Welcome Mike Magner (NationalJournal), and Host Greg Palast (GregPalast.com) author of Vulture’s Picnic

Poisoned Legacy: The Human Cost of BP’s Rise to Power

I almost fell off the barstool when I read that it was Bain Capital (Mitt Romney, former CEO) that told oil giant BP it was a good idea to cut costs. The cuts would lead to death, mayhem and the destruction of the Gulf Coast (not to mention BP poisoning of Alaska, Africa, Central Asia and Colombia).

In 2007, after BP’s criminal negligence and penny-pinching led to the explosion at the BP oil refinery on the Gulf Coast, in Texas City, Texas, the company brought in industry pooh-bah James Baker, their lawyer and former Secretary of State, to write a report. Baker is Big Oil’s BFF, but in this case he was horrified, and told BP to get its act together and spend some real money on operating safety.

BP didn’t like Baker’s recommendation nor did it like another report by its own consulting firm, Booz Allen Hamilton, which advised the company to …get its act together and spend money on safety.

When two respected industry voices agree that you’d better start spending and thinking while you’re operating in a deadly business, a corporation’s CEO has only one choice: find a consulting house of ill repute to contradict the others and tell you what you want to hear.

That’s what BP’s CEO Tony Hayward did. In 2008, he hired Bain Capital to say the company would be better managed if it spent less money. Bain used consulting BS terms like reducing “complexity,” but it all meant the same thing: cut, cut, cut.

After all, Bain’s motto is “We like to fire people.” The oil company then fired 5,000 in response to the Bain report.

To hell with safety.

BP read Bain’s recommendations as the green light to chop funding. Of course it’s all done with Hayward’s PR pronouncement that the company would now “focus like a laser on safety”. (A laser, I’d note, is a thin beam surrounded by darkness.)

BP’s Bain-blessed, deadly, insouciant cost-cutting was the deadly habit that federal regulators identified as a cause of the Deepwater Horizon blowout.

That’s just one of the ill-making stories in Magner’s book which takes you through BP’s poisonous history before, during and after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon blowout.

Much of Magner’s opus centers on the Texas City refinery explosion which was a loud, flaming warning about allowing BP to play with matches and oil rigs. He begins and ends with the story of another refinery, Amoco’s long-closed plant at Neodesha, Kansas.

At first that sounds weird for a book about BP––but it’s an exceptionally important tale explaining how the industry hits and runs. Amoco closed its refinery decades ago, took off and left the toxins there. It takes years for toxins to kill, and Amoco’s poisons killed Lucille Campbell’s baby in 1963. And it takes more years to figure that out, which Lucille did in 1999, after BP bought Amoco.

Lucille continues to this day to fight to stop the rash of cancers and poisonings still caused by BP’s dump. The oil company has done the honorable thing: it’s gone after Lucille and her little township, attempting to smear, discredit and bankrupt her and the company’s victims.

Lucille’s fight against the petro-saur corporation is the big story of the book which you should read––in fact, you should memorize.

 

[As a courtesy to our guests, please keep comments to the book and be respectful of dissenting opinions. Please take other conversations to a previous thread. - bev]

130 Responses to “FDL Book Salon Welcomes Mike Magner, Poisoned Legacy: The Human Cost of BP’s Rise to Power”

Greg Palast June 9th, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Greg Palast here. I’ll be hosting this conversation with Mike about his killer new book, “Poisoned Legacy: The Human Cost of BP’s rise to power.”
We kick off at 5pm Eastern.

BevW June 9th, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Mike, Welcome to the Lake.

Greg, Welcome back to the Lake, and thank you for Hosting today’s Book Salon.

dakine01 June 9th, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Good afternoon Mike and welcome to FDL this afternoon. Greg, welcome back.

Mike, I have not read your book but based on the intro, I have to laugh.Both James Baker and BAH are pretty much epitomize the corporate insider and the thought that BP couldn’t satisfy either one is fairly telling for me. Is there any way to use the Baker and BAH reports in lawsuits against BP?

(Note: I am a former BAH employee from their “technology” business (technology = DoD and government side of the business back before they split))

Mike Magner June 9th, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Hi Greg, I’m very glad to be here.

Greg Palast June 9th, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Hi, Mike, welcome to FDL. First question about your superb book: You make an excellent case that BP – nee British Petroleum – really sucks. Does BP suck worse than OTHER Big Oil companies?

Mike Magner June 9th, 2012 at 2:04 pm

That would be an interesting twist, since the Baker report was commissioned by BP. But I assume the government has been reading it closely to prepare for its case in the Gulf against BP and its partners.

Greg Palast June 9th, 2012 at 2:05 pm

Do you think the government will actually bring BP to trial – or weenie out?

