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Evading Gulf oil leak blame

Our Readers Who Comment are just plain angry at the three oil industry executives who attempted at a Senate hearing yesterday to shift the blame for the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Readers have filed more than 500 comments on this and related stories. Some also blame the Obama administration for supporting offshore drilling (before putting it on hold after the Gulf blowout); several noted that the $75 million limit on oil company liability is an absurdity. Some blame greed and some see a conspiracy, as some always do.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration said that it would split in two the government agency that oversees offshore drilling, separating the section that ensures that energy companies comply with safety and environmental laws from the section that collects billions in drilling royalties each year. The combination looks an awful lot like a conflict of interest.

We'll start with kcbob, who wrote, "Passing the buck: Another thing business does better than government."

mtpeaks said, "So let's reset: The oil well blew 21 days ago. BP has tried various remedies to no avail. Meanwhile, the Obama administration and Congress have assumed the role of the angry landlord, demanding reparation for damages done.
Yet the leak spills on and on, and on. Shame on all of them for passing the buck."

But revbookburn observed that "It's almost funny how the 'tea party' psychos and similar want to twist even this story into another false means to attack President Obama. Although it must be causing even more instability and confusion for them, since their tendency is to repeat the words of "free-market" ideologues and puppetts. Even after the spill, the mine disaster, and the Republican-sponsored economic collapse, the buffoonery will continue to repeat the meaningless rhetoric of dangerous ideologues."

rosenfan1 wrote, "Why ask the rats who are responsible to educate you about oil spills and help you determine who's fault it was, that's stupid. They are responsible and have never invested in how to remedy an oil spill or more pertinent how to stop a well from gushing oil for weeks at a time and possibly ruining our most important southern body of water!... Run this like a criminal investigation, which is what it really is, it's just that the criminals have $1000 dollar suits and arrive on their own private jets."

wayoffbaseguy said, "...Americans have been getting gouged at the pump by these greedy corporations. The price of gas should never have risen to $3 a gallon as long as the price per barrel was under $100, yet "during a time of war" they were making tens of billions in windfall profits, and all Washington did was make excuses for them. A $75 million limit on liability!!! Such a deal. McDonalds had to pay more for a spilled cup of coffee."

And psst_limbaugh_keep-ranting_satan [creative screen name] wrote, "After all the controversial oil spills that have happened in the past, it is unimaginable there is only a "$75 million limit on oil companies' liability for economic damages" in these situations. That's probably less than what some of the CEOs of these companies collect in a single year, which gives me an idea on what we could use to try plugging the leak."

bloommarko4 said,"There's no reliable technofix for deep water oil drilling other than to reduce our demand for irreplaceable resources. But that's not the 'American Way'. The buck-passing by the energy companies and the federal government demonstrates that we Americans want to 'eat our cake and have it too' without any consideration for the consequences of our choices. And to think that we just celebrated the 20th anniversary of Earth Day."

walker1 asked, "Any one else think that it is interesting that for Halliburton, which is now an Arab oil firm, the majority of its blow out 'accedents' under investigation, all take place in fields that threaten the Arab oil monopoly?"

kkinva681 wrote, "the buck stops nowhere... if they can't take the heat when something goes wrong they shouldn't take the cash when something goes right..."

Anadromous2 said, "The sight of helicopters dumping sandbags in the ocean just points to the futility of this exercise. Focus on making these oil pukes pay for their mistakes and shortcuts; and write a resolution so the Roberts Court won't let the oil companies off the hook again."

mgbgt95 wrote, "it's easy; split the $100B fine 3ways, & let them hash it out in court w/o the public."

10emlet asked, "Why do we have so many 'supposed' adults in the country who are so good at assigning blame but just cannot take any responsibility? Really just pathetic - where did all the men go?"

Sebastian11 wrote, "The oil spill in the Gulf-- which has the potential to be the worst ecological disaster in the history of oil spills--relates a double tragedy. The first is the destruction of the ecology, wild life, natural beauty, sources of income. The second is the human manifestation of greed and unaccountability..."

We'll close with this creative suggestion from stevensp1, who wrote, "I have the answer to the oil spill clean up: It is simple. Drop bundles of U.S. currency into the spill in the Gulf, and then simply spread the news to all bankers, big market investors, and financiers. They have done a remarkable job of sucking up huge chunks of curreny in the past couple of years. No doubt they'd take care of a few oil soaked bucks swimming in the Gulf!"

All comments on this article are here.

