Oil Spill Is Cheney-Bush Legacy

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has a must-read blog post at HuffingtonPost.com. It specifically attacks the right-wing labeling the BP oil spill "Obama's Katrina." In fact, as Kennedy shows, the disaster can be traced to the once-secret Cheney energy task force meetings, after which the Minerals Management Service, which regulates the oil industry, recommended against using acoustically triggered switches that "might have closed off BP's gushing pipe at its sea floor wellhead when the manual switch failed."

Acoustical regulators, as the switches are called, are required by law when drilling of the shore of Brazil and Norway. "BP uses the device voluntarily in Britain's North Sea and elsewhere in the world as do other big players like Holland's Shell and France's Total," Kennedy reports. In 2000 the Minerals Management Service described acoustic regulators as "essential," and advocated making them mandatory on oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.

Two years later, after Cheney's "secret" energy task force meetings, the same agency recommended against them "because they tend to be very costly." The devices cost in the neighborhood of $500,000. The cost of the BP spill to the Gulf Coast communities is in the neighborhood of $14 billion.

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The New York Times reports that Halliburton, previously headed by former Vice President Dick Cheney, tried to seal the Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico with cement that it knew was substandard.

The failure of the cement set off a complex and ultimately deadly cascade of events as oil and gas exploded upward from the 18,000-foot-deep well.... In an internal investigation, BP identified the faulty cement job as one of the main factors contributing to the accident and blamed Halliburton, the cementing contractor on the Macondo well, as the responsible party.

The cement slurry was sent to a laboratory owned by Chevron for independent testing.... The mixture failed nine separate stability tests designed to reproduce conditions at the BP well and did not pass any, according to Chevron’s test results, which were returned to the commission this week.

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