Mike Magner June 9th, 2012 at 2:05 pm

In terms of worker safety and environmental protection, BP may be the biggest corporate villain in history, and not just among oil companies.

dakine01 June 9th, 2012 at 2:05 pm
In response to Mike Magner @ 6

As a technical note, there is a “Reply” button in the lower right hand of each comment. Pressing “Reply” pre-fills the commenter name and comment number being replied to and makes it easier to follow the conversation.

Note: Some browses do not like to let the “Reply” function properly if it is pressed before a page completes loading after a page refresh.

BevW June 9th, 2012 at 2:06 pm

As a technical note,
there is a “Reply” button in the lower right hand of each comment. Pressing the “Reply” will pre-fill the commenter name and number you are replying to and helps for everyone in following the conversation.

(Note: If you’ve had to refresh your browser, Reply may not work correctly unless you wait for the page to complete loading)

Mike Magner June 9th, 2012 at 2:06 pm

I smell a settlement, unfortunately, especially when there’s a report that BP has put $15 billion on the table to settle all civil and criminal claims with the government. They’re obviously negotiating

Greg Palast June 9th, 2012 at 2:06 pm

Worse than Chevron poisoning indigenous tribes in the Amazon? Of course, great evil versus gigantic evil is hard to measure.

emptywheel June 9th, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Mike, welcome. Great book.

Mike Magner June 9th, 2012 at 2:08 pm
In response to Greg Palast @ 12

good point about Chevron. But if you combine all of BP’s crimes, it might be equal or worse

Greg Palast June 9th, 2012 at 2:08 pm

Obama has approved oil drilling in the Arctic for Shell (and BP and Exxon want some of the Ice Follies action). Is this particularly dangerous?

Greg Palast June 9th, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Mike,

Whatever happened to that courageous woman, Lucille Campbell, in her fight against BP? What’s the current status? (It won’t be giving away the book to say that Lucille fought for compensation for the death of her child and others by toxins left by a BP-Amoco refinery.)

Mike Magner June 9th, 2012 at 2:11 pm

btw, there’s a case of petroleum wastes poisoning an entire city in this country, too. As I write in the book, Neodesha, Kansas, has been sitting on a toxic waste site since Amoco closed its refinery there in 1970, BP inherited the mess when it bought Amoco in 1998, and it has refused to consider a full cleanup. A lawsuit filed by Neodesha in 2004 is still pending before the Kansas Supreme Court.

Teddy Partridge June 9th, 2012 at 2:11 pm

I keep thinking the world needs a great catastrophe to wake people up; then something like the Gulf disaster happens, and all over my teevee are happy Gulf citizens bragging in BP ads about how welcome tourists are this year!

What do you think it’ll take (and can the earth survive it!) for us to make the necessary changes to our energy sources?

Mike Magner June 9th, 2012 at 2:13 pm
In response to Greg Palast @ 16

I was typing that as you were asking, Greg. In October 2010, the state Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case demanding BP to clean up the city, and we’re still awaiting a ruling

Greg Palast June 9th, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Mike, Ted’s asking a question which I’d like to add to: What can the reader of your book do besides bitch about BP?

Mike Magner June 9th, 2012 at 2:14 pm
In response to Greg Palast @ 15

environmentalists up there are very worried, but it appears Shell will get final permits to start drilling in July.

Greg Palast June 9th, 2012 at 2:14 pm

When I was doing my own book on BP, Vultures’ Picnic, I got a lot of BP insiders BUT THEY WERE SCARED TO DEATH. Some for their lives in Azerbaijan, some for their jobs in the US and Europe. You get insiders? Were they afraid?

Mike Magner June 9th, 2012 at 2:15 pm
In response to Greg Palast @ 20

Congress right now is considering a transportation bill that includes an amendment to require nearly all fines that BP pays to the government to go right back into the Gulf for restoration. People can put pressure on Congress to pass that measure — that’s one thing they can do immediately

Mike Magner June 9th, 2012 at 2:17 pm

Everyone has to think more about moving toward cleaner energy, more efficiency, and less reliance on fossil fuels, but it’s going to take a long time and great culture change

Greg Palast June 9th, 2012 at 2:17 pm

Obama waited 5 days after the Deepwater Horizon blow-out to declare a national emergency and take over from BP. Is this a bit like Bush’s delay in response to Katrina?

Mike Magner June 9th, 2012 at 2:19 pm
In response to Greg Palast @ 22

The only BP people who will talk are former BP people; if you talk to the press while employed there, you won’t be for long. BP has more paranoia about the press than almost any company I’ve ever encountered, except maybe Halliburton.

dakine01 June 9th, 2012 at 2:20 pm
In response to Mike Magner @ 23

Congress right now is considering a transportation bill that includes an amendment to require nearly all fines that BP pays to the government to go right back into the Gulf for restoration.

but how likely is that given the current Republican congress that seems determined to allow the Keystone XL pipeline to be built across the most fragile water in the Oglala aquifer?

