

  102. #102 Joffan
    May 4, 2010

    CE, I think we are pretty close on this subject… let me discuss risk and regulation…

    I am no fan of deregulation – quite the opposite in fact. Regulation done right is one of the best things a government can do. What I don’t like to see, though, is just a simple checklist of “you must do this” etc. As well as protecting us and our environment and making the marketplace “fair” in some sense, regulation does well when it allows innovation and efficiency and bases itself on evidence (not always the case).

    Risk, in a formal sense, is the combination (multiplication) of event probability and event consequence. This allows assessment of the total risk to which any system is exposed, provided of course that you correctly identify the probabilities and the consequences. There are a number of ways to reduce risk, but essentially most boil down to reducing the probability of an adverse event (the terminology is designed to be boring, I think) and/or to reducing it consequence. Some actions – often physical barriers are like this – can reduce both, while some – say, extra valves – can reduce some risks (consequences, reduced by systems redundancy) and increase or introduce others (probability of events, by more points of connection).

    Good regulations should be set a baseline of minimum requirements and require the regulated entities to show that they are reducing their risk to an acceptable level.

    Finally let me just blow a raspberry at this:

    conclusive proof that such a device offers no benefit

    … this argument should sound familiar to you, since it is an industrial Pascal’s wager. Evidence-based risk appraisal requires that mitigation must be shown to be useful, not merely hoped-for.

  103. #103 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 4, 2010

    I’d say a half-million dollar price tag (plus maintenance costs) puts the burden of proof on the seller. How many such accidents have occurred where the primary and secondary control systems have failed?

    All you need is one billion dollar spill to pay for an awful lot of 0.5 million dollar safety devices. Liberturds never get that point, as they are too worried about being compelled to do something.

  104. #104 realinterrobang
    May 4, 2010

    Even if it wasn’t, however, this is a piece of hardware that costs money to manufacture, install and maintain. Whether you agree with it or not, clearly BP made a decision that the cost outweighed the unproven benefit for the device.

    That’s only because they’ve come to the logical and completely ineluctable conclusion that the US political climate completely allows them to socialise the risks of oil spills while entirely privatising the profits, meaning that they aren’t going to be on the hook for 100% of the cleanup costs. As it is, people are already volunteering to go down there and work on the cleanup efforts; in the kind of world I’d like to live in, BP would be paying them, or facing immediate dechartering. (The only instance in which I support the ‘death penalty’ is where it applies to those fictitious and factitious legal persons known as ‘corporations.’)

    I despise volunteering where it translates to “rich people and/or corporations get the proles to work for free on stuff they should be paying for.” Cheap-labour conservatives are definitely the 21st Century plague.

  105. #105 mothwentbad
    May 4, 2010

    This is Rush, pretty much:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLmmr52p410

  106. #106 SteveM
    May 4, 2010

    That’s only because they’ve come to the logical and completely ineluctable conclusion that the US political climate completely allows them to socialise the risks of oil spills while entirely privatising the profits, meaning that they aren’t going to be on the hook for 100% of the cleanup costs.

    I was watching a muted newscast at lunch the other day and kept seeing on the “plaque” under the “talking head” (not the news scroll, the larger one) something about US law limiting an oil company’s liability for oil spills to $75M. Seems to me the total cost of the damage from this spill is going to be much greater than $75M.

  107. #107 broboxley OT
    May 4, 2010

    @Celtic_Evolution #84

    I’d classify offshore oil rigs and their safety and the safety of the environment as a “really really important thing”.

    couldnt agree more. As well as the acoustic trigger having fireboats available as required by regulations enacted back in 1994 would have helped a lot. There wasnt even one on that coast much less the 3 that might have helped in this spill

  108. #108 Fred The Hun
    May 4, 2010

    If anyone is interested in some of the real deal technical information about BOPs and acoustic triggers etc… you might go here:

    http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6430

    and here:

    http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6427

    and here:

    http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6424

    And there’s plenty more where that came from…

  109. #109 gent.kelson
    May 4, 2010

    uhmm PZ it’s not the biggest spill in american history. That would be the exxon-valdez at 10.8 million gallons. The current spill is 5000 barrels a day or about 200,000 gallons, 12 days in and we are around 2.4 million gallons. Assuming the riser pipe holds the plug should be installed before we get to 5 million.

