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Thread: Why Not Feel Sorry for BP?

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    Why Not Feel Sorry for BP?

    Why Not Feel Sorry for BP? by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

    It was 21 years ago that the Exxon-Valdez leaked oil and unleashed torrents of environmental hysteria. Rothbard got it right in his piece "Why Not Feel Sorry for Exxon?"

    After the BP-hired drilling rig exploded last week, the environmentalists went nuts yet again, using the occasion to flail a private corporation and wail about the plight of the "ecosystem," which somehow managed to survive and thrive after the Exxon debacle.

    The comparison is complicated by how much worse this event is. Eleven people died. BP market shares have been pummeled. So long as the leak persists, the company loses 5,000–10,000 barrels a day.

    BP will be responsible for cleanup costs far exceeding the federal limit of $75 million. The public relations nightmare will last for a decade or more. In the end, the costs could reach $100 billion, perhaps wrecking the company and many other businesses.

    It should be obvious that BP is by far the leading victim, but I've yet to see a single expression of sadness for the company and its losses. Indeed, the words of disgust for BP are beyond belief. The DailyKos sums it up: "BP: Go f*** yourselves." Obama’s press secretary, Robert Gibbs, said that the government intended to keep "its boot on BP’s neck."

    How about reality? The incident is a tragedy for BP and all the subcontractors involved. It will probably wreck the company, a company that has long helped provide the fuel that runs everything from our cars to our industries, and keeps alive the very body of modern life. The idea that BP should be hated and denounced is preposterous; there is every reason to express great sadness for what has happened.

    It is not as if BP profits by oil leaks, or that anyone reveled in the chance to dump its precious oil all over the ocean. Its own CEO has worked for years to try to prevent precisely this kind of accident, and did so not out of the desire to comply with regulations, but because it is good business practice.

    In contrast to the families and others who are weeping, we might ask who is happy about the disaster: the environmentalists, with their fear mongering and hatred of modern life, and the government, which treats every capitalist producer as a bird to be oiled and plucked. The environmentalists are thrilled because they get yet another chance to wail and moan about the plight of their beloved swamps and other supposedly sensitive land. The loss of fish is sad, but it is not as if they will not come back: after the Exxon-Valdez trouble, the fishing was better than ever in just one year.

    The main advantage to the environmentalists is their propaganda victory in having yet another chance to rail against the evils of oil producers and ocean drilling. If they have their way, oil prices would be vastly higher, there would never be another refinery built, and all development of the oceans would stop in the name of "protecting" things irrelevant to human life.

    The core economic issue concerning such a spill is liability. In a world of private property, if you soil someone else's property, you bear the liability. But what about a world in which government owns vast swaths, and the oceans are considered the commons of everyone? It becomes extremely difficult to assess damages.

    There is also a problem with federal limits on liability. The liability for damaging people or property should be 100%. Such a system would match a company's policies to the actual risk of doing damage. Lower limits would inspire companies to be less concerned about damage to others than they should be, in the same way that a company with a bailout guarantee will be more reckless than in a free market.

    But such a liability rule presumes ownership, so that owners themselves are in a position to enter into fair bargaining and there can be some objective test. There is no objective test when the oceans are collectively owned, and where the coasts are government owned.

    "Every American affected by this spill should know this: your government will do whatever it takes for as long as it takes to stop this crisis," Obama says. Are we really supposed to believe that government is better able to deal with this disaster than private industry? The government and its army of bureaucrats is only a hindrance. And meanwhile, the Obama administration must be thrilled to have an old-fashioned change of subject, so that we don't have to notice every single day that its economic stimulus has been an incredible flop, with unemployment higher today than a year ago, and the depression still persisting.

    Why, by the way, when every natural disaster is hailed by the Keynesian media for at least having the stimulative effect of rebuilding, is nothing like this said about the oil spill? At least in this case, losses seem to be recognized as losses.

