On the 20th of April 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oilrig blew out in the Gulf of Mexico, killing eleven men instantly, then destroying 600 miles of coastline. On 9 September 2010, a natural gas pipelineÂ exploded in San Bruno, California, burning eight to death, one of several recent pipeline explosions in the USA. In 1992, in Chicago, a gas pipe leaked and 18 houses exploded, incinerating three people.
What do these deaths have to do with plans for â€œfrackingâ€ for natural gas in Ireland?
Everything. It was my jobÂ to investigate these three explosions, the Deepwater Horizon and California explosions as aÂ reporter for the UK Channel 4’s Dispatches, the earliest as a US government investigator. In all three cases, the deaths were preceded by the same reassurances about the safety of drilling and piping thatÂ I read now in the debate about fracking in Ireland.
First, the Deepwater Horizon. Â Eleven men died when the â€˜mudâ€™ – drilling cement meant to cap the wellhead – failed and methane gas blew out the top ofÂ the pipes and exploded. The Shannon Basin is not the Gulf of Mexico, but your safety will be just as dependent on Halliburtonâ€™s mud. …more
by Greg Palast â€“ Exclusive for EcoWatch.org Thursday, 19. April, 2012
Two years before the Deepwater Horizon blow-out in the Gulf of Mexico, another BP off-shore rig suffered a nearly identical blow-out, but BP concealed the first one from the U.S. regulators and Congress.
This week, EcoWatch.org located an eyewitness with devastating new information about the Caspian Sea oil-rig blow-out which BP had concealed from government and the industry.
The witness, whose story is backed up by rig workers who were evacuated from BPâ€™s Caspian platform, said that had BP revealed the full story as required by industry practice, the eleven Gulf of Mexico workers â€œcould have had a chanceâ€ of survival. But BPâ€™s insistence on using methods proven faulty sealed their fate.
One cause of the blow-outs was the same in both cases: Â the use of a money-saving techniqueâ€”plugging holes with â€œquick-dryâ€ cement.
By hiding the disastrous failure of its penny-pinching cement process in 2008, BP was able to continue to use the dangerous methods in the Gulf of Mexicoâ€”causing the worst oil spill in U.S. history. April 20 marks the second anniversary of the Gulf oil disaster.
There were several failures in common to the two incidents identified by the eyewitness. He is an industry insider whose identity and expertise we have confirmed. His name and that of other witnesses we contacted must be withheld for their safety.
The failures revolve around the use of â€œquick-dryâ€ cement, the uselessness of blow-out preventers, â€œmayhemâ€ in evacuation procedures and an atmosphere of fear which prevents workers from blowing the whistle on safety problems.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., president of Waterkeeper Alliance and senior attorney for Natural Resources Defense Council, said, â€œWe have laws that make it illegal to hide this kind of information. At the very least, these are lies by omission. When you juxtapose their knowledge of this incident upon the oil companies constant and persistent assurances of safety to regulators, investigators and shareholders, you have all the elements to prove that their concealment of the information was criminal.â€ …more
Following the Deepwater Horizon explosion, Greg Palast led a four-continent investigation of BP PLC for Britain’s television series Dispatches. From 1989-91, Palast directed the investigation of fraud charges in the Exxon Valdez grounding for Alaska Native villages.
Some deal. BP gets the gold mine and the public gets the shaft.
On Friday night, the lawyers for 120,000 victims of the Deepwater Horizon blow-out cut a deal with oil company BP PLC which will save the oil giant billions of dollars. It will also save the company the threat of a trial that could expose the true and very ugly story of the Gulf of Mexico oil platform blow-out.
I have been to the Gulf and seen the damage â€” and the oil that BP says is gone. Â Miles of it. Â As an economist …more
I‘ve seen this movie before. In 1989, I was a fraud investigator hired to dig into the cause of the Exxon Valdez disaster. Despite Exxon’s name on that boat, I found the party most to blame for the destruction was … British Petroleum. That’s important to know, because the way BP caused devastation in Alaska is exactly the way BP is now sliming the entire Gulf Coast.
Deepwater Horizon in flames before sinking. Photo provided by D.Becnel
Tankers run aground, wells blow out, pipes burst. It shouldn’t happen but it does. And when it does, the name of the game is containment. Both in Alaska, when the Exxon Valdez grounded, and in the Gulf over a week ago, when the Deepwater Horizon platform blew, it was British Petroleum that was charged with carrying out the Oil Spill Response Plans (“OSRP”) which the company itself drafted and filed with the government.
What’s so insane, when I look over that sickening slick moving toward the Delta, is that containing spilled oil is really quite simple and easy. And from my investigation, BP has figured out a very low cost way to prepare for this task: BP lies. BP prevaricates, BP fabricates and BP obfuscates.
That’s because responding to a spill may be easy and simple, but not at all cheap. And BP is cheap. Deadly cheap.
To contain a spill, the main thing you need is a lot of rubber, long skirts of it called “boom.” Quickly surround a spill or leak or burst, then pump it out into skimmers or disperse it, sink it or burn it. Simple. …more
Upon his return from Iraq on October 5, Senator John Warner, Republican of Virginia, remarked “There is progress being made in certain areas, but you just find that so many communities don’t even have drinking water. It seems to me that the situation is simply drifting sideways.”
Many of us have been saying since before the war began that corporate interests have taken precedence over those of the Iraqi and American public. Reconstructionâ€”that is, the lack thereof, has become an increasingly recognized cost of the Bush administration’s corporate agenda. …more
t r u t h o u t | Book Preview Excerpted from Armed Madhouse, a new book by Greg Palast.
The National Public Radio news anchor was so excited I thought she’d pee herself: The President of the United States had flown his plane down to 1,700 feet to get a better look at the flood damage! Later, I saw the photo of him looking out of the window of Air Force One. The President looked very serious and concerned. That was on Wednesday, August 31, 2005, two days after the levees broke and Lake Ponchartrain swallowed New Orleans. …more
A Republican President having his photo taken as the Mississippi rolled over New Orleans. It was 1927, and Calvin Coolidge, "a little fat man with a notebook in his hand," promised to rebuild the land. Then he left to play golf with Ken Lay or the Ken Lay railroad baron equivalents of his day. ...more