Mineral Management Service Colluded with BP in Oil Spill Disaster

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | APRIL 30, 2012

A new chapter in the book of corporate-public collusion against the people has been written in regards to the British Petroleum Oil Spill disaster. Not only has the government denied citizens the possibility to clean the Gulf of Mexico, but it has also worked together with BP to hide the real cause of the spill, allowed the company to remain on the loose and free from judgement and allowed it to dig two wells illegally. In our last report about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, we revealed the sequence of events carefully staged by BP to deliberately mislead the public and hide the fact that a third (3rd) well had been drilled without a permit (Well BE).

Now, a new document obtained by The Real Agenda, shows how the Minerals Management Service (MMS) joined BP on the lies and cover-up. According to the PDF provided by FASEI, For a Safer Energy Industry, BP’s permit to drill well A, the first of the three wells, expired back on July 24, 2009. The oil spill, as we all remember, occurred on April 20, 2010. Since the disaster, only one engineer who worked for BP has been charged with deleting text messages in order to hide information the corporation did not want to make public about its actions before, during and after the oil spill. According to the UK Guardian, Kurt Mix was a drilling and project engineer on the Deepwater Horizon. He was also part of the team trying to stop the leak, according to court documents.

The efforts post oil disaster included top kill procedure which failed to seal up the well with heavy drilling mud. The report by the Guardian says that Mix is accused of ignoring several instructions to keep all information related to the well, including his texts. Because this engineer was involved in two very important phases of the disaster respond, and perhaps also knew of other relevant decisions made pre disaster, one has to wonder whether those text messages included information about the validity of BP’s permits to drill Wells A and B. Although deleted messages are usually recoverable, right now there is no way to know if they were related to part of BP’s cover up and if it was an action taken by him to cover his own tracks, BP’s tracks or decisions made between the oil company and government agencies. So far, everything that investigators have recovered are said to be related to failures with the top kill procedure, which at the time Mix and other engineers said was working.

As we have already reported, BP has maintained that it only drilled two wells, well A, and well B, which it claimed was the well responsible for the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. However, we now know that BP drilled one other wells (the 3rd well, or well BE). But even if BP had only drilled two wells (well A and B) up to the point when the disaster occurred, it would still mean that the company has done so illegally, because the permit to drill well A had expired back on July 24, 2009. BP should have reported this to MMS, as well as requested an extension or filed for a new permit. Instead, BP reported that they were carrying by-passes from well A. In the 100 days that passed since the permit expired, MMS should have made the decision to ask BP for explanations on the future of well A, wait for BP’s response, analyze it, and then either extend the permit to drill or cancel it once and for all. The agency didn’t do anything. By not taking any action, MMS, intentionally or not, colluded with the BP criminals.

Another detail revealed by the documents posted above is that well B was scheduled for drilling for the dates of April 15, 2010 to July 24, 2010. This confirms once again that BP lied about the oil spill being originated from well A and saying that well A was the one where the spill began as supposed to the illegally drilled 3rd well. We now know that the oil spill came from the illegally drilled well BE (the 3rd well), not well A or B. When the oil spill explosion took place, BP and MMS realized that making these details public would confirm that both BP and MMS had ignored existent laws. The only way to close the door to possible prosecution was to file a Revised Application for a Bypass that ignored the coordinates and the fact that this by-pass was for another well.

BP’s intention when filing a Revised Application for By-pass was to make it look as if the actions had been done under the law. If the Revised Application was filed on April 15, 2010, just a week or so before the explosion, it also means that they knew about the planned detonation of the oil well. Efforts to make this fake Revised Application public and part of the pile of documentation against BP was met with claims of forgery by people like Thad Daly. But if this document was such a fake, why didn’t MMS investigate it as such? Why would British Petroleum file a fake Application if this would be a blatant open crime? MMS and BP violated safety regulations existent laws.

The Refusal to Clean it up

While the crime committed by BP and covered up by the US government continues unpunished, efforts to clean the oil spill are also lacking. In a recent report, the Gulf Rescue Alliance (GRA), shows how the alleged intention to clear the oil has been ineffective at best. In fact, the supposed intent to clean the Gulf hasn’t even been about cleaning it up, but about corporate monopoly and control. From the beginning, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gave the green light to use Corexit (Corexit EC9500A and Corexit EC9527A), the known toxic oil dispersant produced by Nalco, which is associated with BP and Exxon. Two strange facts immediately jump out when a not so deep investigation of the facts is conducted. First, Corexit is a very toxic product, that according to its safety data sheet, is made of  2-butoxyethanol and a proprietary organic sulfonate with a small concentration of propylene glycol. Although is complete composition is not of public knowledge, the manufacturer has had to reveal some of its ingredients. Among them are: sorbitan, butanedioic acid, and petroleum distillates. Corexit EC9500A has hydrotreated light petroleum distillates, propylene glycol and a proprietary organic sulfonate.

