Fox News Lies About BP Oil Spill
What can really be said about the BP Oil Spill and surrounding media frenzy? It was politics as usual. Many "news" shows, namely Fox, took delight in spreading the most egregious lies about the spill, the Obama administration, the Bush administration and misinterpreting the law. We here at Shakaama Live cannot blame you the public for falling for such utter and complete fabrications, but a modicum of blame should be placed in your corner since you probably never fact check what you see, especially when it comes to the "news" misquoting laws. We apologize for this very long post [ credited by talk.politics.misc group ]. We advise you bookmark this post and use it as a reference should you ever want to look up something about the spill. The information in this post is pretty comprehensive. We are not democrats, nor republicans. We are libertarians here at Shakaama Live. The politics that go on during major disasters should show you how skewed the political arena is. Democrats and Republicans are no different and share one exact political goal, to keep all other political parties out of politics. If we libertarians cannot convince you that they are one and the same and get donations from the same exact companies, you must admit that they do their best to keep 3rd party political groups out of the political arena. That being said, we present to you both the lies that were told surrounding the BP oil spill and what the reality is and was.
|BP Oil Spill in Gulf of Mexico|
REALITY: Timeline of events indicates Obama administration responded almost immediately to the spill. The Coast Guard began responding to the spill hours after the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded at 10 p.m. on April 20. Obama was briefed on the incident and dispatched officials to the region the next day.
CLAIM: No need for moratorium to "ensure ... safety," Obama should "undo the harm that he's already done" and lift it. On the June 12 edition of Fox & Friends Saturday, anchor Alisyn Camerota asked Palin: "[T]he administration has called for a moratorium on deep-sea drilling until that safety can be ensured. Given all of the problems that we now know, how BP overlooked safety measures, do you support a moratorium until we can ensure the safety?" Palin replied, "No, but we do need to ramp up the oversight" of offshore drilling." Likewise, on the June 15 edition of Fox News' Special Report, Weekly Standard editor Fred Barnes urged Obama to "undo the harm that he's already done and lift the moratorium on the existing drilling that was going on in the Gulf."
|Not the Brightest Bulb in the Box|
FACT: All five companies reportedly rely on the same companies to draft their response plans and provide containment equipment. According to a June 16 Washington Post report, "the same tiny Texas subcontractor" authored the Gulf spill response plans for BP, ConocoPhillips, Chevron, Shell Oil, and Exxon Mobil:
The spill response plans for all five companies were written by the same firm, the Response Group. Although it has operations in at least seven cities nationwide, the Houston-based firm's Web site says the company has about 35 employees. (One current assignment: calling 50,000 people who have visited BP offices and getting their e-mail addresses and emergency contact information.) Additionally, the Post reported that Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) stated that oil companies all rely on one company, Marine Spill Response, to provide
FACT: Three spill plans reportedly listed the phone number of a deceased marine science expert. According the same Post report, three of the five major oil companies operating in the Gulf "listed the phone number for the same University of Miami marine science expert, Peter Lutz, who died in 2005" in their spill response plans.
FACT: Exxon Mobil CEO: "We are not well-equipped to handle" major oil spills. In testimony before the House Energy and Environment Subcommittee on June 15, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson stated repeatedly that his company is "not well-equipped to handle" major oil spills.
FACT: Responding to criticism of having a dead expert's info in his company's oil spill response, Tillerson admitted "we need expertise." When Markey questioned Tillerson on the Exxon Mobil plan's inclusion of
contact information for a "technical support person" who had been dead for four years, Tillerson acknowledged that it was an "embarrassment" and stated that "we admit that we need expertise." He further stated that just because "Dr. Lutz died in 2005 does not mean his work and the importance of his work died with him."
FACT: ConocoPhillips CEO: "Obviously it is embarrassing" that Lutz's contact information is in the report. At the same hearing, ConocoPhillips CEO, James Mulva, said of the response plan's obvious flaws: "Obviously
it is embarrassing." He further acknowledged that "the plans need to be updated more frequently." Myth: BP was only drilling "out there" because environmentalists and the federal government "made them" do it.
|Sean Hannity Later Fires Alan Colmes Fair and Balanced|
REALITY: Deep-water regions feature vast oil reserves that make such drilling potentially lucrative. According to the U.S. Department of the Interior's Minerals Management Service, the "best source of new domestic
energy resources lies in the deep water." The deepwater region of the Gulf has also been identified as "probably the most promising area in United States-controlled territory."