By Doug Feaver  |  May 12, 2010; 9:00 AM ET
 | Tags: BP, Gulf of Mexico, Halliburton, Obama, Oil, Transocean  
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Next: Readers blame Republicans for oil spill


It is just unthinkable that there is no rehearsed remedy for this kind of "accident". I sure hope that the NRC is not bought and paid for by the industry it is called upon to regulate. The truth of the matter is not that the accident happened....but that no one ever thought about what will we do if/when it does happen. That is the kind of short sided thinking that corporate giants are famous for. The really sad part is the gov't lets this junk slide. How many years of study did they waste pondering a wind farm?? but you know sure go ahead drill a mile down, ecologically sensitive area, its fail-safe. What a bunch of cr**

Posted by: jjsiragusa | May 13, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

It is a darn shame as to what is happening in the Gulf. Instaed of putting a dome device over the break, why can't they use a heavy duty clamp with a combination saw and capping attachment to stop the leak below the damage. It appears and is probably certain that there is too much thought going on and common sense has left the building.

Posted by: ahoriates | May 12, 2010 6:43 PM | Report abuse

[begin rant] Ok, I get the pile-on mentality of many, most, a lot of the commentors. But how about that circus of a hearing this morning and afternoon? Why do we keep electing these clowns? If I hear one more idiot on the Hill try to grandstand and boil these complex engineering issues down to yes-or-no questions I'll scream. Sure, shame on the oil companies, but please people, let's tell our Congressmen and Women to shut the he** up and be part of the solution instead of finding a way to spin this as another way to get re-elected. [end rant]

Posted by: worldtraveler | May 12, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

I knew these Tea partiers where loony when they came out not even 100 days into the Obama Admin to protest. Not only that the T-Partiers speak in relativism, words like less, big, small, high, over-reach. I mean some guys think they are big (you know what I mean) and they aren't by someone else's experience, especially when that person's been around (you know what I mean). BTW did anybody catch Obama getting back at the tea partiers when he was in Mich. Oh my goodness, he did it with grace. You gotta check the story and you cannot keep hating the man

Posted by: republicanblack | May 12, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

You hear ridiculous political partisan attacks back and forth from members in congress, instead of addressing the problems and fixes with proper inquiry. Could one adult please stand up and tell both sides to end it and get to fixing the problem. One thing sticks in my mind is the proper safety standards are in place in the North Sea and Norsk arctic water installations, why aren't their experts called in to testify to why they require higher standards telling us what to do to retrofit our extraction and safety process? Why doesn't someone in Congress tell BP as a show of good faith increase the gov't cap voluntarily 10 times to 750 million? It seems with dead batteries on control boxes self-certification everywhere on fossil fuel extraction must end. By law our standards must be as high as any of the top twenty countries that produce oil. An old retrofitted valve should not be allowed on a new well, only the highest available safety standard one available new should be the requirement. An once of prevention does not endanger 7000 miles of coastline for decades. The engineering possiblity of replacing existing lower safety valves with new ones should be discussed. The energy committee should also discuss a carbon tax on imported fossil fuel to finance a tax credit like that waiving royalties on new exploration to existing capped wells needing pressurized steam for further extraction, which could possibly double domestic onshore production. Natural gas in reserves away from water storage and fault lines should allow fracture extraction. Clean coal is impossible without an organic conversion of the co2, let alone sulphuric pollutants. Perhaps converting coal fired plants to burn paper and hemp is a better choice. Coal industries are in mountains like WV where wind power alternatives should be financed and places like PA where geothermal transfer technologies can replace those industries. New energy biofuels are being developed and one is quite promising capturing 10% of the sun's energy opposed to ethanol's less than 2% with high energy conversion from corn. Better batteries are key to making our motor fleet electrify. Nuclear still has the fission material left over problem, but work on thorium and fusion reactors commercially viable is ongoing. More research money a man to the moon Manhattan project type effort will slice possibly decades from development. A viable fusion reactor produces 6 million times more energy than fission and could theoretically turn the worlds motor fleets to hydrogen (distilled water at plants).

Posted by: jameschirico | May 12, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Why do we continue to believe that corporations will self regulate out of rational self interest? When will we recognize that corporations do not act rationally, when short term profit is at stake? When will we recognize that corporate responsibility is in direct conflict with the duty to maximize profits at all costs?
Why do we allow ideology to trump history?

Posted by: jgwlaw | May 12, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

The moment that I heard that Dick Cheny's outfit Halberton was involved, I know who to blame. They are under investigation on their role in Iraqfor murder and missuse of Gov't funds, and this is just another boondoggle. They must have used poor material in the cement structure, as infered by the other two CEOs.

Easy money, except when they get caught.

Posted by: georgeichbn | May 12, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Could LA coast clean up be this easy?

Posted by: rcjwkelly | May 12, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

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