As we reported back on April 20, Corexit toxicity has undoubtedly caused the death of large numbers of marine life in the Gulf of Mexico as well as sickened thousands of residents who are exposed to the constant spraying of the product. Although more effective products to clean up oil spills are part of the EPA’s National Contingency Plan (NCP), this government agency and BP used false claims to reject those and other less harmful products and chose Corexit, which is banned almost everywhere else in the world due to its high toxicity.

From the report issues by the Gulf Rescue Alliance:

“This has effectively supported and protected a monopoly owned by big oil companies, by setting the situation up in such a way that no other products can compete. Moreover, the pre approval hurdle has prevented technologically superior and environmentally safe clean up applications from being used—the EPA’s own bureaucratic web has blind sighted itself off track and in effect forced residents and sea life into enduring exposure to horribly toxic chemical concentrations through the use of these pre approved dispersants in their living environments.”

One of the most effective and environmentally friendly options to clean the oil spilled on the Gulf is the product OSEI, produced by the OSEI Corporation.  Its product (OSE II) is listed on the NCP and it has been used to clean some 18,000 spills. Despite the fact the bioremediation product has proven effective and almost harmless — after rigorous scientific testing — the EPA refused to use it in the Gulf of Mexico and instead allowed BP to use Corexit. Corexit’s own label warns about the potential for kidney failure and death, and its data safety sheet explicitly asks not to use the product on surface waters. Additional testing performed to learn more about Corexit’s effects on marine life have shown that it causes the toxicity of the oil spill to increase.

What products like Corexit effectively do, is to hide the extent of oil spills, by breaking down large patches of oil into smaller particles. This doesn’t mean the oil is being cleaned, but that it simply becomes less visible to humans. By sinking the oil, Corexit exposes marine life to more oil, as the particles sink into the ocean water to depths where most animal and plant forms live. A report issued by geologist James Kirby, shows that Corexit is indeed present in harmful amounts and that it threatens residents and tourists who visit the beaches around the Gulf of Mexico. “The track record has clearly been dismal and there is  ample documentation on sick and dying responders and millions of dead species of the sea, waters and the shores,” reads the report issued by GRA.

“Now we have the Deepwater Horizon accumulating reports of tens of thousands of sick Gulf residents and responders, dolphins and other life suffering from an overdose of the by-product of these EPA enforced clean up protocols.  What is really sad is that we can’t get approval to apply a proven bioremediation product (OSE II) to truly clean it up.  Corexit plus MC252 DWH Oil is a cancer causing combination of chemical compounds which is quite contrary to the premise and purpose of the Clean Water Act,” said a Gulf Rescue Alliance spokesperson Susan Aarde.

White House, British Petroleum Oil Spill Cover-Up

Wayne Madsen Report

WMR has been informed by sources in the US Army Corps of Engineers, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA),BPand Florida Department of Environmental Protection that the Obama White House and British Petroleum (BP), which pumped $71,000 into Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign — more than John McCain or Hillary Clinton–, are covering up the magnitude of the volcanic-level oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and working together to limit BP’s liability for damage caused by what can be called a “mega-disaster.”

Obama and his senior White House staff, as well as Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, are working with BP’s chief executive officer Tony Hayward on legislation that would raise the cap on liability for damage claims from those affected by the oil disaster from $75 million to $10 billion. However, WMR’s federal and Gulf state sources are reporting the disaster has the real potential cost of at least $1 trillion. Critics of the deal being worked out between Obama and Hayward point out that $10 billion is a mere drop in the bucket for a trillion dollar disaster but also note that BP, if its assets were nationalized, could fetch almost a trillion dollars for compensation purposes. There is talk in some government circles, including FEMA, of the need to nationalize BP in order to compensate those who will ultimately be affected by the worst oil disaster in the history of the world.

