Alaska Congressman Don Young has told Congress that the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is not an environmental disaster:

Young said: “This is not an environmental disaster, and I will say that again and again because it is a national phenomena. Oil has seeped into this ocean for centuries, will continue to do it. During World War II there was over 10 million barrels of oil spilt from ships, and no natural catastrophe. … We will lose some birds, we will lose some fixed sea life, but overall it will recover.”

Huh? And Sarah Palin recommended that Alaska mght help with this disaster? Are these people nuts? It seems that Congress has had more reaction to dealing with ACORN than it has in dealing with BP Oil as various members of congress scramble to protect BP and other oil companies for from fiscal responsibility.  Each day,   the Foxies are falling all over themselves trying to blame President Obama for the entire mess.  Granted, he hasn’t been perfect but he is not alone and he isn’t throwing out a shroud of protection over the oil company. 

According the the website, billions of dollars in government contracts are currently held with BP Oil. 61 alone are with DOD. Where is the outrage in congress? Where is the sense of urgency? 

Meanwhile, there is all sorts of moaning and groaning over the 50 deep water oil rigs that have been shut down temporarily. Doesn’t it make sense to suspend this type of work? If something goes wrong, shouldn’t we know how to fix it? Obviously no one knows how to shut these wells down if for whatever reason, the umbilical cord detaches from the mother-ship. Let’s get a solution before we allow more rigs to operate. The first sign of mental illness is to repeat behavior and expect a different outcome.

The ocean truly is the last frontier. Man’s capacity for making stupid statements seems truly infinite.

Rachel Maddow has been all over this disaster.  Speaking of lack of local response, her guest gives us a close up look.

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31 Thoughts to “Alaska Congressman Reassures us Gulf Oil Leak Not a Disaster”

  1. PWC Taxpayer

    Yes, yes, the sky is falling, the sky is falling — have your heard??

    We do not even know what caused the “accident” yet. Slow response? Listen to the folks in the Gulf. Other than demands for BP cash to off-set income loss, the slow response has almost entirely been on this Administration – from berms to equipment to regulations to international support. If the Administration is in charge it needs to grow up and accept responsibility for this Katrina. The difference is that Katrina was more about local failure – they got the message. This one really is on the feds.

    And as to Sarah Palin, Carter was an idiot, but he was there – as a a nuclear engineer during Three Mile Island. Palin is probalby the most qualified politician in America when it comes to oil and she is not there and it shows. She knows these guys – put a few in jail.

    I still do not see any deep water suppport from the Navy – why is that?

  2. Actually, the sky might very well be falling.

    So if we don’t know what caused the accident we should just continue doing the same thing, even though we don’t know how to fix it?

    Sounds like Russian roulette to me.

    As for the response being on the feds? What do you this this post is about?

  3. Formerly Anonymous

    There is a big difference between continuing to drill on a well with at least one BOP (Blow Out Protector) known to be bad before the explosion and continuing to operate already established wells. As for the cause of the explosion, pretty much every expert seems to agree that it is related to an abnormal methane pocket hit while drilling. Again, to be clear, the explosion on Deepwater Horizon was because they were still drilling. Unfortunately, the explosion damaged the remaining, previously undamaged, BOPs.

    This would not have happened on a production well since by definition, they aren’t drilling to new depths. Blowouts on production wells are very, very rare and these other wells have BOPs on them to guard against that. As long as the BOPs are undamaged, there is no reason to shut down production on the other deep sea wells other than the sometimes irresistable urge to “Do Something”

    There are many lessons to be learned from Deepwater Horizon, but knee-jerk reactions like shutting down production on established wells doesn’t help. A better approach would be to require better inspection and testing regimens on the BOPs for the other wells within a fairly short period of time (say within the next 12-18 months. I’d say shorter but at the moment most of that type of equipment is probably needed for Deepwater Horizon.) By all means we should look at ways to reduce the risk of another blowout like this, but shutting down production wells is an overreaction in my opinion.

  4. marinm

    Outside of a safety standdown to check all rigs to make sure they’re in compliance with current regulations and that they’re operating in the bounds of there design.. Why close off production?

    Just doesn’t make sense to me.

  5. PWC Taxpayer

    Russian roulette? or we look them over & inspect them for a change.

