Exxon recommends that ducks stay out of its “diluted bitumen”

Exxon’s duck-killing pipeline won’t pay taxes to the oil spill cleanup fund. But “Drill, Baby, Drill!” – right, Arkansas?

A technicality has spared Exxon from having to pay any money into the fund that will be covering most of the clean up costs of its Arkansas pipeline spill. [...] A 1980 law ensures that diluted bitumen is not classified as oil, and companies transporting it in pipelines do not have to pay into the federal Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund. Other conventional crude producers pay 8 cents a barrel to ensure the fund has resources to help clean up some of the 54,000 barrels of pipeline oil that spilled 364 times last year. — Think Progress

Drill Baby Drill (with as little regulation as possible)

Balloon Juice:

The Wall Street Journal reports that regulators in other countries require an additional remote shutoff device for deep water wells, while the US opted for “further study” in 2003. Nobody knows if that remote control would have worked in this case, but it’s no surprise that the decision not to use these devices was justified “because they tend to be very costly.”

Is it reassuring to know that BP saved itself some money, drilling offshore here in the U.S.? Or that BP will have to pay no more than $75 billion for the Deepwater Horizon spill, while a federal government ‘rainy day’ fund will probably spend $1 billion of its $1.6 billion reserves for the cleanup?


Satellite images analysed by the University of Miami suggest the slick has ballooned to an area the size of Puerto Rico.

The entire Eastern Seaboard is now threatened:


Obama’s Katrina? Not quite.

David Neiwert (Crooks & Liars):

Of course, the right-wingers are trying to find some way to blame President Obama for this mess.

And while it’s true that Obama’s announcement last month favoring some new offshore projects is now looking woefully misbegotten, let’s not forget where this disaster came from: the world of Halliburton and Dick Cheney and his secret energy talks.

Indeed, this oil spill is a clear product of Republican “small government” philosophy: the belief that you could and should “free the market” to drill anywhere at any time, and with as little regulatory oversight, including both environmental and safety standards. That’s how BP talked the government into letting it drill at such great depths with as little surety that a blowout would not occur as it did, nor with any reckoning of the potential consequences of a blowout.

Consequences that are just about to hit our shores. Quite literally.

Not only is the Republican philosophy of small government, less regulation directly responsible for too little oversight on these types of operations (and their potential for catastrophic damage), but it’s not clear what exactly the rightwing critics would have the Obama Administration doing differently (or more of) at this point.

Steve Benen:

…White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs published a lengthy item to the White House blog, detailing the federal response, which began immediately after the BP Oil Spill began on April 20

The word “immediately” is used quite a bit to accurately describe the speed with which officials reacted to developments, including the responses from the Defense Department, DHS, Interior, EPA, and NOAA. It appears to be as aggressive a governmental response as can be imagined under the circumstances.

And yet, while no one seems able to point to anything specific that the administration should do, or should have done, that hasn’t happened, coverage continues to suggest that the federal response is somehow incomplete. Just because.

President Obama will be in the area today, and has already halted new offshore oil drilling leases. Talk-show host Bill Maher insisted the other day that the president should be “getting more s**t” over the BP disaster, but he, like conservatives who’ve been saying the same thing, was a little vague on why.

The response was immediate — that same day — and has been ongoing. The fact of the matter is that Bush will always be remembered for Katrina and, whether they like it or not, the GOP walks in his shadow. It’s a safe bet that the Right will hereafter label anything even remotely similar to Katrina as “[Enter generic Democrat's name]‘s Katrina.” It’s an attempt at one of two things: absolution or tit for tat.

update: related

• Deepwater Horizon oil spill: Is this Halliburton’s Katrina?
Thank Dick Cheney and His Meetings With Oil Industry Execs for Lack of Safeguards on Oil Rigs