How’s BP holding up after the “shakedown”?

The NYT article directly below is a must read. The oil industry “is among the most heavily subsidized businesses,” according to the tax code.  Yet the oil industry would have us believe that imposing an extra tax to pay for clean up — even with all the subsidies and profits — would transform our country into Thunderdome. And catch the videos below — there are allegations that BP has been dumping sand on the beaches to cover the oil.


NYT: As Oil Industry Fights a Tax, It Reaps Billions From Subsidies

When the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform set off the worst oil spill at sea in American history, it was flying the flag of the Marshall Islands. Registering there allowed the rig’s owner to significantly reduce its American taxes.

The owner, Transocean, moved its corporate headquarters from Houston to the Cayman Islands in 1999 and then to Switzerland in 2008, maneuvers that also helped it avoid taxes.

At the same time, BP was reaping sizable tax benefits from leasing the rig. According to a letter sent in June to the Senate Finance Committee, the company used a tax break for the oil industry to write off 70 percent of the rent for Deepwater Horizon — a deduction of more than $225,000 a day since the lease began.

With federal officials now considering a new tax on petroleum production to pay for the cleanup, the industry is fighting the measure, warning that it will lead to job losses and higher gasoline prices, as well as an increased dependence on foreign oil.

But an examination of the American tax code indicates that oil production is among the most heavily subsidized businesses, with tax breaks available at virtually every stage of the exploration and extraction process. Continued…



BP admits failing to use industry risk test at any of its deepwater wells in the US

However, BP admitted to The Sunday Telegraph that it does not use safety cases on any of its US wells, including the high-pressure deep water Macondo well from which up to 60,000 barrels of oil per day are still leaking in the Gulf of Mexico.

It is now 75 days since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded and sank, killing 11 men and triggering the catastrophic spill.

The US Government wants to make the safety case process a legal requirement for floating offshore drilling – one of five recommendations to change processes in the Gulf. More…



In another effort to repair its image, BP picks up tab for fireworks show in Colorado.

… The display typically costs $15,000 and city officials were poised to cancel it because of a budget crunch. But representatives of BP’s office in southwestern Colorado surprised the council by announcing the company would pick up the tab.Company spokesman Curtis Thomas says BP knows how important the celebration is to the community and didn’t want it to be lost. He says BP hasn’t asked for any advertising in exchange for its donation.

Many conservative leaders have jumped on the “shakedown” bandwagon, seeing BP’s $20 billion for an escrow fund as a real danger to the company’s viability. But if the company can pay for fireworks and baseball trophies while launching aggressive media campaigns and funding a front group to downplay the disaster, BP can cover its responsibility to the victims in the Gulf.


Has BP been dumping sand on the beaches in order to cover up oil? Via Allison Kilkenny: (Louisiana)

See more videos of Pensacola Beach here


BP, British Petroleum, Deepwater Horizon, drill baby drill, GOP, gulf oil spill, nature, offshore drilling, video

The New Yorker


(best roof talk ever) » (newyorker)

The world’s whitest beaches. Past tense.

The other day I posted this video about tar balls washing ashore on Destin Beach (near Pensacola Beach). You can’t see the tar balls anymore, thanks to the oil.

Fortunately, people aren’t out swimming on this beach – with or without Goo Gone (they were doing that on the Destin Beach in the first video).

And Joe Barton will probably apologize to BP for all this sand soaking up their oil.

BP: Covering the planet


[The High Definite]

This is how Republicans would govern: BP 114*

Regarding Joe Barton’s apology to BP this week,  this morning White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel told Jake Tapper on ABC’s This Week:



That’s not a political gaffe. Those were prepared remarks. That is a philosophy,” said Emanuel.

“That is an approach — they see the aggrieved party here as BP, not the fishermen. Remember, this is not just one person. Rand Paul running for Senate in Kentucky. What did he say?


He said, the way BP was being treated was un-American. Other members of the Republican leadership have come to the defense of BP and attacked the administration for forcing them to set up an escrow account and fund it to the level of $20 billion. These aren’t political gaffes,” Emanuel continued.

“I think what Joe Barton did is remind the American people, in case they forgot, this is how Republicans would govern,” he said.

*BP 114 = 114 members of the Republican Study Committee opposed to the president’s $20-billion escrow fund for oil spill victims.


Tell Republicans “Stop Apologizing to Big Oil”


Nemo finds an oil spill


BP’s Circle of Truth:

An ever-expanding phenomenon


Mr. Science explains how we get oil


[What Would Jack Do?]

VIDEO: Republicans Oppose Oil Spill Escrow Fund, Apologize to BP





Shakedown updates:

Michele Bachmann joins in:

Little Green Footballs: The GOP Cornucopia of Crazy around the BP oil spill continues unabated, with yet another boneheaded statement by Michele Bachmann (R-Mars).

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) on Wednesday warned the Obama administration against using oil giant BP as a ‘permanent ATM card’ and more broadly alleged there are increasing federal efforts to “take over private industry.”…

Bachmann said on the CNN program “John King, USA” that BP must pay for damages, but added, “We don’t want these payouts to become political.”

“We don’t think it’s a good idea for the federal government to see private industry as essentially a piggy bank for the federal government,” she said.

Why would Barton apologize to BP?

NYDailyNews: Barton is also one of Big Oil’s biggest boosters and once touted off-shore drilling as so advanced it can function around the clock “without so much as losing a gum wrapper over the side of the platform.”

