Enviro Links: Tea Partiers Love BP, Democrats' Climate Hug Fest, and More

| Fri Jun. 25, 2010 5:26 AM PDT

In climate news:

I got the impression from yesterday's Senate caucus meeting on energy plans that Democrats spent the two hours doing trust falls and practicing their "Go team!" cheers, but reached little consensus on specifics for what their package will include. Politico, however, got the impression that Harry Reid plans to come out guns blazing with a tough climate and energy package. Next week will be interesting, in any case.

And in BP oil disaster news:

More on the despondent boat captain in Alabama who took his own life in despair over the Gulf oil disaster, and on the mental health impacts for many across the region.

Dave Weigel tries to get Kentucky Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul to say whether or not he supports the $20 billion escrow fund to ensure victims of the spill are compensated. He tried three times in fact, but Paul just wouldn't answer.

In two decades, the Minerals Management Service collected just $21 million in fines from oil companies. And no, it's not because the industry is so safe and honest. As ABC News reports, "In the overwhelming majority of cases where workers were actually killed, there was no record of fines being paid. Where fines did occur, the maximum penalty was only $25,000."

Joe Scarborough asks Eric Cantor (R-Va.) why Joe Barton gets to keep his job as the top Republican on energy issues despite his BP butt-kissing last week (and subsequent apology for the apology and later unapology). Greg Sargent argues that it's because Republicans think any discussion of oil, including bashing Barton, is bad for Democrats since Obama hasn't stopped the spill yet (with his super powers, natch).

Did BP engage in organized crime? Some lawyers in the Gulf think so, and have filed suit alleging that the company gave false assurances that it could handle a worst-case scenario oil spill. Among list of crimes they think BP is guilty of: mail fraud and wire fraud. This is just the latest of now more than 200 suits filed against the company, Brendan DeMelle reports.

BP's in-house "journalists" have posted some real whoppers on the company blog, reports the Columbia Journalism Review. The "reporters" have been busy putting out BP propaganda: comparing BP to a humble taxi driver on Social Security and quoting locals who say "There is no reason to hate BP."

Shocker: Tea partiers still hate government, even when it comes to cracking down on BP for destroying the Gulf of Mexico and enforcing regulations to prevent something like this from happening again. "I think BP is being extremely generous and they should be commended for that," says one tea party organizer in Mississippi.

The other companies with a stake in the Deepwater Horizon have been busy avoiding liability for the disaster. Halliburton, who poured the cement for the well; Transocean, who owned the rig; and Cameron, manufacturer of the failed blowout preventer are building up their legal case to avoid any guilt in the incident.

And in other environmental news:

Beware of impostor organics from China.

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