Why No Celebrations?

Another victory for the free market:

A federal judge has denied the Obama administration’s request to stay his ruling lifting a moratorium on offshore drilling moratorium until an appeals court could review the case.

In an emergency hearing Thursday, U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman denied the government’s motion to stay pending appeal “for the same reasons given in [the] Court’s June 22, 2010 order granting the plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction.”

The six-month ban had halted all drilling in more than 500 feet of water and prevented new permits from being issued.

I find it rather odd that the usual suspects are not celebrating this. Where are all the congratulatory posts and videos from the Fonzi of Freedom Nick Gillespie? Where are the hurrahs from the clowns at the Competitive Enterprise Institute? Why no cake and ice cream at CATO? Their point of view is winning in this ruling, so why are they not out their owning it?

Because, as we know, the free market, like the right wing blogosphere, is self-correcting, and consumers will punish oil companies who spill crude all over the entire nation and kill everything in its path. We don’t need no stinking bans!






150 replies
  1. 1
    jeffreyw says:

    Celebrate this. Remember the puppies abandoned in a cardboard box? Half of them have been placed. The rest of them are having a ball at the shelter.

  2. 2
    eemom says:

    it is pretty standard procedure to grant a stay pending appeal in a case where the status quo means NOT risking further damage to an already devastated ecosystem.

    This judge is a real fucking asshole, in my humble lawyerly opinion.

  3. 3
    ChrisWWW says:

    The message is clear, don’t screw with Feldman’s investment portfolio.

  4. 4
    LarsThorwald says:

    John, this is where the input of a trial attorney with the DOJ might help explain what this means. If only there were one arou–

    Oh, wait, I’m one.

    This is not big news. The simple fact is, before the United States can seek from the Fifth Circuit a stay of the district court judge’s order barring the moratorium, the district judge has to decline to stay his own order.

    Allow me to clarify this for the layman with some fun old Puppet Show Theater:

    US: Moratorium!
    BP: Hell no! Hey, juuuuuudge!
    District Judge: Hell no!
    US: Let’s go to the Fifth Circuit! (Goes to 5th Circuit) Heeeeey, Fivers!
    Fivers: Hi there! can we help you?
    US: That judge did a bad thing. I want you to decide whether he goofed up, but until you decide this case, which could take a few months, I want you to stay his order until you make up your mind on the underlying case.
    Fivers: Did you ask judgey-poo to stay his own order first, like you are supposed to?
    US: Dang it! I forgot.
    Fivers: See if he will agree to stay his own order. If he doesn’t, come back to us and we’ll consider staying his order until we can decide your appeal.
    US: Okay then! (Runs to the district judge)
    District Judge: Yeah, whadda you bums want now?
    US: Say, Judge, remember the other day when you said our moratorium was illegal, and you issued an order enjoining us from issuing the moratorium?
    District Judge: Yeah, what of it?
    US: (Sheepishly) Will, um, will you stay that order until we can get a decision from the Fifth Circuit on whether your decision was wrong? Please?
    District Judge: Get the hell outta here! No!
    US: (Pause) Heeeeeey, Fivers!

    Yes, I write legal briefs on behalf of the United States.

  5. 5
    MikeJ says:

    @eemom:

    where the status quo means NOT risking further damage to an already devastated ecosystem.

    And there’s the rub. The judge thinks that the devastated ecosystem is the profits of oil companies. He will do nothing to harm that.

  6. 6

    This particular argument is just starting, I think.

    As I understand it, the argument is not whether the Administration has the right to stop the drilling but whether this particular edict was reasonable.

    The real question, of course, is do we want to resume drilling with business as usual until we determine what happened at Deepwater?

  7. 7
    cleek says:

    they’re still hungover from the “triumph of the little guy over the powerful” celebrations they had earlier this week ?

  8. 8
    Keith G says:

    I would think that there are those in the Obama Admin who are happy with this. I am.

    I would hate to see what the severe economic impacts of such a moratorium would have in November.

  9. 9
    flukebucket says:

    @LarsThorwald:

    I appreciate that. I appreciate that a hell of a lot. That is why I come here. There are folks who can actually explain things in ways that even I can understand.

  10. 10
    MikeJ says:

    @Keith G: Yeah, because the Democrats were poised to sweep Mississippi.

  11. 11
    flotsam says:

    I refuse to fill up my Suburban at BP so I guess the free market thingy is working…

  12. 12
    Michael says:

    @eemom:

    This judge is a real fucking asshole, in my humble lawyerly opinion.

    Since I don’t practice in the Fifth Circuit, I’m toying with the idea of rocking his world with a complaint under the Federal ethics system. It won’t do anything, but will be a pain in his ass, and I’ll be happy to do it if nobody else will.

  13. 13

    Just out of curiosity, I can understand how the judge could tell the government “you can’t stop drilling already in progress,” but I don’t get how he can force the government to issue new permits. Seems to me that the issuing of permits is something entirely within the purview of the government, and if they don’t want to issue any new ones, no one can make them. Obviously, I’m missing something here.

  14. 14
    Keith G says:

    @MikeJ:

    Of course. But its the margins that I care about. A district here a district there – maybe a Senate seat. It adds up. It will add up in a year when things may be really close.

  15. 15
    elmo says:

    @LarsThorwald:

    Thanks for the giggle. But what I really don’t understand is the basis for the judge’s decision. Doesn’t the Government have to issue a permit before any drilling takes place? So the play in my head goes like this:

    Government: “Whoa, this drilling is more dangerous than we thought! No permits!”
    Oil Companies: “Waaaaa, no fair, you have to issue permits!”
    Government: “No, I don’t. That’s why they’re called ‘permits,’ you moron.”
    Oil Companies: [run to judge] “Waaaaa!”
    Judge: “Sure they’re called ‘permits,’ but the Government doesn’t actually have the right to deny them, that’s crazy talk.”

    This doesn’t make sense to me.

  16. 16
    Rosali says:

    Every news cast tonight will show footage of the formerly pristine Pensacola beach and the oily mess currently washing ashore. That’ll be followed by pictures of the dead baby dolphin.

  17. 17
    Sue says:

    Well, if this doesn’t work, maybe our elected representatives can really quickly put some tough regulations in place so that any drilling that takes place will have to meet some serious engineering and safety requirements. Maybe they can work weekends and over lunch and stuff, order in pizza for dinner, that kind of thing.
    What?

