Who Can You Trust, Oil Spill Edition: volume 10


“Who Can You Trust?” is an ongoing look at some of the main players in the gulf oil-spill disaster. We analyze the media appearances and public statements of those covering, controlling, and combating the spill to determine who’s spinning for personal advantage, who’s playing to the crowd, and who (or what) we can truly count on.


The Containment Cap

Oil collection device

You cannot keep a good cap down. Eleven hours after being removed, the cap is back in place. yesterday, a robot bumped into the cap, which according to an insider sent gas up a pipeline meant for warm water, setting the stage for another possible explosion. BP had to remove the cap, but after fixing the problem -- and eight tries -- they were able to replace it. So far, it's been the only approach to show any success at stemming the flow of oil into the Gulf.

Pay attention: to what's not being collected. The New York Times has a devastatingly simple graphic showing how much oil iscollected by the cap compared to how much may be trapped in the sea


ron-paul-hsmall Don Emmert / Getty Images

Ron Paul

Texas Congressman

Paul was the lone dissenting vote yesterday on a bill that granted subpoena power to an Obama-appointed commission on the spill. Paul is also a co-sponsor of the bill to lift the ban on the drilling moratorium, claiming that it punishes those workers and companies with clean safety records. The Guide understands that the moratorium is a more complicated issue, but finds Paul’s dissent against the subpoena power disingenuous – after all, on his own site  Paul, who favors very limited government, writes that the one way the government should get involved is by “holding the appropriate parties fully liable for damages and clean-up costs.” Subpoena power seems like a good start, right?

Pay attention: to the other dissenters. At least Paul had the courage to vote no: Gary Miller and Devin Nunes (both R-CA) did the voting-without-voting route, registering as “present.”

The Sanctity of the Drilling Moratorium

Cooperation on an offshore ban

Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar is working on a new version of the six-month moratorium on off-shore drilling. This one addresses the legal concerns cited by the judge who overturned the ban put in place after the Deepwater Horizon disaster. But even if this new ban goes into effect, don't for a second assume that the oil companies will sit on their hands for the six months. BP - BP! - is already planning a risky deep water drill in Alaska.  The New York Times reports BP has created an artificial island above the well site so that the project doesn't officially count as "off shore." Still, experts say that the plan is risky: BP will drill two miles under the water at the Alaskan "Liberty" site; the Deepwater Horizon well was just one mile undersea. The plans are also rife with the kind of lax regulation and self-policing that are curerntly under fire from the Obama administration.

Pay attention: to the government's response. BP has yet to file for permission with the feds, but will have to if they want to move forward.


60587954,x-default Sean Gardner / Pool-Getty Images

Tony Hayward


The constantly beleaguered exec has returned to London. There’s not much for him to do in the US, now that Bob Dudley has taken over BP’s operations in the gulf. In other words: Tony got his life back! It appears that he’s taking some personal time:  Hayward was a no-show at an energy-industry meeting in London.
Pay attention: Hayward didn’t lose his job – he just lost the really difficult part of his job. We’ll keep an eye on what he’s up to behind the scenes.

Previous Edition:
Volume 10: Primary Documents vs. In-House Spin