Teddy Partridge June 9th, 2012 at 2:21 pm

What steps around corporate structure might we implement (if the big oil and big bank lobbies didn’t control our Congress)? Would it make sense to de-integrate the verticality of companies like BP? Or would we simply then have the current spectacle of Halliburton/BP/the drilling company suing one another? It seems to me that if different components of any industry are at least answerable to different shareholders, there might be more concern for safety and profitability. Or are those two always in conflict?

Would a broken-up BP be a more ethical player on the planet, or not?

Mike Magner June 9th, 2012 at 2:21 pm
In response to Greg Palast @ 25

that’s actually becoming a very interesting piece of the litigation — the government seems to be headed toward charging BP with misleading them about the size of the leak from the very beginning, so it’s possible Obama was being told in the first 5 days it wasn’t that bad, based on BP information.

Greg Palast June 9th, 2012 at 2:22 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 27

I’ll answer that: It probably WILL pass … The problem, from my own investigations down in the Gulf, is that the money will go into the hands of Gov Jindal’s buddies, Shaw Construction, and also to BP Shell and Exxon themselves to replace their own restoration requirements. So the hidden fight is WHO gets the money and HOW it’s spent.

Mike Magner June 9th, 2012 at 2:22 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 27

there are Republicans backing the bill, including Shelby of Alabama and Ritter of La., so it will pass if they get their act together on the full transportation bill

Greg Palast June 9th, 2012 at 2:23 pm
In response to Mike Magner @ 29

Doubtless Obama WAS told the leak was small and BP could handle it. Is Obama too much of a naif to handle these guys, too gullible?

dakine01 June 9th, 2012 at 2:24 pm
In response to Greg Palast @ 30

So as long as a bill gives favored insiders a chance at some easy graft on the government teat, then the Rs are all for it huh (Don’tr answer, we already know the answer and it is “of course”)

Mike Magner June 9th, 2012 at 2:25 pm

even if you broke up the oil companies into different segments, you’d still have the problem of corporate coziness with the government regulators, making it easier for them to cut corners without fearing fines or shutdowns.

Greg Palast June 9th, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Is there, given the evidence you found, grounds for Obama to take away BP’s Macondo lease?

Mike Magner June 9th, 2012 at 2:26 pm
In response to Greg Palast @ 32

here’s what I worry about — not that Obama isn’t tough enough to take them on, but that he won’t do it while he’s seeking reelection for fear he’ll be attacked again as anti-oil and “killing jobs” in the energy sector. If he wins a second term, he might be tougher on BP

Greg Palast June 9th, 2012 at 2:28 pm

Mike, What made you take on BP? It looks like you started well before the Deepwater Horizon blow-out,

BevW June 9th, 2012 at 2:28 pm
In response to Mike Magner @ 34

Is the collusion of the Regulators and Industry as bad as the Financial Crisis – or worse?

Mike Magner June 9th, 2012 at 2:28 pm
In response to Greg Palast @ 35

BP insists Macondo will never be drilled again, and if they tried, I doubt very much they’d get permits, so in effect it has been taken away

Mike Magner June 9th, 2012 at 2:29 pm
In response to Greg Palast @ 37

I had a book proposal already on the Neodesha, Kansas, story, but my agent told me we needed to wait until the case played out to pitch to a publisher. then the Gulf spill occurred, and we expanded it to a book about all of BP’s environmental and worker disasters.

Greg Palast June 9th, 2012 at 2:30 pm
In response to Mike Magner @ 39

What about that tract? I see BP has five rigs back in the Gulf now.

Teddy Partridge June 9th, 2012 at 2:31 pm
In response to Mike Magner @ 36

“I bet if Obama wins a second term, he’ll….” is a fool’s errand, Mike. We’ve seen what Obama is about. He’ll just be more of the same in Term Two. Hoping and wishing that he’ll be more [insert desire here] doesn’t take into consideration the ease with which he breaks promises to the less powerful.

Don’t hang your hat on Term Two, please….

Mike Magner June 9th, 2012 at 2:32 pm
In response to BevW @ 38

boy, could it get cozier than Wall Street and the SEC? I don’t know, but the one silver lining of the Gulf spill is that they have tightened up on safety enforcement some, after spending the moratorium on deepwater drilling to strengthen the regulations.

Greg Palast June 9th, 2012 at 2:33 pm

Mike, there’s not a lot of propaganda about you in the book. What made you take on the cause of some poor schmucks in Nebraska poisoned by a refinery? What’s your own background?

