Antonia Juhasz: $20 Billion BP Settlement is Business as Usual

(the transcript)

(TRNN took a brief break from their constant ‘The Bern is the Word’ coverage in honor of Earth Day.  By the way, Earth Day­®  is not registered under Hallmark Cards…)

The whole interview is worth either watching or reading if only for her brief narrative of the amount of destruction of the ocean ecosystems and wildlife .  A couple outtakes:

“…Judge Barbier in Louisiana, who has been covering this case for six years now, accepted a settlement agreement between BP, the federal government, five states and hundreds of local communities, and this total judgment was for 20 billion dollars for BP.

Now, that sounds like a lot of money because it is a lot of money. Unfortunately, this was also the largest offshore oil drilling spill in world history and it caused irrevocable damage throughout the gulf, and a straight application of our laws should really have put this cost closer to 150, 190 billion. Instead, the total cost for BP is going to end up being somewhere around 50 billion, which fits just right in with what their expectations were, that their total costs would be probably as much as 60 billion. So they’ve put out statements that say, basically, we’re fine. We can handle this settlement, which is why we accepted the settlement, and really, you know, they can.” [snip]

“So there was this mass protest of hundreds of people taking over a federal lease sale that the Obama administration had tried to hold within the iconic Superdome in New Orleans, the, you know, climate disaster location of last resort during Hurricane Katrina, and within the Superdome the Interior Department tried to hold a new lease sale for many more leases for offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, and people from across the Gulf of Mexico came together there to demand that no new leases be sold. And that position has really turned around in these six years, where the demand is now, you know, we don’t want to see more drilling in the Gulf of Mexico or any of our offshore waters, which is quite different from where it was, you know, when this disaster occurred.

PERIES: And, are they successful? Are they being heard, their cry for stopping drilling in the gulf?

JUHASZ: Well, unfortunately, the lease sale went ahead over the chants and protests of the crowds that were there. It was a historically low lease sale, which is good, but offshore drilling, unfortunately, is expanding, so the Obama administration is in the process of proposing a new five-year lease plan, and the latest proposal in the development of that plan includes even more drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, expanded offshore drilling at even far greater depths than those at which BP was drilling, much greater, about twice as far [as] when the Deepwater Horizon exploded. It also involves new lease sales, proposed lease sales in the Arctic, which many people had thought would be taken off the table.

It leaves the existing drilling in the Pacific where we, I’m from California, do a lot of offshore oil drilling. That stays in place, and the one thing that it did do was, in response to over a million public comments in opposition to drilling in the Atlantic, took drilling in the Atlantic off the table for the next five years.”

The sale was at the end of March.

“They could have arrested me,” Foytlin told DeSmog. “But there were too many of us that they would also have to arrest.”

 A representative from BOEM asked Foytlin what the group thought they were going to accomplish since their actions were not going to stop the sale. Foytlin explained she was protecting the planet for the sake of her children.
She asked him to “go back to the President and tell him that this is just the beginning. Our numbers are swelling.”
“If this president really wants to be the guy he said he was going to be after Paris, he needs to be proactive and stop the sale of federal land for drilling right now,” Foytlin told DeSmog.”  (videos included)

From Friends of the Earth International:  ‘We can’t count on the Paris Agreement to stop climate change, 21 April, 2016  (and they were being very polite.)

April 22:


From  ‘Specter Of Geoengineering Haunts Paris Climate Agreement’

“Despite its thousands of pages of reports, the IPCC does not address this fundamental issue: thinking outside the laws of the market is not even considered by the economists who develop climate scenarios. Armaments are a limited but striking example: the US Department of Defense annually emits as much CO2 as 160 million Nigerians, and its war against Iraq generated more CO2 between 2003 and 2008 than any of 139 countries[12]—but not one scenarios considers ending production of weapons or other unnecessary and harmful goods. The range of possible solutions is limited precisely because the researchers ignore such things.

Working Group III explicitly reveals this ideological self-censorship in its section of the fifth IPCC report: “The models use economics as the basis for decision making. … In this sense the scenarios tend towards normative, economics-focused description of the future. The models typically assume fully functioning markets and competitive market behavior.”[13]

In this neoliberal framework, where “the economy” is viewed as a natural law, it is not surprising that scientists can only watch helplessly as the 2°C carbon budget shrinks. It would be no different if the IPCC had produced twenty reports, because that framework allows no way out. So, rather than shout “No more fossil fuels, leave them in the ground!” the scientists who shape the scenarios bow to the dictates of profit, and look for ways to remove carbon from the atmosphere, while fossil capital continues to dump it in.”

ReTweeted by Earth First!

