Monday, June 14, 2010

Escrow and the Dead, Plus Ways to Help

(Image credit: Julie Dermansky, paid feature photo)

Well, here we are at Day 55, though actually, looking at my clock, in another ten minutes of writing it will be Day 56. A reader noticed I have the number of  days listed on the caption of the little boycott BP image. I just wanted to keep track so I know how much oil's been gushing, that's all. I'm gonna make a formula, something like (35 x 50,000/day) + ( 10 x 45,000/day) + (10 x 40,000) + (# of days for next insufficient intervention x whatever increment reduction of flow) = # of barrels the Gulf of Mexico, all its wildlife and countless denizens of every species, are screwed by.

So what's new besides the fact that BP now wants to start burning the oil because the cool containment dome is just totally out of storage space? (*cough* Boy, that means they're really awesome at estimating the volume that was flowing right? Because they weren't even capturing a quarter of the outflow.) What's the big deal? It would have ended up being CO2 and CH4 anyway, right? Now, later, what's the difference?

On the news front, the US Senate wants BP to set aside a $20B USD escrow fund to cover damages. (Sometimes I just love Harry Reid and company) It seems the Obama administration is fairly sure that they will be able to use the federal Oil Pollution Act of 1990 to their advantage. There are totally awesome components to the OPA 1990. For instance look at this cute little section on liability:

§1002(d) Provides that if a responsible party can establish that the removal costs and damages resulting from an incident were caused solely by an act or omission by a third party, the third party will be held liable for such costs and damages.

Frankly, I'm thinking that is the stuff of a BP and Transocean wet dream. They can just blame each other ad infinitum and drag out liability judgment for years. Heck, we've already seen a dress rehearsal up on Capitol Hill, haven't we?

(Attribution unknown and I can't read cartoonist's signature)

There's also this little useful subsection:

§1016 Offshore facilities are required to maintain evidence of financial responsibility of $150 million and vessels and deepwater ports must provide evidence of financial responsibility up to the maximum applicable liability amount. Claims for removal costs and damages may be asserted directly against the guarantor providing evidence of financial responsibility.

Damn. More of the same.

But personally my all time favorite (remember this was written right after Exxon Valdez) is:

§4202 Strengthens planning and prevention activities by: (1) providing for the establishment of spill contingency plans for all areas of the U.S. (2) mandating the development of response plans for individual tank vessels and certain facilities for responding to a worst case discharge or a substantial threat of such a discharge; and (3) providing requirements for spill removal equipment and periodic inspections.
Wow. I am just so impressed about the foresight they had and that they have put all of that in place now, 20 years later. Aren't you? Nothing like a federal law to give you confidence. Yes, indeedy.

So I've been prowling around looking for statistics on the number of animals lost in the Gulf spill and came across this marvelous site from UC Davis, The Oiled Wildlife Care Network. In addition to having massively depressing stats like these:

(from, updated Deepwater Horizon Spill statistics for June 13, 2010)

and so you can see the bump from day to day:

(from, updated Deepwater Horizon Spill statistics for June 14, 2010)

they have all manner of really useful information, including what to do if you find any oiled wildlife along your coastal areas and various facts about wildlife that has been oil exposed. Interestingly, many, many of the animals who have perished have no sign of external oiling.

Of course, there were also eleven men who lost their lives on that rig. I cannot fail to think of them. Adam Weise, 24; Aaron Dale Burkeen, 37; Donald Clark, 49; Roy Kemp, 27; Jason Anderson, 35; Stephen Curtis, 39; Gordon Jones, 28; Blair Manuel, 56; Dewey Revette, 48; Karl Kleppinger, Jr., 38 and Shane Roshto, 22.

I look at those men's names and feel much sadness for their families, many of whom still support offshore oil drilling.

So much loss and so much sorrow. Lives, livelihoods and futures destroyed.

Oiled Wildlife Care Network has a Facebook page where you can look out for volunteer opportunities. They have a great blog at If you have an interest in volunteering or making donations, you can contact them at if you live on the West Coast (follow links for training partners in network) or on the East Coast you can contact Tri-State Bird Rescue.  Don't forget to check out Uzza's excellent article on the subject of helping wildlife.

U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer Caleb Critchfield. (Deepwater Horizon Response Flickr page)

BTW, in the LA Times article above they make mention of the fact that the Coast Guard is now saying, "Come on, man, get serious. Come up with a plan already!" BP's spokesman Jon Pack promised that they really, truly are (pinky swear) but they just can't make that plan public. Anyway, they were headed for a board meeting today and the agenda was a deep dark secret. But there have already been rumors of the big, bad B. You know, you do what you have to do. Until you just don't want to do it anymore.

The Deepwater Response Website is here. We owe the men and women of the US Coast Guard and all the people involved in cleanup and rescue of any sort our sincere thanks. If you listen to Jen or my friends in LA, the shenanigans that BP pulls to keep people in the dark are absolutely endless.

Meanwhile, the most excellent Uzza has availed us of some rather spectacular contests. The first is the real meaning of the acronym BP. Thus far, my fave is Beyond Prosecution. The other is for BP's new logo and and you can go here to see entries. The number one entrant thus far is:

although I'm also rather taken with:

but I'm not so sure I can only blame BP for that. After all, we let them.

© Bright Nepenthe, 2010




    we do like your music Lady Gaga, but...

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    for a sample taste of PZ Myers' GARBAGE...




    what happens when you LOSE Pascal's Wager...



    the blood and bodies of the atheist movement...

    you mofos killed MICKEY MOUSE!!!!

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    they tried to BULLDOZE the entire METAPHYSICAL DIMENSION...

    they LOST THE WAR......

    you have FORFEIT YOUR SOUL, shermer... you have become an object in the
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    we're gonna smash that TV...

    They had become ENEMIES OF THE PEOPLE AND OF GOD...
    you pushed too much and *CROSSED THE LINE*

    degenerates (PZ) or children (HEMANT) - ATHEISTS!

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  2. Folks, you'll have to excuse him. Dennis is clearly having a bad moment there.

    Dennis, honey, I promise no one killed Mickey. Really.