    I think a knee-jerk reaction to shut them down – without knowing what happened and to then put even more people out of work/business both in the Gulf and around the country is more dangerous.

  6. I want them to be able to shut a well down and know they can shut it down. I always assumed they had control of these things.

    Right now it is confusing which wells are shut down. I don’t care if they grind them all to a screeching halt until the companies provide detailed assurance that they can control that which they have drilled or are drilling.

    You can’t go around with business as usual.

    Formerly, production wells are those that are already bringing up oil? Do we know we can shut each one of those down?

    Wells being drilled are the ones being affected by the moratorium? Everyt time I think I know what is going on, someone moves the boundary line.

    What has been temporarily shut down?

  7. Formerly Anonymous

    Many of the wells (both deep water and conventional) are shut down when they are threatened by a hurricane. Katrina in particular shut down production in the Gulf of Mexico for quite some time. I don’t have a problem with requiring safety drills to show that you can control and spot the flow of oil coming out of the well. But that’s a one or two day exercise, not a shut down until further notice type situation.

    I’m certainly not an expert on this subject, but as I understand it the process starts with drilling the initial exploratory well to see if there is oil there in the first place. Assuming there is, they will then drill a number of new wells to be use for production. The drilling process is the riskiest part, since it involves boring the well shaft and building a metal tube to bring the oil to the surface. Once the drilling is complete, the drill head is removed and the well moves into production. (Deepwater Horizon was supposed to be moving into production in late April/early May, which is why the BP execs were on the rig before the explosion.) Once it’s in production, the oil well acts more or less like a water well. As long as you don’t overdraw it you are just siphoning off oil from the underground reservoir. (It’s a little more complicated when dealing with old wells, before they’ll start pumping salt water back into the well to force more oil out.)

    I haven’t been able to find out exactly which wells are being shut down. I know that 33 exploratory wells have been suspended and I did see that some production wells are being closed because the oil spill from Deepwater Horizon has surrounded them and there is a increased risk of fire.

    Obviously, I along with every rational person, support closing production wells that are at risk of fire or explosion because they are now surrounded by highly volatile light petroleum floating on the top of the Gulf of Mexico.

    So in short, I think it needs to be looked at on a well-by-well basis. If there’s a increased risk from the spill, shut them down until it’s safe. But for something up current from Deepwater Horizon, they should be able to keep operating unless there is some other indication of a potential risk.

  8. Poor Richard

    BP = BS

  9. And I thank you again for your explanation, FA. I need to digest all this. I think I still want assurances that we can stop one if it needs to be stopped. Not sure that will happen.

    I think the political remarks are ridiculous though. Probably my strongest political statement would be to listen to the locals. They know the channels and ways of the water in their own areas. A one size fits all doesn’t work. I am still not even sure who is in control. Who is the boss of all this?

    For instance, if I am the mayor of some small fishing and beach town along the coast and we know oil is approaching…who is in charge of prevention operations? Who orders and pays for the boom? Who helps with clean up? Who is running the show?

    No one is going to look good after all this, except perhaps Bobby Jindal. I think he is going to come out like Guilanni, if he keeps his nose clean and his fly up. (and I have never heard that he doesn’t)

  10. Pat.Herve

    the main cause of the Deepwater Horizon explosion seems to be centered around human error and bad procedures. The drilling was finished, and they were cementing the well, but removed the mud too early. WHo and why they decided to drift away from industry norms, is being disputed, but it could be someone trying to make their career on delivering at all costs.

    Shutting down all the rigs does seem excessive, but I do agree to stop – look – take appropriate action. They have stopped, they should look to see deficiencies – look at:

    the existing cleanup plans in place
    existing plans
    does each contractor have the necessary equipment in place
    can we handle an additional well blowout
    are all blowout preventers in working condition (the one on DWH was known to have issues including a dead battery).
    review emergency procedures (which seem to have failed)

    and then allow work to continue/resume.

    If Obama tried to take over the operations, the same pundits (hannity, rove, palin, etc) would be balking about a government takeover of BP. BP, as the lease holder of the well, is responsible to handle the issue – they pledged they would be prepared for a disaster such as this. The difference between this and Katrina, is that Katrina was a natural disaster, and the government response was less than stellar. The DWH is a man made disaster, with a responsible company trying to handle the issue, and not being very successful, but they are working on it.