  18. 18
    matoko_chan says:

    I have been trying to tell people this for a long time. Unrestrained capitalism leads to child sex slaves and human flesh for sale in the market place. Very few will approve; most will condemn; but it only takes a few to take “new bold steps” in exercising their “freedom.”
    The remedy is not to regulate everything, but to use some sense in where you get your notions of justice. But that’s a matter for a much longer essay by someone in better shape than I am.
    The usual pattern of regulations leads to stagflation. No regulation leads to horrors. Astonishing! Perhaps it is time to get out Aristotle and Cicero again…
    –Dr.Jerry Pournelle

  19. 19
    jl says:

    @LarsThorwald:

    Thanks for the explanation.

    I hope your ideas to reform the writing of legal briefs are adopted.

  20. 20
    burnspbesq says:

    @LarsThorwald:

    The scary part about this is that the Fivers have always seemed to me to be reflexively anti-government. When I worked for the office of chief counsel of the IRS, it was an article of faith that we never won anything in the Fifth.

  21. 21
    RedKitten says:

    @LarsThorwald: Nicely done!

    Now we just need some puppet show theatre about quantum physics and Dostoevsky, and we will be the SMARTEST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD!

  22. 22
    Observer says:

    Read his decision. He details the criteria he is going to use, then completely ignores it all with the judicial equivalent of “Because I said, that’s why”.

  23. 23
    robertdsc says:

    I would hate to see what the severe economic impacts of such a moratorium would have in November.

    LOL. Negligible. The obstruction by the Senate Republicans in extending unemployment benefits will be far worse.

  24. 24
    Paul in KY says:

    Can the administration put in a petition or request that the judge recuse himself? Or did they already try that?

  25. 25
    eemom says:

    in happier news, Al Gore is allegedly a “crazed sex poodle.” It is over on memeo.

  26. 26
    J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford says:

    @LarsThorwald:

    Dear ThorLarswald, thank you for explaining it in a way us little people could understand.

  27. 27
  28. 28
    LarsThorwald says:

    @RedKitten: Well, there’s anti-government when it comes to the IRS, and there’s anti-government when it comes to, say, immigration enforcement.

    As for the issue of whether enjoining the moratorium is the same as forcing the government to issue permits. I don’t know this area, but I would imagine the decision to grant a permit is a discretionary determination on the part of the government, or at least not ministerial, and therefore the district court lacks jurisdiction to make the executive or legislative branches to issue any permits.

    But I would also guess that there were permits that had been granted — either new permits or permits for existing pre-permitted projects — and were thus in the process of being acted upon when the government issued the moratorium.

    So I don’t think of this as an order that says, “You have to write a check to someone,” but rather akin to saying, “You can’t put a stop-payment on a check you already wrote and gave to someone”. But then again, this ain’t my area. But that’s the only way I think the judge’s order would work.

    (And, psssst, you want to know the big secret? I bet the order doesn’t really have any immediate effect, unless employees at Dinoco were literally already on a set rig, hand on the drill lever, ready to pull the second the moratorium was enacted.)

  29. 29
    Corner Stone says:

    @eemom:

    in happier news, Al Gore is allegedly a “crazed sex poodle.”

    Frankly, if Al freakin Gore can’t get a happy ending then I don’t know why I should even bother leaving the house.

  30. 30
    J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford says:

    @Michael:

    Since I don’t practice in the Fifth Circuit, I’m toying with the idea of rocking his world with a complaint under the Federal ethics system. It won’t do anything, but will be a pain in his ass, and I’ll be happy to do it if nobody else will.

    Actually, I waiting for a call back from Oily Taint, DDS, esq. to see if she will do it.

  31. 31
    Barry says:

    The reason that the usual pack is being silent on this is that it shoot large, gaping holes in the ‘Chicago Shakedown’ theory. After all, does not BP have lawyers, who know where the courts are and how to file papers with them?

    If BP *does* have such lawyers (and of course the odd couple of hundred congresscritters in their pockets) then how could the President ‘shake them down’, unless he had lots of mean ol’ nasty evidence of lawbreaking to hold against them?

  32. 32
    Paul L. says:

    Progressives never take responsibility for misinformation or Death Threats.
    Judge who ruled against offshore drilling moratorium invests in oil industry.

    Judge Faces Death Threats After BP Gulf Oil Drilling Moratorium Ruling

    Much of the sensational reporting on Feldman’s investments was based on outdated information. The Judge was blasted for owning stock in Transocean, Ltd and Halliburton, two of the major companies involved in the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Feldman owned those stocks in 2008; however, he sold those shares long before issuing his ruling this week. In fact, this updated information will be released in the next report on his stock holdings.

  33. 33
    Mr Furious says:

    @Keith G: Yes, I’d happily risk a second helping of catastrophic environmental damage to the Gulf of Mexico and the exponentially greater economic damage of another spill in order to have the minute chance to pickup a shitheel House seat in Mississippi for two years.

    Priorities, please.

  34. 34
    Kryptik says:

    So, judging from the impressions of the Fifth, we’re screwed.

    Wasn’t part of the moratorium not just to discourage offshore for the risks…but to ensure that, at least in the interim, there’d be no way for another extremely deep spill to occur before we finally had someway of fixing this one? Considering how badly it’s screwing up the Gulf, we literally could not afford even the risk of another that deep.

    But I guess when profits are concerned, fuck the environment, we need that black gold, oh, and to help the Judgey’s stock portfolio.

    God damn fucking hell.

  35. 35
    Luthe says:

    @elmo:

    “Sure they’re called ‘permits,’ but the Government doesn’t actually have the right to deny them, that’s crazy talk.”

    This is partly true. If you apply for a permit and your application is in accordance with all applicable laws and standards, the government is not allowed to deny it. This is why zoning commissions have to issue permits to really ugly buildings that nonetheless comply with all the regs. It’s about equal treatment under law.

    This is not to say that the MMS would be issuing new permits any time in the next six months any way. I’m betting all current pending permits are being gone over with an electron microscope and emergency plans that consist of a wing and a prayer are not going to cut it.

  36. 36
    Kryptik says:

    @Corner Stone:

    But Al Gore is fat, and hunts for Manbearpig, so yeah.

    Face it, for anyone left of Lieberman, there is never a happy ending. :/

  37. 37
    Corner Stone says:

    @Kryptik:

    and to help the Judgey’s stock portfolio.

    Judge’s live in near abject poverty. They only make low six figures to begin with, are usually paying alimony to at least one ex-wife, and can sometimes be tempted to rule a certain way when contacted by a powerful political family or otherwise moneyed interest.
    At least that’s my impression of them from watching years of Law & Order.