FACT: MMS said "remarkable increase" in deep-water drilling due in part to "finding of reservoirs with high production wells." According to the MMS: "The deepwater portion of Gulf of Mexico has shown a remarkable increase in oil and gas exploration, development and production. In part this is due to the development of new technologies reducing operational
costs and risks, as well as the finding of reservoirs with high production wells."
FACT: Bush MMS reported that the "best source of new domestic energy resources lies in the deep water Gulf of Mexico." In a 2004 report -- titled Deep Water: Where the Energy Is -- the MMS stated that "our best
source of new domestic energy resources lies in the deep water Gulf of Mexico and other frontier areas." MMS reported that due to "declining production" in "near-shore, shallow waters" in the Gulf of Mexico,
"energy companies have focused their attention on oil and gas resources in water depths of 1,000 feet and beyond." MMS estimated that "the deep water regions of the Gulf of Mexico may contain 56 billion barrels of oil equivalent, or enough to meet U.S. demand for 7-1/2 years at current rates."
FACT: Bush MMS reported deepwater drilling is "America's Offshore Energy Future," "significant proved reserves" discovered in recent years. In a 2008 report titled "Deepwater Gulf of Mexico 2008: America's Offshore Energy Future, MMS reported:
|Not the Sharpest Knife in the Drawer|
FACT: NY Times reported BP discovery of "giant oil field" in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico indicated area was "probably the most promising area in United States-controlled territory." A September 2, 2009, New York Times article reported that "BP announced on Wednesday the discovery of what it characterized as a giant oil field several miles under the Gulf of Mexico," which the Times stated "was another indication that the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico are probably the most promising area in United States-controlled territory to bolster domestic oil production." The Times further credited BP's deep-water rigs with having "stabilized domestic production after almost two decades of yearly decline."
CLAIM: Obama "was off on vacation twice" during oil spill, but Bush did not go on vacation "in the middle of a crisis." On the June 17 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe, Giuliani asserted that he didn't think the spill was Obama's "job number one" because Obama was "off on vacation twice" during the cleanup. Giuliani contrasted Obama's vacations with President Bush's and Giuliani's own purported refusal to take vacations during times of crisis. Giuliani made similar arguments on the June 17 edition of Fox & Friends.
REALITY: Bush vacationed during the aftermath of Katrina; Giuliani reportedly spent more time at Yankees games than at WTC after 9-11. Despite Giuliani's suggestion, Bush reportedly made at least three trips to Camp David in the two months after Katrina, and Giuliani himself reportedly spent "roughly twice as long" at, or flying to, Yankees games than at ground zero between September 17, 2001, and December 16, 2001. The Obamas visited Asheville, North Carolina, the weekend of April 23. During that trip, Obama eulogized the 29 workers killed in the West Virginia mine explosion and "met with the workers' families privately before the ceremony," according to CNN. During Memorial Day weekend, Obama traveled to Chicago and was scheduled to deliver his Memorial Day address at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery. Due to a thunderstorm, he spoke at Andrews Air Force Base instead.
|Giuliani at Yankees not Ground Zero|
FACT: Giuliani reportedly spent more time at Yankees games than at ground zero following 9-11. In an August 18, 2007, Salon.com article, Alex Koppelman examined Giuliani's schedule in the 90 days following the attacks and found: "By our count, Giuliani spent about 58 hours at Yankees games or flying to them in the 40 days between Sept. 25 and Nov. 4, roughly twice as long as he spent at ground zero in the 90 days between Sept. 17 and Dec. 16."
CLAIM: "Outrageous" to blame Bush for MMS mismanagement leading to oil spill. Fox News figures, including Dana Perino, Dick Morris and Mike Huckabee, have claimed that it is "ridiculous" and "offensive," as Perino put it, to say that the Bush administration's regulatory failures led to the oil spill.
REALITY: Under Bush, MMS relaxed oversight of drilling, ignored safety warnings, downplayed oil spill concerns. The Department of Interior's Office of Inspector General (OIG) "found a culture where the acceptance of gifts from oil and gas companies were widespread" in Bush's MMS. In addition, under Bush, MMS loosened rules requiring a blowout plan, dismissed the risk of a massive oil spill in a BP assessment, and failed to report a warning about a vital piece of blowout preventer. Moreover, Bush promoted and sought to expand offshore drilling.
