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Time to put BP into temp. receivership

Robert Reich

TEXT OF COMMENTARY

Kai Ryssdal: As the political pressure over the oil leak piles up on President Obama, his administration is leaning on BP. Attorney General Eric Holder announced a criminal investigation yesterday. Today, in the middle of an economic speech in Pittsburgh, the president threw in a few pointed lines about oil companies taking dangerous shortcuts.

Commentator Robert Reich says that is all a fine start, but the White House needs to go one very big step further.


Robert Reich: It's time for the federal government to put BP's North American subsidiary into temporary receivership. This would give President Obama authority to manage BP's operations in the Gulf until the gusher is stopped.

The administration says BP must be in charge because it has the necessary equipment and expertise. The problem is BP is not accountable to the public. It's primary responsibility is to its own shareholders. Under temporary receivership, BP would still have the equipment and expertise. But it would unambiguously be working in the public's interest.

That's the only way the public can be confident it's getting the truth. BP has continuously and dramatically understated the size of the gusher. Even in the last few days, BP chief Tony Hayward has tried to refute reports from scientists that vast amounts of oil from the spill are spreading underwater.

Receivership would also ensure the public that BP is putting enough resources behind stopping the leak. The company now says it can't be stopped until August, when its new "relief" well reaches the gushing well bore. But do we really have to wait until August?

As of now, the government has no authority to force BP to do anything. Last Saturday, the administration expressed "grave concerns" about BP's attempt to cap the well with a process known as "top kill." It worried the technique would worsen the leak, and BP halted the effort. But expressing grave concerns is not enough. The president needs legal authority to order BP to protect the United States.

If the government can take over giant global insurer AIG and the auto giant General Motors and replace their CEOs in order to keep them financially solvent, it should be able to put BP's North American operations into temporary receivership in order to stop one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history.

No president would allow a nuclear reactor owned by a private for-profit company to melt down in the United States while remaining under the direct control of that company. The meltdown in the Gulf is the environmental equivalent.

Ryssdal: Robert Reich teaches public policy at the University of California, Berkeley.

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This is far beyond left versus right. BP's mistake is destroying vital parts of the environment that are well beyond anything they own. They have shown that they in fact do not have the necessary expertise nor the will to stop it. With entrepreneurial freedom comes responsibility. They have breached that responsibility beyond their ability to repair matters, and someone's taking competent control over this situation is a matter of life and death. If receivership is what it takes to stop the leak and fix the damage as much as possible, so be it.

What Comrade Reich doesn't seem to grasp is that as financially punishing as this will be for BP, they can afford the cleanup and lawsuits. Once again he has proven that he will willingly sacrifice his credibility as an Economist for the sake of advancing his left-wing passions.

Only Robert Reich and his fellow leftists in the U.S. government could possibly think that placing BP in "temporary receivership" in order to "ensure the public that BP is putting enough resources behind stopping the leak" is a good idea. Not only is this a bad idea from a practical standpoint (what has the U.S. government ever touched that has ended up in better shape than it was before the government got involved?) but on its face it's unconstitutional to boot. Of course, that would be the last thing that Robert Reich would be concerned about. After all, the Obama regime has already nationalized large chunks of the U.S. economy (using unconstitutional means), what's one more company under government control? However, from a legal standpoint I cannot believe that Dr. Reich's proposal differs substantially from President Truman's attempt to put the U.S. steel industry under government control during the Korean War. The Supreme Court ruled then that there is no constitutional basis for such an extension of government control over the private sector of the economy. If nothing else such a takeover would be a violation of the 5th Amendment's prohibition of government taking of private property without due process. Let us hope that this idea dies the hideous death by derision that it deserves. Unfortunately, enough unconstitutional programs have gotten approved in recent years that I will not be surprised to wake up some day soon and find that Robert Reich has been named the CEO of BP while under government control.

Had this idea been floated under W's administration, we'd be hearing about how it was a horrible idea, expanding the powers of the Office of the President well beyond their intended limits. And, they'd be right. What does Washington know about running a multinational corporation and capping oil wells? These are the same people who thought breast milk could bring down airplanes.

Besides being bad precedent, taking over BP would be a colossal waste of time, effort, and resources. If the feds think they can stop the leak, they'd certainly be within rights to say "step aside... we've got this." But, they don't. So, it's time for the feds to shut up, get out of the way, and provide whatever assistance is asked for to stop the flow.