    The abstraction called the "ecosystem" – which never seems to include humans or their civilization – has done far less for us than the oil industry. So let us not forget that the greatest tragedy here is BP’s and its subsidiaries’ and subcontractors’, and the private enterprises affected by the losses that no one intended. If the result is a shutdown of drilling and further regulation of private enterprise, people will lose. And that is what counts.
    "So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides 1.20.3

  2. #2
    Senior Contributor bonehead's Avatar
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    Me thinks some one had a lot of BP stock. BP played fast and loose which brought them record profits lately, but when things go wrong they go horribly wrong. BP worked for this disaster, pure and simple. The environmentalists did not build the well, run the well, nor did they blow it up. Going after them now as oil is dripping on hundreds of miles of gulf coast beaches shows what an ass clown this author is. He also totally missed the boat about the spill in Alaska. Some species are not yet in the "survive and thrive" mode from the Exxon spill.The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill – 20 Years After: The Analysis : EcoLocalizer In fact many Fishermen never recovered their loses from the spill.

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    The loss of fish is sad, but it is not as if they will not come back: after the Exxon-Valdez trouble, the fishing was better than ever in just one year.
    The author is on crack.

    The Herring fishery never did recover, pink salmon took 18 years and were finally listed as "recovered" in 2007. But the runs today are still smaller than they were before the spill, and only 10 of the 27 monitored species are listed as recovered today.

    The shellfish are gone, along with them the otters and a lot of the seabirds that fed on the clams and mussels. You can go to the beach in PWS and dig a hole and still get oil. The beaches smell like a gas station.

    I defy anyone to get someone from Cordova to say the effects are gone today. That oil will linger for decades.

    This one in the Gulf will be just as bad when it's all said and done. Maybe a lot worse.

    I don't know what caused the blowout, but I have no sympathy for BP. They have a long history of neglecting maintenance and safety issues.

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    Senior Contributor Bigfella's Avatar
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    Finally something we can agree on.

    Quote Originally Posted by highsea View Post
    The author is on crack.
    Once read some chioce quotes by a very well qualified US officer & combat veteran who worked with Paul Wolfowitz in the Pentagon. Said he was a nice enough guy, but he was 'crack smoking stupid'. Perhaps he knows the author.


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    Quote Originally Posted by highsea View Post
    The author is on crack.

    The Herring fishery never did recover, pink salmon took 18 years and were finally listed as "recovered" in 2007. But the runs today are still smaller than they were before the spill, and only 10 of the 27 monitored species are listed as recovered today.

    The shellfish are gone, along with them the otters and a lot of the seabirds that fed on the clams and mussels. You can go to the beach in PWS and dig a hole and still get oil. The beaches smell like a gas station.

    I defy anyone to get someone from Cordova to say the effects are gone today. That oil will linger for decades.

    This one in the Gulf will be just as bad when it's all said and done. Maybe a lot worse.

    I don't know what caused the blowout, but I have no sympathy for BP. They have a long history of neglecting maintenance and safety issues.
    Wow, that's beyond tragic. God, help us if it's the Gulf states future.

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    I'm no enviro-nut, we need to exploit our own resources. I'm also no fan of the oil companies, I believe they engage in collusion and price fixing, and I know they cut corners when it comes to safety and maintenance.

    The oil industry in general, and especially offshore drilling, needs to revamp their corporate cultures. They need to take the same approach as the nuclear industry when it comes to their process controls and equipment specifications.

    Dumping millions of gallons of crude oil into the ecosystem is completely unacceptable.

    From what I have been able to glean from the hearings so far, there were some real issues with the Horizon operation. Pressure tests before the blowout showed a problem, 1400 PSI on one side and 0 PSI of the other meant a blockage in the lines. They should have ceased all operations immediately until they could resolve that issue. 11 people lost their lives.

    The BOP was mislabeled and modified at least twice. ROV's spotted hydraulic fluid leaking from the lines. Those rams aren't going to do their job if they don't have hydraulic fluid. One of the 5 rams had been converted to a test ram, so it couldn't be used to close the casing. At least one of the batteries in the emergency kill panel was dead.

    Even with the known problem wrt the pressure, Halliburton evacuated the drilling mud from the standpipe before placing the final cement cap in the well. That took pressure off the cement that was already placed, and probably contributed to the blowout.

    The last thing I want to know is where the BOP was manufactured. Cameron has a plant in China and one in Texas. Was this BOP made in China? They are a lot more lax in their material specs than we are.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roosveltrepub View Post
    Wow, that's beyond tragic. God, help us if it's the Gulf states future.

