Friday, April 30, 2010


Alabama officials who are in bed with the oil companies have some explaining to do. The rip is that it's not at all clear that Alabamans will ask them to do so. Surely the devastation the state's gulf coast faces will open a few eyes deep in the heart of Dixie.

Wake in the oily water

The following is from Op-Ed News.

Is Oil Spill About to Give Alabamians What We Deserve?
By Roger Shuler

Few states have a stronger record than Alabama when it comes to sucking up to the oil industry. So it's ironic that a massive oil spill that started off the coast of Louisiana now is moving eastward toward . . . Alabama. And it is poised to land a possibly catastrophic blow to our state's economy and environment.

Is Mother Nature giving us payback? Sure looks like it. And for comedic effect, we have a Republican Governor who now claims that oil giant BP is going to be held accountable for the big spill. But that same governor, Bob Riley, never has held big oil accountable before. Why should we think it's going to happen now?

Here is a lesson of Biblical proportions for Alabamians, one that should resonate in our supposedly hyper religious state: You reap what you sow.

For roughly the past 15 years, Alabamians have consistently voted to place Republicans on our state's high courts. The Alabama Supreme Court now has eight Republicans and one Democrat--the result of aggressive campaign tactics led by Karl Rove, Business Council of Alabama President Bill Canary, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

In November 2007, our high court overturned most of a $3.5 billion verdict against ExxonMobil in a fraud case involving natural-gas royalties. It was an 8-1 vote, and since then, the GOPers on the Alabama Supreme Court have been known as the "Exxon Eight."

Guess where much of their campaign funding came from? According to a report from Scott Horton, of Harper's, it was largely from ExxonMobil. Those same business sources largely funded the campaign of Governor Bob Riley.

When Riley had a chance to appeal the Alabama Supreme Court's unlawful ruling, one that ignored clear legal precedent, what did he do? He did nothing.

Now Riley says he's going to be tough on BP as an oil spill approaches the Alabama coast. The Mobile Press-Register reports:

    Riley said BP Plc, which operated the Deepwater Horizon well that blew up April 20 and caused the spill, will ultimately be responsible for those claims.

    BP officials did not return calls for comment Thursday. Riley did not say that the company had agreed to honor such claims. When asked if the company would, Riley said, "They are the responsible party."

    BP has agreed to reimburse the state for the costs it incurs preparing for and cleaning up the oil spill, Riley said.

Right Guv, BP is going to reimburse Alabama the way ExxonMobil did back in 2007 for its fraudulent actions. You're going to hold big oil's feet to the fire now, aren't you?

What's Riley going to say next, "Good job, Brownie"? Isn't it fun to watch Republicans deal with disasters caused by their pro-business supporters?

It's starting to look like Mother Nature is a liberal. And she doesn't take kindly to conservative states that continually mock her. When you piss off Mother Nature, she can extract a fearsome price. Will Alabamians ever learn?

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