The Obama administration should not have been held in contempt for continuing a drilling moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico over a judge’s injunction, the 5th Circuit ruled.
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar placed the moratorium on new drilling in the Gulf one week after the April 20, 2010, explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig, which killed 11 people and set off the worst oil spill in U.S. history.
A month later, the department issued a “May Directive” imposing a six-month moratorium on drilling operations in the Gulf. The department represented that seven engineering experts had peer-reviewed this policy, but it was later found that five of the seven experts never recommended the moratorium.
Hornbeck Offshore, which owns a fleet of vessels that support deepwater exploration, sued the Salazar in federal court, claiming that the moratorium was neither adequately explained nor justified.
U.S. District Judge Martin Feldmean agreed, and granted a preliminary injunction against the ban in June 2010.
Within weeks, the Interior Department issued a second moratorium that purportedly included a more thorough explanation its necessity. Offshore drilling companies criticized it, however, as being nearly identical to the first.
Feldman held the Department of the Interior in contempt for this move, finding that “each step the government took following the court’s imposition of a preliminary injunction showcases its defiance.”
He also awarded Hornbeck $530,000 in fees and costs.
On Tuesday, a divided three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit reversed the contempt finding and the fee award.
Exposure to chemical dispersants BP used in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill left a commercial diver with seizures, unable to walk and going blind - and two members of his dive team committed suicide, the man claims in Harris County Court.
David Hogan and his wife sued BP and NALCO Co. - which made the Corexit oil dispersants - and a host of other defendants, including Halliburton, Transocean, ConocoPhillips, Xplore Oil & Gas and Stuyvesant Dredging Co.
After BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded on April 20, 2010, unleashing the worst oil spill in U.S. history, BP hired contractors to spray and inject more than 1.8 million gallons of Corexit into the Gulf of Mexico, according to the complaint.
“Between June 1, 2010 and the end of November, 2010, David Hogan performed commercial diving work from boats and vessels that were owned, leased, chartered, contracted for, and/or under the direction and control of Specialty Offshore, ConocoPhillips, Xplore Oil, and the Stuyvesant defendants in the navigable water of the Gulf of Mexico. On every one of those dives during that period of time, David Hogan dove into waters that were contaminated with both the crude oil and the Corexit® dispersants,” the complaint states.
BP announced today that its 2011 profit totaled $26 billion, a 114 percent jump from the year before, when the company’s ‘failure of supervision and accountability’ caused the worst oil spill in U.S. history. As the company prepares for its upcoming criminal trial, let’s take a look at how BP has made out after the Deepwater Horizon disaster:
* BP earned $3 million every hour in 2011. Its fourth-quarter profits reached $7.69 billion, which is up 38 percent from 2010.
* The company is sitting on another $14 billion in cash.
* BP contributions to federal candidates totaled more than $98,000 in 2011, with more than half (65 percent) to Republican candidates.
* For every dollar the big five oil companies use in lobbying, they effectively receive $30 in subsidies. This could mean BP potentially gained up to $243 million in subsidies, although the exact amount for an individual company is undisclosed.
* In the third quarter, BP’s Bob Dudley announced the company had reached a ‘definite turning point’ of boosted profits. However, nearly two years following the Deepwater Horizon disaster, BP has still only paid $7.8 billion of the $20 billion fund they created to compensate individuals and businesses for losses incurred by the spill.
Despite being found ‘ultimately responsible’ for the most devastating oil spill this nation has ever seen, BP has spent millions lobbying on bills that would speed offshore drilling and leases.
At the time, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar accused House Republicans of having ‘amnesia’ about the oil spill. No doubt the total $137 billion profits in 2011 for the five big oil companies had something to do with it.
Amnesia? More like corruption, graft, and bribery to me. If you tried to pay $50 to a police officer to get out of paying a ticket, you’d be tossed in jail faster than a pot-plant possessor. But when oil companies stuff millions into the g-strings of GOP politicians in exchange for legislative favors, it’s perfectly legal.
This is why America can’t have nice things.