    The Gulf states have 1 small mercy, the bulk of the oil is trapped by pressure and cold on the seal floor as a giant tar lake. Very little of the oil as a percentage of the spill will actually reach the surface. There will be a lot of oil that does, but thankfully not 200,000 gallons a day.

    That being said, I do feel for BP and the other companies. They are a big part of a lot of ma and pa 401k's and the economic hit to them comes at a very bad time, its another part of the tragedy.


    I'll also root for BP, they have jumped in front of the problem rather than play the its not my fault game. They (or those they hired) made some huge mistakes, but corporate responsibility is better late than never.

    Big thumbs down to Obama, instead of acting like the Administration was the Inquisition, it should have jumped in with both feet to solve the problem, not merely punish who ever might be at fault (or who ever it is politically useful to blame.) I expect the Haliburton connection will be used to crucify Dick Cheney and via him GW Bush as yet another blame Bush event.

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    Resident Curmudgeon Military Professional Gun Grape's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    The Gulf states have 1 small mercy, the bulk of the oil is trapped by pressure and cold on the seal floor as a giant tar lake. Very little of the oil as a percentage of the spill will actually reach the surface. There will be a lot of oil that does, but thankfully not 200,000 gallons a day.
    Thats not a good thing Z. It would be much better if the stuff were floating on the surface. The sweet crude, could then disburse and most of its components evaporate. With it staying on the seafloor,its destroying a vital part of the gulf ecosystem.

    The seafloor is where all the plankton lives that shrimp eat. 75% of all US shrimp come from the gulf. Most of it from the area of the spill. Same with crabs. Its also just past breeding season. There are lots of eggs and hatchlings from Tuna, Grouper Snapper and other fish that this thing is wiping out.

    Right now, what is helping out are the winds. Its keeping the oil off the beach. But you will run into the slick about 60 miles south off Panama City.

    Fishing has been banned from about Mobile Bay, they are looking at closing it west from Apalachicola, within the next 2 weeks.
    Last edited by Gun Grape; 15 May 10, at 19:16.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gun Grape View Post
    Thats not a good thing Z. It would be much better if the stuff were floating on the surface. The sweet crude, could then disburse and most of its components evaporate. With it staying on the seafloor,its destroying a vital part of the gulf ecosystem.
    not at a 5000' depth its not.

    The seafloor is where all the plankton lives that shrimp eat. 75% of all US shrimp come from the gulf. Most of it from the area of the spill. Same with crabs. Its also just past breeding season. There are lots of eggs and hatchlings from Tuna, Grouper Snapper and other fish that this thing is wiping out.
    plankton do not live in the sea floor, they live on the surface where they are a major source of oxygen via photosynthesis. And we don't crab at 5000' depths.

    Also as I predicted the "Its really Bush's fault" tirade has begun.

    It's Bush's Oil Spill - The Daily Beast

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    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    not at a 5000' depth its not.

    plankton do not live in the sea floor, they live on the surface where they are a major source of oxygen via photosynthesis. And we don't crab at 5000' depths.[/quote]

    Its not a big puddle right there at the rig. All the gulf doesn't have the bottom at 5000 foot.

    The oil is moving. Its in the depths where shrimp/crab are.

    Not all plankton live on the surface. Plankton in the Gulf of Mexico can be found down to 1500 meters (About 4900 feet).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gun Grape View Post

    Its not a big puddle right there at the rig. All the gulf doesn't have the bottom at 5000 foot.
    Except for the lightest elements, it is indeed a big puddle of tar like gel and ice like creystals of methane.

    The oil is moving. Its in the depths where shrimp/crab are.
    The oil is moving, but the bulk of it is moving very slowly due to pressure and temperature.

    Not all plankton live on the surface. Plankton in the Gulf of Mexico can be found down to 1500 meters (About 4900 feet).
    The plankton below the sunlight are recylers and bacteria important but not nearly as critical as those it the lighted regions of the sea.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post

    The plankton below the sunlight are recylers and bacteria important but not nearly as critical as those it the lighted regions of the sea.

    Sure they are. As part of the food chain.

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