FACT: Bush MMS adopted regulations stating drillers are "in the best position to determine the environmental effects of its proposed activity." The Washington Post reported on May 25 that the actions taken by MMS "are shaped in part by a 2005 regulation it adopted that assumes oil and gas companies can best evaluate the environmental effects of their operations." The article stated that "[t]he rule governing which information the MMS should receive and review before signing off on drilling plans states: 'The lessee or operator is in the best position to determine the environmental effects of its proposed activity based on whether the operation is routine or non-routine.'" Rolling Stone magazine reported that these "new rules pre-qualified deep-sea drillers" to receive an "exemption from environmental review," even though such exemptions were "originally intended to prevent minor projects, like outhouses on hiking trails, from being tied up in red tape."
|Not the Fastest Chicken in the Coop|
FACT: Bush MMS 2007 environmental impact assessment for BP lease dismissed risk of massive oil spill. The Post reported on May 5: "While the MMS assessed the environmental impact of drilling in the central and western Gulf of Mexico on three occasions in 2007 -- including a specific evaluation of BP's Lease 206 at Deepwater Horizon -- in each case it played down the prospect of a major blowout." The Post stated that "In one assessment, the agency estimated that 'a large oil spill' from a platform would not exceed a total of 1,500 barrels and that a 'deepwater spill,' occurring 'offshore of the inner Continental shelf,' would not reach the coast. In another assessment, it defined the most likely large spill as totaling 4,600 barrels and forecast that it would largely dissipate within 10 days and would be unlikely to make landfall." According to the Times-Picayune, these assessments "paved the way for BP to assert that its plans for drilling in Lease Sale 206 posed no real dangers."
FACT: Bush MMS failed to respond to 2004 warning about vital piece of blowout preventer. The Wall Street Journal reported on May 3 that "[f]ederal regulators learned in a 2004 study that a vital piece of oil- drilling safety equipment may not function in deep-water seas but did nothing to bolster industry requirements. The equipment, called shear rams, is supposed to seal off out-of-control oil and gas wells by pinching the pipe closed and cutting it." The Journal further reported that "[e]xperts theorize the rams may have failed to work as expected in the Deepwater Horizon disaster."
FACT: Bush MMS ignored warnings about faulty cementing in wells. AP reported on May 24 that numerous MMS reports identified a "poor cement job" as the cause of many offshore accidents, including incidents that took place in 2005 and 2007, "[y]et federal regulators give drillers a free hand in this crucial safety step." AP noted that rig owner Transocean and "independent experts" have pointed to "faulty cement work" as a possible cause of the blowout, and that new rules "in the works long before the Deepwater Horizon" took effect June 3, which "take a conservative watch-and-wait approach and demand only routines already carried out around the industry: a management program with monitoring and diagnostic testing."
|Tony Hayward BP Oil CEO is Not Technically Evil But|
FACT: Bush MMS reportedly suppressed scientists' concerns about environmental impact of spills in Alaska. A June 6 Denver Post article reported that an MMS office in Alaska rejected a 2006 analysis conducted by a biologist, which stated that a large oil spill could significantly harm fish populations. The analysis, which would have "required MMS to conduct a more detailed environmental impact statement before auctioning leases in the Beaufort Sea," was rewritten after a supervisor told the biologist that his analysis would cause a "delay in sale 202. That would, as you can imagine, not go over well with HQ and others." The Denver Post further reported, "[c]oncerns raised by another MMS biologist, James Wilder, that the impact on polar bears was not adequately addressed in Shell's Alaska exploration plan, also were rebuffed, according to e-mails."
CLAIM: "Largest single donation" "from BP" has gone to Obama. After Palin suggested a connection between "contributions made to President Obama and his administration and the support by the oil companies to the administration," Doocy said that "when it comes down to the single largest recipient of BP cash, [Palin is] absolutely right ... it was Barack Obama."
