Lessons from the Gulf - by Stephen Lendman
On April 22, AP reported the news - an initial April 20 explosion, then a larger one igniting Deepwater Horizon's oil drilling platform that burned for more than a day before sinking and releasing thousands of barrels of oil daily into surrounding waters, enough potentially to cause the greatest ever environmental disaster if not sealed in time to prevent.
Transocean Ltd. owned and operated the Deepwater Horizon platform under contract to BP Exploration and Production Inc., a division of BP - 4th on Fortune Global 500 with $239 billion in 2009 operating revenue and $14 billion in profits. It ranked fourth behind Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon Mobil and Wal-Mart. Of the world's 10 largest companies, six are oil giants. Transocean, an offshore drilling contractor, owns operates about 140 drilling rigs. More on its culpability below.
On April 29, the Institute for Southern Studies published "Facts and Figures" about the Gulf explosion and emerging disaster saying:
-- the rig operated 41 miles off Louisiana's coast;
-- the explosion and fire occurred on April 20;
-- 126 crew members operated the platform, 11 remain missing and are presumed dead;
-- since 2001, 69 deaths and 1,349 injuries have occurred from Gulf drilling operations as a result of 858 fires and explosions on 90 big rigs and 3,500 production platforms;
-- the US Minerals Management Service (MMS) issued 150 reports "documenting non-compliant offshore drilling operations;"
-- 172 Gulf spills exceeding 2,100 gallons have occurred in the past decade;
-- as of late April, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) estimated about 5,000 barrels a day being leaked; new information places it much higher; more on than below;
-- at first, BP officials lied in reporting leakage of 1,000 barrels a day; they're still lying about the problem's severity; so is the complicit Obama administration and major media to cover up the magnitude of the crisis;
-- investigative journalist Wayne Madsen calls it a potential "mega-disaster....volcanic-level in size (that if) not stopped within 90 days (will cause) irreversible damage to the marine eco-systems (in the Gulf), north Atlantic Ocean, and beyond (and, according to) some Corps of Engineers experts....it could take two years to cement (the) gaping chasm;"
-- the Gulf threatened area is top ranked "with the largest total seafood landings in the lower 48 states;" it produces 50% of the nation's wild shrimp and contains over 400 species, now threatened;
-- in total, the Gulf accounts for about 20% of America's commercial fishing; the growing slick threatens to devastate it and the regional economies; continuing to spread, NOAA reported that it threatens the coastal areas of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and potentially Texas, Florida's east and west coasts, its Keys, and beyond.
Obama Administration Complicity