  38. 38
    elmo says:

    @Luthe:

    Thanks. It’s been a while since I practiced law, and this was never my field to begin with. It seems really strange to me that the decision to approve or deny a drilling permit could be a ministerial act, with no discretion allowed.

  39. 39
    Mr Furious says:

    So what needs to happen here? Emergency regs dictating relief wells for all deepwater rigs or something—forcing a new compliance requirement? Does this run into an ex post facto-type scenario for previously-issued permits? Or can the regulations be updated and enforced on existing or in-development rigs?

    Bueller?

  40. 40
    Pangloss says:

    @LarsThorwald: Supposedly, this moratorium applies to three (3) deep-water wells to which permits had already been issued. Out of the thousands of wells in the Gulf.

  41. 41
    elmo says:

    @Corner Stone:

    At least that’s my impression of them from watching years of Law & Order.

    Practicing law in a cow county for a few years won’t do much to dispel that impression, either.

  42. 42
    JGabriel says:

    @RedKitten:

    Now we just need some puppet show theatre about quantum physics …

    Physiscist Punch: See, in the classic two-slit experiment, if we watch the photon, then it only goes through only one hole and we can avoid it.

    (Ducks as Quantum Judy swings at him.)

    Physicist Punch: (staring out at the audience) But if we don’t watch, then the photon appears to go through both holes.

    (Fails to duck as two Quantum Judy’s suddenly appear and pummel him from behind. Punch moans ands with great fanfare expires. Children cry. Schrodinger’s Cat escapes. Or doesn’t.)

    Did that help?

    .

  43. 43
    Steve says:

    @Paul L.: Any death threats this judge may or may not have received were obviously the work of conservative plants.

  44. 44
    Kryptik says:

    @Pangloss:

    But, but, but, that’s 3 too many! Think of the jobs lost…more importantly, think of the PROFITS lost! It’s like that damn Estate Ta-, my bad, DEATH TAX! Imagine how many poor, $20 mil estate families would suffer under such things! It’s just like that!! Except with more oil!

  45. 45
    Jay in Oregon says:

    @Incertus (Brian):

    Just out of curiosity, I can understand how the judge could tell the government “you can’t stop drilling already in progress,” but I don’t get how he can force the government to issue new permits. Seems to me that the issuing of permits is something entirely within the purview of the government, and if they don’t want to issue any new ones, no one can make them.

    I’m curious to know why the administration hasn’t issued a review of other deepwater drilling projects underway to see if they meet whatever meager safety standards they’re expected to comply with. Surely inspections fall within the purview of the administration…

  46. 46
    catclub says:

    @Mr Furious:
    ‘Shitheel house seat in Missisippi’

    Gene Taylor, MS-04 – the coast district, is technically a Democrat. Which is to say he voted for Pelosi for Speaker and then votes with the GOP the other 99% of the votes.
    I suspect he is in no trouble this fall. I am not sure why he remains a Democrat. Probably not crazy enough to join the GOP.

  47. 47
    geg6 says:

    @MikeJ:

    The judge thinks that the devastated ecosystem is the profits of oil companies his own personal investment portfolio, which is heavy with petroleum stocks. He will do nothing to harm that.

    Fixed.

  48. 48
    geg6 says:

    @MikeJ:

    Lotta liberals in that Florida panhandle, too. Between that and MS, I’m guessing that’s enough right there to lose control of both the House and Senate.

    /snark

  49. 49
    JGabriel says:

    @Paul L.:

    Feldman owned those stocks in 2008; however, he sold those shares long before issuing his ruling this week. In fact, this updated information will be released in the next report on his stock holdings.

    Right. Call us when it’s released.

    .

  50. 50
    geg6 says:

    @eemom:

    If there is anything less interesting than Al Gore’s sex life, I can’t imagine what it would be.

    That said, I read this insane woman’s account of this “episode” on TPM and, to put it mildly, I am sceptical in the extreme.

  51. 51
    catclub says:

    @Mr Furious:
    I have already posted that winning this will be a Pyrrhic
    victory for the oil drillers.

    Do they really want to rile up the guy who issues permits?
    And also approves all the changes in the plans?

    If they had put up with the 6 month moratorium there would be pressure on the bureaucrats to approve re-start of drilling.
    Now, the bureaucrats will be motivated to make them dot every i and cross every t in all their permit requests, before even beginning to consider approval.

    It sounds similar to a land war in Asia – war with a bureaucrat who does not like you.

    They really should remember that they are drilling on land
    (or ocean) that THEY DO NOT OWN.

  52. 52
    Joel says:

    Because, as we know, the free market, like the right wing blogosphere, is self-correcting, and consumers will punish oil companies who spill crude all over the entire nation and kill everything in its path. We don’t need no stinking bans!

    Go back and watch Stringer Bell describe the difference between elastic and inelastic commodities to a bunch of corner kids slinging drugs. If they can understand the concept, surely a few journalists and GOP politicians can as well.

  53. 53
    geg6 says:

    @catclub:

    They really should remember that they are drilling on land (or ocean) that THEY DO NOT OWN.

    I’m quite sure that they really are NOT clear on this issue. After all, are they not the Masters of the Universe?

  54. 54
    licensed to kill time says:

    @geg6:

    The bit about him playing Pink’s “Dear Mr. President” made me snort.

  55. 55
    Uloborus says:

    @LarsThorwald:
    And you write them succinctly and with majesty.

  56. 56
    El Cid says:

    @geg6: Territories which deny oil companies the assumption that all land is theirs to treat as they would suddenly go on the list of nations the US suspects of aiding terrorism.

  57. 57

    @Michael:
    “a complaint under the Federal ethics system”

    Go for it.

    ?conflict of interest?

  58. 58
    JGabriel says:

    Jeff Crouere via Paul L.:

    While many Americans undoubtedly agree with the decision of U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman to overturn the Obama administration’s moratorium on deep water drilling, not everyone is happy. In fact, the Judge is now receiving death threats in the aftermath of his bold ruling.
    __
    […]
    __
    The Judge was blasted for owning stock in Transocean, Ltd and Halliburton, two of the major companies involved in the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Feldman owned those stocks in 2008; however, he sold those shares long before issuing his ruling this week.

    From Jeff Crourere’s Bio Page at his website RingsidePolitics.com:

    Since January of 1999, Crouere has been a radio talk show host based in New Orleans, LA.
    __
    […]
    __
    He has held many leadership positions in the Louisiana Republican Party, including Deputy Chairman and Executive Director. In 2000, he served as the Louisiana Chairman of the Republican National Committee Catholic Task Force. For the past three years, he has held the position of President of the Northshore Republican Men’s Club, a dynamic GOP organization in the state’s only Republican majority parish. In March of 2009, he founded the Northshore Tea Party, which has sponsored several popular citizen rallies.