But there is a major a reason for that, which the story fails to mention: People who run for President raise much more money, and received much more money from BP interests -- and just about every other interest. The fourth highest recipient of BP money in the same time period is George W. Bush. The fifth highest recipient is John McCain. In the 2000 and 2004 cycles, Bush got the most money, albeit less than Obama received in 2008. But then one could adjust these numbers for campaign inflation: campaigns overall raised much less money in the 2000 and 2004 cycles than the record-smashing 2008 cycle. FACT: Obama took only $1,000 of PAC money from BP during his 2004 Senate campaign. Obama received $1,000 from BP's PAC during his 2004 Senate campaign. Twenty-one Senate candidates received more from BP's PAC during that election cycle alone.
CLAIM: Obama's refusal to waive Jones Act has prevented international assistance. Fox News' Dick Morris, Bill O'Reilly and Oliver North have similarly asserted that Obama's purported refusal to waive the Jones Act has prevented the United States from accepting aid from foreign ships.
REALITY: International assistance is part of Gulf spill response. In an interview on the June 15 edition of Fox & Friends, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs stated that "foreign entities are operating within the Gulf that help us respond" to the oil spill. Further, in a June 15 press release, the Deepwater Horizon Incident Joint Information Center stated, "Currently, 15 foreign-flagged vessels are involved in the largest response to an oil spill in U.S. history." The Center further explained, "No Jones Act waivers have been granted because none of these vessels have required such a waiver to conduct their operations in the Gulf of Mexico." The administration has further stated that they would waive the Jones Act if waivers were requested, but that "there are no pending requests for foreign vessels to come into the Gulf."
Myth: Obama admin defied Constitution because it "told" BP to create escrow account CLAIM: Obama's actions on escrow fund were "not constitutional." On the June 18 edition of Fox & Friends, talking about Rep. Joe Barton's (R-TX) criticism of the $20 billion escrow account, co-host Brian Kilmeade said: "You know, [Barton's] upset that they set up this -- that they told BP, 'I need $20 billion into this fund.' ... He felt as though that was out of the administration's realm. They shouldn't be allowed to do that. That's not constitutional, and they shouldn't go ahead -- go forward with that."
|Fox News Lies, They All Do Actually|
FACT: Wash. Post: "Both sides got what they wanted out of the encounter." The Post reported that in the meeting between the White House and BP, "[b]oth sides got what they wanted out of the encounter," noting that "BP, though poorer on paper in the short run, got some much-needed clarity on its long-term liability, plus an explicit statement from Obama that the administration doesn't want to see BP driven into bankruptcy."
FACT: BP announced $100 million to support unemployed oil industry workers as a "voluntary gesture." The Post also reported on June 17 that Obama asked BP "for a voluntary contribution to a foundation that will support unemployed oil industry employees" and that "BP agreed, offering $100 million." The Post quoted BP adviser Jamie Gorelick as saying, "We made clear that we do not think this is a liability for the company. The president said he's concerned about those workers. He asked if there was something we could do as a voluntary gesture."
FACT: Expert said law "does require BP to establish a process for 'the payment or settlement of claims for interim, short-term damages,' " which could include escrow account. In his June 15 post on the blog Legal Planet titled, "Can Obama Require BP to Form an Escrow Fund?" Farber wrote that "the answer isn't very clear" but that the Oil Pollution Act "does require BP to establish a process for 'the payment or settlement of claims for interim, short-term damages' that might encompass an escrow and independent decision-makers." Indeed, Section 1005 of the Oil Pollution Act states:
SEC. 1005. INTEREST; PARTIAL PAYMENT OF CLAIMS.
(a) GENERAL RULE. -- The responsible party or the responsible party's guarantor is liable to a claimant for interest on the amount paid in satisfaction of a claim under this Act for the period described in subsection (b). The responsible party shall establish a procedure for the payment or settlement of claims for interim, short-term damages. Payment or settlement of a claim for interim, short-term damages representing less than the full amount of damages to which the claimant ultimately may be entitled shall not preclude recovery by the claimant for damages not reflected in the paid or settled partial claim.
CLAIM: "Red tape puts hold on company's boom making." On June 10, Fox & Friends ran a story criticizing the administration for possibly being "in the dark about" Packgen, a Maine company who's oil containment boom had yet to be approved by BP for use in the Gulf. During the segment, on- screen text read: "Red tape puts hold on company's boom making."
|Packgen Had Never Made Boom Before|
FACT: Packgen reportedly began manufacturing boom after spill. The Lewiston, Maine, Sun Journal reported on May 19 that Packgen, a Maine company that "makes composite packaging used to contain environmental and hazardous waste," hoped to "capitalize on the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico by churning out a much-sought-after oil containment tool known as a boom." The article quoted Packgen's president as saying they were "still pitching (to buyers)" and reported that BP had "sent up a company auditor to check out" the company.
