To Save the Ocean, Start at the Ballot Box (Part I)

First off, it’s good to be back!  It’s been over 4 months since my last post, and as much as I want to blame the fact I’ve been busy (which I have been), and work (which there has been a lot of), and travel (ditto – in 2017, I dove two oceans, two seas, and a lake), the truth is I’ve been overwhelmed by events and needed a mental health break.

I’ve been overwhelmed by the sheer pace of everything that’s been going on with the oceans. For every story of hope and goodwill (did you see the story about the people saving sea turtles from the recent cold snap?), there’s fear and hopelessness.  That for all the work we’ve done (and many of you have helped out with!), it could all be for naught because of the American lust for profit.

I’ve also been wrestling with the ideas of political purity versus political expediency.  Basically, how does one reconcile what they want out of politics versus what they can get?  Many people have made some persuasive arguments about propping up the American two-party system does not affect change, but all the while, while engaged in this existentialist wankathon, one party, and only one party, has been plotting the systemic destruction of the one thing on this planet I truly care about.

And I might have remained in this bullshit fugue state for this wake-up call by the Trump administration.

Like an alarm clock made of a Civil War cannon.  

The simple, plain fact of the matter is that yes, there is a difference between political parties.  One is attempting to make it easier to kill marine mammals, to allow oil companies to get away with killing its’ workers, destroying coastal economies, and furthering the runaway greenhouse effect, and to basically make it so the ocean becomes little more than the oil-soaked ground of your local AM/PM Gas Station.

Exaggerating?  Nope.  Let’s start with the Deepwater Horizon, or as the Republicans called it, Obama’s Katrina.


deepwater horizon
This is the crematorium of 11 men.  

Let’s be clear what happened here:  11 men died when BP managers pushed a drilling scheme that resulted in 11 men been soaked in petroleum, which was then ignited and burned or melted these men to death.  It was a crime that no one went to jail.  It happened because someone needed some lines a chart to look better.  After that, 130,000,000 gallons of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico, causing the deaths of untold numbers of wildlife.

Well, not so untold.


And how did they die?  Like this:


And like this:


And like this:


Obama was rightfully raked over the coals for not doing more about this.  The fact that the administration didn’t shove BP out of the way while they stood around with their dicks in their hands for weeks, that they didn’t issue an arrest warrant for BP President Tony Hayward and have him dragged to the Gulf in chains to stand trial, that it took 87 DAYS to stop this atrocity is a blot on his administration.

But it PALES in comparison to the Republican Party’s (then and now) reaction to it.  Starting with Rep. Joe Barton, Republican of Texas (one of the states devastated by the spill).

Motherfucker apologized.  He fucking apologized to BP WHILE oil was gushing into the goddamn Gulf of Mexico.  And he kept his job. For 7 more years. Until his dick picks were publicly outed in 2017 – which I’m going to show here to humiliate this asshole just a tiny bit more.

Family Values Congressman, folks.

But to Obama’s credit, he implemented some new regulations that allowed the oil industry to remain operational in the Gulf, while requiring that the oil companies don’t play fast and loose with safety.

Cut to 2017.

President Trump to roll back Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling regulations

Are you fucking kidding me?

You can click on the story from USA Today to get the outline, but the big takeaway is:

Another example includes alterations to the “well-control rule,” one of the signature regulations that was implemented by the Obama administration after years of review following BP’s oil spill. The well-control rule required the use of certain safety equipment and operations intended to reduce the risk of another disaster.

But the Trump administration, in a nod to the oil industry, has proposed deleting the word “safe” from a section of the rule, the WSJ reports, which would restrict BSEE’s ability to withhold permits.

They are literally removing the word “safe”, so the oil companies can make more profit.  Apparently, over 10 years the oil companies will save $900,000,000 dollars by removing these safety regulations that were required to prevent another Deepwater Horizon disaster.  How much do oil companies get in subsidies every year from the US government (aka your tax money):  $4,800,000,000.  4.8 Billion.  With a B. 

Apparently, you can put a price on a human life.

How much profit did Exxon make in the 1st Quarter of 2017:

Overall results were impressive versus a year ago. ExxonMobil earned $4 billion in the first quarter of 2017, an increase of 122% from the first quarter of 2016. Cash flow from operations was $8.2 billion in Q1, versus $4.8 billion a year ago.

Jesus Christ.  How are you enjoying your extra $100 a month?  Worth it knowing that Big Oil is getting cut back on corners that will likely result in another Deepwater Horizon disaster, that you’ll have to pay for with more of your tax dollars, and then have a Republican congressman apologize for the privilege?

Let’s be clear here:  There is a marked difference between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party.  One party implemented the regulations.  One party is attempting to rescind them.  There can be no clearer delineation.

But hey, can’t happen to you, right?  Well, if you or someone you love lives near the coast of the 22 states that border an ocean, buckle up.

We’ll talk about that tomorrow – and at the end of the week, we’ll talk about what you can do to stop all this.



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