    I do not think the US Gov’t should have the booms and staff available in the Gulf to handle issues such as this – it is the responsibility of the Lease holders (BP, Exxon, SHell, etc) to be prepared.

  11. Elena

    What an idiotic statement! I’ll bet the people in the Gulf feel very differently about this disaster.

    The reality is that there was extremely poor oversight, therein lies the responsibility of the government. BP is where the buck stops though, plain and simple. Until we have better oversight, until this leak is stopped, which it is not, to drill again in the deep see is completely and utterly irresponsible.

  12. Rick Bentley

    I think it’s well known what happened and how another explosion and leak could be prevented. BP forced (by virtue of their contract) the people running the show to use salt water rather than drilling mud at some point. They engaged in practices any engineer knew was unsafe, and there was a shouting match about it just shortly before the explosion.

    On top of that the backup system to stop the leak didn’t work. Engineering-wise, the only question is why that is and whether we collectively understand how much pressure this backup system can or cannot withstand.

    But from an engineering standpoint we know why the accidents happened. Use of seawater instead of mud, to accelerate a shutdown? process that was costing BP nearly a million dollars a day. Compounded by shoddy engineering on the backup system. The bean counters made this happen, not the engineers. And in the absence of government oversight, the beancounters run the show.

  13. Now I am really running in to a world of not understanding the mechanics.

    Pat, aren’t you saying that the equipment needed to fix something like this isn’t something the govt would have on hand routinely?

  14. Pat.Herve

    correct. In our capitalist society, it is up to the individual (corporation) to provide the safeguards needed to drill for oil, which includes a disaster plan. BP, as part of their drilling plan states how they will deal with any issues such as the current leak – if you see their disaster plan, it is quite out dated and wrong – Why should I be paying to keep ships, boom, and employees ready to be deployed, that is a cost that should be born by those creating that risk, part of the cost of drilling in the gulf.

    Does the Govn’t provide for land based high risk projects? When the Sago mine or the Big Branch mine explosions, who was doing the rescue/recovery – largely, the mine owner, or those who they contract out to to provide that service WITH some oversight/influence of the regulator.

  15. Need to Know


    You are correct. It’s the same logic as used by the large financial corporations. Make big, risky bets and if everything turns out OK you make tons of money. The government and taxpayers take all the risk. If everything goes haywire, someone else pays the price.

    In the case of the financial meltdown taxpayers, homeowners, stockholders, people who are now unemployed, etc. paid the price. In the case of BP, the senior managers will also remain quite wealthy while everyone else, and the environment, pay the price for their “mishap.”

    None of these situations will be corrected until we move past the notion that we have a free-market, competitive economy. It’s just not the case. The private sector should always have the lead in production and innovation, but risk must be born by those who stand to profit from a positive outcome. We need constructive regulation to deal with problems created by lack of competition in many industries. Moreover, we must get the money and influence-buying out of politics.

  16. Pat, many of the rescue workers were volunteer miners who were fortunate enough not to be on that shift. I also believe that often recue workers come in from other mines also.

    Thanks for clarifying. I agree. The US govt shouldn’t be providing equipment nor workers routinely.

    Right now, I think we do whatever is needed and send BP the bill. The only thing is, that bill might fall on very bankrupt ears.

  17. NTK, the first thing I would like to see go are the massive campaign contributions. It is simply obscene how much is paid out in influence peddling. A simple ‘drive by’ to shows us who owns who in Prince William County. Ratchet that up into 80 million dollars and you have campaign costs for a California primary.

    And we wonder why we get some of the characters we get in public office.

  18. Need to Know


    Moon, the evidence is overwhelming. tells us a lot about where the influence-buying is in PWC. I’ve read that the lobbyists are in full gear downtown right down trying to water down the financial reform bill.

    One of their representatives was being interviewed on CNBC this morning and tried to make the case that limiting fees on consumers using their debit cards would destroy the industry. He case, as always, was that the “free market” would best take care of this problem. The interviewer tried to pin him down several times, including trying to get him to admit that the industry would still be making a lot of money on debit cards even with the new regulations. He dodged that completely.

