Higher oil prices and growing global demand have pushed energy companies to recover oil in riskier locations, such as the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico. But the recent Deepwater Horizon oil spill has raised questions about expanding drilling and led to calls to reduce the demand for oil.Reducing US Oil Consumption (CFR)
The other perspective: It's time to actually get serious about reducing our oil demand. With a 9% reduction in national daily gasoline consumption, we could eliminate our need for offshore oil. At 22.4 miles per gallon, that's just 4.2 fewer miles of driving, per person, per day.Oil spill - Here's what you can do to help (BB)
Seriously why are people giving Palin a seat at the table?
"President Barack Obama, after meeting with top BP officials in the White House, stressed that the $20 billion was 'not a cap'on BP's liability."
Like BP, three other companies include references to protecting walruses, which have not called the Gulf of Mexico home for 3 million years.
Two other plans are such dead ringers for BP's that they list a phone number for the same expert - a man who has been dead since 2005.
"Estimates of the total cost of cleaning up the spill and paying damage claims have run as high as $70 billion. But until the flow of oil can be stopped, the final cost is unknowable."*
Mr Visser thinks Dutch experience with water management and dyke construction may have played a role in the change in US attitude. “They evidently realised that the Netherlands has superior equipment that can work quickly and efficiently.”
The US also initially turned down another Dutch proposal. The Dutch knowledge institute Deltares and dredging company Van Oord put forward a plan to build a sand dyke stretching for dozens of kilometres within three weeks. And here too, Washington came round in the end.
The 20 billion fund should be viewed as a huge accomplishment for Obama. He had no actual power to compel that aside from moral suasion and the threat of having an unhappy president. Legally, BP could have just waited for the lawsuits and drawn the whole thing out for years. As a lawyer, I find it a unique and mind-boggling accomplishment.
It reminds me a little of something that happened during the Hurrican Rita evacuation. It was going to slowly and endangering the evacuees. Houston Mayor Bill White got on the phone to the Texas Department of Highways. He said, "make all the lanes of I.H. 45 one way north for the first hundred miles from the coast--the southbound traffic can find another route." He had no power to order that. But the officials just complied. He acted like a man in charge.
So, Obama comes along, says "set up a 20 billion fund, have an independent administrator in charge, and start paying damages." He had no power to order that. But BP said, "yes, sir." And it was done.
"One rule I would not change is the way The Times refers to presidents, even though it causes a small but steady stream of objections from readers like Russell Kidner of Phoenix, who said The Times should always call President Obama by his title. The newspaper’s style is to introduce 'President Obama' but to allow references thereafter to 'Mr. Obama.' 'Very disrespectful,' Kidner said. A few readers suspect The Times of showing disapproval of the president, but it has been Mr. Bush, Mr. Clinton, Mr. Reagan and so on, for a long time."
Leaving aside entirely the fact that this particular spill itself appears to be the result of unethical and possibly criminal leadership within BP, the simple fact is that we continue to use so much oil largely because Big Oil, the car companies, the road-building lobby and sprawl developers have engaged in one of the largest sustained political efforts in history to keep us using as much oil as possible by blocking climate legislation and gas taxes, fighting smart growth laws and new public transportation investments, stalling higher mileage standards in new cars, channeling trillions of dollars into new roads and auto infrastructure, gutting water- and air-quality laws, even (arguably) getting a former oil man (George W.) elected, which resulted in a war for oil and general atmosphere of climate denialism. We burn oil in such astonishing quantities because those who profit from selling and using oil have all but run the American political system for the last ten years, and exerted decades of dominant influence before that.
In that light, our personal behaviors are essentially meaningless, especially if they aren't part of a larger effort to identify ways of changing our cities, transportation, agriculture and energy systems to function much more sustainably. If we want to change our impacts, we need to change our systems, on a scope we almost never talk about, stretching through essentially every aspect of our society.
Agreement was reached to create a $20bn claims fund over the next three and a half years on the following basis:
• BP will initially make payments of $3bn in Q3 of 2010 and $2bn in Q4 of 2010. These will be followed by a payment of $1.25bn per quarter until a total of $20bn has been paid in.
• While the fund is building, BP's commitments will be assured by the setting aside of U.S. assets with a value of $20bn. The intention is that this level of assets will decline as cash contributions are made to the fund.
• The fund will be available to satisfy legitimate claims including natural resource damages and state and local response costs. Fines and penalties will be excluded from the fund and paid separately. Payments from the fund will be made as they are adjudicated, whether by the Independent Claims Facility (ICF) referred to below, or by a court, or as agreed by BP.
• The ICF will be administered by Ken Feinberg. The ICF will adjudicate on all Oil Pollution Act and tort claims excluding all federal and state claims.
• Any money left in the fund once all legitimate claims have been resolved and paid will revert to BP.
The fund does not represent a cap on BP liabilities, but will be available to satisfy legitimate claims. Further and more detailed terms regarding the establishment and operation of the claims fund and the ICF will be finalized and announced as soon as possible.
"What is shameful is that Joe Barton seems to have more concern for big corporations that caused this disaster than the fishermen, small business owners and communities whose lives have been devastated by the destruction. Congressman Barton may think that a fund to compensate these Americans is a 'tragedy', but most Americans know that the real tragedy is what the men and women of the Gulf Coast are going through right now. Members from both parties should repudiate his comments."
1. Dan Boren, D-Okla.--$139,700
2. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.--$133,100
3. Chet Edwards, D-Tex.--$123,630
4. Mike Conway, R-Tex.--$116,950
5. Joe Barton, R-Tex.--$100,470
1. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark.--$286,400
2. David Vitter, R-La.--$242,600
3. Lisa Murkowski, R-Ak.--$209,826
4. Robert Bennett, R-Utah--$138,400
5. John Cornyn, R-Tex.--$130,525 *
"BP's elusive chairman Henric Svanberg faced public wrath Thursday as he finally abandoned his yachting vacation off the southern coast of Thailand in favor of the oil-soaked shores of the U.S. Gulf coast.
Sometimes called the 'Swedish Richard Branson,' Svanberg dropped in on the biggest environmental disaster in American history on his way back to Europe from Thailand - with his girlfriend, Swedish businesswoman Louise Julian, in tow."
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