Ana’s Feed: Corporate Hubris, The True Cost of Chevron, and More Oil

When Corporations Rule Federal Agencies

The fatal disasters at the Upper Big Branch Mine and Deepwater Horizon are fresh evidence the Bush-Cheney corporate culture continues in some federal agencies charged with overseeing industry. President Obama needs to change that culture fast.

Formal investigations are underway, but it appears that lax federal oversight and enforcement, combined with corporate corner-cutting and greed, are implicated in both of the energy industry tragedies — the worst coal mine disaster in 40 years and the worst oil spill in U.S. history. Massey Energy’s mine and BP’s drilling ship in the Gulf were subject to federal oversight. In both cases, oversight failed.

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The True Cost of Chevron: An Alternative Annual Report

In April 2010 Chevron released its 2009 Annual Report. It would not take long for the cover design – Chevron’s Gulf of Mexico ultra-deepwater drillship, the Discoverer Clear Leader – to seem a terribly poor choice.

Just days prior to publication, 18,000 gallons of crude oil spilled from a Chevron operated pipeline in the Delta National Wildlife Refuge in southeastern Louisiana.

A far worse disaster struck less than two weeks later. The largest blowout of an oil and gas well in the Gulf of Mexico in 30 years killed eleven people and saturated the surrounding areas in a blanket of oily destruction. The rig was owned and operated by Transocean, the same company with which Chevron has a five-year contract to operate the Discoverer Clear Leader, among other Chevron offshore rigs.

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U.S. launches criminal probe of BP spill

Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday that federal authorities have opened criminal and civil investigations into the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill.

Holder would not specify which companies or individuals might be the targets of the probe, saying he did not “want to cast aspersions” while investigators come to their conclusions.

He said federal clean air and pollution laws give him the power to open the investigations, which he added had been going on for “some weeks.”

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