Thursday, August 17, 2006

When Smart Pigs Fly

Or, more recent evidence it is Fiery, Blazing, and Red, albeit with Cool Racing Stripes

Is it just me, or do you also find the timing of BP's sudden attention to its aging pipeline system curious? As in, there was the Lege, stuck in Juneau in special session... and hey, look who is paying a visit but Lord Brown, CEO of British Petroleum.

[sarcasm]And whoops, looks like they have a little corrosion problem going on up north, scene of the most diligent maintenance and inspection ever. Which is why they ought to be able to drop an industrial complex into the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge... I mean their track record is that good. [/sarcasm]

The Northern Alaska Environmental Center has a series of fact sheets detailing the craptastic record Big Oil has up on the Slope - and Democracy Now has a great interview on the issue of corrrosion and pigging with Chuck Hamel*, a former oil industry guy turned whistleblower turned industry watchdog. You can read it here.

I don't really know how, Only those doing a leisurely backstroke in a great big vat of oil money** could possibly act as spokespersons for Big Oil, but then again, we are in Orwellian Times, my friends. As reported*** in the Baltimore Sun on August 13:

"Industry officials sharply dispute that view, arguing that they carry out a rigorous inspection system for an 800-mile line that has delivered 14 billion barrels to the southern Alaska terminus at Valdez, while leaking less than the equivalent of one teaspoon in a swimming pool."

All this comes, of course, just as we enter fall - the season for berry-picking, cranes flying out and Big Oil's Congressional Lackeys' yearly attempt to allow drilling in the Arctic Refuge.

The oil industry has a habit of going after whistleblowers. In Hamel's case, they hired Wackenhut Security to discredit him, were unsuccessful, and then went after him through the courts.
**Fractured metaphor, yeah, I know. It's my Friday. I'm off to go fishing for silvers shortly.
*** "Hard by the Beaufort Sea, in 30-degree windchill and surrounded by an otherworldly tableau of bright orange natural gas flares, caribou herds and wisps of arctic fog, Kemp Copeland wants everyone to know that he's working as fast as he can." That's right folks, them oil fellas (and ladies, I suspect) are suffering in the extreme conditions of the north: those 30-degree windchills and otherworldly caribou herds. I mean, 30 degrees, good lord, we've got schoolchildren wearing shorts and t-shirt in those temps.

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