Last year the federal government approved a 582-page, regional spill plan for the Gulf of Mexico. Sounds comprehensive, right?
Now that it is recovering some of the oil pouring out of the massive leak at the bottom of the Gulf's floor, BP has found another way to try to repair its reputation: the company announced that it has created a new wildlife fund that will benefit from any profits B
BP has purchased search terms relating to the Gulf oil spill disaster on Google, Yahoo and Bing, a move some say is designed to limit the public's exposure to news reporting about the Deepwater Horizon oil catastrophe.
BP CEO Tony Hayward has gone from being a little known CEO to a household name made infamous by the Deepwater Horizon disaster that has led to 70,000 to 90,000 barrels of oil, according to a new analysis, pouring into the Gulf daily, for over a month. At 42 gallons per barrel, that's an astonishing 2.94 to 3.78 million gallons of oil pouring into the Gulf every day. Ever since the incident, Hayward has provided the public with a goldmine of quotes and misleading information. Possibly the most famous instance of poor propriety was when Hayward, while apologizing to the people of Louisiana, told them "I would like my life back", a comment that sounded particularly insensitive after the Gulf catastrophe claimed 11 lives in the Deepwater Horizon explosion. Further casualties now include nearly 500 birds, 227 turtles, and 27 mammals, including dolphins. Hayward's poorly-conceived statements do not stop there; he also famously said, "The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount of volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume."
California's biggest utility, the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has two starkly different faces: the one it shows Californians, and the one people see nationally. On the national scene, PG&E has appeared to be a strong advocate for renewable energy, and backs climate change legislation in Washington, D.C.
BP, now officially responsible for the worst oil spill disaster in U.S. history, has hired former Vice President Dick Cheney's campaign press secretary, Anne Womack-Kolton, to head its American public relations efforts. Womack is a former employee of the PR firm APCO Worldwide, perhaps best known for its work on behalf of the tobacco industry. In 1995, Philip Morris hired APCO to orchestrate a massive national "tort reform" movement, and in 1993, PM hired APCO to organize the front group The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition to attack the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency after it rated secondhand smoke a Group A Human Carcinogen, the same rating the agency gives asbestos and radon gas. Womack also served as a White House spokesperson, defending Bush's White House Office Of Faith-Based Initiatives. In announcing Womack-Kolton's hiring, BP only mentioned that she had been director of public affairs for the Department of Energy (DOE) under George W. Bush, but a DOE press release boasts about her links to Cheney.
News photographers are saying that their efforts to document the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico are being thwarted by local and federal officials working with BP.
Who is going to pay to clean up BP's disastrous oil spill, besides BP? After all, they made $14 billion in profit last year alone. BP has asserted it will pay all "legitimate claims" for damages -- talk about a lot of wiggle room there -- but beyond actual cleanup costs, BP's economic damage liability is legislatively, and outrageously, capped at $75 million, a pittance to a company that made 186 times that amount in profit in 2009. Senate Democrats attempted to increase the liability cap to $10 billion by proposing and passing a bill, but their efforts were thwarted by Senate Republicans. The current tally for the cleanup cost stands at $760 million, but that is surely understated.