From Andrew Schenkel at mother nature network:
Thursday morning in Washington began with what has become a yearly ritual. The executives from the big five oil companies got to answer questions about their government subsidies in the wake of huge quarterly profits.
Senate Finance Committee Chariman Max Baucus wanted to know exactly why the “Big Five” felt they should continue to get $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies while enjoying profits of $31 billion during the first quarter of 2011 alone.
While many reports will make note of the hearing’s circus atmosphere that included Sen. Orrin Hatch’s unveiling of a picture of a dog sitting on a pony after saying he didn’t want the hearing to be about cheap political stunts, there was some actual tension in the room that didn’t require any stunts to feel.
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From The New York Times:
WASHINGTON — Rand Paul, the newly nominated Republican candidate for Senate from Kentucky, touched off more controversy on Friday by calling the Obama administration “un-American” for taking a tough stance with BP over the company’s handling of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
A day after he was forced to explain remarks he had made suggesting he was not fully supportive of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, Mr. Paul set off yet another round of Twitter, cable television and e-mail chatter by lambasting President Obama and his aides for insisting that BP be held accountable — and pay — for the oil spill cleanup and damage.
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(In the frame, r to l: Lamar McKay, President and Chairman of BP American, Steven Newman, President and Chief Executive Officer Transocean Limited and Tim Probert, President Global Business Lines and Chief Health, Safety and Enviromental Officer Halliburton)
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From The Washington Post:
Three major oil industry executives agreed on one thing in a pair of Senate hearings Tuesday: Someone else was to blame for the drilling rig accident that triggered the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The senior executives from the oil behemoth BP, the offshore oil drilling company Transocean and the oilfield services contractor Halliburton pointed fingers at each other in seeking to explain what caused the accident that set afire and sank the Deepwater Horizon rig, killing 11 people.
BP blamed the failure of Transocean’s blowout preventer and raised a new question about whether Transocean disregarded “anomalous pressure test readings” just hours before the explosion. Transocean blamed decisions made by BP and cited possible flaws in the cementing job done by Halliburton. And Halliburton said that it had faithfully followed BP’s instructions and that Transocean had started replacing a heavy drilling mud with seawater before the well was sealed with a cement plug.
To the tune of If I Only Had a Brain, written by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg, as performed by the fabulous Ray Bolger:
I sit here, oh so coyly, don’t know why the gulf’s so oily,
But I’m here to proclaim,
That I couldn’t say for certain,
But I think that Halliburton,
Is the company to blame.
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