    So, Paul, we’re supposed to take the word of a wingnut radio talk show host active in local GOP and Teabagger politics, without any further confirmation from credible sources?

    Bzzzt. Try again.

    .

  59. 59

    Marty Feldman? The comedian with the big eyes from “Young Frankenstein”? So that’s what he’s been doing all of these years …

  60. 60
    stuckinred says:

    @JGabriel: you mean since he died?

  61. 61
    stuckinred says:

    @stuckinred: 28 years ago!

  62. 62
    Mark S. says:

    I was skimming the judge’s order and came across this footnote (on page 17):

    The Report notes that the Deepwater Horizon disaster “is commanding the Department of Interior’s resources.” A disturbing admission by this Administration.

    Why in the fuck is that a “disturbing admission”? Would Feldman be disturbed if he found out the war in Afghanistan is “commanding the DOD’s resources?” Are New Jersey sized oil spills something that can be handled by just a couple of regional bureaucrats?

    The whole order seems like it was written by a slightly smarter version of Andy McCarthy. I also found his analysis of irreparable harm to be a tad spotty, as in there was no analysis at all.

  63. 63
    Kryptik says:

    @Mark S.:

    His decision seemed to boil down to little more than ‘No moratorium because I said so’, and a little word salad thrown in for legalbabble.

  64. 64
    Elie says:

    @Southern Beale:

    LOL!!! Best laugh today…(just had a mental picture of the Judge)

  65. 65
    licensed to kill time says:

    @Elie: Judge Feldman? Is that you?

  66. 66
    Bob L says:

    @Paul L.: Must be a liberal who issued the death threats Paul, couldn’t possibly be a fisherman who’s seen his living destroyed by his mess. We all know hard working Americans are 110% behind the freemarket even when it hurts them. Only sissy liberals care about the environment.

  67. 67
    Brachiator says:

    @Kryptik:

    But I guess when profits are concerned, fuck the environment, we need that black gold, oh, and to help the Judgey’s stock portfolio.

    Apparently, the claims about the judge benefiting financially from his ruling is based on faulty reporting.

    So, judging from the impressions of the Fifth, we’re screwed.

    Not necessarily. This issue is going to be thrown back into the laps of the president and the Congress. And since we now know that the contingency plans for all the oil companies are works of fiction, it’s now up to the government to have the balls to come up with regulations and possibility of strong punishment (including jail) to make sure that effective safety rules are in effect for future driling.

    Yeah, we’re screwed.

  68. 68
    eemom says:

    I also found his analysis of irreparable harm to be a tad spotty, as in there was no analysis at all.

    That might be because the loss of money never fucking ever constitutes irreparable harm. And irreparable harm is one of those things you absolutely have to have before you can grant the extraordinary remedy of a PI.

    I still think this travesty will be reversed on appeal. The 5th Circuit may be anti-government but it’s not crazy.

  69. 69
    Michael says:

    @Steve:

    Any death threats this judge may or may not have received were obviously the work of conservative plants will be met with snores by me.

    Fixed.

  70. 70
    Michael says:

    @Brachiator:

    …it’s now up to the government to have the balls to come up with regulations and possibility of strong punishment (including jail) to make sure that effective safety rules are in effect for future drilling.

    Hahahahahahaahahahahaha!!!!

    Government is incapable of solving the problems that conservatism causes, which is why we sould listen to conservatives.

    Now, if anybody points out that all the “drill here, drill now” stuff only adds more of a fungible energy commodity to a global supply for more corporate profit and does nothing to assure “energy independence”, I’ll call them soc!alist morons in a shit-drawling Texas accent and stomp my feet while writing checks out to the boys at CATO/Reason, FotF and the GOP.

    Life has turned into Rollerball, but we don’t have the way cool sport to watch.

  71. 71
    PTirebiter says:

    I find it rather odd that the usual suspects are not celebrating this

    Didn’t you see Good Fellas? Remember what happened to the guys who didn’t lay low after the really big score?

  72. 72
    trollhattan says:

    @JGabriel:

    Well played. Please accept your nomination for Winner of Today’s Internets. Also, too, has anybody checked with the Duke lacrosse team for their position on the judge’s stay?

  73. 73
    trollhattan says:

    Lest we forget what’s at stake here.

    http://mxl.fi/bpfeeds/

    The World’s Best Experts and Technology wielding massive sacks o’ cash have not yet reassembled Humpty after two months. The other awhl companies’ spill response plans are effectively cut-n-paste versions of BP’s as prepared by some subcontractor. Nobody knows how to stop one of these things once it’s unleashed. We can’t take six months to think it over?

  74. 74
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @Pangloss:

    Actually, the moratorium affects at least 30 rigs, 25 of which were already operating, and 5 of which were permitted and scheduled to begin drilling in the next few months.

    According to the NOLA article linked above, there are 11,000 jobs being lost as a direct result of the moratorium. Add to that the fact that contracts are being broken and rigs being moved to other countries, some possibly leaving permanently, and you can see that folks down there actually consider it a pretty big frickin’ deal.

  75. 75
    Michael says:

    @trollhattan:

    The World’s Best Experts and Technology wielding massive sacks o’ cash have not yet reassembled Humpty after two months. The other awhl companies’ spill response plans are effectively cut-n-paste versions of BP’s as prepared by some subcontractor. Nobody knows how to stop one of these things once it’s unleashed. We can’t take six months to think it over?

    Can we not have at least ONE Texas Oilboy Wingnut to use as a sacrificial victim to curbstomp as we use about ten thousand barrels of gushed crude to hose down his house, 5 Hummers, his wife, his kids, his mistresses, his yacht, his shit-drawling wingnut preacher and his wingnut evangelical Church of Excess.

  76. 76
    Elie says:

    @licensed to kill time:

    Somehow, that picture just feels like what this whole thing represents…

  77. 77
    Michael says:

    @Zuzu’s Petals:

    Add to that the fact that contracts are being broken and rigs being moved to other countries, some possibly leaving permanently, and you can see that folks down there actually consider it a pretty big frickin’ deal.

    So let them move with their oil rigs, in accordance with the dictates of the market.

  78. 78
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @Zuzu’s Petals:

    Sorry, hereis the correct NOLA article.

    And those 11,000 jobs are only in Louisianna. According to the article, there are up to 24,000 jobs affected by the 30 rigs alone.

  79. 79
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @Michael:

    So let them eat cake.

