That closed door policy Cheney used with the oil industry is not unique to oil corporations. Deregulation happened in many industries in this country under the Bush regime. We all believe it really started under Reagan. Let’s not forget president Lyndon Baines Johnson, a Democrat and friend of big oil men in Texas. LBJ just happened to replace the assassinated John F. Kennedy who had plans to review the oil depletion allowance which allowed owners of oil companies to pay almost no income taxes. What a coinkydink

There are horrendous things that have happened because corporations were essentially allowed to make huge amounts of money by screwing tax payers, destroying the environment, and then putting the expense of the disasters they created on the tax payers again. This huge oil spill affecting essentially everyone, wildlife, and the environment is putting the spot light on deregulation. Cheney essentially allowed his oil business buddies to do as they damn well pleased. Now they can't clean up even a tiny amount of this oil that is going to end up on beaches all over the gulf coast and perhaps go up the east coast.

 The lack of safety in the oil business is shocking to most of us who assumed it was run with basic common sense. This incident can serve as more than a wake up call about the environmental impact of the corrupt oil industry. It demonstrates the incompetence of government safety oversight which is continuing to occur in many industries. With the amount of money the corporations spend on lobbying to control congress and those working at the regulatory agencies how the hell can we ever end this plutocracy?

From the Guardian:
Antonia Juhasz

The Observer, Sunday 2 May 2010

In 2009, the company spent nearly $16m on lobbying the federal government, ranking it among the 20 highest spenders that year, and shattering its own previous record of $10.4m set in 2008. In 2008, it also spent more than $530,000 on federal elections, placing it among the oil industry's top 10 political spenders.

This money has bought BP great access and, many would argue, leniency. "I personally believe that BP, with its corporate culture of greed over profits, murdered my parents," Eva Rowe testified before Congress in 2007. The Congress was investigating the worst workplace accident in the US in more than 15 years, a massive explosion at BP's Texas City Refinery in March 2005 that killed 15 workers, including Rowe's parents, and injured 180.

The US Chemical Safety Board, an independent federal agency, investigated the blast and released a devastating indictment of BP. "The Texas City disaster was caused by organisational and safety deficiencies at all levels of the BP corporation," the 2007 report found. "The combination of cost-cutting, production pressures and failure to invest caused a progressive deterioration of safety at the refinery."

While experiencing its highest profits in its corporate history, BP implemented budget cuts of 25% in 1999 and 2005 at each of its five US refineries. The safety board found a pervasive "complacency towards serious safety risks" at all of them.

When the next great explosion at a US oil workplace occurred, it was of little surprise to learn that it was, again, BP at fault. It also came as little surprise that the location was the deep offshore waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

BP and the entire oil industry have lobbied aggressively to open new US waters to offshore drilling and expand the access they already had. For decades, the vast majority of drilling from the US Gulf took place on simple scaffolds in 30ft to 200ft of water. In the past 10 years, the number of rigs drilling in depths of greater than 1,000ft (deep wells) has risen dramatically, as have ultra-deep wells, those greater than 5,000ft. The trend is problematic for many reasons, including that drilling of water depths greater than 500ft releases methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide in the contribution to global warming.

Many of the shallower fields have dried up, and the industry has become ever more flush with cash (in 2009, for the first time in history, seven of the 10 largest corporations in the world were oil companies) and more desperate for oil. As a result, the companies – led by BP, the largest producer of oil in the US Gulf – are breaking all records, pushing ever deeper – and well past the point of technological know-how and safety.

In September 2009, BP drilled the deepest well ever at its Tiber field in the US Gulf at a depth of more than 35,000ft (farther down than Mount Everest is up). When it exploded, BP's Deepwater Horizon Drilling rig was drilling at just over 18,000ft deep. Anyone in the business will tell you that drilling at such depths is incredibly risky, even with the most conscientious oversight. As the Chevron Corporation writes on its website, "Navigating uncertain weather conditions, freezing water and crushing pressure, deepwater drilling is one of the most technologically challenging ways of finding and extracting oil." In the words of Micky Driver, a Chevron spokesman: "It's lots of money, it's lots of equipment, and it's a total crapshoot."

The entire oil industry, will continue to use its vast wealth – unequalled by any global industry – to escape regulation, restriction, oversight and enforcement. BP, now the source of the last two great deadly US oil industry explosions, has shown us that this simply cannot be permitted.

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