FACT: WCSH6 reported that BP "ordered a trial run" of the product, which "differs from other designs being used." Maine news station WCSH6 reported on June 3 that BP "has ordered a trial run of the product but there is no word of when or if the design will be approved." The article also reported: "It differs from other designs being used because, according to company officials, it creates a tighter seal between pieces preventing oil from leaking past the barrier."
FACT: Boom reportedly failed "an initial quality test." On June 11, ABC News' Jake Tapper tweeted that according to the Coast Guard, the "boom manufactured by Packgen did not pass an initial quality control test." On June 16, Tapper reported that an engineering professor who was hired by Packgen to inspect the boom stated his belief that " 'it certainly will work' in coastal areas in coastal areas, though he 'wouldn't deploy it deepwater'."
CLAIM: Obama did not "respond immediately" to spill because he did not approve the berm plan "right away" On the June 9 edition of Fox & Friends, Perino responded to the statement that "[Obama's] officials responded immediately" to the spill by claiming, "I think Governor [Bobby] Jindal would disagree with the berms that weren't built right away."
|Bush Administration: The Vacation President|
FACT: Army Corps reportedly raised concerns that barriers "could instead funnel oil into more unprotected areas and into neighboring Mississippi." AP reported on May 26 that the Army Corps released documents that day that "signaled support for parts of the state plan, including berms that would be built onto existing barrier islands," but stated that parts of the plan "could inadvertently alter tides and end up driving oil east -- into Mississippi Sound, the Biloxi Marshes and Lake Borgne."
FACT: Army Corps approved portions of the plan "after careful consideration of the available information." On May 27, the Army Corps of Engineers announced that they approved portions of the plan to create sand berms between barrier islands off the coast of Louisiana. The White House approved additional portions of Lousiana's berm plan on June 2.
FACT: Adm. Allen reportedly continued to express concerns about proposal but said "the prudent thing ... was to start a pilot project and keep asking questions." On May 28, AP reported that Adm. Thad Allen "approved portions of Louisiana's $350 million plan to ring its coastline with a wall of sand meant to keep out the Gulf of Mexico oil spill." The article noted that the Army Corps had objected to portions of the plan due to concerns about oil being diverted to Mississippi and that Allen also "said some sections of the berm system would not have kept out oil," as well as potentially "interfer[ing] with cleanup."
CLAIM: Shutting down oil-collecting barges was an "amazing screw-up." On the June 18 edition of his Fox News show, O'Reilly asserted that there had been an "insane," "amazing screw-up in the Gulf cleanup," because the Coast Guard sent several oil-collecting barges back to shore due to questions about safety measures (including life vests and fire extinguishers) on the ships.
REALITY: The ships reportedly did lack the required equipment, and there were also concerns about their stability. The Daily Caller's Jonathan Strong reported on June 18:
|U.S. Coast Guard|
"The Coast Guard is not going to compromise safety ... that's our No. 1 priority," Coast Guard spokesman Robert Brassel told The Daily Caller.
Brassel said the barges are now "back in operating order."
On Thursday night, the Incident Commander in Houma, Roger Laferriere, decided with the captain of the port in New Orleans to inspect the barges when they realized the ships did not have a certificate of inspection to demonstrate safety equipment on board. Thursday morning, the ships were inspected and grounded because they did not have the proper fire-fighting and life-saving equipment. There were also concerns about the stability of the barges. During the day Thursday, the problems were fixed, and the barges are back out on the water today. A June 17 statement from the Deepwater Horizon Incident Joint Information Center stated that the "vacuum barges were temporarily removed from service after safety concerns occurred including stability and the lack of lifesaving and firefighting equipment." A June 19 statement said that "the owner/operator of the barges asked the Coast Guard to inspect the vessels, some under construction, to ensure they were safe" and that "The Coast Guard inspectors made recommendations to the owner/operator regarding lifesaving and firefighting equipment, vessel stability and egress issues, leaving the decision to continue construction and operations with the owner/operator."
|"Never Waste a Crisis" - Rahm Emanuel|
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