After BP Gulf Disaster, Still No Movement on Safety Standards

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange stated in a press release regarding the Deepwater Horizon (DH) oil spill that since 2010 “the spill’s effects persist. Oil still lies off the Alabama coastline. The State has yet to be compensated for its losses, just as thousands of Alabamians have yet to be compensated for their own losses. Many of our people settled with BP in 2012, only to watch BP back away from the deal. Sadly, BP’s commitment to the Gulf still lies primarily in television ads, not in reality.”

Strange said that he has “not forgotten the 2010 spill” and remains committed “to keep the pressure on all of those responsible for this spill. Millions of Alabamians expect and deserve nothing less.”

Elizabeth Bimbaum, former director of the Mineral Management Service (MMS) wrote in an op-ed piece that because of “inaction by the federal government on offshore oil drilling safety . . . the US is on a course to repeat our mistakes.”

Bimbaum wrote: “Four years later, the Obama administration still has not taken key steps recommended by its experts and experts it commissioned to increase drilling safety. As we commemorate one of the worst environmental disasters in United States history, we hope our leaders can rethink the expansion of offshore drilling, put real safety measures in place in the gulf and chart a course for safer and cleaner solutions to end the need for this risky business in the first place.”

Just recently the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) settled with Keith Seilhan, former director of oil-skimming operations during the DH oil spill, because he “sold his family’s entire $1 million holding of BP securities after receiving confidential information regarding the severity of the spill.”

Daniel Hawke, market abuse unit chief for the SEC said: “Corporate insiders must not misuse the material nonpublic information they receive while responding to unique or disastrous corporate events, even where they stand to suffer losses as a consequence of those events.”

Robert Cavnar, founder of, commented in an op-ed piece that “here has been little, if any progress made in cleanup technology” since the DH spill.”

Cavnar explained: “Over 80 percent of the oil never comes to the surface. If you don’t collect it at the wellhead, it will get into the deepwater column, affecting the marine food chain with still as yet unknown consequences. After a blowout, rapid containment is key.”

With “gridlock in Washington” and the “huge influence of special interest money” there has not been positive progress in the “regulation of drilling in deep water” and therefore no “accountability” by the corporations who destroy our natural resources for the sake of oil extraction.

In addition, according to Jeffrey Buchanan, senior domestic policy advisor for Oxfam America, it is clear that the damage from the DH catastrophe has had “disproportionate impacts on the health and well-being of low-income and vulnerable populations whose livelihoods depend on health coasts and fisheries. The spill was no different: communities – particularly fishing communities –are still struggling to cope with the impacts on their jobs, families, and neighbors.”
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently awarded British Petroleum (BP) with the ability to begin bidding on new oil leases in the Gulf of Mexico after being suspended previously due to the DH oil spill. …

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