Plans by BP to sink a 4-story containment dome over the oil gushing from a gaping chasm one kilometer below the surface of the Gulf, where the oil rigDeepwater Horizon exploded and killed 11 workers on April 20, and reports that one of the leaks has been contained is pure public relations disinformation designed to avoid panic and demands for greater action by the Obama administration, according to FEMA and Corps of Engineers sources. Sources within these agencies say the White House has been resisting releasing any “damaging information” about the oil disaster. They add that if the ocean oil geyser is not stopped within 90 days, there will be irreversible damage to the marine eco-systems of the Gulf of Mexico, north Atlantic Ocean, and beyond. At best, some Corps of Engineers experts say it could take two years to cement the chasm on the floor of the Gulf.

Only after the magnitude of the disaster became evident did Obama order Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to declare the oil disaster a “national security issue.” Although the Coast Guard and FEMA are part of her department, Napolitano’s actual reasoning for invoking national security was to block media coverage of the immensity of the disaster that is unfolding for the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean and their coastlines.

From the Corps of Engineers, FEMA, the Environmental Protection Agency, Coast Guard, and Gulf state environmental protection agencies, the message is the same: “we’ve never dealt with anything like this before.”

The Obama administration also conspired with BP to fudge the extent of the oil leak, according to our federal and state sources. After the oil rig exploded and sank, the government stated that 42,000 gallons per day was gushing from the seabed chasm.  Five days later, the federal government upped the leakage to 210,000 gallons a day.

However, WMR has been informed that submersibles that are  monitoring the escaping oil from the Gulf seabed are viewing television pictures of what is a “volcanic-like” eruption of oil. Moreover, when the Army Corps of Engineers first attempted to obtain NASA imagery of the Gulf oil slick — which is larger than that being reported by the media — it was turned down. However, National Geographic managed to obtain the satellite imagery shots of the extent of the disaster and posted them on their web site.

There is other satellite imagery being withheld by the Obama administration that shows what lies under the gaping chasm spewing oil at an ever-alarming rate is a cavern estimated to be around the size of Mount Everest. This information has been given an almost national security-level classification to keep it from the public, according to our sources.

The Corps and Engineers and FEMA are quietly critical of the lack of support for quick action after the oil disaster by the Obama White House and the US Coast Guard. Only recently, has the Coast Guard understood the magnitude of the disaster, dispatching nearly 70 vessels to the affected area. WMR has also learned that inspections of off-shore rigs’ shut-off valves by the Minerals Management Service during the Bush administration were merely rubber-stamp operations, resulting from criminal collusion between Halliburton and the Interior Department’s service, and that the potential for similar disasters exists with the other 30,000 off-shore rigs that use the same shut-off valves.

The impact of the disaster became known to the Corps of Engineers and FEMA even before the White House began to take the magnitude of the impending catastrophe seriously. The first casualty of the disaster is the seafood industy, with not just fishermen, oystermen, crabbers, and shrimpers losing their jobs, but all those involved in the restaurant industry, from truckers to waitresses, facing lay-offs.

The invasion of crude oil into estuaries like the oyster-rich Apalachicola Bay in Florida spell disaster for the seafood industry. However, the biggest threat is to Florida’s Everglades, which federal and state experts fear will be turned into a “dead zone” if the oil continues to gush forth from the Gulf chasm. There are also expectations that the oil slick will be caught up in the Gulf stream off the eastern seaboard of the United States, fouling beaches and estuaries like theChesapeake Bay, and ultimately target the rich fishing grounds of the Grand Banks off Newfoundland.

WMR has also learned that 36 urban areas on the Gulf of Mexico are expecting to be confronted with a major disaster from the oil volcano in the next few days. Although protective water surface boons are being laid to protect such sensitive areas as Alabama’s Dauphin Island, the mouth of the Mississippi River, and Florida’s Apalachicola Bay, Florida, there is only 16 miles of boons available for the protection of 2,276 miles of tidal shoreline in the state of Florida.

Emergency preparations in dealing with the expanding oil menace are now being made for cities and towns from Corpus Christi, Texas, to Houston, New Orleans, Gulfport, Mobile, Pensacola, Tampa-St.Petersburg-Clearwater, Sarasota-Bradenton, Naples, and Key West. Some 36 FEMA-funded contracts between cities, towns, and counties and emergency workers are due to be invoked within days, if not hours, according to WMR’s FEMA sources.

There are plans to evacuate people with respiratory problems, especially those among the retired senior population along the west coast of Florida, before officials begin burning surface oil as it begins to near the coastline.

There is another major threat looming for inland towns and cities. With hurricane season in effect, there is a potential for ocean oil to be picked up by hurricane-driven rains and dropped into fresh water lakes and rivers, far from the ocean, thus adding to the pollution of water supplies and eco-systems.