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G.O.P. / B.P. Megaspill 2010

20 April 2010: Deepwater Horizon oil rig in flames, doused by tankers 20 April 2010: Deepwater Horizon oil rig in flames, doused by many ships 22 April 2010: Deepwater Horizon oil rig sinks into Gulf of Mexico after exploding
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principal actors

books on the subject

films on the subject


The April 2010 petroleum megaspill caused by the greed of British Petroleum and by the malfeasance of the Bush Administration may eventually kill the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic Seaboard, and the North Atlantic Ocean, and will certainly attain the record for the worst U.S. ecological disaster — until the next one.

Timeline of the G.O.P. / B.P. Megaspill

  • 1991 Jan: Persian Gulf War Oil Spill deemed 'third-largest ever' at six million barrels.

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  • 2001 Feb 22 thru April 17: Executives of Enron Corp., Exxon-Mobil Corp., ConocoPhillips, Shell Oil, British Petroleum, Massey Energy and other oil, coal & gas corporations met over 40 times with Dick Cheney's secret Energy Task Force. One result was that offshore drillers were exempted from installing 'remote shutoff systems' hardware – the half-million-dollar cost per well was described as 'too costly'.
  • 2001 April 4: Cheney's Energy Task Force met only once with representatives of 13 environ-mental groups, including Friends of The Earth and the U.S. Public Interest Group. The Energy Task Force report had already been drafted, and the meeting included no substantive exchange of ideas.
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  • 2005 March 23: Explosion at B.P. America's giant refinery in Texas City, Texas that killed 15 workers and injured 180 employees. { news story 2 July 2010 }
  • 2005 May: An appeals court ruling permitted records of Cheney's Energy Task Force meetings to remain secret, preventing disclosure under F.O.I.A. to plaintiffs Judicial Watch and Sierra Club.
  • 2005 Nov: CEOs of Exxon-Mobil, ConocoPhillips & British Petroleum lied to a U.S. Senate committee about participation in the Energy Task Force.
  • 2005 Nov 15: The Washington Post newspaper printed a report on documents detailing meetings between executives of Exxon-Mobil, ConocoPhillips, Shell Oil, and B.P. America with the Energy Task Force – effectively proving that those execs committed crimes per the U.S. Fraud and False Statements Statute (18 U.S.C. 1001).
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  • 2007 July 18: The Washington Post newspaper reported the names of those involved in the Energy Task Force, detailing at least 40 meetings with energy execs; among those in the meetings were James J. Rouse, then VP at ExxonMobil; Kenneth L. Lay, then head of Enron Corp. {later convicted on ten counts of fraud); Jack N. Gerard, then with the National Mining Association; Red Cavaney, president of the American Petroleum Institute; and Eli Bebout, Wyoming State Senator and owner of an oil drilling company.
  • 2008 July: All-time high average U.S. gasoline pump price of $4.11 per gallon.
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  • 2009 Oct 31: O.S.H.A. fined B.P.'s Texas City refinery $87 million for policies & workplace safety violations that caused the lethal explosions in March 2005 (which killed 15 and injured 180 employees).
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  • 2010 Feb: The Deepwater Horizon oil drilling platform, on lease by B.P. America from Transocean, Ltd., began drilling the Macondo well off the coast of Louisiana.
  • 2010 Feb 13: B.P. America reported to U.S. Minerals Management Service that cracks leaking natural gas and drilling mud around the Macondo well had taken ten days to fill with cement {per Bloomberg News, June 17}.
  • 2010 April 6: Toxic gas spill from B.P. America's giant refinery in Texas City, Texas during repairs; the problem was not discovered until two weeks later; the release spewed 538,000 pounds of chemical pollutants into the atmosphere during the forty day duration.
    { news story 2 July 2010 }
  • 2010 April 19: Halliburton/Dresser Industries screwed up installation of a concrete plug (capping the well) where the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling platform attached to the seabottom in the Gulf of Mexico – just twenty hours before the explosion that set off the worst oil spill in history.
  • 2010 April 20: Oil platform Deepwater Horizon exploded and began burning, creating a massive oil spill off the coast of Louisiana & Mississippi, termed the BP Oil Spill Disaster. Eleven workers were killed, and 17 workers were injured.
  • 2010 April 22: Oil platform Deepwater Horizon exploded and sank off the coast of Louisiana.
  • 2010 April 23: Original B.P. America estimate of oil leakage at 1,000 barrels per day.
  • 2010 April 23: Original government estimate of oil leakage at 5,000 barrels per day.
  • 2010 May: Oil drilling contractor Transocean, Ltd. planned ahead for the B.P. Megaspill Disaster by insuring the oil platform that they leased to B.P. America for much more than it was worth; after the Deepwater Horizon exploded and sank, Transocean, Ltd. pocketed a profit of $270 million.
  • 2010 May 2: President Obama visited the gulf disaster scene.
  • 2010 May 11: In testimony before Congress, B.P. America execs blamed contractor Transocean, Ltd. for the disaster, then Transocean execs blamed subcontractor Halliburton, who then said that they were just fulfilling the job specifications given to them by B.P. America.
