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BP Accuses Deepwater Horizon Settlement Victims Of Taking ‘Money They Don’t Deserve’

August 27, 2013 By: seeta Category: Civil Rights, Eco-Justice, Economic Terrorism

From ThinkProgress:

Three years after the worst offshore oil disaster in U.S. history, BP is adopting a new narrative that demonizes coastal businesses for taking advantage of the oil giant’s generosity. In an attempt to reduce the amount BP owes in a settlement for damages suffered, BP has gone with a full offense PR campaign that alleges widespread fraud.

Here is an excerpt of the full-page ads BP has taken out in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal, with the intent of reaching policymakers:

Its other newspaper ads make a similar case, but cite Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donohue to claim there is rampant fraud. Those ads neglect to mention that BP is a member of the Chamber.
BP launched its increasingly aggressive battle against legal claims after disappointing quarterly profits of $2.7 billion. Ironically, BP is accruing a hefty legal fee for its efforts to draw out litigation.

Three years after BP, Gulf fishermen struggle to survive

August 20, 2013 By: seeta Category: Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Eco-Justice, Economic Terrorism, Poverty

From Southern Studies:

Arnesen explains that continuous use of dispersants to sink BP’s continually resurfacing oil, as well as reliance on it in response to other smaller spills, hasn’t helped.

Only a few days ago, they’d come across nothing but sheen from Southwest Pass to Grand Isle. As is often the case, it’s impossible to know if the sheen came from BP’s resurfacing oil or from another leak. Wells and rigs dot the horizon as far as the eye can see. He suspects that sheen and other oil recently seen was sprayed with dispersants.

“We lost so much land in the last two years, you go down there and you can’t even tell where you’re at … In some places the land moved almost a mile in the last year. That’s crazy. But you can’t kill the vegetation and expect it not to erode.”

When asked about the BP claims process, Arnesen shook his head, “The whole claims thing is a joke. They did pay out a lot of claims, but not where it needed to be.

“I’m only 46, I’m not going to retire for another 20 years, minimum … If fishing comes back, and I can make my own money, I’m good with them. I don’t want BP’s check, I’m not a charity case — I didn’t want their check to start with. But they destroyed my industry. What’d they offer me? One check — OK, that fixed last year. What about this year, next year, 10 years? That’s the problem.”

And there are other unknowns. Arnesen’s wife and daughter have suffered health issues attributed to BP’s oil and dispersant use. He’s suffered memory loss and worries about the long-term health effects and what the future holds.

With record criminal settlement reached over Gulf disaster, what lies ahead for BP and its victims?

November 19, 2012 By: seeta Category: Civil Rights, Consumer Rights, Eco-Justice

From Southern Studies:

BP will pay DOJ $4 billion over a period of five years, and $525 million to the SEC over three years to resolve claims related to the Deepwater Horizon disaster, which killed 11 workers and injured 17 others. The payments include a $1.26 billion criminal fine, the biggest in U.S. history for the worst oil spill in industry history.

As part of the record criminal settlement, which still requires federal court approval, BP has agreed to plead guilty to:

* 11 felony counts related to the 11 worker deaths;
* one misdemeanor count under the Clean Water Act;
* one misdemeanor count under the Migratory Bird Act, and
* one felony count of obstruction of Congress related to misleading communications about the size of the spill.

The company will serve five years of probation. Meanwhile, some BP managers are facing separate criminal charges. A grand jury indictment handed up this week charged site leaders Robert Kaluza and Donald Vidrine with 22 counts of manslaughter for failing to shut down the Macondo well after tests showed it was in danger of failure, and for criminal violation of the Clean Water Act. David Rainey, BP’s former vice president of Gulf exploration, was also charged with obstruction for giving Congress misleading estimates of the spill’s magnitude. The criminal investigation is ongoing.

While the record-setting size of the settlement got a lot of attention, not everyone was impressed. The public-interest watchdog group Public Citizen noted that the fines represent a small portion of the company’s annual profits, which totaled $40 billion last year.

Despite its admission of criminal guilt for the disaster, BP said it intends to “vigorously defend” itself against remaining civil claims. Those include claims under the Clean Water Act, which could range anywhere from $3.5 billion to as high as $20 billion if the company is found guilty of gross negligence. In addition to the $9 billion in compensation to individuals and businesses the company has already paid out, a pending settlement of a class-action lawsuit is expected to cost the company another $7.8 billion.