  80. 80
    Michael says:

    OT, but it looks like it is a great era in which to be a corporate scamster.

    The Supremes appear to be siding with Skilling.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-50.....04564.html

    In other news, some third strike minority loser who stole a Snickers bar is probably spending his 15th year behind bars, but that is justice, ‘Murkan style.

  81. 81
    Michael says:

    @Zuzu’s Petals:

    So let them eat cake.

    Undoubtedly, they’re red state voting white wingnuts. Why should I give a shit if the market forces they slavishly work in support of fuck them?

  82. 82
    licensed to kill time says:

    @Elie:

    That picture is what I look like after reading about this crap all day!

  83. 83
    kay says:

    You know, we heard a lot about the “sense of urgency” on the part of the federal government, in the response.
    Where’s the sense of urgency on the part of the oil companies?
    Do they have some role or duty here? Why don’t they try some pro-active measures to meet the Administration’s concerns?
    Maybe if they can submit a plan that doesn’t depend on duct tape and prayer in the case of a major incident, they could make some headway.
    Voluntarily. Just on their own initiative. Meet or exceed safety standards. Start drilling relief wells. Drill two. That’s the standard when they’re drilling elsewhere. Why don’t we rate?
    This reminds me of the banks, it really does. It all goes to shit and they’re wholly dependent on a federal response, but God forbid they should act without a court order. A little cooperation here would be nice, you know, considering we found out they had no plan 60 days ago.
    They’re the goddamned experts. Make an offer.

  84. 84
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Michael:

    Undoubtedly, they’re red state voting white wingnuts. Why should I give a shit if the market forces they slavishly work in support of fuck them?

    This is how realignment happens…

  85. 85
    Honus says:

    @elmo: since you once practiced law, you know the answer is “yes and no” There’s a whole lot of slack in there that the administrative agency can interpret in reviewing the permit. For instance, for years, mountaintop mining permits were routinely approved even though they pretty clearly violated the Clean Water Act. Then, as I understand it, the agency just changed the regulation. In other words, just lifting the moratorium doesn’t mean any new permits will be approved. Stopping work on already approved permits is a another ball of wax, but still fairly easy at the administrative level.
    I still think this judge is way off the reservation, but it is probably no mistake they brought this in the 5th circuit. The favorite for the wingnuts for the past two decades was the 4th Circuit, but those judges may have been too close to Chesapeake Bay for this one, and even they limited Bush’s ability to torture and imprison people on a few occasions recently, so the wingers probably fear they have gone over to the dark side.

  86. 86
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Zuzu’s Petals:

    According to the NOLA article linked above, there are 11,000 jobs being lost as a direct result of the moratorium. Add to that the fact that contracts are being broken and rigs being moved to other countries, some possibly leaving permanently, and you can see that folks down there actually consider it a pretty big frickin’ deal.

    How many jobs have been lost or will be lost as a direct result of the spill? I think that’s kind of a big frickin’ deal, too. Is the shrimper supposed to support more drilling because otherwise his neighbor will lose his job, too?

  87. 87
    Royce says:

    @@Paul L.: “Remember when John condemned Death Threats as something the Right is responsible for? Judge Faces Death Threats After BP Gulf Oil Drilling Moratorium Ruling”

    See, I keep telling people that the Right is treasonous poison to America and only fakes concern about the Oil gusher … at least Paul L. will stand up and admit it.

    Of course, it may be because I talk to people’s faces. Paul L. is bold at his keyboard.

  88. 88
    eemom says:

    @Zuzu’s Petals:

    You raise a fair point. But it wasn’t the regular folks working on the rigs who got that injunction.

    The Big Oil sleazebags and their slime-oozing lawyers were required to prove that THEY would suffer irreparable harm if the moratorium were not lifted.

  89. 89
    les says:

    The appeal could take some time; I’ve heard several sources (sorry, I’m citeless, but NPR was one) say that the 5th circuit appeals court is so tied up with big oil they have trouble forming 3 man panels to hear oil biz related cases, due to recusals. The appeal of the stay may wind up somewhere else.

  90. 90
    Elie says:

    @kay:

    This.

  91. 91
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    My comment was in response to Pangloss’ claim that only three rigs – and by extraploation, their associated jobs – were affected by the moratorium.

    That’s just not correct, no matter what countervailing arguments there may be for the moratorium.

  92. 92
    eemom says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    They are both just poor people getting fucked over by the rich, is the bottom line.

  93. 93
    eemom says:

    how many Paul L’s are there, btw? Isn’t there one who’s NOT a troll?

  94. 94
    les says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Thing is, oil is a much bigger chunk of the gulf states’ economies than fishing (order of magnitude bigger, at least in LA); so there’s a lot of support for the oil companies from gov’t and the general business community, not so much/not so heavy for the fisherfolk.

  95. 95
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @eemom:

    I wasn’t making an “irreparable harm” argument. I was pointing out that the effect of the moratorium is a lot more widespread than three rigs and their workers.

    BTW, it was the companies providing support services that filed for the injunction, not oil companies. Plus, as the judge noted, a court is also allowed to weigh public harm in making a determination of irreparable harm, and he did include the impact of lost jobs and general economic harm to the region in his determination…whether one agrees that it outweighs other harms or not.

  96. 96

    @Paul L.:

    And I’ll do something that conservatives don’t do, and say with great sincerity: “Death threats are wrong. People should never make death threats against anyone. There is never ever an excuse for making them. Anyone who makes them should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. This country is founded on the rule of law and free and open debate. If we don’t like legal decisions we should debate and use the democratic process to change them.”

    No go teach Sarah Grifter, Grampy Depends, Meds Michelle, Steele for brains and the rest of your Red State sweethearts to say the same thing.

    TTYL.

  97. 97
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @eemom:

    I see that you were actually responding to my comment to Michael, who suggested that the affected workers just move with the rigs.

    To suggest that roustabouts, supply ship workers, shipyard workers, onshore support workers, and their families, move to Nigeria is not just arrogant on his part, it is just plain stupid.

  98. 98
    Uloborus says:

    @Zuzu’s Petals:
    Which is why Obama specified he was going to make BP compensate those workers. Whether that will happen I dunno, but he got the 20 billion. I couldn’t figure out at the time how that was possible.

  99. 99
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @Michael:

    Right. Let them eat cake.

    Oh, and a moratorium isn’t “market forces.”

