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Opine Needles

The Blog

Three Dog Night

That’s right. It’s time to reminisce, albeit briefly. The last couple weeks have put me in a downright Three Dog Night funk. For a while last week, I was thinking about a massive Republican victory in November; I imagined the President singing “One is the Loneliest Number.” Then I was focused on a work issue in Madrid, and moved to “Never Been to Spain.”

But watching the democrats bounce back and forth pillorying Goldman Sachs and BP (“Wall Street” greed, “Big Oil” greed: Lordy, Lordy, we certainly have scary enemies in the United States!) has me switching gears again. This time I’ve had to change the words. I’m sure most of you remember the song “Celebrate”. Try this:


Now I can’t get it out of my head. It’s worse than “Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves.”

What have we wrought? Ronald Reagan is doing cartwheels in his grave; (big grave, I reckon). I think even the old robber baron buster himself, Teddy Roosevelt, would be apoplectic over today’s state of affairs in Washington. The answer to every crisis is to point the finger of blame and impose new layers of bureaucracy on an already burdened capitalist state. Populists unite! To Hell(!) with this Bud; this democrat government is for YOU!

Let’s focus a while on bubblin’ crude; oil that is, black gold, Texas tea.

The rig explosion and subsequent pollution event are both tragic occurrences. And the timing could not be worse. Having (finally) made progress on lifting the senseless drilling ban off the US east coast, the odds of that ban remaining lifted are slim to none.

It behooves all Americans to put oil drilling in perspective. The last US drilling related major incident was offshore Santa Barbara in 1969. The exploration and production industry in California still hasn’t recovered-and now it likely never will. Since 1969, we have produced in excess of ten billion barrels of oil in the US Gulf of Mexico. The recorded spill rate from over all these years was .00001 of amounts produced; infinitesimal. Until two weeks ago, there has not been ONE relevant blowout related pollution incident.

So what has our government (Big Brother) done to protect its people? First, it declared a moratorium on new drilling in the Gulf. Now there is a good idea. Want to kill off a good chunk of the economies in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi (and in manufacturing states such as Ohio, where specialty products are made for the oil industry) and ultimately drive the worldwide price of crude oil up? Stop drilling. Good thinking.

Even better, the bright lights in Washington are reviewing the financial responsibility provisions of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. (This kneejerk piece of legislation was rammed through Congress after the Exxon Valdez incident in 1989.) It stands as a marvelously ambiguous piece of lawmaker modern art. To this day, no two experts can agree on how it actually is meant to work. Presently, an offshore leasehold operator (the “responsible party”) must demonstrate financial responsibility in amounts ranging from $35,000,000 up to $75,000,000 before spudding a well. This can be accomplished either by way of insurance, or “qualified self insurance”. This does NOT limit the responsible party’s liability in the event of a pollution loss to $75,000,000. There are holes (gross negligence, willful misconduct, and provisions under the NRDA [National Resource Damage Assessment] clauses) that any good plaintiff attorney can drive Exxon Valdez sized tankers through to ensure the responsible party is on the hook until all the oil cleansed cows come home.

But our congressional Mensa candidates haven’t really taken the time to understand their own law. So what have they done? They’ve jumped on the $75,000,000 limit being bandied about in the main stream media (msm) and derided same as woefully insufficient. They are presently preparing for hearings in which they will discuss requiring an oil lease operator to certify $10,000,000,000 in financial responsibility! That is not a typo.

Adding insult to injury, you know an issue is in trouble when the talking heads on Fox News get it wrong. Fox News bloviators (my word) have hyped the spill almost as irresponsibly as the msm.

Opine Needles should accept the fact that it may be wrong. Perhaps this opinion is dredging up paleontological thought that has no place in today’s progressive western world. But then again, Al Gore took a stand against all offshore drilling this week. So Opine Needles will leave it up to its readers to decide the right side of the drilling fence on which to stand.

Incidentally, did you see the movie Hangover? I think the character Alan has cloned himself and has gained majority control of the House and the Senate. My friends, they are talking complete and utter nonsense.

If Congress follows through with this idiocy, it will effectively shut down oil exploration and development in US offshore waters. Then wait and see what happens to the:
• price of gas at the pump;
• US jobless rate, (jobs nationwide supply the oil business)
• US economy, and
• voter mood.

The lunatics are running the asylum.


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