  • 2010 May 14: President Obama described finger-pointing testimony as 'a ridiculous spectacle'.
  • 2010 May 15: End of the 40-day-long toxic gas spill from B.P. America's giant refinery in Texas City, Texas.
  • 2010 May 20: B.P. America finally made high-definition video available of the gushing oil.
  • 2010 May 22: President Obama announced an executive order establishing the bipartisan National Commission On The B.P. Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling. The co-chairmen are ex-E.P.A. head William Reilly and Bob Graham, former Governor of Florida (1979-87) and U.S. Senator (1987-2005).
  • 2010 May 26: G.O.P. / B.P. Megaspill Disaster entered its sixth week, with petroleum companies attempting a 'top kill' procedure (never before tried underwater).
  • 2010 May 27: Petroleum engineers reported finding a second plume of eco-toxic petroleum from the Deepwater Horizon drilling site; the plume is as deep as 3,000 feet and six miles wide, and heading toward Mobile Bay (the first major plume is headed toward the open sea).
  • 2010 May 27: Revised government estimate of oil leakage at 12,000-19,000 barrels per day.
  • May 29: B.P. America announced failure of the 'top kill' procedure.
  • 2010 June 4: President Obama's second visit to the disaster scene.
  • 2010 June 14: Prior to B.P. CEO Tony Hayward's schedulked testimony before the House Energy & Commerce Committee, Henry A. Waxman and Bart Stupak sent a 14-page letter to Hayward, asking detailed questions about the oil spill.
  • 2010 June 15: Revised government estimate of oil leakage now at 60,000 barrels (2.5 million gallons) per day.
  • 2010 June 17: B.P. CEO Tony Hayward testified before the House Energy & Commerce Committee.
  • 2010 July 16: B.P. America COO Doug Settles announced (with video) that the Macondo well leak is stopped; hope is tentative, as all are uncertain that the newly-installed cap will hold.
  • 2010 July 26: British Petroleum CEO Tony Hayward fired/resigned effective October 1st, to be replaced by American Robert Dudley.
  • 2010 Aug 4: B.P. America & the White House each announced that the mud-packing procedure is working, and that the Macondo well is now stable.
  • 2010 Aug 12: U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis announced that B.P. Plc will pay a record $50.6 million fine for lingering safety problems connected with the 2005 explosion at their Texas City, Texas refinery that killed 15 workers and injured 180. B.P. will also spend $500 million between 2010 and 2016 to improve safety at the facility; they have already paid a $50 million fine to settle the criminal charges and also spent more than $2.1 billion to settle hundreds of lawsuits stemming from the explosion.
  • 2010 Sept 18: B.P. poured cement into the ocean floor wellhead and declared that the Macondo well is permanently sealed.
  • 2010 Sept 30: The E.P.A. and the Justice Dept. fined B.P. $15 million for violations of the Clean Air Act that caused the explosions at its Texas City refinery in March 2005 (which killed 15 and injured 180 employees).
  • 2010 Nov: B.P. announced that the total spent on the Gulf cleanup was $40 billion AND that B.P.'s third-quarter profits were $1.8 billion.
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  • 2011 Jan 11: Release of the White House Oil Spill Commission's final report {see below}, which included the statement "Drilling offshore is a privilege to be earned, not a right to be exercised by private corporations."
  • 2011 Dec 5: B.P. revealed that Halliburton destroyed the damaging test results that showed that Halliburton's cement for the Macondo well was unstable.
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  • 2012 April: British Petroleum announced that 2011 corporate profits were $25.7 billion – while payments and cleanup in the devastated Gulf have not proceeded according to promises.
  • 2012 April: In the first year since the B.P. Megaspill Disaster, the offshore crab crop dropped 42% in Louisiana, 37% in Alabama, and 33% in Mississippi; the oyster harvest fell 55% in Louisiana, 34% in Mississippi, and 3% in Alabama; and the shrimp catch declined 52% in Mississippi, 48% in Alabama, and 14% in Louisiana.
  • 2012 Nov 15: B.P. was slapped with a ridiculously-low fine of $4.5B over the next five years; the fine was so far below the expected punishment that B.P.'s stock price went UP several dollars.
  • 2012 Nov 16: An explosion & fire occurred around 9am on a Black Elk Energy oil platform twenty miles off the coast of Grand Isle, Louisiana; early reports have two workers missing, four in critical condition, and as many as seven other injured workers flown to local hospitals by the Coast Guard.
  • 2012 Dec 21: U.S. District Court of Eastern Louisiana issued a decree for the final settlement of the Economic & Property Class case against B.P.; details about filing a claim at the Deepwater Horizon Settlements website.
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  • 2013 Jan 11: U.S. District Court of Eastern Louisiana issued a decree for the final settlement of the Medical Benefits Class case against B.P.; details about filing a claim at the Deepwater Horizon Settlements website.
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  • 2016 Sept: Opening of the "Deepwater Horizon’s Final Hour" thriller movie starring Mark Wahlberg { watch official trailer [2:35] at YouTube }