April 20:

Speaking of eco-warriors & monkey-wrenchers, a Bonus:

“No Comment” from an Unmarked Desert Grave, by John R. Hall  (a teaser)

“Cactus Ed is out there somewhere in the Cabeza Prieta Desert in Pima County, Arizona, his tough old carcass still decaying and decomposing inside that tattered blue sleeping bag.  Becoming fertilizer for cactus and sagebrush, as per his request.  There’s likely not much left by now, other than a calaca covered with wisps of his signature whiskers, still clinging to brittle wrinkled remnants of skin.  A bag of bones, defying the laws of the land with an illegal burial, much as Ed advocated throughout his life, which ended prematurely back in 1989.  Edward Abbey was 62 when he joined the ranks of the deceased.

Three close friends packed Ed in dry ice, put him in the bed of a pickup truck, drove him out to an undisclosed location, and with the aid of picks, shovels, five cases of beer and a fifth of whiskey, dug a hole and buried him.  The voice of anarchy and environmentalism made his exit, thumbing his nose at coroners, undertakers, and county records, and embracing the desert soil he loved so well.  I knew the story back in ’89 when he left us, but it puts a smile on my face every time it comes to mind.  A few months later, I picked up a first edition of his posthumously-released novel Hayduke Lives, happily consuming Ed’s final words of inspiration on environmentalism, anarchy, and eco-terrorism.”  (the rest is here)  note: dunno if were a xenophobe or not, but he did have at least five chirren.)

14 responses to “Antonia Juhasz: $20 Billion BP Settlement is Business as Usual

  1. funny (not ha ha funny) you posted this. i caught a doc yesterday on RT, part 1, on Life on the Bayou. Part 1 was about the after effects of Katrina. Well, the after effects aren’t separate from the before effects, the destruction of the coast line from oil & gas industry. the trappers & fishermen they interviewed in this day & age are all part of capitalism already, more or less, and kind of distasteful (imo) & unnecessary, but still, these old coots were *interesting*. gone, gone w/the wind, the foul methane wind.

    i’m sure the BP disaster was in the next RT episode. i’ll try to hunt the source for this down, pretty sure it’s from wsws, but the british gov’t’s public investments (for pensions, etc.) are heavily into BP. If BP had collapsed over the deepwater horizon, the british economy might have done likewise. and adios global economy.

    BP is too big to fail. Unfortuately, planet earth is not.

    • yah, i’d be interested, jason. for some reason i don’t remember, i have antonia’s email address; we must have corresponded way back. i’d almost asked her if she knew who scored the leases, but…in the end i looked up the bidders, many of whom were yawning during the protests, and lost the link. dinnae matter, really.

      her contention, though, that it was locals who’d decided that although citizens there were dependent on drilling in the gulf, they’d turned against it…didn’t turn out to be so true. it was only hundreds protesting, and most were from the usual organizations, so…mebbe not even locals. hard to say.

      destroying the wetlands was a big cause for katrina, yes? and one would think that all of the chemical plants in that triangle (what is it called?) would have had a sincere deleterious effect on the vegetative ecosystems, as well.

      i liked a hella lot of what the link had to say, including their scoffing at geoengineering, wtf? oy, i’d edited in some excerpts, and it must not have taken. phooey; i’ll try again.

  2. well, i couldn’t find anything asserting precisely what i’d said about BP (maybe being the 1st domino in) collapsing the global economy. it might have been something my own little noggin inferred from reading the likes of the following:

    maybe, maybe not. as tony “just call me [shell oil] junior” curtis said in Some Like It Hot, “it’s all high finance.”

    • but this is a pretty strong statement (from wsws, june 2010):
      BP’s annual dividend accounts for £1 in every £7 of dividends paid out by British companies.

    • oh my; thanks jason. i could only scanned due to eye/brain burnout on the congo piece, but eek, as to ownership of BP (entirely believable) and O’s comments they took seriously? it was so akin to his: ‘it’s only me (sic) whois keeping them from the pitchforks’ (such truth in plain sight: the WS moguls loved him for it, and giggled, not chortled…giggled). oh crap, i already forget the other thing i’d noticed; i yam so sorry. i need some west… ;-)

    • bugger; i went back to see what juhasz had said about BP’s profits, realized the link to the transcript hadn’t take either. wordpress keeps flummoxing the old blogging software, arrgh. but anyway: this in part:

      “The new CEO, Bob Dudley, on the other hand, well, he’s doing well, but he just faced a huge backlash. BP just held their annual general meeting in London this week, and even though BP’s profits fell in the fourth quarter by 90 percent from the year before, and even though they have laid off thousands and thousands of workers around the world, they gave Bob Dudley a 20 percent pay increase this year, putting his pay up to almost 20 million dollars, and there was a huge shareholder revolt against that pay increase. 60 percent voted against it. Unfortunately, that vote was really just symbolic, and the pay increase is still going to go forward.”

      which…may be one of the reasons that they were let of so easily, given those percentages your links quoted.

      but sigh; Dahr Jamail: ‘Six Years Later, Worried Gulf Residents to Hold Online Town Hall on BP Spill Health Impacts’

      death and disease by corexit and other chemicals used to hide the oil slick beneath the surface. i also remember reporting on the many universities in the are who were (ahem) jiggering the science for institutional bribery (hard to prove, of course). the town hall was a prelude to announcing a new film called ‘the rising’ chronicling citizen experiences. this is the trailer. (haven’t watched) not as ugly as your DU link, but sincerely evil.