  100. 100
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @Uloborus:

    From that NOLA piece:

    The announcement this week of a $100 million compensation fund for rig workers affected by the moratorium is striking proof of this administration’s myopia. In all, 18,000 to 24,000 jobs related to the 30 shuttered rigs across the Gulf are in jeopardy from the drilling moratorium. But this fund, which BP agreed to provide, targets only 6,000 to 8,000 Gulf Coast residents who work on the rigs themselves. Those workers make an average of $2,400 a week, counting benefits, which means the fund could dry up in as little as six weeks, with months left before the moratorium ends.

  101. 101
    handy says:

    @eemom:

    There’s a Paul W. and I believe Paul.

  102. 102
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @eemom:

    how many Paul L’s are there, btw? Isn’t there one who’s NOT a troll?

    I would encourage the poor soul who is attempting to repurpose the good name of “Paul L.” in the name of something other than sheer idiocy to give up that quest.

  103. 103
    eemom says:

    @Zuzu’s Petals:

    actually the public interest factor is distinct from the requirement that the movant show irreparable harm.

    There are generally four issues on a PI motion: likelihood of success on the merits, irreparable harm, balance of the equities and public interest. The application of the standard varies among the circuits but generally the first two requirements are the most important.

    In any event, I respect your efforts to point out the complexity of this matter.

    Though I still think the bottom line is that the regular folks get fucked over no matter what happens.

  104. 104
    kay says:

    @Zuzu’s Petals:

    So they can bring a proposal where they’ll drill two relief wells when they drill an oil well. That will bring more jobs to the region, and might be persuasive to the Administration. Now that we know a relief well is the only way to kill a well when it all goes bad.
    And they’ll follow the highest industry standards when purchasing and installing equipment, instead of relying on what they can get away with.
    I don’t really feel like framing this on the oil companies terms, and within their parameters. It isn’t simply about jobs versus safety, and it never was. They made risky decisions that were partly driven by profit. That’s the way industry always frames these debates. “Do you want the jobs or do we have to go elsewhere”?
    But the oil they want is HERE. How about we ask what they would do differently, now, today, voluntarily, in order to have access to this valuable asset?
    This is business as usual. They are insisting the way they were doing things was safe, and if they aren’t permitted to continue, people will suffer. It wasn’t, and there’s another option. How about they take a hit on their bottom line and reassure the administration that they learned something?
    If they can do this without catastrophic consequences, the onus is on them to show us a plan, even if it costs more.
    Every single time there is an industry catastrophe, we hear this “jobs versus safety” false choice. We heard it from coal operators and now we’re hearing it from the oil companies. It’s a threat, and I’m sick of it.

  105. 105
    burnspbesq says:

    @geg6:

    “If there is anything less interesting than Al Gore’s sex life, I can’t imagine what it would be.”

    I guarantee that my sex life is less interesting than Al Gore’s. Or it would be if I had one.

  106. 106
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @eemom:

    Yes, I understand the public interest factor is distinct from the requirement that the plaintiff shows irreparable harm. Just saying the judge said he was allowed to consider it, and he did (whether one agrees or not with its weight). Sorry if I wasn’t clear.

    And yep, it is a complex issue to be sure.

  107. 107
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @kay:

    You make some really good points. Too often complex issues are couched in simplistic terms, to the point of sloganeering. On both sides.

    I think the criticism of the moratorium is that it is unnecessarily overbroad and (per NOLA) based on myopic decisions. That criticism may be valid to a point. But as you say, there are some things like safety and the environment that just can’t be part of some cost/benefit analysis.

  108. 108
    Honus says:

    @Zuzu’s Petals: maybe, just maybe, some of those workers could get by on say $1200/week for a while. Or even $600/week, like about 95% of the country.

  109. 109
    Cain says:

    Having proven that they can fuck things up royally, I don’t see how they can go elsewhere without regulations being slapped on them wherever they go? Or is the attraction of 13K jobs will let governments look teh other way? I can probably see that in African nation I suppose..

    cain

  110. 110
    Honus says:

    @kay: Excellent point. Unfortunately, under the Randian analysis that would mean that more of the oil company’s profits (to keep this in perspective, 20 billion is one year’s profit for BP) would go to the parasitic, non-producing rig workers, and residents of the areas where the oil is situated, instead of to the John Galts in the corporate offices who really produce the oil.

  111. 111
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @Honus:

    The fund is intended to compensate the workers for their actual lost wages and benefits.

  112. 112
    Keith G says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Is the shrimper supposed to support more drilling because otherwise his neighbor will lose his job, too?

    Yes. Of course. Somebody over there needs to keep earning a living. And chances are its the shrimper’s son in law who is the oil worker being hurt.

  113. 113
    Kered (formerly Derek) says:

    This fuckin’ judge should be impeached.

  114. 114
    Kered (formerly Derek) says:

    @Zuzu’s Petals:

    They can eat shit, for all I care.

    I wouldn’t shed any tears for unemployed mercenary killers if Xe went out of business, either.

  115. 115
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @Kered (formerly Derek):

    Cogently argued, per usual.

  116. 116
    Keith G says:

    @Kered (formerly Derek): On what charges?

  117. 117
    Bill Murray says:

    @Zuzu’s Petals: but moving oil drilling to Nigeria and the ability of workers to cross borders to move to where the jobs move are related to “market forces”

  118. 118
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @Bill Murray:

    Not if you’re moving only because of a moratorium.

    Oh, and the “ability of workers to cross borders” is entirely related to the Nigerian govt’s policies…but I’m pretty sure you knew that.

  119. 119
    Corner Stone says:

    @handy:

    There’s a Paul W. and I believe Paul.

    And there are at least 3 “Michael”‘s.
    And that shit completely messes my shit up.

  120. 120
    Kered (formerly Derek) says:

    @Keith G:

    Not recusing himself from this case. I guess it’s probably not actually possible to impeach him for that, huh? Which is complete bullshit.

    EDIT: Anyone posting with the same name as someone else should just distinguish themselves from the other guys with the same name. Retards!

  121. 121
    Elie says:

    @Zuzu’s Petals:

    ZuZu — no disrespect. I know its a big deal. Always borne by the smallest and weakest — always.

    We need to let this happen cause otherwise they do not connect the dots between the cause of corruption (both governmental overun by private influence, or corporate greed) and the outcome TO THEM. Its all theoretical if the costs are borne by some non specific others. They can keep blaming this or that or the other but they don’t get that in the end, all that shit comes home to them.

    I know, I know — and would ideally not want, this pain for the regular folks… but they got to know that there was a steep price to be paid for the crap we let these organizations (oil companies) get away with and that it was not just going to be some problem that others would experience.

    If the economy takes a hit on this for the rest of us, so be it. In the same vein, we cannot seem to get the connection until our faces are bloodied with the impact of reality.