Mike Magner June 9th, 2012 at 2:33 pm
In response to Greg Palast @ 41

you’re right, they are back into deepwater drilling and recently won some new leases in the auction. The government basically said it didn’t feel it could treat BP any differently as long as they met all requirements in their permit applications.

Mike Magner June 9th, 2012 at 2:34 pm

you may be right, but the way things are now with the election in five months, absolutely nothing is getting done.

bigbrother June 9th, 2012 at 2:38 pm
In response to Mike Magner @ 43

boy, could it get cozier than Wall Street and the SEC? I don’t know,
I do The Fed and Wall street. Just hand over the money to TBTF banksters like Spanish bailout of investors. Oil is the engine for the econ so stand aside.

Mike Magner June 9th, 2012 at 2:38 pm
In response to Greg Palast @ 44

to be honest, it was Lucille Campbell. I haven’t met many people who are so courageous and strong. And her battle with BP is truly David vs Goliath
I’ve been a reporter since 1975, in Michigan and in Washington DC, and a lot of my time has been spent on environmental coverage. I’ve always been fascinated by the arguments over how much harm should we allow in order to have economic growth.
I’m currently managing editor for energy and environment at National Journal.

Greg Palast June 9th, 2012 at 2:39 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 3

Hey, Dakine01. If you have any good stuff from inside BAH, go to VulturesPicnic.org > join the conspiracy
or to GregPalast.com contact Greg. I won’t give up your name even if they pull out my fingernails.

Greg Palast June 9th, 2012 at 2:40 pm
In response to Mike Magner @ 48

Any hot new stories – BP or otherwise – you’re working on?

Greg Palast June 9th, 2012 at 2:42 pm

By the way, gang, the Citizens United decision lets BP donate unlimited sums, hidden sums, into US campaigns (though BP USA has always had a big presence, including BP Alaska Pres co-chairing Bush re-election campaign). Mike, what’s worse, BP’s oil spill or cash spill?

Mike Magner June 9th, 2012 at 2:43 pm
In response to Greg Palast @ 50

The water contamination case at Camp Lejeune, biggest water-poisoning case in history, with hundreds of thousands of Marine families exposed to TCE, benzene and other contaminants in the drinking water over several decades. Marine Corps has done everything it can to cover it up or downplay it, but some determined former Marines who lost family members to cancer are demanding compensation and health coverage. Hoping to get a book deal on that soon.

Greg Palast June 9th, 2012 at 2:44 pm
In response to Mike Magner @ 52

I need to get your story on camera for Democracy Now and BBC.

Mike Magner June 9th, 2012 at 2:46 pm
In response to Greg Palast @ 51

tough call — the oil spill has been devastating for millions of people and the ecosystem in the Gulf, but the money spill is bad for all of us in the long term

Mike Magner June 9th, 2012 at 2:47 pm
In response to Greg Palast @ 53

would love to. I’ll get back to you on that for sure.

Greg Palast June 9th, 2012 at 2:48 pm

I covered a lot of the bribes paid by BP in Asia, Europe (with US and UK government approval).
Did you get any info on industry payoffs to MMS or other funny payments by BP?

Mike Magner June 9th, 2012 at 2:51 pm
In response to Greg Palast @ 56

The worst part of the cozy relations between industry and government has been the revolving door of jobs. Government inspectors constantly are offered high-paying jobs with oil and drilling companies, and just knowing that’s an option makes them go easy.

Greg Palast June 9th, 2012 at 2:52 pm

What was the most shocking thing you found out about BP – a specific horror?

jameshester12 June 9th, 2012 at 2:54 pm
In response to Mike Magner @ 55

Have you followed Chevron/Texaco case in Ecuador ??? how Chevron almost destroyed Plaintiff’s attorney Steven Donzinger and his law practice

Greg Palast June 9th, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Mike, I always ask every interviewee this. What did your dad do? Your mom? I want to get a bead on why you took on the bad guys instead of becoming one of them (and making more money)?

Mike Magner June 9th, 2012 at 2:57 pm

the cold-bloodedness — Tony Hayward went to one of the funerals for a rig worker killed on the Deepwater Horizon, but never spoke to anyone there. A parade of limos pulled up to the church, Hayward and his crew went up to the balcony to attend the service, then left without speaking to the family. Apparently he only wanted to be able to say he had attended funerals of workers.

Greg Palast June 9th, 2012 at 2:58 pm
In response to jameshester12 @ 59

Yes re Ecuador. I went into the Amazon to check out the story. Makes the Gulf Spill look like Disneyland. I discovered that Chevron destroyed evidence and now they’re after me (as they went after Donziger). Check out my report for BBC from Ecuador at GregPalast.com and read, “The Cheese Smelled Funny So We Threw It In the Jungle” chapter in Vultures’ Picnic. It’s important because BP is not the only oily villain out there.

