Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Stockholm Syndrome vs. The Ecosystem

We know that there are thousands of damage lawsuits against BP by various plaintiffs.

Those plaintiffs allege that their livelihoods and well being have been disrupted or damaged by the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe, and therefore they want BP to make them whole.

Those cases are "damage cases", and they all tend to follow a familiar pattern, the Exxon Valdez pattern.

However, two interesting cases are making their way through the federal courts that touch upon the soul of toxic energy vs the well being of the earth, and they follow a different pattern.

The first is Comer vs Murphy Oil (Comer), a case against big oil for causing global warming which caused Katrina to become greater than it would have without global warming, hence greater damage to the plaintiffs.

The second is Hornbeck Offshore v Salazar (Hornbeck), which concerns the moratorium on offshore deep water drilling imposed by the Obama Administration in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe, which said moratorium was stopped by federal judge Feldman.

Since Comer is "on ice" until the plaintiffs in that case decide to petition the Supreme Court or not to, this post will focus on Hornbeck as it now sits in the appellate court.

I looked over the Hornbeck docket, and found, among other things, that the case has been assigned to judges "WED, JES, and JLD", which seems to be clerklatin for "Judge Davis, Judge Smith, and Judge Dennis".

Interestingly, Judge Dennis, appointed by Clinton, was one of the judges on the panel in the Comer case (above), who said the plaintiffs in that case should be allowed to move forward in their case based on global warming (the other two judges on the panel who agreed were appointed by Reagan).

Judge Davis thought an en banc hearing could be granted, even though there were not enough regular judges for an en banc rehearing, by using visiting appellate judges; Judge Smith disagreed with Judge Dennis in the motion for a rehearing en banc in the Comer case mentioned above.

The odds, then, do not strongly favor the Obama Administration in their motion to lift the stay on the moratorium pending full appeal.

Oral argument on the motion is scheduled for a hearing tommorrow, July 8, 2010 in New Orleans.

Many amicus curiae ("friend of the court") briefs have been filed for both sides, so I will only mention a few of the amici.

Those in support of big oil and drill baby drill: State of Louisana, Senator Mary Landrieu, Diamond Offshore, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, LA Oil & Gas Assoc., Greater Houston Partnership, Mobile Area Chamber Of Commerce, LA Assoc Of Business & Industry, Shreveport Chamber Of Commerce, Ruston Lincoln Chamber Of Commerce, Natchitoches Chamber Of Commerce, Baton Rouge Chamber Of Commerce, New Orleans Chamber Of Commerce, Lafayette Chamber Of Commerce, Ascension Chamber Of Commerce, Iberia Chamber Of Commerce, St. Tammy Chamber Of Commerce, Thibodeaux Chamber Of Commerce, River Region Chamber Of Commerce, Houma-Terrebonne Chamber Of Commerce, Bayou La Batre Chamber Of Commerce, SW LA Chamber Of Commerce, LA Assoc. Of Chambers Of Commerce Executives, So. Crop Prod. Assoc., Mississippi Assoc. Bldrs. & Contractors, Plaque Mines Assoc. Of Business & Industry, Harvey Canal Industrial Assoc., Greater New Orleans, Inc., Independent Petroleum Assoc. of America, and International Assoc. Of Drilling Contractors.

Those in support the Obama Administration's position: Florida Wildlife Federation, Center For Biological Diversity, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, and Defenders Of Wildlife.

The hearing tomorrow will concern whether or not to lift the stay pending the case on appeal, so the arguments pro and con will be highly technical in nature, in terms of legal precedent, and will focus on the law concerning injunctions.

The list of those arguing for doing more drilling reads like a who's who of Stockholm Syndrome sufferers vs. those who want the human and other species to avoid ecocide.

Imagine a "hype" (needle using drug addict) laying on a bed with vomit all over them only wanting another fix, compared to another hype in pain of withdrawal because they are struggling and want to kick the habit and live.

A new story supports this assertion: 27,000 Abandoned Oil Wells In The Gulf are not inspected for leaks.

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