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Friday, April 30, 2010

Is Oil Spill About to Give Alabamians What We Deserve?

Few states have a stronger record than Alabama when it comes to sucking up to the oil industry. So it's ironic that a massive oil spill that started off the coast of Louisiana now is moving eastward toward . . . Alabama. And it is poised to land a possibly catastrophic blow to our state's economy and environment.

Is Mother Nature giving us payback? Sure looks like it. And for comedic effect, we have a Republican Governor who now claims that oil giant BP is going to be held accountable for the big spill. But that same governor, Bob Riley, never has held big oil accountable before. Why should we think it's going to happen now?

Here is a lesson of Biblical proportions for Alabamians, one that should resonate in our supposedly hyper religious state: You reap what you sow.

For roughly the past 15 years, Alabamians have consistently voted to place Republicans on our state's high courts. The Alabama Supreme Court now has eight Republicans and one Democrat--the result of aggressive campaign tactics led by Karl Rove, Business Council of Alabama President Bill Canary, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

In November 2007, our high court overturned most of a $3.5 billion verdict against ExxonMobil in a fraud case involving natural-gas royalties. It was an 8-1 vote, and since then, the GOPers on the Alabama Supreme Court have been known as the "Exxon Eight."

Guess where much of their campaign funding came from? According to a report from Scott Horton, of Harper's, it was largely from ExxonMobil. Those same business sources largely funded the campaign of Governor Bob Riley.

When Riley had a chance to appeal the Alabama Supreme Court's unlawful ruling, one that ignored clear legal precedent, what did he do? He did nothing.

Now Riley says he's going to be tough on BP as an oil spill approaches the Alabama coast. The Mobile Press-Register reports:

Riley said BP Plc, which operated the Deepwater Horizon well that blew up April 20 and caused the spill, will ultimately be responsible for those claims.

BP officials did not return calls for comment Thursday. Riley did not say that the company had agreed to honor such claims. When asked if the company would, Riley said, "They are the responsible party."

BP has agreed to reimburse the state for the costs it incurs preparing for and cleaning up the oil spill, Riley said.

Right Guv, BP is going to reimburse Alabama the way ExxonMobil did back in 2007 for its fraudulent actions. You're going to hold big oil's feet to the fire now, aren't you?

What's Riley going to say next, "Good job, Brownie"? Isn't it fun to watch Republicans deal with disasters caused by their pro-business supporters?

It's starting to look like Mother Nature is a liberal. And she doesn't take kindly to conservative states that continually mock her. When you piss off Mother Nature, she can extract a fearsome price. Will Alabamians ever learn?


UPDATE: What could this mean for Alabama's environment? Some insight comes from an excellent article about the rare diamondback terrapin, which makes its home on our state's coast. Biologists at UAB in Birmingham have been trying to save this turtle for several years. Articles ncludes a beautiful picture of a creature that is rarely seen:

Oil Slick Threatens Rare Turtle

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Right on, Schnauzer. Republicants are tripping all over themselves, eye-deep in their duplicity here in Dixie.

tsisageya said...

Great post, Schnauzer. I couldn't have said it better myself.

Anonymous said...

I bet Rob Riley Jr goes into the oil cleanup business.

legalschnauzer said...

Anon No. 2

LOL. What a hoot! Hard to find anything amusing about this, but I appreciate your ability to provide a laugh when all of us in Alabama need it.

Robby Scott Hill said...

I used to work for the State Lands Division of the Alabama Department of Conservation, the agency charged with regulating the offshore rigs. In many cases, my supervisors just let them put the rigs out there with no inspections, no proof of insurance or safety documentation other than a short letter saying hey guys, we are here and we started drilling like two months ago. Yes, they actually let them go out there and start drilling and allow them to make all the paper work right weeks or months after drilling operations begin. Sometimes we didn't get the paperwork until months after the well went dry and was closed. In Alabama, you have to jump over more legal hurdles to operate a motor vehicle than you do to operate an offshore oil rig. The cops will come down on us like a ton of bricks for not having proof of insurance in our car or having a blown headlight, but they dare not bother the oil rig operators.

Native Georgian said...

Not to mention all the other dumping on Alabama. Here in NW Georgia--the Coosa basin's headwaters, we steal from Alabama every time we turn on the tap--and we pay back every time we flush the toilet. From the headwaters of the Etowah River, before it even leaves the national forest above Dahlonega flowing downhill, Alabama's big river gets a load of effluent from the Army's Camp Merrill. Then passing landfills, power plants, sewer plants, Rome's PCBs, Anniston's mercury, lead, and PCBs. The stainmaster (PFOA) from Dalton's carpet plants must be really slick to drink, shower and cook with--GPB radio has a 10 part series about that cancer poison. When the sewage lagoons got regulated in the hog and chicken farms of NC after they flooded in the late 90's, they moved to North Alabama, too. The sanctity of corporate feed lots is a God-given right, protected in Alabama. And the OK AG couldn't get AL interested in the arsenic-in-chicken-litter class action suit: 15x more toxic than lead, but good for Alabama, even in organic soil and foods!

The seafood was already pretty nasty. I quit eating it when I looked around after chemistry classes, over 30 years ago. Those dispersants will make it even more poisonous.

Go Bob. Vote GOP, neighbors. Thanks for the use of the water, and keep buying our lottery tickets--our GOP Gov is killing the other education funds--he's looking after the elites, too.

Anonymous said...

Now come on folks, you haven't got it fully figured out - yet...
If Rob Riley can get in on the legal action -THEN there will be some action by big Bob...

legalschnauzer said...

Rob:

It's scary that state regulation is that lax. Thanks for sharing your insider's knowledge.

Wish you could share what you know with the mainstream press. Alabama papers, of course, won't be interested. Wonder if the NYT, or someone of that ilk, should hear about this.

That's horrible that companies can just show up off the gulf and start drilling for oil with virtually no oversight.

Have you seen Jason Leopold's excellent article at Truthout about BP's pathetic record on safety and regulatory issues?

This is a national scandal.

How many times have we heard politicians say, "We need to run the government like a business."

Well, this is what happens when you run something like a business.

Kevin K. said...

The way I see it, conservatives are going to use this issue to make them appear to be on the side of the individual, attacking BP and claiming the corporation will be held accountable, but once this is far from the headlines, a little backroom dealing will relieve the pressures off of the companies and place increased burdens on the taxpayers. In exchange, some campaign contributions will be made, some more conservatives will be elected, and then it will be business as usual...

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