The BP Oil disaster is still out of control, dumping thousands of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Day and night. No one is even sure of the extent of the disaster, but I think it is safe to say that there are a lot of people desperately trying to keep a lid on things. I predict that when this is all over, we're going to find that things are a lot worse than we are being led to believe. Watch and see, people! Watch and see!
Big Oil has a mind-blowing supply of financial resources, and you better believe they will take full advantage of them in the time to come. Huge public relations campaign! Political contributions to sympathetic office-holders flowing like rainwater in Portland's springtime West Hills! British Petroleum, Shell, Exxon, all of them will join forces: they'll view it as a fight for survival.
|The Honorable Senator Murkowski (R-British Petroleum)|
They're already calling in favors from their bought-and-paid-for lapdogs in the US Senate. Take, for example, Senator Lisa Murkowski from Alaska. Murkowski is blocking legislation proposed by Senator Robert Menendez (New Jersey) that would raise the financial liability of oil companies due to oil spills from the current pittance of 75 million dollars to a considerable 10 billion. Senator Murkowski has received $436,000 in campaign contributions from Big Oil over her 8 years as a senator. (Read about it here.) How obvious does it have to be?
|The Honorable Senator Landrieu (D-British Petroleum)|
However, there is some cause to hope that some progress can be made toward loosening the death grip that Big Oil has on the federal government. Experts in environment law, including David H. Uhlman, who was a top Justice Department official investigating environmental crimes during the Clinton and Bush administrations, believe that criminal charges will be brought against BP and the two other companies involved. (One of those companies is Dick Cheney's old gang at Halliburton.) (You can read about it here.)
Of course, it is folly to get too hopeful. We need only cast a glance at misshapen, hateful Dick Cheney, out on the prairies of Wyoming, to see that there is a certain powerful clique of persons to whom such quaint notions as "justice" do not apply, no matter how obvious its crimes.
But if we're going to learn anything at all from this man-made disaster, this catastrophe that will be with us for the rest of my natural life, it must start with justice, with enforcement, with consequences for the perpetrators.
So, to US Attorney General Eric Holder, I say, "Get to it, sir."