  • principal actors (those at blame)

    Vice President Dick Cheney
    Transocean, Ltd.
    Halliburton/Dresser Industries

    B.P. America (formerly British Petroleum)

    John Browne, Baron Browne of Madingley
    hired 1966; CEO of BP from 1995 to 2007

    Tony Hayward, BP CEO from 5/2007 to 10/2010

    American Robert Warren 'Bob' Dudley, BP CEO since 10/2010

    Books On The Subject

    search books on keywords 'oil spill disaster' at Amazon

    National Geographic Special Issue "The Spill" photos October 2010  National Geographic Special Issue "The Spill" [Oct 2010]
    with exclusive photos of the Gulf disaster

    Special Issue / Table of Contents
    issue not yet available online in Special Editions Dept.
    National Geographic Magazine [est. 1888]
    magazine subscription (12 issues/year) for $15.00 {USA only}
    magazine website
    Blowout in the Gulf B.P. Oil Spill book by William R. Freudenburg & Robert Gramling  "Blowout In The Gulf: The B.P. Oil Spill Disaster and The Future of Energy In America" [2010] by William R. Freudenburg & Robert Gramling
    Kindle Edition from M.I.T. Press [9/2010] for $9.99
    M.I.T. Press 8x5¾ hardcover [11/2010] for $12.78
    In Deep Water B.P. Oil Spill audio book by Peter Lehner & Bob Deans  "In Deep Water: The Anatomy of A Disaster, The Fate of The Gulf, and How To End Our Oil Addiction" [Oct 2010] by Peter Lehner, with Bob Deans
    Faster than book publishing?; read by Tom Weiner
    Blackstone Audio UNABR audio CD [10/2010] for $24.95
    Blackstone Audio UNABR audio tape [10/2010] priced for library & rental market
    Disaster on the Horizon book by Bob Cavnar  "Disaster On The Horizon: High Stakes, High Risks & The Story Behind The Deepwater Well Blowout" [2010] by Bob Cavnar
    Chelsea Green Publng 8¼x5¼ pb [10/2010] for $10.08
    Deep Water / Gulf Oil Disaster report by The White House Oil Spill Commission  "Deep Water: The Gulf Oil Disaster and The Future of Offshore Drilling - Report To The President" [2011] by the White House Oil Spill Commission
    Kindle Edition from Perseus Distribution [1/2011] for $9.99
    U.S.G.P.O. pb [1/2011] for $39.00
    In Too Deep B.P. Oil Spill book by Stanley Reed & Alison Fitzgerald  "In Too Deep: B.P. and The Drilling Race That Took It Down" [2011]
    by Stanley Reed & Alison Fitzgerald

    Bloomberg Press 9x6¼ hardcover [1/2011] for $13.30
    Hole at the Bottom of the Sea book by Joel Achenbach  "A Hole At The Bottom of The Sea: The Race To Kill The B.P. Oil Gusher" [2011]
    by Joel Achenbach

    Kindle Edition from Simon & Schuster Digital Sales [4/2011] for $9.99
    Simon & Schuster 8½x5½ pb [4/2012] for $11.86
    Simon & Schuster hardcover [4/2011] for $17.15

    "BP and the Macondo Spill: The Complete Story" [June 2011] by Colin Read

    "Poisoned Legacy: The Human Cost of BP's Rise to Power" [June 2011] by Mike Magner

    "A Sea In Flames: The Deepwater Horizon Oil Blowout" [April 2011] by Carl Safina


    Films On The Subject

    "The Big Fix" [LionsGate VOD release June 2012]
    The Big Fix Gulf megaspill documentary  "The truth is deep beneath the surface" 89-minute Gulf megaspill documentary was acquired by video-on-demand distribution company GoDigital, with LionsGate handling the same-day cable VOD release.
    Co-produced, co-directed & co-hosted by Joshua Tickell & Rebecca Harrell Tickell; written by Johnny O'Hara; featuring Peter Fonda (co-producer), Amy Smart, Jean-Michel Cousteau, Jeff Goodell, Chris Hedges, David Korten, Nomi Prins, Senator Bernie Sanders
    Green Planet Prodns color DVD [6/2012] for $19.29
    full credits at IMDbofficial movie site