Mike Magner June 9th, 2012 at 2:59 pm
In response to Greg Palast @ 60

I grew up in South Bend, Ind., under the shadow of the Golden Dome, where my Irish father was a CPA and my Polish mom was a wonderful stay-at-home mentor to four kids.

BevW June 9th, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Mike, in your chapter on “smart pigs” you mention Charles Hamel, who worked for Mike Gravel D-AK, and how BP drove him out of business. Could you explain the situation for our readers.

Greg Palast June 9th, 2012 at 2:59 pm
In response to Mike Magner @ 61

Nice. Well, at least Hayward didn’t sail up to the funeral in his yacht.

Mike Magner June 9th, 2012 at 3:01 pm
In response to Greg Palast @ 65

of course he would have if it had been a burial at sea

RevBev June 9th, 2012 at 3:01 pm
In response to Greg Palast @ 65

But he learned he wanted his life back…and said so.

marymccurnin June 9th, 2012 at 3:02 pm

I spent time down in Grand Isle and wrote about the BP spill in several FDL diaries. Plus, my family of origin still lives in New Orleans. After witnessing the horror both Katrina and the spill and seeing the results of fracking, I have begun to think that the corporations and our government have decided to strip the American continent of its natural resources and kill our democracy by doing so. Am I paranoid?

jameshester12 June 9th, 2012 at 3:03 pm
In response to Greg Palast @ 62

Is it possible that Chevron’s Vulture hired some cyber security company that got into emails or electronic records of their opponent to find out more about what was not in the unedited version of “Crude”. I always wondered about that

Phoenix Woman June 9th, 2012 at 3:03 pm
In response to Mike Magner @ 61

That’s…. amazing.

It’s Ayn Rand’s dystopia made flesh. Except John Galt would have gone to the funerals and laughed.

Mike Magner June 9th, 2012 at 3:04 pm
In response to BevW @ 64

Charles Hamel was an investor and operator of oil-transport business in Alaska who was ruined by BP when it shipped watered-down oil that the buyers blamed on Hamel, if I recall all the details correctly. As he investigated the case he became close to many workers up there who told him horror stories about toxic dumping and poor maintenance, and he became a conduit between workers and government agencies.

Greg Palast June 9th, 2012 at 3:07 pm
In response to Mike Magner @ 71

I would add that Hamel flew on the Concorde to warn BP’s chiefs about the dangerous conditions in Alaska. He thought they’d be concerned, instead, as Mike points out in the book, he angered the beast – which hired thugs and spies from Wackenhut Corp to attempt to entrap him and to spy on him

Mike Magner June 9th, 2012 at 3:09 pm
In response to marymccurnin @ 68

what’s really scary is the fracking process — which was developed by Halliburton — enables the industry to take gas out of shale formations almost anywhere. The Washington Post has a story today on how they’re moving into national forests to drill for gas. and this is at a time we now have so much natural gas that prices are at an all-time low. The thirst to exploit every natural resource in the earth is insatiable.

RevBev June 9th, 2012 at 3:09 pm
In response to Greg Palast @ 72

Do you see anyway to empower the regulators or any structure that would hold such people, BP/Halliburton, accountable? Where is any meaningful monitor?

marymccurnin June 9th, 2012 at 3:12 pm
In response to Mike Magner @ 73

They are fracking in Sacramento County where I live. I have heard that fracking is taking place on fault lines in CA. WTF?

Mike Magner June 9th, 2012 at 3:14 pm

I don’t hold out much hope for regulators, but if there’s enough public backlash about the damage from fracking (water contamination, destruction of ecosystems, increased climate change), perhaps companies will be forced to be more cautious. Opponents are starting to show up at stockholder meetings to protest fracking sites and are demanding more corporate responsibility. The Internet can be a powerful tool in all this, and of course Hollywood — there are at least three films in the works that expose fracking issues, including one with Brad Pitt.

Greg Palast June 9th, 2012 at 3:14 pm
In response to Mike Magner @ 73

The problem of tracking is not only environmental poisoning, but political poisoning. At it expands across the 50 states, Big Oil will now extend its colonial political empire from Louisiana and Texas from the Rockies to Pennsylvania.

jameshester12 June 9th, 2012 at 3:16 pm
In response to marymccurnin @ 75

Fracking is taking place everywhere there is a possibility of having some profits. The best defense on this subject is educate public on the dangers of water contamination. And the myth of job creation vs long term losses.

Mike Magner June 9th, 2012 at 3:17 pm
In response to Greg Palast @ 77

that’s very true — two of the biggest natural-gas companies now are ExxonMobil and BP.

