Posts Tagged ‘Halliburton’

What caused the April 20 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig that led to the deaths of 11 workers and a catastrophic gush of oil that continues unabated to this day?

According to a thorough examination by The New York Times, it wasn’t a single event but a combination of things. Regulatory agencies granted exceptions to rules, risks accumulated with anyone addressing them and the interests of companies operating on the rig conflicted, so the person with the most clout got the final say, even if the decision made the situation more dangerous.

One of the more amazing lapses was the government’s response when, more than five weeks before the explosion, the rig experienced “kicks” – sudden pulsations of gas. 

What did federal regulators do? Did they demand a halt to the operation? Oh, no. They allowed BP to delay a safety test of the blowout preventer. Really.

Here are some of the specific things that went wrong, according to the Times:

– Deepwater drilling procedures are really procedures designed for shallow water that have been jury-rigged over the years;

– Federal regulators gave permission to BP to exempt the Deepwater Horizon project from a rigorous environmental review;

– BP managers gave engineers permission to use equipment that deviated from the company’s own design and safety policies;



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Happy anniversary, BP.

It has been exactly one month since the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig started a full-force environmental crisis. And yet, officials still have no effective solution to stop the oil from gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, and we are no closer to an organization (whether it be BP, Transocean, Halliburton or the Minerals Management Service) owning up to the responsibility of the spill.

To learn what we have learned during this month, check out Public Citizen Energy Program’s blog, and especially Tyson Slocum’s post today on the one-month anniversary.

As an anniversary gift, how about a solution? No need for a gift receipt.

If we don’t get a solution, BP can consider itself sleeping on the couch, as we gain support in our boycott against the oil company. Sign the petition. Join the Facebook group. Tell a friend.

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Nobody can say it quite like Jon Stewart. The man has a gift for pointing out the absurd and capitalizing on it, granted, sometimes for a cheap laugh.

The absurdity he highlighted in last night’s episode focused on the oil spill in the Gulf — discussing plans to stop the oil from pouring into the water, and trying to pinpoint who is responsible for the spill and the aftermath. (WARNING: Stewart’s humor is a bit risque in this clip.)

Here are the plans to stop the oil geyser: Top hat. Hot tap. Are these solutions or anagrams, Stewart asked. Next up, the junk shot. (You can use your imagination on Stewart’s take of the solution.) But yeah, let’s throw golf balls, debris and other waste at the well, hoping to clog it up. Seriously.

As for accountability, was it BP? No, they only leased the rig. Was it Transocean? No, concrete blocks failed, not them. Who made the concrete blocks? Halliburton. The list goes on and on.

Now, it’s We, the People’s turn to hold BP accountable. Public Citizen urges drivers to boycott BP and fill up elsewhere. Join the Facebook group, sign the petition and tell your friends!

(Full disclosure: Joe Newman promised me a penny for every person who joins the Facebook group, 1,000,000 Strong to Boycott BP. That means if a million people join, I get $10,000. If you don’t do it for the environment, do it for me!)

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By now, you’ve probably heard about the story of Jamie Leigh Jones. In 2005, she was working for a Halliburton subsidiary in Iraq when she was gang-raped by coworkers. Four years later, Jamie is still being denied justice.

Jamie can’t pursue justice in criminal court because the rape took place overseas, and a forced arbitration clause in her contract takes away her right to file a lawsuit in the U.S. Big corporations, led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have worked for years to prevent workers from suing their employers in almost any circumstance, even sexual assault, by inserting forced arbitration language into their contracts. No one should ever be forced into arbitration just by taking a job.

Sign our petition telling the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to stop opposing the rights of rape and discrimination victims!

Concerned activists like you helped urge lawmakers to pass Sen. Al Franken’s (D-Minn.) amendment to the Department of Defense Appropriations Bill (H.R. 3326). The Franken Amendment would prevent defense contractors from requiring their employees to sign away their rights, ending once-and-for-all the practice of covering up sexual assault and discrimination claims by forcing them into arbitration.

But, shockingly, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is fighting the Franken Amendment. It sent a letter to Congress saying that it would “set a dangerous precedent” to allow rape victims into court. Sign our petition telling the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to stop opposing the rights of victims of rape and discrimination! Go to http://www.fairarbitrationnow.org.

Jamie has teamed up with organizations like Public Citizen, MoveOn.org, and others to end this injustice. Congress is still finalizing the defense appropriations bill, and considering whether to keep the Franken Amendment. Meanwhile the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is waging a massive lobbying campaign.

Don’t let the Chamber of Commerce kill the Franken Amendment! Stand up for victims of sexual assault and discrimination. Then, forward this petition to your friends so we can deliver a strong message to the Chamber of Commerce and Congress.

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The following letter was published Thursday, October 29, in the Washington Post. Stand up to Halliburton, and sign our petition!