    Bring it on… and may the gods have mercy on us and let us learn easier rahter than harder… We MUST activate a whole new sector of the population… must bring them to political engagement or else we will never break this yoke around our necks…

  122. 122
    Elie says:

    @Corner Stone:

    LOL — cough cough cough, ha, ha, ha —

    Me too!

  123. 123
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @Elie:

    I’m not arguing for or against the moratorium. I think there are arguments to be made on both sides, with lots of nuanced positions in between.

    It’s the simplistic sloganeering (on both sides) absent any discussion of those nuances that I disagree with.

  124. 124
    Corner Stone says:

    8:00pm

  125. 125
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @Kered (formerly Derek):

    And if it turns out he actually had divested himself of Transocean and other stock?

  126. 126
    kwAwk says:

    Because, as we know, the free market, like the right wing blogosphere, is self-correcting, and consumers will punish oil companies who spill crude all over the entire nation and kill everything in its path. We don’t need no stinking bans!

    Waiter! Can I get a take home bag of whatever that guy is smoking?

  127. 127
    Kered (formerly Derek) says:

    @Zuzu’s Petals:

    Then…he’d be acquitted.

    There’s no evidence that this is the case, though, besides an unsourced post from a conservative talk show host.

  128. 128
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @Kered (formerly Derek):

    Oh, he’d be acquitted. Charges would still be brought, but he’d be acquitted.

    Thanks for the display of stellar intellect.

  129. 129
    Kered (formerly Derek) says:

    And thank you for your retarded trolling. Have a nice evening!

  130. 130
    Keith G says:

    @Elie:

    I know, I know—and would ideally not want, this pain for the regular folks… but they got to know that there was a steep price to be paid for the crap we let these organizations (oil companies) get away with and that it was not just going to be some problem that others would experience.

    “Ideally”

    The problem is most of the regular folks and their extended families and their communities are going to have their guts ripped out and thrown on the floor in front of them. They were playing by the rules loyally working jobs so hard that most here at BJ wouldn’t make it til lunch time on their first day.

    I know we need to be environmentally safe, but as caring folk I hope we are not satisfied just by saying, “lessons learned”. Sure , protect the Gulf and the turtles…..and the people.

  131. 131
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @Kered (formerly Derek):

    Really, no need to make my case for me. Thanks though.

  132. 132
    b-psycho says:

    Not to say this is going to happen, but if a group of citizens that live near potential drill sites were to take up arms and forcibly prevent new drills I’d support them. Those oil companies are claiming property that ain’t fucking theirs in the first place, government cannot legitimately grant access to it.

    +2, but I drink big so you know…

  133. 133
    Elie says:

    @Keith G:

    And you know Keith, there is no easy way to respond to you very valid point. I’ll say this however: Keeping them from the consequences of it aint workin. Since politically, the rich are pretty much already empowered, what do you think it will take to motivate those who are not various degrees of rich? Pain. Pain is the only sure fire way and even that is fraught with risk.

    I am all ears to how we get the “masses” to pay attention to their benefit without costing them anything. Not trying to make you answer in a bad way — just dont know how otherwise. Movements that result in effective change are rarely if ever fun, pain free events

  134. 134
    kay says:

    @Zuzu’s Petals:

    I think the criticism of the moratorium is that it is unnecessarily overbroad and (per NOLA) based on myopic decisions. That criticism may be valid to a point. But as you say, there are some things like safety and the environment that just can’t be part of some cost/benefit analysis.

    You know a lot more about this than I do, but the whole frame of this is unacceptable to me. I’m not agreeing to the way the oil company has phrased the question.

    I am sympathetic to the individuals losing the work. I don’t want them unemployed, in addition to all their other problems.

    But I hate how narrow and oil-company-centric this analysis is. There are bigger interests in play here. This is a ‘commons”. Lots and lots of people make their living off it, or enjoy it, or just like knowing it’s there, if they ever want to go. That’s beside all the wildlife, whole ecosystems, etc.

    I feel as if we’re being hoodwinked into yet another narrow argument that works to the benefit of industry.

    Jobs…. or a Gulf of Mexico? Oil….or none? Who decided these were the only options?

    Oil companies can do better than that. They can offer more than that. They’re leasing rights. So, how badly do they want the rights? What are they willing to offer? How much are they willing to spend up-front for access to this common resource?

    This isn’t a manufacturing plant. They can’t move and still collect and sell that product. It’s there. It isn’t going anywhere. They come to it.

    I do not understand why this is being portrayed as oil companies + jobs versus the owner of the commons, where oil companies make demands of the owners in return for throwing us some jobs. That’s backwards to me. We have it. They want it. What sort of guarantees are they willing to offer the federal government to get it? The jobs are a given. They need people to pull it out of the ground. They’re not doing us a favor by hiring oil and allied workers. They need them.

    I’m not starting this whole debate with the region and the workers on their knees: “please oh please, don’t make it difficult for the oil companies, or they’ll…”

    Do what? What will they do? Stop drilling there? After they did all that expensive groundwork and locating and preparation?

    I don’t really see us as at their mercy, and I don’t like these threats.

  135. 135
    Keith G says:

    @Elie:

    I donno. As a old time progressive humanist type, I hate abandoning people in the way some folks have suggested.

    There are almost 50 billion barrels of oil reserves in the Gulf and we are going to be getting much of it out thanks to the folks down there. Some may not like the results of the work they do, but it is important work.

    I hope we can keep these communities whole as we progress through this troubled period.

  136. 136
    eemom says:

    @kay:

    great response, kay.

    They have the money. If they want to do it, they can fucking pay to do it right.

  137. 137
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @kay:

    Well, when you say the oil companies have “phrased the question – jobs or Gulf of Mexico etc.” are you referring to the preliminary injunction? Because that was brought not by the oil companies but by the support service companies whose employees are directly affected. A small distinction, maybe, but still a distinction.

    And their argument, if I understand it correctly, is at least partly that a moratorium on drilling could have been more narrowly tailored to fit the need, and far less disruptive.

    Agreed that any company that wants to lease an oil site had better be prepared to make some guarantees, and do a lot more than they have in the past. And I agree that it is false logic to present it as some sort of “either-or” choice.

    I have mixed feelings. As a vegetarian, I think the planet would be a much better place if the livestock industry disappeared. And the fact that some folks would lose jobs would not be a sufficient argument to dissuade me from that view…after all, over time we could develop alternative industries, etc. But that isn’t the same as a sweeping ban without warning. Maybe the operative term is “over time,” dunno.