    News flash – we have no “free market” in this industry. A very small number of huge, non-competitive firms dominate the debit and credit card industries. My favored solution is a little of the old-fashioned, Teddy Roosevelt-style trust-busting. Break up all of the financial behemoths to the point where they are no longer “too big to fail” and are really competitive. Then we would not need the new regulations.

  19. I am sort of tired of hearing about the ‘free market’ because it really doesn’t exist. I don’t mind a little regulation here and there. I guess that makes me a commie. I go back to my buffalo and primal forests for my reason though.

    So NTK, how about Goldman-Sachs? What is your opinion of them being hauled before the Senate? Is that all chest thumping on the part of the senate? I know a few people who think that GS is really one of the good guys on the block.

  20. Need to Know

    Moon – remember Morgan Freeman in the “The Shawshank Redemption?” His character was one of the “good guys” even though he had committed the crime for which he was imprisoned.

    I don’t think there are any true “good guys” among these financial behemoths. They are all still “too big to fail” and all still paying themselves obscene compensation, despite their incompetence, screw-ups and unabated greed. None of them are without blame but perhaps, like Morgan Freeman in that movie, there are varying degrees of shame.

  21. I can do varying degrees Isn’t that how we assess wars? Ok, on the shame-o-meter…with 0 being squeaky clean and 10 being rolling in the mud, where would you place them?

  22. Neil Cavuto just said he was scared shiPless.

  23. Cavuto thinks that congress is trotting out the fishing and tourist industry as props while squeezing BP towards bankrupcy. If BP files for bankrupcy and cannot pay damages, who gets to pick upthe tab?

    That is sort of draconian.

  24. kelly3406

    Many of you seem to advocate that since BP caused the spill, it alone is responsible for the cleanup. That position is just plain silly. Consider the analogy of a forest fire. If someone has a camp fire that gets out of control, the camper has the initial responsibility to try to put it out. But as it spreads, it becomes a government responsibility to extinguish due to the danger to life, limb and property. The government does not stand aside and wait for the guilty party to extinguish the fire.

    The federal government has resources that it could apply toward the cleanup. The U.S. Navy and Coast Guard could be used to skim the oil, but for whatever reason, the government refuses to assist. This spill could have economic consequences for years, so it is beyond irresponsible that the government refuses to execute contingency plans to use oil booms, skimmers, and chemical dispersants. Worry about blame, criminal charges, and lawsuits after the problem has been taken care of, but start RIGHT NOW cleaning up the spill and trying to prevent the oil from spreading.

    While I do not want to government to get involved in issues that it has no authority (i.e. healthcare), I want it to do its job for those things that it does have responsibility. This is clearly a failure of executive leadership.

  25. kelly, thanks for your input. I don’t think anyone here wants the govt. to stay out. I for one want everyone breathing involved in the clean up if that is what it takes.

    I think one of the points being made is that the govt doesn’t have some of the equipment to go help with the gusher part of the problem. As far as clean up, I see no reason why they can’t help. I think also we were agreeing that the govt should not have people on stand by or enough boom to wrap around the world twice.

    Now if they go out and procure it to save towns, good. Then send BP the bill.

  26. Speaking of which…good for the Alabama governor. He sent the national guard down to the coastal towns to help people fill out the paper work for damages. Smart and unique use of the guard.

  27. Need to Know


    Let’s break Goldman into parts for the rating. Just like the other giant firms, it is composed of different offices with different cultures.

    Abby Josef Cohen, Goldman’s chief investement strategist, is one of the most highy-respected people in the business. I would rate her and her people at least a 1 on your scale.

    The group that concocted the certain-to-fail mortgage-backed securities, sold them as investment-grade to unsuspecting clients and helped another client short them earns a solid 10 on your scale.

  28. Thanks! I certainly understand the distinction. And is Congress going after the investment side of the house?

  29. Need to Know

    Not that I am aware.

  30. so it is all over the derivatives and mortgage packaging?

  31. Pat.Herve

    kelly – your analogy with a forest fire is flawed. As the lease holder (actually majority lease holder) of the well, BP has committed to the cleanup. They had to file response plans for several different scenarios of disaster. They are to be held accountable. BP also has the equipment and expertise to try and handle the issue (that does not mean that I am satisfied that it has taken so long to cap it).

    I just wonder how unprepared we are for a dirty bomb or other threat.

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