Before his election to Congress, Barton was an executive with ARCO, which was later acquired by BP.

He has taken $1.4 million in campaign contributions from the industry since 1989, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Barton apologizes for apologizing to BP for ‘Obama’s shakedown’

Little Green Footballs:

“I apologize for using the term ‘shakedown’ with regard to yesterday’s actions at the White House in my opening statement this morning, and I retract my apology to BP. As I told my colleagues yesterday and said again this morning, BP should bear the full financial responsibility for the accident on their lease in the Gulf of Mexico. BP should fully compensate those families and businesses that have been hurt by this accident. BP and the federal government need to stop the leak, clean up the damage, and take whatever steps necessary to prevent a similar accident in the future.

“I regret the impact that my statement this morning implied that BP should not pay for the consequences of their decisions and actions in this incident.”


The GOP mind: a $20 billion dollar “shakedown”

You know the $20 billion dollar fund that BP agreed to finance, to pay for damages resulting from their oil disaster on the Gulf? Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) apologized to BP this morning, saying the fund was a “$20 billion shakedown.”

Media Matters:


“I’m ashamed of what happened in the White House yesterday,” said Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.) during a hearing on Thursday morning with BP’s CEO Tony Hayward. “I think it is a tragedy in the first proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown — in this case a $20 billion shakedown — with the attorney general of the United States, who is legitimately conducting a criminal investigation and has every right to do so to protect the American people, participating in what amounts to a $20 billion slush fund that’s unprecedented in our nation’s history, which has no legal standing, which I think sets a terrible precedent for our nation’s future.”

“I’m only speaking for myself. I’m not speaking for anyone else, but I apologize,” Barton added. “I do not want to live in a county where anytime a citizen or a corporation does something that is legitimately wrong, [it is] subject to some sort of political pressure that, again, in my words, amounts to a shakedown.”

…Several members of the GOP have rushed to distance themselves from Barton’s comments, with Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL) actually calling for Barton to resign his committee post.

Isn’t it a funny coincidence that Barton used to work for Atlantic Richfield (ARCO), which is now owned by BP?

Guess Barton’s Largest Corporate Donor?

Nate Silver finds that Anadarko Petroleum has given nearly $150,000 to Rep. Joe Barton’s (R-TX) —  $56,500 in PAC donations and another $90,000 in individual contributions.

It turns out Anadarko is also BP’s partner on the site where the massive oil leak occurred, and according to Dow Jones, has already been invoiced by BP for its share of the clean up costs.


Who needs more emotion when you can get actual results?

No one needs another “emotional” president swaggering around with a codpiece in his pants, saying “dead or alive” and “evil doers” to excite his base. Our country needs results – and that’s exactly what Obama brought the victims of the Gulf Coast today.

  1. The White House
    whitehouse President met with BP execs this morning, speaks to the press shortly, watch live


  1. Mark Knoller
    markknoller Obama confirms BP agreed to $20-billion escrow account to pay oil spill claims. To be administered by independent atty Ken Feinberg.


  1. Jake Tapper
    jaketapper POTUS said $20 billion escrow fund was not a cap, nor did it preclude folks seeking payments from BP in court


idiot former half-term governor is idiotic


Bob Cesca: Damn you, President Obama, for not calling the Dutch to build a dyke at the bottom of the ocean.

Steve Benen adds:

For the record, the government did accept the assistance of foreign countries, including skimmers and boom from Mexico, three sets of Koseq sweeping arms from the Dutch, and eight Norwegian skimming systems. Palin is whining that the administration didn’t do what the administration has already done.

Ah, yes. The “old proverbial” can’t even get a phone call back.

Mock BP Tuesday

Obama’s Oval Office Address: 8 PM ET

His first address to the nation from the Oval office — about the oil catastrophe.

But first:

House Energy & Enviro Subcommittee: 9:30 AM ET

The Subcommittee will ask the “big five” today: is BP the exception or the rule?

TODAY — 0930/1330: House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment hearing on oil spill with heads of five big oil companies. Exxon Mobil Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson, Chevron Corp Chairman and CEO John Watson, ConocoPhillips Chairman and CEO James Mulva, BP America President and Chairman Lamar McKay and Shell Oil Co President Marvin Odum testify. Link…

Watch online:

Today at 9:30am (ET) on C-SPAN3: House Energy and Commerce Subcmte. Hearing with Executives From ExxonMobil, Chevron Corp., ConocoPhillips, BP America Inc. and Shell Oil Co.



[The Daily]

Tony Hayward: born lucky

Thank goodness he cashed in 1/3 of his stock one month BEFORE the oil disaster, before BP’s stock tanked, so he could pay off the family mansion.


Meanwhile at BP HQ …



BP may be barred from doing business with U.S.


BP Plc may lose control of its U.S. oil and natural gas wells and be barred from doing business with the federal government as punishment for the worst oil spill in U.S. history, industry and regulatory analysts said.

President Barack Obama and lawmakers are debating penalties that would cripple the company’s ability to do business in the U.S. as public outrage intensifies. In addition to BP’s culpability in the Gulf of Mexico spill, a 2005 explosion at BP’s Texas City refinery that killed 15 workers and a 2006 pipeline leak that dumped 200,000 gallons of crude at Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, will figure in the debate. More…

Floating ideas

Let’s Move the Problem


The Twitters: