But how about the Exxon Valdez oil spill? Nearly every one of the nine causes identified are directly related to Exxon's insistence on profit over adherence to existing safety regulations.
There's the Upper Big Branch mining disaster from earlier this year wherein twenty-nine miners lost their lives. Independent investigations are focusing on the possibility of an overabundance of airborne coal dust, but mine owner Massey Energy Co. is claiming that the cause was naturally-occurring methane. In either case, technology to prevent either problem exists and is already in operational use at many U.S. coal mines. But Massey Energy Co. apparently decided that the risk to the mine workers didn't warrant the additional protection. The Obama administration tried passing legislation to increase oversight and penalties against errant mine owners, but the Republicans successfully stopped the legislation in its tracks a few days ago. Which was more important - the safety of the mine workers, or cheap coal? I guess we now know the answer.
A rather unpopular film among right-wingers is Gasland, a film that documents communities in the United States impacted by natural gas drilling and, specifically, a stimulation method known as hydraulic fracturing in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, and Texas. [The filmmaker] spoke with residents who have experienced a variety of chronic health problems as well as contamination of their air, water wells or surface water. In some instances, gas companies are replacing the affected water supplies with potable water or water purification kits. Throughout the documentary, [NPR reporter Josh] Fox reached out to scientists, politicians and gas industry executives and ultimately found himself in the halls of Congress as a subcommittee was discussing the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act, "a bill to amend the Safe Drinking Water Act to repeal a certain exemption for hydraulic fracturing." Hydraulic fracturing was exempted from the Safe Drinking Water Act in the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
And let's not forget this year's Gulf Spill, brought to you by the fine folks at Halliburton, BP, and Transocean Ltd. Fox News published a scathing account of the missteps that led to the disaster. The article states BP's internal investigation, released earlier this month, accused subcontractor Halliburton of improperly cementing the well. It blamed rig owner Transocean Ltd. for problems with the blowout preventer on the seafloor a mile down. It even pointed at itself, acknowledging that if the results of a critical pressure test had been correctly interpreted, workers would have known something was horribly wrong in time to do something about it. (It was a BP engineer who once described Macondo as a "nightmare well.") In what most liberals would be shocked to see published by Fox News, the article had this to say about the lasting effects of the Gulf spill: ...the effects of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska and the 1979 Ixtoc disaster off Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula are still unfolding, so only time will tell. Remember how the Obama administration wanted to remove the $75 million liability cap on oil companies following an oil spill? Who quickly stood up against removing that cap? The Republican senator from Alaska, Lisa Murkowski!