Disasters

Lawmakers Overseeing Gulf Spill Firms Held Oil, Gas Stock

"Nearly 30 members of the congressional committees overseeing oil and gas companies held personal assets in the industry totaling $9 million to $14.5 million late last year. That included at least $400,000 in the three companies at the heart of the Gulf of Mexico oil-drilling disaster, according to a Washington Post analysis of financial disclosure forms released Wednesday."

Source: Wash Post, 06/18/2010

Rep. Joe Barton Apologizes to BP

Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) turned a hearing with BP CEO Tony Hayward on its head Thursday by apologizing to BP for what he called a "$20 billion shakedown." Democrats made political hay. Republicans scrambled to distance themselves. Under threat from GOP leaders of losing his job as top House Energy Republican, Barton returned to the hearing to apologize for apologizing. It later emerged that Barton's "shakedown" talking point had been crafted by the Republican Study Committee, a conservative faction that includes 115 of the 178 GOP House members. Barton got more than $100,000 in campaign contributions from the oil industry during this election cycle -- and his top single corporate contributor is Anadarko, which is a 25% stakeholder in the gushing Macondo well. Hayward, while apologetic himself, dodged the panel's questions.

Source: CBS News, 06/18/2010

"Chemical Security Advocates See New Opening to Rework Bush-Era Rules"

Petrochemical companies like BP won a key battle in achieving unpoliced self-regulation early in the Bush administration -- when they got friends in Congress and the White House to shut EPA out of chemical safety and security oversight. As public health advocates point to possible disasters more lethal than the Gulf spill, there may be an opportunity to reverse the federal government's decisions not to protect the public from petrochemical disasters.

Source: Greenwire, 06/17/2010

BP Contractors, Feds Continue to Bar Media from Public Property

WDSU, the NBC affiliate in New Orleans (Channel 6), found that BP's highly publicized statement that it is not barring news media from witnessing the cleanup, or its failure, is in fact not true. See video of this and other examples, and get contact info for the Deepwater Horizon Incident Joint Information Center if you've been denied access.

"In Florida Keys, Residents Plan Their Own Spill Cleanup"

"Facing the possibility that oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill could arrive on its reefs and beaches in the coming weeks, many in the Florida Keys are once again angry about perceived fools and bureaucrats. In particular, they've watched how BP has monopolized and, in the eyes of many, mismanaged the oil cleanup in the northern Gulf of Mexico and are frantically trying to organize an independent local response."

Source: TIME, 06/16/2010

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