Kate Sheppard’s 10 reasons to still be pissed off about the BP disaster

1. BP is gunning to get back to drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

That’s the start of a long list by Kate Sheppard of Mother Jones.

Here are Matt Yglesias’s favorites:

2. People are sick. Nearly three-quarters of Gulf coast residents that the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, an environmental justice group, polled this year reported health concerns that they believe are related to the spill. Of the 954 residents in seven coastal communities, almost half said they had experienced health problems like coughing, skin and eye irritation, or headaches that are consistent with common symptoms of chemical exposure. While the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is conducting health monitoring for spill cleanup workers, residents in the areas closest to the spill are concerned that their own health problems have gone unattended.

3. Fish and other sea life in the Gulf are still struggling after the disaster. The death toll for dolphins and whales in the Gulf may have been 50 times higher than the number of bodies found, according to a recent paper in Conservation Letters. Earlier this year, a large number of dead dolphin calves were found on the coast, and scientists have linked many of those deaths to the oil disaster. Anglers are also reporting dark lesions, rotting fins, and discoloration in the fish they’re catching in the Gulf, as the St. Petersburg Times reported last week.

Yglesias writes:

What I think is interesting about this is that the harms are so localized, even while the benefits of increased fossil fuel production in terms of lower consumer prices are extremely diffuse. And yet the offshore drilling issue isn’t at all a NIMBY question where Gulf Coast politicians oppose it while far-away people want to get our hands on gas and oil. Which just goes to show how dominated energy politics are by producer interests. The places where coal is mined are home to the politicians that advocate for coal mining, the places where oil is drilled are home to the politicians that advocate for oil drilling, etc. And that’s true even though a lot of the downside of these activities is concentrated in those very same places.

Here is the short-version of the other 10 things to be pissed about:

4. While those most affected by the spill are still waiting for payments, some state and local officials have been making bank off the disaster.

5. Congress hasn’t changed a single law on oil and gas drilling in the past year.

6. GOP House members want more drilling off all our coasts with less environmental review.

7. “Fail safe” technology isn’t fail safe.

See “Blowout preventers used in ALL deep water drilling are “fundamentally flawed by design” “” Maddow.”

8. The country’s offshore regulator has a new name, but it’s still got plenty of problems.

9. Fewer than half of people who have filed claims from the spill have been paid.

10. BP still doesn’t want you to see its tar balls.

What are you still pissed about?

10 Responses to Kate Sheppard’s 10 reasons to still be pissed off about the BP disaster

  1. Leif says:

    I would sure like to see BP et al forced to publicly acknowledge the science of Global warming and associated climatic disruption as you can be sure they understand privately.

  2. Colorado Bob says:

    Welcome to the era of ‘extreme energy’

    Fort McKay, Alberta (CNN) — Celina Harpe was 7 when her grandfather made a prediction that would forever change her life.

    “I won’t see it, I’m too old now, but it’s going to be really bad,” she recalls him saying on a warm summer night after returning from a moose hunt. The two were standing on a hill that overlooks the birch-and-spruce-lined river here in far northwest Canada.

    “You see these plants and this water we’ve got? That’s going to be all polluted. You’re going to have to buy water — and water is life.

    “Mother Earth is going to be all torn up.”

    His statement felt almost ludicrous at the time — after all, the land seemed so infinite. Decades would pass before Harpe began to put any stock in those words. Now 72, she has watched oil companies surround her village with city-sized strip mines that look like something out of Mordor from “Lord of the Rings” — with gas flares, smokestacks and the constant boom of propane cannons on the horizon. The explosions, which sound like mortar fire, are meant to scare off migratory birds. An oily death awaits them if they land in the area’s toxic industrial lakes, byproducts of the mining process.

  3. Davos says:

    “What I think is interesting about this is that the harms are so localized, even while the benefits of increased fossil fuel production in terms of lower consumer prices are extremely diffuse.”

    I don’t know that Yglesias can say this and be ‘completely’ right. It is true that the ‘lower consumer prices’ can be ‘diffuse’ to the tune of just a penny or two– but economically challenged people still welcome the penny in the hardest times.

    I think Yglesias also gives away part of his argument when he acknowledges that those folks who are local to the production centers of these fossil fuels are their most strident supporters. Obviously the ‘local’ economic benefit is not as diffuse as he might let on. After all, it should go without saying that one of the toughest people to convince that we need to end coal mining– is a coal miner.

    Perhaps the locals would be fine with dumping BP (because they know they don’t like the drawbacks) if they knew they’d have something there to replace it that wouldn’t involve them relocating or losing 3-4 years of providing for their families by spending more time in school. Maybe BP should be ‘inclined’ to invest in that direction for the people of the gulf coast.

  4. Andy Velwest says:

    @Davos While oil drilling and refining jobs are a significant percentage of gulf jobs, so too are fishing and tourism. The problem is that this constituency is under-represented.

    As for retraining of oil drilling and refining workers, that’s the right solution. The Clean Energy bill passed by the House last year had 3 years of retraining costs for anyone without a college degree. I think there was 3 years of unemployment if they were laid off, too.

    As far as I’m concerned, that’s good use of my tax dollars.

  5. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    ‘Lower consumer prices’ are not a ‘benefit’ because they lead to more and more consumption, ie destruction. It is because we consume too much that we are killing the life-support systems of the planet. We must consume less, ie be less materialistic. As billions consume too little for a decent life, that means that the chronic over-consumers of the rich world, and the rich elites in the poor world, must consume considerably less, and most of the global hyper-rich parasite class’ ill-gotten wealth must be redistibuted to the poor. If you disapprove of this on the grounds that it it is ‘communism’ or some such, then gird your loins for trouble, because people will not sit idly by forever as their children starve, or drown or die of disease. In any case, those wretched ‘externalities’ that market capitalism choses to ignore, like rising temperatures, heavy deluges, melting glaciers, rising sea-levels etc cannot be wished away, or bought off, no matter how much money you possess.

  6. Tom Speelman says:

    It seems to me that BP should not just get out of the Gulf, they should pay to clean up the Gulf! And they should also pay off every worker’s family that died, as well as all the fishermen et. al. that are having a huge downturn in business. This has to be done!

  7. Anne says:

    Well — this pisses me off too — controlling the images

    Banning reporters from taking photos of the ugly goo in the waters, opting for photographers who agree to take photos of what they are told to.

  8. mark says:

    Supposedly the blow out preventer failed in large part because the pressure from the blowout itself deformed the pipe so badly the pipe was no longer in the shape and in the place the blowout preventer was designed for. If they can solve that problem, then I for one think it only makes sense we drill our own stuff instead of sending money soldiers and consequences overseas. We’re gonna use oil for awhile even if we start a crash program to get off it right now.

    SO…. if they can do that engineering, I would support the government drilling its own oil and reaping the profits instead of BP, and using the proceeds to help R&D for carbon-neutral technologies.

  9. John Kazer says:

    What would happen if the same requirements on public and environmental health were applied to oil company operations in Nigeria (for example)?

  10. dbmetzger says:

    US Presidential Commission on BP Oil Spill Lays Blame
    Disasters like the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig could happen again without significant reform, according to the conclusions of a U.S. presidential panel.