Sunday, October 02, 2011

Cozy Oil Spew Commission Keeps Alaska Open

Two members of President Obama's Oil Spill Commission had ties to BP and ConocoPhillips.  William Reilly had a vested interest in Alaskan offshore drilling via his $2 million in ConocoPhillips stock and board of directors position, which resumed when his commission submitted its report.  Fran Ulmer's University of Alaska received $30 million in donations from BP and ConocoPhillips. 

BP and ConocoPhillips stand to profit from increased Alaska oil production.  Conoco benefits if their leases strike black gold, but both firms profit if Shell's efforts produce, given Shell plans to use the Trans Alaska Pipeline, an 800-mile (1,287-kilometer) pipeline ending at Valdez.  Line owners include BP, Exxon and ConocoPhillips.

While Alaska's Chukchi Sea is covered in ice from early December to mid May, Valdez remains an open water port.  William Reilly, Bush I's EPA Chief, oversaw the Exxon Valdez disaster in Prince William Sound.  What role might he play in an Arctic oil spew?  For one, Reilly reset the drilling deck.

Point Hope doubts the oil industry's ability to operate without spills.  The tiny village depends on the sea.  While their doubts are well founded, another narrative shows few David's in today's world of financial and energy Goliaths.  Goliath William Reilly represents both kinds.

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