Then, and only then, can the government get back into the business at which they excel: overreactive legislation, and suing the everloving pants off of BP to the point that nobody within 30 generations would skimp on safety systems.

What part of British Petroleum Global is
incorporated in the UK doesn't Mr. Reich understand? Is just talking about the USA assets? While BP fights this in court, will they put their full attention on plugging the leak that the White House says it can not plug themselves?
If we create a small wormhole, we could send the oil into outer space! Makes about as much sense as some of the above suggestions.

If we create a small wormhole, we could send the oil into outer space! Makes about as much sense as some of the above suggestions.

From the governments action/inaction so far this is probably the one idea that could make the situation worse.

Mr. Reich seems to believe the government would do a better job than BP of stopping the leak and cleaning up the mess. However, it is already the government that wouldn't allow the use of vacuum ships because the water coming out the back wasn't 100% pure (even if 90+% of the oil would be captured). It is the government who hasn't decided to allow Louisiana to build sand barriers so the oil doesn't foul shorelines, though the government might get around to approving the idea sometime in the next 2 months, when they no longer would do any good. How about the government that doesn't have the needed equipment to work on the well at 5000ft? And maybe we should consider that our founding fathers created this country with the express idea that the government should be limited in what it can do and what it can take from the citizens.
Mr Reich is out of line and definitely out of ideas.

To whom it may concern,
>
> The reason that the oil spill in the Gulf has separated in the water, rather than coming to float on the surface, has to do with the lack of density in warm water. You see, crude oil has many constitutes which have different densities, and the density of the oil hanging in the water, has equaled the density of the warm water, and as a result it will not come to the surface.
> The fact that the oil cannot be recaptured while in this state, will proliferate the negative impacts on nature for years. This area of the United States cannot be cleaned up, unless a way is found to recapture this submerged oil.
>
> The solution to the problem would seem to be cooling a small area of the Gulf, so that water density increases, and the oil rises to the surface where it can be recaptured. I believe I have found a way of doing this, effectively. And you may, or may not have to pay to power this system! (experimental)
>
> ?HYDRO-DRIVE SYSTEM"
>
> 1. An bucket ridden,"air" driven, pulley system that will be floated in deep water from a barge.
>
> 2. The pulley run will be attached to the barge by a drive shaft designed to receive ?Torque? from the pulley system, and which will be anchored to the bottom, via a roller.
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> 3. The ?torque? will be produced from ?lift? created, by catching hydrogen and oxygen gases in buckets at the bottom of the ocean. (8lbs. per gallon of lift!)
>
> 4. The gases will be created through the process of electrolysis, by stringing an electrical cable to the bottom, and using the electricity to split the water into hydrogen and oxygen gases.
> (At the bottom of the ocean, the pressures and densities will make this process more efficient, the deeper you go.)
>
> 5. These gases will be caught in buckets attached to this long pulley belt, which will create ?lift?, to generate ?torque?, to hopefully create enough electricity, to split enough water, to power itself, and produce more.
>
> (A second benefit will be the hydrogen gas)
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> 6. The hydrogen gas could be piped to land or sent via blimps to be stored.
>
> 7. The oxygen will be released into the atmosphere very cold after rising from the depths to help fight global warming.
>
> Specifics:
>
> 1. ?gases" will be caught in special buckets, which will be attached to a 1000ft pulley run made of sheeting material. The buckets will be attached through the sheet, by a bolt that will be attached to "a gear tooth" on the opposite side of the material.
>
> 2. The lift created will be converted into torque on 2 rollers which will have inverted teeth cut into them so that they will act as gears when used in combination with the tooth connectors, used to attach the buckets to the sheeting material. The energy created will be used to drive an electric generator, which electricity will be used to electrolysis water into hydrogen and oxygen gas, to power the systems need for "lift".
>
> 3. Two (2) or more individual pulley runs can be connected together, via a connecting shackle that will contain (2) two rollers, one on each side, and a hood vent to catch the air released at the upper end of the lower pulley run, and redirect into a pulley run above. In this way pulley runs can be connected to depths of over 10,000ft where the process of electrolysis will be extremely efficient due to the pressures and densities of the deep ocean. The shackle will contain a set of spring loaded arms with rollers attached to them, to act as a shock absorption system. This will allow the ship above to move on the water and serve to keep the pulley system taut.
>
>
>
>
> 4. Further, the buckets could be shaped with gutter type edges to cause more drag through the water, and thus encourage the intermixing of the thermal layers, and the cooling of the ocean surface.
>
> 5. Large barges could be built to contain many long drive shafts which will receive as many as 20 pulley runs on each. If the individual pulley runs were run face to face an back to back, in the same direction, you could create a vent of cold water moving upward and when the gas was released over the top, of the top pulley run, the buckets would fill with warm water, dragging it downward into the colder thermal layers below.
>
> a. The cooling of the Gulf will cause the proliferation of Oil to surface, where it can be recaptured, and harvested.
>
> 6. The Hydrogen and Oxygen produced, could be collected and put into blimps which could then be towed by boat to shore and sold.
>
> 7. The failure to separate the heavy oil from the warm gulf will carry on for decades, as the water temperature in the gulf fluctuates oil will surface, and sink, accordingly. The clean up measures will be constant and incessant. And I see no way of cleaning the oil out of the salt water marshes along the coast, so protecting these should be the first priority.
>
> Thank You, Angelo Thane Peterson