    None of this is to say the spill isn’t significant, it most definitely is, but lets hold off before claiming facts that aren’t true.

  110. #110 broboxley OT
    May 4, 2010

    @Fred the Hun #107 great links especially the note giving second hand info about the engineer wanting to displace with water instead of mud. Now I have no experience in deep water wells, but once you are that deep dont use water, the mud is heavier. I would want more info of course

    @gent.kelson there is no way to accurately measure what the flow rate is
    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/greenspace/2010/05/gulf-oil-spill-nearly-as-big-as-exxon-valdez-whistleblower-group-says.html

    An oceanographer analyzing the official oil spill maps in the Gulf of Mexico said Saturday that the BP spill is now a more than 10 million gallons, nearly as large as the slick created by the Exxon Valdez, the largest oil spill in U.S. history.

    Ian MacDonald, an oceanographer at Florida State University, avoided comparisons to the Exxon spill, which was a heavier crude, but said Saturday: “The spill is growing. I’m comfortable saying that the size and extent of this slick is 10 million gallons.”

    Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said earlier that ?any exact estimate is probably impossible at this time.?

    google oil spill flow rate gulf to get lots more links,

  111. #111 broboxley OT
    May 4, 2010

    link to Ian MacDonald
    http://www.gulfbase.org/person/view.php?uid=imacdonald appears to have some cred

  112. #112 gent.kelson
    May 4, 2010

    I should amend that. “Let’s not claim facts that aren’t true YET”

  113. #113 Alukonis
    May 4, 2010

    @ MadScientist #98

    Can you post a link to the NY Times article you’re talking about? I used to work as a cementing engineer so I have a bit of residual professional curiosity.

  114. #114 Peter H
    May 4, 2010

    Geologists’ estimates are that there is enough fossil fuel (oil & natural gas) under non-coastal North Dakota, South Dakota & eastern Montana to have the U.s. totally free of any foreign imports or off-shore drilling for as much as 200 years.

    But it ain’t PC to go there.

  115. #115 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 4, 2010

    Geologists’ estimates are that there is enough fossil fuel (oil & natural gas) under non-coastal North Dakota, South Dakota & eastern Montana to have the U.s. totally free of any foreign imports or off-shore drilling for as much as 200 years.

    But it ain’t PC to go there.

    Or could it be that it’s way more expensive?

  116. #116 John Morales
    May 4, 2010

    Peter H:

    But it ain’t PC to go there.

    So, you’re saying it’s political correctness that makes the US import oil and drill off-shore?

    Yeah, very credible, that is.

  117. #117 Ing
    May 4, 2010

    “The FAA (much like the NHTSA) has a ton of regulation regarding equipment design, manufacture, maintenance, etc that demonstrably improves safety (although one might argue diminishing returns in some cases)”

    Did you really suggest that safety concerns are bad because they might diminish profits?

    Fuck you. I want the know for damn sure that the floor I work on is OSHA. Why don’t you go out and work in a real job with heavy machinery for a while and then come bitching about ‘diminished returns’. heartless fucker.

  118. #118 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    May 4, 2010

    totally free of any foreign imports or off-shore drilling

    Reducing your car mileage to that of Europe would do the same thing.

    Or so it is claimed.

  119. #119 Ing
    May 4, 2010

    “Or could it be that it’s way more expensive?”

    From what I recall in my People and the Environment sociology course drilling there is a different animal than drilling from wells. If I’m remembering right the issue is that it’s spread out and not in deposits so it would be like trying to suck up soda from a shag carpet.

