Can we make California the last oil spill?

A state of emergency has been declared in California after crews realized that the Rufugio Beach oil spill was five times worse than original estimates. This week, the Plains All American Pipeline ruptured and dumped crude oil over a four-mile stretch of pristine California coastline.

Original estimates put that spill at around 21,000 gallons, but new calculations indicate that the real figure is well over 100,000 gallons. Crews continue to work furiously to remove contaminated sand and rescue oil-soaked wildlife, and the governor's office has closed the beaches surrounding that spill and put a ban on fishing.

Once again, our nation is watching the spill and clean up unfold. And once again, we learn that the company responsible has a long history of violating regulations and causing disasters.

According to a report over at Common Dreams, Plains All American has been responsible for 175 different spills since 2006, yet somehow they're still allowed to do business in our great nation. The oceans program director for the Center for Biological Diversity said, “This company's disturbing record highlights oil production's toxic threat to California's coast. Every new oil project increases the risk of fouled beaches and oil-soaked sea life.”

Over and over and over, oil and gas companies prove that they cannot be trusted to protect the public safety, and that there is no such thing as safe drilling or transport of this toxic sludge.

Today, the victims of this tragedy are California wildlife and residents, but tomorrow, who knows which of us could find ourselves dealing with the same fate.

We have the technology to make the transition away from dirty energy, but we have to stand up to the oil and gas companies that refuse to let go of their profits. The success of a corporation should never trump the safety of our people and our planet, and it shouldn't take another oil spill to make us recognize these risks.

Hopefully, the California coast line will bounce back quickly from this disaster. And hopefully, We, The People will decide that it will be the last.


patrick H.T. paine's picture
patrick H.T. paine 8 years 1 week ago

Dear Thom Smarmy Hartmann,

Government has proven it can't protect us from the "oil companies", because it is

"owned" by the "oil companies"......maybe Bernie will save us. ( all by himself )

Of course, YOU can be trused to repeat all of this, after the next spill and the next

and the next........

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 1 week ago

There is a glimmer of hope. Hermosa Beach, CA voted down a proposal to drill off their shores. Such corporate callousness as demonstrated by Plains All American Pipeline helps voters to decide to fight the oil companies. Because of previous contract obligations it cost the city of Hermosa Beach something like $38 million to vote down the proposal. Of course Hermosa Beach houses mostly the top 10%, so they can afford it.

Hephaestus's picture
Hephaestus 8 years 1 week ago

Always thought the american approach to maintenance was like "we'll fix it when it breaks"... come on John Wayne with all your tool belts and heroics... just like the movies... you know!?

Preventive maintenance appears to be seen as an expense and thus avoided since it could effect 'profits'


Hephaestus's picture
Hephaestus 8 years 1 week ago

Patrick... I agree Thom does appear and look smarmy on the TV

I believe his soul and emotion is inwardly fighting his obligation and committment

He coud be sick of listening to the bloody bounders he is obligated to talk to

Please back off


Renee52's picture
Renee52 8 years 1 week ago

All I would like to know is. Who's going to pay for this?
Why do we the taxpayers always pay for these cleanups. It's about time we make the owners pay for the cleanups

RFord's picture
RFord 8 years 1 week ago

We're not going to get off of oil tomorrow . In the meantime we need protection from oil spills. As I have said before, regulation is a good thing. The purpose of regulation is to keep bad things from happening. These old oil and gas lines need to be tested with air or water at least twice their operating pressure every year or two. They are generally made of steel, you know, the material that rusts. Most of them are buried in the ground where you can't see them. Once they pass a certain age, say 25 to 50 years, they should be replaced or lined with fiberglass so if a line gets a rust hole it doesn't leak. The blowout preventers like the one BP had that didn't work should be tested when installed and once a month. Ships carring oil should have two pilots in controll at all times while the ship is moving. Business heads hate regulation because all they can see is that it costs them money to comply. Oil industry should pay for all costs of oil spills and be fined for the spills but it would be better if they took every precaution possible to prevent oil spills in the first place. Then they wouldn't have to pay for cleanup and damages or fines. But I'm afraid they would not spend any money to prevent oil spills unless they are forced to comply with oil spill preventative regulations.

Willie W's picture
Willie W 8 years 1 week ago

Many more spills to come. More fines to be levied. For companies, it's just the cost of doing business, and for government, it's an ongoing revenue source. The banks know how it works. The government wants it's cut.

Hephaestus's picture
Hephaestus 8 years 1 week ago

They will have maintenance & shutdown procedures in place for sure

The question is if they are preventive or reactive

AND - if they are in compliance!

Not sure where you are coming from with x 2 operating pressure with air without stored enery calculations

Testing cross country pipelines with water requires other design issues to be considered when in service

LysanderSpooner's picture
LysanderSpooner 8 years 1 week ago

Should't the company be paying for the cleanup? If as Hartmann says, that they have done this before, how are they getting insurance? Aren't their premiums huge?

I would like more details.

Keith Weborg Sr.'s picture
Keith Weborg Sr. 8 years 1 week ago

You told a woman caller that to add some information, that she could put her comment on your daily here goes. You almost got the Chaney/Dresser connection correct, but you failed to insert the BUSH connection. Prescott, a long time board member of Dresser Industries left Dresser to run for congress in the state of Connecticut. However, he carried with him a large fortune from his 20 plus years on the board. When Prescott died, (he is the one doing business with Germany pre WW2) the Bush family inherited the fortune. While VP, George H.W. Bush learned of the asbestos threat to Dresser, where their family fortune was tied up with Dresser stock, so when he became president, he appointed Cheney Secretary of defense. As Sec. Def, Cheney handed Halliburton large Gulf War 1 contracts, setting himself up to become HAL CEO at the end of the Bush 1 term. As CEO of HAL, Cheney arranges to buy Dresser, an old competitor, practically bankrupting HAL, so when Cheney became VP, he made up for this BUSH SAVE by handing our tax payer dollars to HAL in Gulf War 2. Has all of this been behind the permitting of 911?

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 1 week ago

LysanderSpooner -- We know the premium on one of the oil company's insurance policies The price is $900 million. That is what the Kochs are paying to ensure repugs are elected. With repugs in control no worry about paying for the oil spills.

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