To whom it may concern, My friend Robert Gates, who used to work on the oil rigs, and I have come up with a solution to the problem of stopping up the oil well in the Gulf. We decided to call it the "tampon theory", as it entails the placement of a bladder type bag down the tube, through the feed pipe, and into which you will drop millions of BB's, yes, BB's. "THE BLADDER" 1. The bladder material should be thin, Strong ad flexible, slightly larger than the main pipe diameter, and at least 300' long. The beginning of the tube should be sewn into a shape that is very aerodynamic, and this front section should consist of at least a 20' ft x 8" diameter bar of metal, encased in the bladder, to facilitate the weight needed to drag the bladder bag out of the feeder pipe, and into the oil stream of the larger pipe. a. The front section of the bag should thus be tailored to wrap this pipe as snugly as possible, and the bar in the front should be pointed, and heavy enough to overcome the pressure and turbulence in the pipe. The weight has to be enough that it can drag the bladder material out of the feeder pipe and into the main pipe. 2. The second area of the bladder would consist of a Cone shape to the material that would be ribbed with spring steal ribs that will ensure that the pressure in the pipe is gradually block, rather than stopped up immediately, as the immediate stopping of such pressure would cause a pressure build up in the main pipe that could cause the pipe to rupture. 3. The back end of the bladder, into with BB"s will be poured, will also be lined with spring steal ribs, so that the bag can be released from the feeder tube, into the main tube, and retracted back over the feeder tube until the bag is even with the face of the feeder tube. (You may need a camera positioned at the end point, on the drop cable, to be sure that the bag is pulled back over the feeder tube.) "The Process" 1. The weighted bar will be placed in the bladder and attached to a steal drop cable, a copper electrical cable, and the camera cable, so you can see the bladders position. The copper cable can be made with a "breakaway connection" to allow for the retrieval of the copper cable, when the oil is stopped. The weighted bar will drag the bladder down the feeder tube, and into the main oil tube. The spring steal ribs will the expand to open the bladder so that it's rear opening slides back over the tube. (being raised by both the inner-cable, and the buoyancy of the rising oil) 2. When the bladder front reaches the face of the pipe, you will begin slowly pouring BB's down the feeder tube. You do not want to pour to quickly as the pressure in the main pipe must be relieved slowly as the excess build up of pressure could possibly bust the pipe. As you add the BB's you can begin releasing the bladder on it's downward trajectory, as you will have to release enough BB's into the bladder that you build up enough weight, to overcome the pressure of the oils buoyancy. A. The rounded shape of the BB's will be comparable to a liquid, exerting pressure both downward, and equally outward on the walls of the Main oil pipe. Eventually the weight of the bladder and BB's will force the bladder tight against the main pipe walls, which will stop-up the oil flow. 3. As the layer of BB's is built up, it will block the flow of oil. At the point in the bladder where this happens, an electrical cable should be dropped into the copper coated BB's, small particles of copper should be added, and electricity should be put through the BB's copper coating, to produce the process of electro-plating, that you electro-plate the copper together to the steal main pipe, which will be "the ground" for the electricity to pass. 4. More BB's more electroplating, start pouring concrete into the pipe, stop and electro-plate it etc. And this would insure multiple fairly good seals to stop up the flow and seal this problem. Further the copper would patina over time and itself would become one solid mass, thus making a better stopper. Please help me get this letter to the right authorities, that they may plug this oil leak in a matter of days. Thank You, Angelo Thane Peterson

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