  3. And for ALL you fellow ecoterrarists out there on (or in) the land :

    • ah, thank you, bruce. that made me cry, both the sublime images (until the buildings) and the soaring song. i thought of you as juhasz spoke about the provisions of the Clean Water Act, and how that was supposed to have gone. of course there can be no true mitigation, no restoration, not really.

      there were a few fun photos on the earth first! twit account; one a sincerely ruined-looking log loader lying on its side: Hayduke Lives!

  4. Bless your heart, wendye, for tracking so many overwhelming subjects. I’ve not the stamina to do it any longer, I fear. I went to this morning and simply could no longer click on. Not sure what that means, system shut down, but similar to what has occurred to me with mainstream news – the ostrich syndrome, I guess.

    Apologies for lack of insights! The dolphins break my heart.

    • welcome, juliania. i’d checked in with one of seldom seen friends of the site recently, and he said much the same as you have here. it can indeed be dispiriting when one stares into the abyss too long. but staring, reporting second-hand…is one thing i can do (not that this isn’t the smallest sort of venue for it).

      oh, the dolphins, and so many other critters, the ocean floor itself, in other places coated and choked with broken-down plastic slime. yeah, one day the remaining dolphins and cockroaches will be what’s left, and some days i almost cheer for the sixth extinction to hurry up and shrug humanity right out of the picture.

      favor, though? i’m almost ready to put up a diary on the colonization and neo-colonization of africa (especially with the major aid of Africom), and it’s an abysmal history lesson the man narrates, but stories that everyone in the US ought to hear, even if the young man might have gotten a couple things wrong (or not). the post will also reflect the fact that i simply haven’t made the transition to small-voice, boutique blogging, given the extra reading i’ll be including. i hope you might be willing to stare into the abyss that is africa. it was ‘shoot that arrow’ at fld who always said, “it didn’t have to be this way.”

  5. As gen. Wes Clarke would say, It’s worse than that : 1972 Clean Water Act – “33 U.S. Code § 1251 – Congressional declaration of goals and
    (a) Restoration and maintenance of chemical, physical and
    biological integrity of Nation’s waters; national goals for
    achievement of objective
    The objective of this chapter is to restore and maintain the
    chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation’s
    waters. In order to achieve this objective it is hereby declared
    that, consistent with the provisions of this chapter—
    (1) it is the national goal that the discharge of pollutants into
    the navigable waters be ELIMINATED by 1985.”
    But, it’s not the people’s fault. Y’all hired myriad ~ $50K/year agents of the EPA, Corps of Engineers and Coast Guard to effect the 1985 water pollution ELIMINATION Deadline ON TIME; rather than 3 DECADES’ Dereliction by refusing to stop permitting and devotion instead to EXCLUSIVE Enforcement of a perpetual PROHIBITION! Starting with Raygun, it’s been Max FedRest terminally “at ease” !
    (And not for lack of internal conscientious federal public servants’ ‘oppositional defiant disorder’, of course – e.g., “Paving Paradise” – Craig Pittman)

    • no, apparently antonia hadn’t known all that, although she should have. what she said was:

      “So, under the US oil pollution act, BP is required to put everything back the way it was before the spill. In addition, we have the clean water act, which states that we have a per barrel of oil fine that’s applied to oil companies when they spill oil.”

      we appreciate your efforts on trying to enforce the act, bruce. how insanely frustrated you and your comrades in the fight must feel.

      surely she hadn’t meant THIS act???

  6. in case you are sick & having trouble throwing up:

    it’s curious how BP’s initial 20 billion escrow account in 2010 comes to equal the ultimate amount of its liability. seems like maybe this was an opening offer, which the obama admin just accepted?

    • thanks for the warning, jason. but oh, my, i had forgotten the big O score of $billion in escrow. and didn’t the Blue Team cheer and throw their hats in the air? “wot a chess player he is!”

      well, sally jewel, anyway, but did da judge consult with him or her? prolly, eh? or knew of the escrow account, in any event. old tony may be in iraq now, but just before that: somalia. i was trying to find out for a new diary, googled ‘clinton, bauxite, and somalia’, found an exposé 2L2R. but the author noted tony was in somalia.

      remember when folks thought he was only becoming a centrist? guess some still believe he’s ‘librul’ or ‘progressive’. mebbe he’s what that means by now. i keep wondering how it is that his misrule hasn’t radicalized more peeps, yanno?

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