This week’s top news included a strange apology to BP by Congressman Joe Barton, (R) Texas, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Energy and Environment. According to the Center for Responsive Politics Congressman Barton has taken $1.4 million in campaign contributions from the oil industry since 1989.
Barton, a former oil and gas consultant with Atlantic Richfield and Gas Company (ARCO) which is now part of BP, said at the House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations hearing on June 17, 2010 with BP CEO, Tony Hayward:
“But I’m ashamed of what happened in the White House yesterday. I think it is a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown.”
There was no “shakedown” of BP’s CEO by President Obama and his administration as Barton claims. In May BP publicly pledged on its own to compensate those affected by the Gulf Oil disaster.
OMG Cat Reacts to Congressman Barton
Rachel Maddow: Joe Barton Apologizes To BP & Tony Hayward
Oh, the political fallout:
Republican leaders were unhappy with Barton’s misplaced public apology to BP. What was Barton thinking? Especially with the November elections on the horizon. And, as a result Barton later that same day returned to the hearing room and apologized about his prior apology to BP. Barton tried to retract his earlier statement by saying:
“If anything I’ve said this morning has been misconstrued…I want to apologize for that misconstruction.”
MEAOW – why why why was Barton so protective and concerned about BP? This is the company that cut corners in drilling the deepwater well in order to save money and get the oil out faster which resulted in multiple well construction failures that lead directly to the biggest environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and included 11 tragic deaths of people at the drill site. Yet, Barton felt he personally had to apologize to BP.
Remember in May 2010 BP vowed it would pay for the victims of the Gulf Oil Spill. Remember that BP decided to create the $20 Billion fund for people affected by the oil leak now reaching the beautiful Gulf Coast shores in many states.
Flawed Energy Policies under G. W. Bush Lead to Poor Regulations of Deepwater Wells
It turns out that the very reason that BP was able to drill the Deepwater Horizon well goes back to the 2005 Energy Bill passed under George W. Bush that incorporated advice from the secret meetings with Dick Cheney’s Energy Task Force.
Who made up the “National Energy Task Force?” Well, Cheney did everything he could to prevent that information from reaching the light of day. However, in 2007, 6 years after the task force was assembled, the Washington Post revealed the list.
Dick Cheney’s 2001 Energy Task Force Guys from Big Oil:
According to the Washington Post article on July 18, 2007 by Michael Abramowitz and Steven Mufson, the list of oil and gas industry executives who visited Cheney’s 2001 Energy Task Force read like a who’s who of Big Oil & Energy companies:
One of the first visitors, on Feb. 14, was James J. Rouse, then vice president of Exxon Mobil and a major donor to the Bush inauguration; a week later, longtime Bush supporter Kenneth L. Lay, then head of Enron Corp., came by for the first of two meetings. On March 5, some of the country’s biggest electric utilities, including Duke Energy and Constellation Energy Group, had an audience with the task force staff.
British Petroleum representatives dropped by on March 22, one of about 20 oil and drilling companies to get meetings. The National Mining Association, the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America and the American Petroleum Institute were among three dozen trade associations that met with Cheney’s staff, the document shows.
…Cheney had other meetings, such as with John Browne, then the chief executive of BP, that were not listed on the task force’s calendar.
Dick Cheney’s 2001 Energy Task Force’s Executive Director Andrew D. Lundquist
Andrew D. Lundquist has moved easily between high level administrative energy policy related government jobs to oil industry lobbyist. Before becoming the Executive Director of Cheney’s secretive Energy Task Force in 2001, Lundquist was an aide to Republican Senator Ted Stevens and Senator Frank Murkowski of Alaska. In 2000 he then became G.W. Bush’s Presidential Campaign “energy expert” and was nicknamed “Light Bulb” by G. W. Bush.
According to the above referenced Washington Post article,
lobbyist Lundquist has represented
“BP, Duke Energy and the American Petroleum Institute.”
Follow the BP Oil Spill Back to G. W. Bush’s Energy Policy Bill of 2005
The Center for American Progress (CAP) provides articles and related documents about the connections between Dick Cheney, Joe Barton, Tom Delay and G. W. Bush’s Energy Policy that lead directly to allowing BP and other oil companies to bypass environmental laws and prior regulations that would have required oil companies to provide more safety measures that could have possibly prevented the BP Gulf Oil Leak disaster in April 2010.
The article also reveals Congressman Joe Barton’s key role in getting the Bush Energy Bill of 2005 through the House and to eventual final passage:
“Barton shepherded a bill through the House that included tens of billions in subsidies for Big Oil and other forms of dirty energy and dozens of other provisions to reduce or eliminate royalties paid by Big Oil to taxpayers, waive or eliminate environmental and safety reviews, and otherwise enhance Big Oil’s ability to exploit our natural resources with little or no oversight and with maximum profit.”
In May 2001, Dick Cheney’s National Energy Task Force created a document called the:
As of 6/18/2010, BP has paid less than 12% of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico related damage claims so far according to PBS News Hour on June 18, 2010.