Monday 4-23-2012 Link Roundup and Call to Action for Six Year Old Charged with Battery

April 23, 2012 By: seeta Category: Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Intersectionality, Poverty, White Privilege

Yep, it’s been a while, but here we go:

  • Police in Georgia arrested a 6-year-old girl for a temper tantrum. Ask the school to stop using police on elementary students

    Salecia Johnson is six years old. On April 13, her teachers say she had a temper tantrum in class — but instead of putting her in time-out, the school called the police.

    Salecia was handcuffed, charged with battery, and kept in police custody for an hour before her parents found out what was going on. Though all charges have been dropped, Salecia — a 6-year-old — now has an arrest record.

    Salecia’s mom, Constance, says that “Salecia has been traumatized by this experience. She’s afraid to return to school and recently woke up in the middle of the night saying ‘they are coming to get me.'” Constance wants to make sure that this incident won’t affect Salecia’s future, and she wants answers about why police officers were involved in the first place.

    So Constance started a petition on Change.org demanding that Salecia’s arrest be removed from her record and that Creekside Elementary pledge to stop involving police in school discipline.

    Click here to add your name.

  • More than one-third of US executions took place in Texas

    The Economist maps out every American execution since 1976, when the Supreme Court announced the modern constitutional regime governing death penalty cases after effectively suspending all executions nationwide for four years. Over one-third of all executions during this period took place in Texas, for a total of 481 people killed by that state. Of

  • Women Of Color Directed 1 Percent of TV Episodes Last Season, Make $23,325 Less Than Male Writers

    Between 2005 and 2009, the number of minority writers in television has fluctuated between nine and ten percent—as the report puts it, “it appears that minority writers are at best treading water when it comes to their share of television employment.” The median salary for white male television writers in 2009 was $108,000. For all minority writers, the median salary was $84,675. The pay gap between white male television writers and minority writers of both genders was $8,007 in 1999, $10,688 in 2007, and in 2009, rose to $23,325.

  • Two Years later, BP’s Oil Spill Wreaking Havoc in the Gulf

    Two years later, BP insists the Gulf is well on the road to recovery. A PR blitz rolled out in late 2011 titled “Best Season” called on tourists to visit the Gulf, without even mentioning the Deepwater Horizon disaster. “The sun’s out,” the narrator says, “and the water’s beautiful.”

    But a new report by Facing South/Institute for Southern Studies [PDF] finds that the Gulf Coast is far from recovery–and many communities are still reeling from the aftermath of the disaster.

  • Bodies Have Histories: Musing on Makode Linde and ‘that’ Cake

    Now I have questions. Where were the women who have experiences with FGM? Were they in the room? Why or why not? If they were not in the room, is this another example of the White Savior Industrial Complex? (shout out to Teju Cole).

    Quite simply, did he talk to any women who had experienced FGM, both those who see it as a cultural tradition and those who deplore it? If yes, what did they say? If no, why is he speaking for these women?

    What would have been the response of a woman who has dealt with FGM to Makode’s work? I don’t know, it isn’t my place to say. But as a Black feminist, it is certainly my place to ask.

  • Near-death explained

    NDE studies also suggest that after physical death, mind and consciousness may continue in a transcendent level of reality that normally is not accessible to our senses and awareness. Needless to say, this view is utterly incompatible with the belief of many materialists that the material world is the only reality.

  • Miss the days of 56K dial-up? What 10 Big Web Sites Looked Like 10 Yrs Ago

    The year was 1997. Apple was a struggling computer company, AOL was a booming Internet service provider, Microsoft was on the verge of releasing Windows 98, and the Web was a very different place. Through the magic of the Wayback Machine, we can travel back in time and revisit the past.
    Take a walk down memory lane with us as we journey back in time and take a look at what the Web used to be.

‘Come and see for yourselves': A Gulf Coast activist addresses BP shareholders

April 16, 2012 By: seeta Category: Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Eco-Justice, Science/Technology

From Institute for Southern Studies:

[T]wo community advocates and regional leaders from the Gulf Coast, Bryan Parras and Derrick Evans, brought an urgent message to BP’s board and shareholders at the corporation’s annual meeting. Here are Evans’ remarks as prepared for delivery. Evans is the founder of Turkey Creek Community Initiatives, a founding advisor of the Gulf Coast Fund, and a Bridge The Gulf advisor and contributor. He is from Gulfport, Miss. Read more about the meeting here.

I am here today on behalf of scores of thousands of everyday people in coastal Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida and Texas whose livelihoods, physical health, and inter-generational way of life have been disrupted, compromised or outright destroyed by one or more of the myriad impacts caused by the 200 million gallon oil spill that commenced on Earth Day 2010. Unimpeded for three months, the Macondo Well hemorrhage and its multi-sector impacts remain an environmental and social catastrophe of epic proportions that does indeed necessitate an “unprecedented” expenditure of concern, time and money — as well as unprecedented honesty, good will and diligence.

