Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Oil Catastrophe Blame Game

In Congressional testimony today, company officials from BP, Transocean and Halliburton testified on the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Times Online blogged:

In short BP thinks the blowout preventer [run by Transocean] failed. Transocean thinks it was the well construction [Halliburton and BP] or its design [BP].
News reports indicate BP trying to consolidate lawsuits in Houston, presumably before a more favorable judge. However, it will likely be a long time before victims get any relief if other disasters are the model.

The Exxon Valdez spill took decades for victims to get compensation. Survivors of hospital patients who expired in Katrina's aftermath await justice, although the two corporations involved, LifeCare Hospitals and Tenet Healthcare, quickly reached a sealed settlement.

Exxon offered Captain Joseph Hazelwood up for sacrifice, ignoring the company's responsibilities to hire a competent captain and provide the crew operational navigation equipment.

LifeCare hazelwooded Dr. Ana Pou and Tenet nurses, even though it was legally responsible for caring for patients with LifeCare nursing staff and medical directors. Congress and the White House ignored the hospital disaster contained within Katrina. The public was not treated to LifeCare blaming Tenet or Tenet blaming LifeCare. The Carlyle Group owns LifeCare, which continues to aggressively fight Katrina lawsuits.

Will BP be like Exxon and LifeCare? Time will show how the death dealers are handled. Public language is used to mollify the masses, while behind the scenes lawyers scour ways to minimize "risk exposure." That includes not sharing well head test data during today's hearing.

Transocean, Halliburton and BP have a law firm in common, Baker Botts. Were any dark suited Baker Botts lawyers sitting behind the three executives during today's testimony?

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