    "Fire In The Night" [Scottish TV June 2013]
    Fire In The Night documentary film about Piper Alpha rig explosion & sinking in 1988  Occidental Petroleum's Piper Alpha oil platform in the North Sea caught fire and sank in July 1988, killing 167 crew, with only 61 survivors; included here to show that the oil industry is incapable of learning from the past. Co-produced & directed by Anthony Wonke; co-produced, script & book by Stephen McGinty • credits at IMDbPiper Alpha entry at Wikipedia
    VHS/DVD/Blu-ray not available
    "Fire In The Night: The Piper Alpha Disaster" book [2008] by Stephen McGinty
    Kindle Edition from Pan Macmillan [11/2010] for $8.79
    Pan Macmillan 8x5 pb [7/2009] for $14.12

    "The Great Invisible" [RADiUS-TWC Oct 2014]
    The Great Invisible documentary on the Deepwater Horizon megaspill of 2010  The first documentary feature to go beyond the media coverage to examine the Gulf of Mexico oil megaspill crisis in depth through the eyes of oil executives, survivors, and Gulf Coast residents who experienced the disaster first-hand and then were left to pick up the pieces while the world moved on. Directed by Margaret Brown; featuring C-SPAN footage and interviews with Meccah Boynton-Brown, Doug Brown, Bob Cavnar, Brent Coon, Roosevelt Harris, Keith Jones, Latham Smith, Sara Lattis Stone & Stephen Stone; won SXSW Film Festival Grand Jury Award
    DVD/Blu-ray not yet available
    full credits at IMDbofficial movie site
    watch official trailer [3:04] at YouTube

    "The Runner" [Alchemy Aug 2015]
    The Runner 2015 movie   Filmed in the New Orleans, Louisiana area and in Washington, DC; tagline: "Black Oil, White Lies"; a married congressman tries to do the right thing after the B.P. Gulf megaspill, then gets caught having an affair in a motel. Written & directed by Austin Stark; music by The Newton Brothers; starring Nicolas Cage, Connie Nielsen, Peter Fonda, Sarah Paulson, Lara Grice, Wendell Pierce, Dana Gourrier, Bryan Batt, Wanetah Walmsley, Fredric Lehne, Ciera Payton, Kerry Cahill, Christopher Berry, James Moses Black & Mary O'Rourke
    DVD/Blu-ray not yet available
    full credits at IMDbofficial movie sitewatch official trailer [2:06] at YouTube

    "Deepwater Horizon’s Final Hour" [LionsGate/Summit/Participant Sept 2016?]  
    'Deepwater Horizon’ 2016 movie starring Mark Wahlberg  Announced 2011: A film depicting the courage of those who worked on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig before the explosion and subsequent oil spill; the explosion was caused when methane gas from the well shot up out of the drill column, killing 11 workers and injuring 17 others; based on a New York Times article by David Barstow, David Rohde & Stephanie Saul; script adaptation by Matthew Sand; added 7/2012: negotiating with stunt director Ric Roman Waugh; possibly directed by Peter Berg & starring Mark Wahlberg
    Directed by Peter Berg; written by Matthew Michael Carnahan & Matthew Sand; starring Mark Wahlberg, Kate Hudson, Kurt Russell, John Malkovich, Stella Allen, Dylan O'Brien, Gina Rodriguez, Ethan Suplee, Sue-Lynn Ansari, J.D. Evermore, Brad Leland, Douglas M. Griffin, Joe Chrest, James DuMont, David Maldonado, Henry Frost, Chris Ashworth, Garrett Hines, Jeremy Sande, Rob Steinberg, Deneen Tyler, Julia Holt, Allyson Leigh Jordan, Ilan Srulovicz, Terry Milam, Garrett Kruithof, Robert Walker Branchaud, Jason Kirk-patrick, Daryl Thibodaux, Jonathan Angel, Tony Beard, Ronnie Hooks, John C. Klein, Graham McGinnis
    DVD/Blu-ray not yet available
    full credits at IMDbofficial movie sitemovie entry at Wikipedia
    watch 5/2016 official ‘Heroes’ trailer [2:35] at YouTube

    L i n k s
    American Association of Petroleum Geologists
    Society of Petroleum Engineers
    N.O.A.A. official Deepwater Horizon Incident Archive
    Waterkeeper Alliance [est. 1999]
    'Save Our Gulf' website of the Gulf Waterkeepers
    Gulf Restoration Network [est. 1995] United for a Healthy Gulf
    Gulf Future blog [est. 5/2010] of the Gulf Restoration Network
    12 Miles South Coalition [est. 1/2012] of the Gulf Restoration Network
    Gulf Change operates from Facebook [est. 5/2011]
    Bridge The Gulf Project [est. 2010]

    here on the G.O.P. / B.P. Megaspill 2010 Page at Spirit of America Bookstore

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