October 8, 2010

Rememberthat “Independent” BP Report that Examined the Macondo Blowout? Turns Out,Report Underwent Extensive Legal Review, Editing by Company Lawyers.Wall Street Journal (10/8) reports, “—BP PLC’s lawyershelped prepare its internal investigation into its Gulf of Mexico drillingdisaster, according to the report’s lead author, raising questions about thestudy’s impartiality. The report, led by Mark Bly, was presented by BP as animpartial investigation into what caused the April 20 explosion, which killed11 workers and caused the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history. But outsideexperts have been skeptical, saying its conclusions seemed convenient for BP’slegal position. The 300-plus-page report was the first in-depth attempt toexplain what caused the Deepwater Horizon disaster and will likely be a keydocument in the hundreds of lawsuits filed against the companies involved. Mr.Bly, who was recently promoted by new BP Chief Executive Bob Dudley to overseea new safety division at the company, said in an interview Wednesday thatlawyers assigned to the investigation team helped "with the logic of thewriting" but didn’t influence his conclusions. "They were actuallyquite effective at making sure that our thought logic was good," Mr. Blysaid. He said the team was careful not to have its "insights influenced,even subtly" by outside concerns.”

First forEverything; Democratic Senate Hopeful in Florida Rejects “Co-Endorsement” FromSierra Club, Calls Endorsement and “Insult.”The Hill (10/7) reports, “Florida Senate candidate Kendrick Meek (D)reacted angrily to the Sierra Club co-endorsing him and Gov. Charlie Crist (I).The environmental group said it made the decision following a "detailedendorsement process." "The Sierra Club’s number one priority isensuring a clean energy economy to create jobs and solve the climatecrisis," Frank Jackalone, the Sierra Club’s Florida staff director, saidin a statement. "With Crist and Meek we can count on two serious andaccomplished candidates for the U.S. Senate who understand the urgency ofenvironmental protection and the policies needed to accomplish that goal."Meek called the co-endorsement an "insult to Florida’s environmentalcommunity." "The Sierra Club has chosen to stand with a governor whostood on stage applauding as Sarah Palin chanted, ‘Drill, Baby, Drill,’ agovernor who signed a law making it easier for big developers to drain theEverglades, a governor who endorsed a bill that would have allowed drillingjust three miles away from Florida beaches, and a governor who used pollutertalking points to attack climate change legislation," Meek said in a statement."I respectfully decline the Sierra Club’s co-endorsement."

Boone Pickens, Spokesman for Rent-Seeking Corporate America,Doubles Down on Tractor-Trailer Handout. The Oklahoman(10/8) reports, “T. Boone Pickens said Wednesday he is still optimisticCongress will pass a bill this year to boost production of heavy duty trucksthat run on natural gas, and that he won’t give up if the legislation fails ina postelection session. "I’m not going to quit," Pickens toldreporters at a hotel near the White House. "I’ll try as hard as I can thisyear, and next year suit up and try again." The Natural Gas Act, a billthat Pickens has been pushing for more than two years, is expected to come upfor a key procedural vote on Nov. 17, two days after the Senate returns toWashington for a lame-duck session. The bill offers about $4.5 billion inincentives for the purchase of natural gas trucks, along with incentives tobuild refueling stations. There are additional provisions to promote electricvehicle research and use. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee, said it would likely bedifficult for the bill to get the necessary 60 votes in the Senate because ofthe way Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has proposed to offset the costs ofthe natural gas and electric car incentives. Reid’s bill would raise the tax oneach barrel of domestic and imported oil from 8 cents to 21 cents to fund theOil Spill Liability Trust Fund. Republican lawmakers have objected to such alarge increase in the tax.”