Greg Palast June 9th, 2012 at 3:17 pm

Few people fighting tracking are noting one its worst dangers: Fracking will require creating or re-pressuring over 200,000 miles of pipeline in the US. BP is in charge of the Alaska pipeline and that’s a leaking mess. There is NO WAY for regulators to monitor 200,000 miles of far more dangerous gas pipe. Both Mike and I have written about the “smart pigs” that are supposed to monitor pipes. They don’t. See his chapter “Smart PIGS” and mine (in Vultures’ Picnic) “Pig in the Pipeline.”

Mike Magner June 9th, 2012 at 3:19 pm

Does anybody see the irony in the fact that as we perfect ways to drill more gas and oil from shale, China has taken over the solar-energy industry?

spocko June 9th, 2012 at 3:20 pm
In response to RevBev @ 74

I have the same question.

June 9th, 2012 at 3:21 pm
In response to Greg Palast @ 77

Wow. That’s true and scary.
The poison that breeds apathy spreading like Oil across our country.
This is a great Book Salon! Really, a good one.
Thanks Misters Palast and Magner.

Mike Magner June 9th, 2012 at 3:22 pm
In response to Greg Palast @ 80

one other infrastructure problem, too, Greg — there are something like 15 applications pending now to build Liquified Natural Gas export terminals along the coasts so we can start shipping gas overseas. There are a lot of issues with LNG too.

jameshester12 June 9th, 2012 at 3:24 pm

The big ones in US (oil companies) are not behind the solar energy yet. That is why there is not such a big push for solar. I heard the industry is capable of conversion efficiency more than 20% now a big improvement in last 10 years..

Greg Palast June 9th, 2012 at 3:24 pm

It would be safer to put ammo dumps in big cities than LNG plants.

jameshester12 June 9th, 2012 at 3:25 pm
In response to Mike Magner @ 84

safety and environmental

spocko June 9th, 2012 at 3:25 pm

When I spoke to Matt Tiabbi about Wall Street I first asked him, “What are they afraid of?”
And the. I asked,”How can we help their fear become real.”

I’ll ask the same of BP.
FYI Matt said, “not journalists, that’s for sure.”

Greg Palast June 9th, 2012 at 3:27 pm

The Chinese are winning in solar because they are aiming toward the consumer market with roof-top collectors (hot water and photovoltaic). In the US, we are focussed on giant central generating plants – huge solar projects in the desert .. all so the power companies can charge us for it. Well, if we’re lucky, the Chinese will let us work in their factories when their one-child policy finally leads to population collapse.

Mike Magner June 9th, 2012 at 3:27 pm
In response to jameshester12 @ 85

Back in the day when BP was “Beyond Petroleum” they invested billions in solar and wind, not just in the US but in Europe and elsewhere. Almost all of that has disappeared though. A couple of years ago BP shut down a big solar plant in Maryland and put hundreds out of work.

Greg Palast June 9th, 2012 at 3:29 pm

They’re not afraid of journalists in the USA. When I report on BBC, the prime minister will reply personally. The problem is the media in America – hear no evil-see no evil report on no evil. They assure us that the BP spill was an “accident.” NPR tells us the Gulf is clean: if you listen to National Petroleum Radio, bacteria ate all the oil in the Gulf. That’s why I report from exile.

jameshester12 June 9th, 2012 at 3:30 pm
In response to spocko @ 88

I worked with chemical industry’s giant. They are afraid of their image or should I say -VE publicity and above all regulations that leads to prison terms. Financial fines, they dont care that much.

Mike Magner June 9th, 2012 at 3:31 pm
In response to spocko @ 88

I gotta believe — or maybe it’s just clinging to hope — that BP fears another big accident. In the wake of Texas refinery explosion that killed 15 and injured 180 in 2005, the Alaska pipeline break that ended up shutting down production on Prudhoe Bay in 2006, and the Gulf spill in 2010, another environmental disaster would almost certainly destroy the company.

Greg Palast June 9th, 2012 at 3:33 pm
In response to jameshester12 @ 92

The problem now is that the Justice Dept has charged minnows with crimes in Deepwater Horizon – the big fish got away. As I’ve reported, BP covered up an identical blow-out in the Caspian Sea two years before the Deepwater Horizon blew. But covered it up. It wasn’t an accident – it was homicide – and I say that as a former federal investigator,.

June 9th, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Going back in the comments, the mention of Bobby J and his Buds. This might make for an interesting look at the upcoming vice president nomination. Do you think?

jameshester12 June 9th, 2012 at 3:36 pm
In response to Mike Magner @ 93

some of BP’s plants were bought out by INEOS of Europe (Chocolate Bayou, Battleground, and Hobbs etc). I hear there are lot of safety problems. BP left a culture of not paying attention to safety if money could be saved. INeos is using shovel to clean up.