In her Oct. 25 column, Kathleen Parker defended the 30 GOP senators who opposed Al Franken’s amendment to the defense appropriations bill. The amendment would restore access to justice for individuals who are sexually assaulted or harassed while working for defense contractors. Under current law, many defense contractors can use the fine print of employment contracts to strip employees of the right to go to court — even if the employees are assaulted by co-workers in a lawless environment permitted by the employer.

Ms. Parker first argues that contractors might not know what is in their subcontractors’ employment contracts. But that problem is easily solved — by requiring disclosure of the contracts.

Ms. Parker then argues that Congress should prohibit binding arbitration for criminal cases. We could hardly agree more, which is why we support the Arbitration Fairness Act, a bill that would end binding arbitration for all employees and consumers. At the same time, we also urge Congress to pass Mr. Franken’s amendment. That the amendment makes needed progress without ending forced arbitration for every American is no reason to oppose it.

David Arkush, Washington
The writer is director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch.

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Jamie Leigh Jones

By now, you are probably aware of an amendment to a bill funding the Department of Defense that would prohibit the U.S. government from doing business with defense contractors who deny employees who have been raped or sexually assaulted, like Jamie Leigh Jones, the right to hold them accountable in court. This amendment, introduced by Senator Al Franken, passed the Senate 68-30, with all 30 “no” votes coming from Republicans. The vote has received a great deal of attention and prominent commentators have both criticized and defended these 30 Republican senators for their votes (mostly criticizing).

But the bill has yet to become law – the House and the Senate still need to agree on final language – and there is troubling news coming from Washington. The Department of Defense initially opposed the amendment on the floor, and has cited problems with “enforcement.” The White House has kicked this issue over to the Pentagon and has said little more publicly than that they support “the intent of the amendment,” though it’s unclear exactly what that means. There were also early reports that the provision might be weakened in Congress.

The amendment is currently in limbo, but we need to ensure that it is not removed or weakened. Senator Franken’s amendment is important to the untold number of women who have already been (more…)

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Thanks to help from activists like you, lawmakers passed Sen. Al Franken’s (D-Minn.) amendment to bar defense contractors from forcing employees with sexual assault and discrimination claims into arbitration. But now, as the House and Senate negotiate a final version of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act (DOD Appropriations bill, H.R. 3326), Senate leaders are considering weakening the amendment by leaving discrimination victims unprotected.

A man crawling across an endless field of contracts toward the scales of justice far in the distance,
Call Sen. Reid today!

Stand up to corporate defense contractors on behalf of victims of discrimination and assault! Call Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) TODAY and tell him the final DOD Appropriations bill MUST include the Franken Amendment, S.A. 2588.

No one — especially a victim of a heinous, violent crime — should be denied access to a judge and jury because of a binding mandatory arbitration clause in a contract. Please help ensure that this important amendment is passed and this abuse of power by government defense contractors ends.

Call Sen. Reid today and tell him not to strip out or water down the Franken Amendment! You’ll find instructions and talking points on our Web site. Please don’t forget to let us know what you hear!

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Jon Stewart, America’s most trusted newsman, points out the rampant hypocrisy of the thirty senators who voted against Senator Franken’s amendment prohibiting the use of any Federal funds to any contractor that “requires that employees or independent contractors sign mandatory arbitration clauses.” Check out the video, after the jump (hat tip: HuffPo)

Cross-posted from Fair Arbitration Now.

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Sen. Al Franken, the new patron saint of fair arbitration, tore into an arbitration apologist Wednesday, administering a beating that one would more expect to see in a boxing ring than a committee hearing room. If you don’t believe me, watch for yourself.

Poor Mark de Bernardo, a partner at corporate-side employment law firm Jackson Lewis LLP, was on the receiving end, Franken poked holes in everything from de Bernardo’s underlying argument, to his command of the “facts” he cited, to the accuracy of the footnotes in his written statement. Watch the video and count how many times the senator cuts off de Bernardo’s equivocation with variations on the theme of, “Please answer yes or no, sir.”

Franken didn’t spend the whole afternoon on the offensive, however. He began his time by thanking Jamie Leigh Jones for her “courage,” “persistence,” and “strength.” As we reported last week, Jones may finally get her day in court – for some of her claims – four years after she was raped and nearly two-and-a-half years after she first filed suit. We wish her best of luck with her case.

Meanwhile, there’s been more press coverage of the Franken Amendment we mentioned last week. In the mainstream press, ABC and the AP wrote on the bill, which passed the Senate by the comfy margin of 68-30. The blogosphere noticed it as well, with stories appearing in the Huffington Post, Think Progress, and Consumerist. The thirty “nay” votes triggered a fair amount of snark, with Kos headlining “GOP backs corporate rape” and Wonkette doing what they do best.

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