I regret to report, however, that the Gulf is not clean, families and small businesses have not been made whole, and other far-reaching consequences are by no means “over” for anyone directly concerned — including you who are gathered here today. With dispersed, sunken, bulldozed, and buried sweet Louisiana crude still washing ashore, the possibility of a future hurricane storm surge dredging and depositing yet more onto our land-based ecosystems and communities is real if not imminent.

So is the possibility that your stock values will suffer significantly once this happens, or once other unfortunate truths about the company’s behavior, impact or liability become more fully disclosed or manifested in ways that cannot be circumvented. False assurances that the oil is gone or that normalcy has returned to the Gulf Coast should not be taken with any greater confidence than past assurances of Deepwater Horizon’s safety, or of the blown out well’s rate of discharge into the Gulf.

Dead Animals and Oil Continue to Wash up on Gulf Coast

April 02, 2012 By: seeta Category: Civil Rights, Eco-Justice, Economic Terrorism, Imperialism, Poverty

From Institute for Southern Studies:

Since BP’s catastrophic oil blowout nearly two years ago, Laurel Lockamy has gotten pretty good at photographing the dead. She’s snapped images of dozens of lifeless turtles and dolphins, countless dead fish, birds, armadillos and nutria and pretty much anything that crawls, swims or flies near the white sandy Mississippi beaches of her Gulfport home.

Locals say this is far from normal. Laurel’s pictures can be hard to believe; photos of large bottlenose dolphins, their mouths agape and their silvery bodies stretched out like aluminum mannequins on the tar ball-littered sand as children frolic nearby in the warm waters of the Gulf. She’s taken shots of rotten, decaying endangered sea turtles wasting away on the shores, sprayed with orange paint by marine mammal experts for disposal by beach cleanup crews who sometimes take days to respond.

Last week was no different for Laurel, who was out taking pictures of sea life with her new Nikon lens. A strong spring storm had roiled the brown Gulf waters, apparently stirring up globs of the 200 million gallons of Louisiana crude that BP’s well spewed into the Gulf in 2010. Laurel says she found tar balls the size of bricks in the sand, spit out by the violent sea.

BP liable for civil penalties for oil spill, judge rules

February 23, 2012 By: seeta Category: Civil Rights, Eco-Justice, Economic Terrorism, Intersectionality, Poverty

From Al.com:

A federal judge ruled Wednesday that BP PLC and one of its minority partners in the blown-out Macondo well are liable for civil penalties under the Clean Water Act for their roles in the nation’s worst offshore oil spill.

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier also ruled that Deepwater Horizon rig owner Transocean Ltd. may be liable under the same law as an “operator” of the well. The judge, however, said he couldn’t decide before a trial scheduled to start Feb. 27 whether Transocean meets the definition of that term.

The Justice Department argued that BP, minority partner Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and Transocean are each liable for per-barrel civil penalties for oil discharged from the well.

Barbier rejected Anadarko’s argument that oil discharged from Transocean’s rig, not the well.

See also: A Gulf chorus fights BP’s PR war

A Gulf chorus fights BP’s PR war

January 10, 2012 By: seeta Category: Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Eco-Justice, Poverty

From Institute for Southern Studies:

BP’s newest PR salvo touting its Gulf cleanup hit a nerve with many residents still struggling to get their lives back (one ad captured this BP beach protest in the background). The oil behemoth’s slickly produced pleas for Americans to “come on down” to the Gulf where the weather is warm, the food is sublime and the beaches are sparkling clean — at least in the commercials — has long stuck in the craw of people whose shrimp boxes are bare and whose beaches and bayous are sometimes littered with sticky tar balls and bloated dolphins.

But what if BP took a different tack this coming year? What if the oil giant — which scooped up profits worth nearly $5 billion last quarter and is planning to drill anew in the deepwater Gulf — decided to give a voice to those enduring the worst fishing season in memory? What if BP decided to tell the stories of families suffering from debilitating health problems they blame on the crude and chemical dispersants, oil that still mysteriously bubbles up near BP’s Macondo well 40 miles offshore?

If such a miracle were to take place, I have a great list of characters and stories for BP to choose from. They are all hard working people who care about their health and environment; many are salt-of-the earth folks who before the BP disaster rarely complained about the oil industry. But the oil spill changed that. And their stories have largely been ignored by the media and those in the halls of Congress, not to mention oil industry bosses in country club lounges. (Check out NRDC’s film Stories from the Gulf that aired on the Discovery Channel earlier this year).

(h/t: the beautiful MJB)