Greg Palast June 9th, 2012 at 3:36 pm
In response to Mike Magner @ 93

Honestly, I’m less optimistic. BP, as you wrote Mike, was the core problem in the Exxon Valdez disaster in 1989. Then BP’s Texas City explosion, the hidden blow-out in the Caspian, Deepwater Horizon and so on. it’s cheaper to pay for the coffins and fines. 100% of the payments in the Gulf will come from BP profits there. Sure, they don’t want to pay, but they won’t spend the billions it takes to operate safely. Statoil of Norway and Petrobras of Brazil at least suggest that public ownership of oil drilling is the only way to go.

Mike Magner June 9th, 2012 at 3:37 pm
In response to demi @ 95

Jindal isn’t high on the list of veep candidates, partly because Romney doesn’t need help in Louisiana but does in states like Florida (Rubio) and Ohio (Portman)

Greg Palast June 9th, 2012 at 3:38 pm
In response to demi @ 95

If that schemy little scalawag Jindal gets the VP nod, I’ll rip the bark off him. I don’t think they’ll make my job that fun.

holeybuybull June 9th, 2012 at 3:41 pm
In response to Mike Magner @ 6

You are aware that the US government contracts with BP to supply fuel for the US armed forces, aren’t you? This government, were it contemplating legal action against BP, would have used the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico as a reason to terminate that relationship if it had any integrity. You’ll notice that it’s business as usual and Obama even did his part by swimming in the Gulf and supposedly eating the seafood. Big Oil has nothing to fear from the puppet government of the USA. No one has even been prosecuted for the murder of the eleven people who died on the rig.

jameshester12 June 9th, 2012 at 3:41 pm
In response to Greg Palast @ 99

Jindal has pissed of Sikh community that he once belonged to

June 9th, 2012 at 3:41 pm
In response to Greg Palast @ 99

Unfortunately. :)
So, blood is thicker than water, but oil is the thickest of all.

Mike Magner June 9th, 2012 at 3:42 pm

before this wraps I want to sneak in a plug for my website, http://www.poisonedlegacy.com. I’m trying to keep it up to date with BP news, and will report there when we finally get a ruling on Neodesha vs BP. If there is a god, BP will be forced to spend at least $1 billion to clean up the historic Kansas town that was built on oil and is now dying from its poisons.

Greg Palast June 9th, 2012 at 3:44 pm
In response to Mike Magner @ 103

Excellent. I’ll check it out.

And check out my own new site for the comic book and voter guide I’m putting together with Ted Rall: “BILLIONAIRES AND BALLOT BANDITS: Election Games 2012.” http://www.BallotBandits.com

holeybuybull June 9th, 2012 at 3:44 pm
In response to Greg Palast @ 12

Ecuador won their lawsuit against Chevron for the devastation they caused in the Amazon, but if they are ever made to pay it will likely be a reduced settlement decades later, like the Exxon-Valdez outcome, and totally inadequate.

spocko June 9th, 2012 at 3:46 pm
In response to Greg Palast @ 97

I agree with you about the media, part of this battle is the media’s need to always give the oil industry the last bite of the apple.

I was following up on the contaminated seafood in the gulf. I wasn’t just going up against BP’s PR offensive but the way other industries wanted to make the bad news go away. So do you do stories about the small number of shrimp used to okay the shrimp from the gulf or stories about the lack of studies about oil/corexit impact on humans? No. You do a story about Obama hosting the Saints eating gulf seafood! The pro-seafood did not want me talking to chefs and asking if they knew their Scrimp was safe. They same spin is coming from the tourism industry.

Mike Magner June 9th, 2012 at 3:46 pm
In response to holeybuybull @ 100

that is very true — a big reason the government didn’t order BP out of the Gulf after the spill began was because of the military’s reliance on their oil.
One encouraging sign, though. The Pentagon has a plan to spend billions on developing alternative energy in the next few years. They’re tired of losing troops guarding convoys of fuel in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Greg Palast June 9th, 2012 at 3:46 pm
In response to holeybuybull @ 100

Obama has to be concerned about BP’s biggest shareholder, JP Morgan.

jameshester12 June 9th, 2012 at 3:46 pm
In response to holeybuybull @ 105

where?? in NY or Ecuador.

Greg Palast June 9th, 2012 at 3:49 pm

Actually, I don’t expect Ecuadorans to collect one dime from Chevron. The company is bullying plaintiffs, lawyers and journalists (me too) . I spoke with the president of Ecuador, Correa. Now that guy has GUTS. He’ll try to seize Chevron assets worldwide, but more likely they’ll seize Ecuador’s assets. WElcome to the New World Odor.

eCAHNomics June 9th, 2012 at 3:50 pm

Late to the game but I noticed some veep speculation. The most intriguing story I’ve heard is that Ron Paul (Thiel of Paypal, google contributed $2.7 million) shilled for Romney in hopes that Rand, who has endorsed the Mittster, would get the nod.