  138. 138
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @Keith G:

    Good point. In addition, until we’ve reduced our demand for the product, we will just be getting more from wells off the shores of places like Nigeria, Malaysia, etc. Not all of them known for their high level of environmental or safety standards.

  139. 139
    Nellcote says:

    Feldman owned Transocean as recently as Jan. 2010. But it’s not just his portfolio affected, it’s also most of the judges he works with.

  140. 140
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @Nellcote:

    Link please? Thanks.

  141. 141
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @kay: @Zuzu’s Petals:

    As to the argument that the moratorium could have been more narrowly tailored to meet the need, it appears DOI is considering just such an approach:

    In congressional hearings today and yesterday, Salazar suggested the new ban might make a distinction between projects based on risk. One possible option, he said, would be a continued blockade of exploratory deepwater drilling in unknown reservoirs — like BP’s doomed Macondo well — along with provisions to re-allow the drilling of appraisal and development wells where underground pockets of oil and gas already have been discovered.

    A cynical part of me suspects this may be a result that suits the administration just fine. They can say they did their best to please the enviros while stopping short of trashing the gulf states’ economy.

  142. 142
    Nellcote says:

    @Zuzu’s Petals:

    My mistake, it’s Ocean Energy, Inc owned by Transocean in May 2010.

    Here’s a .pdf link to his statement.

  143. 143
    Elie says:

    @Keith G:

    I am not in any way suggesting abandoning people as a strategy. I was asking how you get people energized and motivated to carry forward their own interests. Yeah, without a doubt no one wants policy that overtly leads to anyone suffering. But how then, if we don’t have the ability to allow “consequence” — what kind of feedback loop results in political awareness and empowerment necessary for fundamental change.

    I think that none of your responses to mine actually addressed that. Give it a whirl though. I think that this is a critical issue for all of us.

  144. 144
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @Nellcote:

    Thanks for the link and the quick response.

    Evidently he issued a later statement saying that Ocean Energy was not owned by Transocean, Inc after all.

    Guess we’ll find out all the details soon enough.

  145. 145
    burnspbesq says:

    @Mark S.:

    Shorter Fifth Circuit (i hope):

    Judge Feldman has no fucking clue about Chevron, and there is no evidence that he is even aware of Brand X. Chevron makes it clear that when Congress delegates rule-making authority to an agency, the judiciary must tread lightly in it’s review of agency action. And Brand X says what should have been obvious all along: agencies get to change policy when new facts show a change is warranted. Reversed with instructions to dissolve the injunction.

  146. 146
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @burnspbesq:

    But don’t both those cases deal with the more narrow issue of the construction given a statute by an agency charged with its implementation?

  147. 147
    kay says:

    @Zuzu’s Petals:

    Well, when you say the oil companies have “phrased the question – jobs or Gulf of Mexico etc.” are you referring to the preliminary injunction? Because that was brought not by the oil companies but by the support service companies whose employees are directly affected. A small distinction, maybe, but still a distinction.

    And their argument, if I understand it correctly, is at least partly that a moratorium on drilling could have been more narrowly tailored to fit the need, and far less disruptive

    .

    Right. I read what you wrote about who the parties are to the lawsuit are. But if we’re going to make that distinction, let’s be specific on who is on the other side.
    “United States” in this context isn’t merely “the Obama Administration”. They stand for a whole host of interests, particularly here, where the government (people)

    own the asset.

    If there’s anyone who will negotiate, it’s Obama. Rather than demands for a more narrowly drawn moratorium, why don’t they make an offer?
    The practical effect of this is we’re going to have another industry-led debate on jobs versus regulation. That’s their favorite fight.

  148. 148
    kay says:

    @Zuzu’s Petals:

    As a vegetarian, I think the planet would be a much better place if the livestock industry disappeared. And the fact that some folks would lose jobs would not be a sufficient argument to dissuade me from that view…after all, over time we could develop alternative industries, etc.

    I don’t think that’s comparable. Livestock producers purchase private property and raise the animals. They have a regulatory scheme, but it’s difficult for the government to reach them after a disaster, except with an attenuated “commons” idea: manure lagoons fail and cause fishkill and poison aquifer, etc.
    In this instance, the government owns the asset. The broader Gulf is an absolute commons.
    The nature of this business is such that they deal directly with the federal government. We saw the duty that they feel they’re owed: a massive federal response when they fail. So what’s their duty? Not providing jobs. That’s not a duty. They can natter on all they want about how they’re creating jobs, but they need workers as much as workers need them.
    I don’t really understand this helpless stance that industry take. I didn’t understand it with finance, and I understand it even less with energy, who lease access to the product from the people. More fundamentally, I don’t buy it. If this is an emergency, a serious threat to their ability to operate, why was their response a lawsuit that allows them to continue exactly as they did before, and puts the entire onus on the feds to “regulate” them? They have other options. They could take a smaller profit and operate safely, for example.
    I can’t assume they’ll be motivated by common sense, or even attention to the long-term financial health of their company. BP wasn’t. They have an industry group, I know that because they lobby for less regulation. Why can’t they come up with some emergency compromise that shifts some risk from the people who own the asset to the private entity that wants access? I’ll quote the people in the region here: “where is the urgency!” Why does that only apply to the federal response? How did we end up in this place, where industry actors can passively sit by and throw up their hands and say “it’s jobs or regulation! we have no choice!” and everyone buys that?
    I think they set it up this way because it’s binary, and thus impossible to solve. I think they set it up this way because each and every time it’s framed like this, there’s a loser and a winner, and they always win.

  149. 149
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @kay:

    Rather than demands for a more narrowly drawn moratorium, why don’t they make an offer?

    Perhaps they have. The court battle is only one face of the issue, and of course only allows for narrowly-drawn arguments.

  150. 150
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @kay:

    Yes, I see that my analogy is somewhat different from what you are saying here … I was thinking more in terms of the “either jobs-or [fill in the blank]” question .

    In any case, the moratorium did not take place because of a declaration of the President under his emergency powers. It was an agency action subject to the Administrative Procedure Act. That’s why their response was a lawsuit, and that’s why the “onus was on the feds to regulate them” to begin with. And once a moratorium was imposed, it’s not like they had the option of “taking a smaller profit and operating safely,” for example….they couldn’t operate at all. Aside from the fact they weren’t operating unsafely to begin with.

    I realize you’re talking about the larger picture here, and it raises good questions. But to apply some of those questions to a lawsuit that addressed specific and narrow (that word again) issues just seems unhelpful. And to suggest that they “come up with a compromise” in the face of a non-negotiable administrative action seems like a bit of a false issue.

Comments are closed.