CanadaSunk the First Natural Gas Well in Lake Erie back in 1913; 97-Years Later, Sen.Feingold Urges Canada to Ban the Responsible Production of Oil and Nat Gas inAll Great-Lakes.WDIO-TV (10/7) reports, “U.S. Senator Russ Feingold is urging membersof the joint U.S.-Canadian commission that oversees the Great Lakes to supportbanning Canadian oil and gas drilling operations in the Great Lakes. In aletter to the International Joint Commission (IJC), Feingold and 15 otherlawmakers urged the IJC to consider the ban at the IJC’s Semi-Annual Meeting inOttawa on October 19-22, 2010. Currently, Canada has hundreds of active wellsin Lake Erie and allows drilling for oil and natural gas under the Great Lakesfrom onshore wells, and drilling for natural gas in the Great Lakes fromoffshore wells. While new U.S.-based oil and gas drilling in the Great Lakes isbanned, seven grand-fathered oil and gas operations continue in Michigan,tapping into Lakes Michigan and Huron from their shores. "While the U.S. hasbanned new oil and gas drilling in the Great Lakes, Canada has yet to followsuit," Feingold said. "Banning U.S.-based drilling is only half thebattle. With the Great Lakes providing drinking water to millions and acting asan economic engine for the Midwest, I hope Canada seriously considers ourrequest to end its current oil and gas drilling."

What weKnow: ANWR has Billions-of-Barrels of Oil Lock Within; Alaskans SupportDeveloping this Resource; America Needs These Job-Creating Energy Resources.Despite all that, 50 House Dems Urge Obama to Lock it up for good.The Hill (10/8) reports, “House Democrats are seeking stronger Obamaadministration protection of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a centralfigure in a largely symbolic fight over oil and gas drilling during the GeorgeW. Bush administration. The Democrats are asking President Obama for “thestrongest possible protections” for the refuge ahead of the 50th anniversary ofthe establishment of ANWR Dec. 6. “In this historic year, we ask that you grantthe Arctic Refuge the strong protections it deserves,” more than 50 Democratswrote Obama Thursday. The Democrats are also – either intentionally ornot — looking to shore up a stronger executive branch fortress againstpossible Republican rule of Congress in the next two years. Republicans havenot laid out any formal energy agenda for next Congress. They have in the pastincluded drilling in ANWR in “all of the above” energy strategies thatemphasize both conventional and renewable domestic energy production. Effortsto expand oil and gas drilling have taken a large hit following the Gulf ofMexico oil spill this summer, perhaps undermining any Republican effort todrill in ANWR or elsewhere even if they control either congressional chamber. “

This Won’tgo Over well in Cajun Country: WH Spill Commission Slams Response Mounted byBobby Jindal and Billy Nungesser; Say Both Men “Caused Serious Distractions” toResponse Effort. ChattahBox News(10/7) reports, “A presidential commission tasked with evaluating the federalresponse to one of the worst oil disasters in the history of the United States,found that ongoing conflicts between federal responders and state and localofficials, hampered early efforts to respond to the oil spill, caused by theexplosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig operated by BP. And take a guess, as towhich state and which governor made the most trouble for federal responders. Yup,Louisiana and Governor Bobby Jindal. “The Decision-Making Within the UnifiedCommand, Staff Working Paper No. 2,” slammed Jindal’s know-nothing politicalgrandstanding, concluding that “the conflicts between federal responders andstate government appear to have been most severe in Louisiana.” And worse,after “Governor Jindal named himself State On-Scene Coordinator,” his actions“slowed decision-making and caused problems in the response efforts.” BillyNungesser, President of Plaquemines Parish was also severely criticized by thepanel for his constant demands for more boom, as part of a federal-stateconflict the commission called the “Boom Wars.” And the panel condemnedNungesser’s use of “battlefield rhetoric” and verbal threats directed towards responders.The Boom Wars became so heated in Louisiana, that Nungesser “threatened toslash the tires of trucks carrying away protective boom.” The antics of Jindaland Nungesser, posed “a serious distraction that took time away fromresponders,” the report said.”

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