Greg Palast June 9th, 2012 at 3:50 pm
In response to jameshester12 @ 109

Ecuador won in Ecuador – but is getting killed in New York’s fixed courtrooms. Judicially, this is the Third World.

Greg Palast June 9th, 2012 at 3:52 pm

Mike, have you heard from BP?

Mike Magner June 9th, 2012 at 3:52 pm
In response to spocko @ 106

I’m not that worried about the shrimp and other Gulf seafood available on the market today — the scientists say petrochemicals tend to be excreted by most adult marine life, and I think the same is true for Corexit. The real concern is what the chemicals have done to subtly change reproductive systems or immune systems in marine animals so that the populations will decline or become less healthy or smaller. It could take years to determine all the impacts on the seafood.

Mike Magner June 9th, 2012 at 3:53 pm
In response to Greg Palast @ 113

not one word.

eCAHNomics June 9th, 2012 at 3:53 pm
In response to Greg Palast @ 97

What’s the ror on foregoing safety spending and paying up after disasters (including lawyers fees but also the time value of money) vs. expending $$$ for disaster prevention?

Mike Magner June 9th, 2012 at 3:53 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 111

that would be great for Obama

BevW June 9th, 2012 at 3:54 pm

As we come to the end of this lively Book Salon discussion,

Mike, Thank you for stopping by the Lake and spending the afternoon with us discussing your new book and BP’s legacy of pain.

Greg, Thank you very much for Hosting this great Book Salon.

Everyone, if you would like more information:

Mike’s website (National Journal) and book (Poisoned Legacy) Website – PoisonedLegacy.com

Greg’s website (GregPalast.com) and book(s) (Vulture’s Picnic)

Thanks all, Have a great weekend.

Tomorrow – Linda Hirshman / Victory: The Triumphant Gay Revolution; Hosted by Todd Gitlin

If you would like to contact the FDL Book Salon: FiredoglakeBookSalon@gmail.com

spocko June 9th, 2012 at 3:55 pm
In response to jameshester12 @ 92

Prison terms? That is an interesting question for the Mike and Greg, have you heard of any criminal cases in the works against to officials, vs civil? Also, I try and think like the Untouchables, of they can’t get caught in one area they are protected from how about another? So for example, might they be pissing off some instutional shareholder? Sleeping with underage hookers in the Dominican republic using Viagra prescribed under someone else’s name? Do they have a love child with a regulator? Weird stuff like that?

eCAHNomics June 9th, 2012 at 3:56 pm
In response to Mike Magner @ 117

Same source sez Mitch Daniels is his odds on guess, though.

No loyalty among thieves.

Mike Magner June 9th, 2012 at 3:57 pm
In response to spocko @ 119

there is still an active criminal investigation by the Justice Department, but so far the only charges have been filed against a BP engineer for allegedly destroying e-mails. And the civil case is still scheduled to go to trial in 2013, barring a settlement ahead of it. Stay tuned.

Mike Magner June 9th, 2012 at 3:58 pm

Thanks Greg and Bev, and everyone who participated. This was a blast.

eCAHNomics June 9th, 2012 at 3:59 pm
In response to Mike Magner @ 121

Holder’s DoJ is where embarrassing stuff goes to be buried.

Greg Palast June 9th, 2012 at 3:59 pm
In response to spocko @ 119

In Vultures’ Picnic I talk with a BP Executive (and MI6 operative) who arrange for the hookers for Azerbaijani execs. Obviously, the governments approve – these guys aren’t like Capone: they don’t care about breaking laws because they own the lawmakers.

jameshester12 June 9th, 2012 at 3:59 pm
In response to spocko @ 119

Back in 90s some of the top management personnel ended up in prison for environmental violations. I remember once case in Chicago where the manager knowingly discharged effluents at night….. Our plant manger in the good old days was concerned about prison than anything else (back than)

Greg Palast June 9th, 2012 at 3:59 pm

Keep up the great work, Mike. Let’s talk. And goodnight to all. – Greg Palast

June 9th, 2012 at 4:03 pm

Thanks again, and Goodnight.

Kassandra June 9th, 2012 at 4:33 pm

Jeezus

holeybuybull June 9th, 2012 at 5:12 pm
In response to Greg Palast @ 112

Thanks for the assist. I was under the mistaken impression that a US court had sided with Ecuador. I must have had a gigantic brain fart.

holeybuybull June 9th, 2012 at 5:15 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 123

Rumor has it that Holder wants to go back to private practice. United Fruit must need him in Colombia. They’re probably in the process of killing off the rest of the unionistas.

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