Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What You Don't Know Is Hurting You. And Me. And Everyone Else On This Planet.

I’m currently reading “Vulture’s Picnic” by Greg Palast (long, gushing review to come in the near future). I googled Exxon last night, and this is the latest news headline, dated January 19, 2012.

Exxon to pay $1.6M penalty for Yellowstone River spill

What I’ve learned from his book so far, is that to oil companies, it’s cheaper to Pay the Victims than to Prevent the Crime. (made this jpg to illustrate. do i have to put some sort of "supposedly" disclaimer so I don't get the hounds sicked on me? I hate that it's dangerous to have an opinion in this country today). In other words, if they took all the measures necessary (and very often times legally required but un-enforced) it is much cheaper to just pay for the cleanup and buy off the local victims. Preventative measures like P.I.G.S to examine the pipeline structure, valid cleanup plans and actually equipment built and ready along with personnel trained and prepared to react when the inevitable happen, all that is just money spent on “what if” when they could spend half that on a lazy “oh shit” response should the time come.


Yellowstone. Prince William Sound, Alaska. The entire Gulf Coast. These are areas that are just ruined now. There’s no going back. Irreplaceable habitats, and the local economies inextricably linked to these areas devastated. Lives ruined. Futures lost. History lost.

Instead of the bare minimum payments for cleanup costs, why don’t we demand a portion of the enormous profits that are being made off of these operations? They’ve taken a resource that belongs to no one except whoever successfully called “dibs” last, and they’ve recklessly extracted and transported it through highly sensitive areas. The bare minimum is not good enough. They do not deserve to make such ridiculous profit off of this at the expense of humanity itself. *

And if we’re not going to demand more money – seemingly the only value these type of people hold – can we at least get some lawmakers with guts and follow through to hold them to tighter scrutiny? Safety and prevention. Clear cut demands on what a total “clean up” would be defined as. That’d all be “nice.”

AND FINALLY. My rant the other day on NPR. This story is CASE IN POINT on what is being missed by supposedly mainstream “liberal” media. I checked nytimes.com, huffingtonpost.com and NPR for coverage. NY Times had (seriously, not an exaggeration) – 1 paragraph. 1 lousy paragraph, and that was on a “green blog” with a title “On our Radar” and was followed by a few other miscellaneous things. I really think framing things like this as a “green” issue, as if it’s a cozy cuddly, that’d be nice to do type thing, instead of a five-alarm crime against our heritage and future well-being, is just, well, sad.

Huffington Post and NPR just posted an Associated Press piece about it. (I didn’t see anything on NPR that it actually made it to the airwaves). And – surprise, surprise – it’s the blandest collection of words you could ever imagine. Emotionless robots write for the AP. There isn’t a pulse to be found in those letters. It makes it sound as dry as the meeting notes from a local PTA gathering. Instead it’s belying the fact that YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, pretty much the face of this country, was defiled by corporate negligence.

Here’s my favorite, infuriating bits of info from the AP article:

The same day the settlement was announced:
“Also Thursday, Exxon increased its estimate of how much crude spilled into the river during the July 1 accident near Laurel to 1,509 barrels, or more than 63,000 gallons.”

Here’s some money. Oh, by the way, it’s a lot worse than we admitted. Bye-now!
“It contains provisions to shield the company against any future lawsuits from state agencies.”

And what have they done so far?
“Only about 10 barrels of crude were recovered by cleanup crews. That's less than 1 percent of the total spilled, federal officials have said.”

“There were hundreds and hundreds of acres of land affected and it was a major oil spill.”

Yep, here ya go! 1.6 million should cover it, right boys? [carelessly shakes a bit of change out from the bottom of his pockets] Pleasure doing business with ya. See you next time!

Is there no justice in this world?**

* [Sidenote: I’m not a socialist, so go boink yourself if you want to say that. When it comes to LIMITED, ESSENTIAL RESOURCES of which no one person or company can say they created, why does the public get skinned for that? Go build a widget factory, and I won’t give a crap what you do with your profit. As long as you don’t shit on your neighbor in the process. There needs to be rights and oversights to entities that endanger the public good. STOP REPEATING small minded & loaded terminology to protect your own greed and fear based ideology. IT’S DO OR DIE TIME – stop defending the purveyors of our own demise.]

** [Trick question. There’s not. Greg Palast has proven that to me beyond a doubt.]

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