  120. #120 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 4, 2010

    “The FAA (much like the NHTSA) has a ton of regulation regarding equipment design, manufacture, maintenance, etc that demonstrably improves safety (although one might argue diminishing returns in some cases)”

    If planes aren’t maintained they crash. That is much, much more expensive than maintenance. These idjits who worry about saving a few thousand dollars when millions are at stake? No wonder they don’t understand economics…

  121. #121 Scott Hatfield, OM
    May 4, 2010

    Actually, as far as it goes, Limbaugh is not saying anything that President Obama didn’t say first. The President did use the phrase ‘SWAT teams’ to refer to the aspects of the multiagency response largely being coordinated by Secretary Napolitano.

    You can watch him say it here.

    You can be sure that Mr. Limbaugh instantly saw the shock value of this expression as a potential talking point. The right-wing echo chamber has been abuzz with this for about a week: it confirms their image of a government eager to arm itself, and to use its power to deprive conservatives of their guns and their religion.

    So, the use of this phrase was a bit of a blunder for Mr. Obama. Much hay will be made of it, and any attempt to even address it will be viewed as evidence of a cover-up by the fringe groups.

    A sobering thought: what if these groups succeed in depriving the Democrats their congressional majorities in November? What happens if the other major party doesn’t soon start to inch back toward the political center?

  122. #122 ckitching
    May 4, 2010

    I will put my Google-fu to work and see if I can dig up more info, or feel free to provide me with a link that substantiates that claim better than the info I remember.

    The last news I’ve seen regarding it was the arrest of Wiebo Ludwig and his subsequent release. I based my claim that they were environmentalist related crimes based on several of the letters received by the press. Some have turned out to be fakes, and the ones that aren’t known to be fake are less “environmentalist” sounding and seem more like NIMBY-type complaints, so I was probably wrong. However, even these letters, which complain about the oil/gas operations poisoning animals and people (much like Rev. Ludwig did when he was convicted of bombing sour gas wells many years ago) in the area are hard to reconcile with the fact that bombing these things would release even more of the poisons they’re complaining about.

    I guess as another example, I can’t help but bring up Earth Liberation Front (a minor organization that is often overblown by anti-environmentalists). Their empty-headed firebombing of anyone involved in genetic engineering research has probably caused far more ecological damage than many (or maybe even most) of the organizations they’ve bombed. I’d say that these people are unbalanced but I fear that would be an understatement. Hell, if I was credulous enough to believe in conspiracy theories, and if there wasn’t evidence to the contrary, I’d probably be tempted to believe that they were plants intended to discredit legitimate environmentalists and causes. Sadly, these people seem to legitimately believe that lighting stuff on fire is helpful for the planet.

    I guess my only point is that any organization can contain those who think the ends justify the means, even if the means is requires creating a disaster. Never underestimate the capacity people have for rationalizing things to themselves despite being contrary to all available evidence.

    None of this detracts from the point that Rush is a windbag that no one should take seriously, and if he said the sky was blue, I’d demand numerous independent verifications. Frankly, even if there really were eco-saboteurs, there are certainly far easier targets that would cause far less ecological damage. His plot sounds like it’s from a bad made-for-TV movie.

  123. #123 Fred The Hun
    May 5, 2010

    Posted by: Peter H @113,

    Geologists’ estimates are that there is enough fossil fuel (oil & natural gas) under non-coastal North Dakota, South Dakota & eastern Montana to have the U.s. totally free of any foreign imports or off-shore drilling for as much as 200 years.

    But it ain’t PC to go there.

    I’m not even going to bother asking for a link to back up that assertion. However I’d be willing to wager a substantial amount of cash that those “geologists” also believe in invisible pink unicorns or are paid industry mouth pieces.

    Do you even have a clue how much oil the US uses on a daily basis?

    I’m 100% sure that you don’t know the first thing about how it is that oil is gotten out of the ground and ends up in your gas tank either.

    My suggestion, Ride a Bike or Take a Hike!

  124. #124 Peter Ashby
    May 5, 2010

    I agree that the most dedicated people against stuff can inadvertently cause the thing they are against when acting. Some years ago back in NZ some animal rights loonies broke into a university lab and took a mixed bag of rabbits, rats, cats and mice. Quite a few were found a few miles away cowering all together in a rural ditch after being apparently released into the ‘wild’ (none of them native to NZ of course). They were huddled together in fear and cold after being removed from the only environment they had ever known that was always warm, no wind (apart from visiting humans) and with constant food and water. Nobody had eaten anyone else.

    This is just one reason why here in the UK under the animal research licensing system if for some reason I want to release a mouse or mouse as pets I need express permission in each instance from the Government dept that runs the system. A home mouse cage is very different from what they are used to for eg, designed as it is for viewing by humans. In a standard lab setup the mice have considerable privacy and you must either move the cage from the rack or peer at a shallow angle to look inside.

    These animal rights loonies have no appreciation of the stress involved in ‘releasing’ lab animals. Because they have an idealised, Beatrix Potter view of animals and ecosystems.

    Sure, you can take lab rats and release them into outside enclosures and they will adopt some behaviours of wild rats, after some time during which they need a warm, dry refuge with food and water laid on.

    In addition those people who use ‘humane’ mouse traps and release house mice miles away in rural locations are simply condemning the mouse to a long lingering death, unless it is put out of it’s misery by a passing predator. But providing they don’t have the death on their immediate, personal consciences that seemingly doesn’t matter. The hawks have probably learned to hang around cars that stop beside fields and woodland.

  125. #125 Celtic_Evolution
    May 5, 2010

    I know we’ve sort of moved on a bit from this, but I wasn’t on last night and I wanted to address a couple of the points from mwsletten at #96 (by the way, I still disagree with your overall thoughts on this, but you do make some decent points):

    Just as you did during the health care debate you’re suggesting the test of good regulation is whether or not another country uses it. I don’t think it vacuous to point out the flaw in such an argument.

    No, this is complete misrepresentation of my point, and totally missing the point on your part… I’m not suggesting it’s the test of good policy. I’m suggesting that it’s a pretty damn good barometer of whether or not a policy has a history of working and being worthwhile.

    Besides, didn’t your mother ever hit you with the if-Johnny-jumped-off-a-cliff-would-you argument? I bet you didn’t call her vacuous, at least not to her face…

    Well, when I possessed the intellect of an 8 year old, sure… this was a good argument. As an adult, I’d reply thusly: “Well, mother, it depends on the reason Johnny jumped off the cliff. I might.”

    Which is the only reasonable answer, of course, given the limited framework of the question, you see.

    Thankfully I’m not 8 anymore so that argument isn’t really all that persuasive.

  126. #126 Celtic_Evolution
    May 5, 2010

    Joffan #101 -

    Good regulations should be set a baseline of minimum requirements and require the regulated entities to show that they are reducing their risk to an acceptable level.

    Agreed… so yes, I think ultimately we are in some sort of violent agreement.

    … this argument should sound familiar to you, since it is an industrial Pascal’s wager. Evidence-based risk appraisal requires that mitigation must be shown to be useful, not merely hoped-for.

    Fair enough… I don’t think I expressed my feelings well enough with that answer. Of course you are right… my answer was more geared towards the situation where I would accept deregulation of a particular safety regulation that was already in place.

  127. #127 Stardrake
    May 5, 2010

    Peter H @113: Actually, there is significant oil drilling going on in North Dakota. Enough so they can’t house all the people coming there to work on it! Check this out:http://www.startribune.com/business/92016784.html?elr=KArksUUUoDEy3LGDiO7aiU

  128. #129 RijkswaanVijanD
    May 8, 2010

    So it won’t be long before they’ll start incarcerating environmentalists in Gbay??

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