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A modest suggestion for Señor Obama…

30 May 2010

As desperate efforts continue to stop the oil spewing from beneath the ocean floor into the Gulf of Mexico, 17 countries have offered to help in some way or another, but for now BP and officials coordinating the clean-up effort have accepted assistance from only two of those countries, Mexico and Norway.

…  Though the State Department receives the offers, it is  BP and the Unified Area Command, led by the Coast Guard,  that are the entities that decide which offers to accept.  So far, the UAC has accepted skimmers and booms offered by Mexico and Norway.

(ABC News, 27 May 2010)

Sure, Mexico is glad to help out, and it is the Gulf of… that’s under attack by the criminal negligence of B.P. and Halliburton and Transocean (who under their old name, Sedco, blew out the blow-out preventers that were the culprit in the 1979 Istoc I disaster — up to now the second worst oil spill of all times).

It’s rather generous of PEMEX, considering the only reason B.P. is drilling in U.S. waters is that they were trying to get into the new field before PEMEX (which is drilling slowly and SAFELY with the assistance of the Norwegian state oil company,  Statoil, which has experience in deepwater drilling — and why the Norwegians are already in the neighborhood) started pumping.

But, there’s something else Mexico can offer the United States, and something that might be of long-term mitigation.  Given that B.P. did so badly screw up, and is dragging their feet, and is — in the words of U.S.C. 33, Chapter 26, Subchapter III,  § 1321 (Oil and hazardous substance liability), creating:

… a discharge, of oil or a hazardous substance from a vessel, offshore facility, or onshore facility is of such a size or character as to be a substantial threat to the public health or welfare of the United States (including but not limited to fish, shellfish, wildlife, other natural resources, and the public and private beaches and shorelines of the United States), the President…

… may, without regard to any other provision of law governing contracting procedures or employment of personnel by the Federal Government—

(i) remove or arrange for the removal of the discharge, or mitigate or prevent the substantial threat of the discharge; and
(ii) remove and, if necessary, destroy a vessel discharging, or threatening to discharge, by whatever means are available.

A good model for Presidents who have to deal with oil companies that drag their feet in adhering to the law — although Aguila Oil’s foot-dragging was over labor laws — was set by Lazaro Cardenas back in 1938:

No matter what he does, the right wingers call Obama a “socialist” anyway. I don’t say he needs to just take over ALL the oil companies, but — whatever means are necessary — could mean just taking everything B.P. has in the United States to “prevent the substantial threat of a discharge” and a warning to the others.

One Comment leave one →
  1. 1 June 2010 11:46 am

    I recenting did a piece on Lázaro Cárdenas:

    In the Yucatecan countryside the people still refer to him as “Tata.”


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