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Students Gear up to Protest Exxon Graduation Speech

4:41 pm in Uncategorized by Philip Radford

Rex CEO of ExxonMobile

As college students around the country are wrapping up their semesters, graduating seniors at Worcester Polytechnical Institute (WPI) find themselves in the midst of an ethical controversy.

On Saturday, WPI’s commencement speaker is none other than oil baron Rex Tillerson, CEO and chairman of ExxonMobil, although perhaps you’re more familiar with his role as the national president of the Boy Scouts of America.

ExxonMobil has donated generously to WPI and has an executive on the school’s Board of Trustees. WPI students protesting their administration’s choice in commencement speaker question the social and environmental record of Rex Tillerson’s company, with emphasis on its “scientifically negligent response to global warming.” As ExxonMobil has spent over $25 million since 1998 on groups who deny the science or significance of global warming, I share their concerns.

In response the school’s choice, the WPI Students for a Just and Stable Future negotiated with the administration to host a counterpoint speaker, Richard Heinberg of the Post Carbon Institute, who will be speaking at 3:00pm following the graduation ceremony. Heinberg is known for his analysis of peak production of fossil fuels, and the decline of easily-extractable, non-renewable energy sources.

Students have also organized a respectful protest of Tillerson’s speech. Twenty-six students are refusing to attend the commencement address, opting instead for Heinberg’s counterpoint speech. Other students who feel compelled to attend the speech will sport green ribbons to demonstrate solidarity with seniors who are abstaining from ending their schooling with an address from the mouth of Exxon.

ExxonMobil stands at the forefront of what is wrong with corporate America. The company is one of the top air polluters in the United States, with facilities that disproportionately affect minority communities. It is infamous for the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill off the coast of Alaska. It has a history of supporting brutal human rights violations in Indonesia. Through XTO Energy, ExxonMobil has already caused a major spill in the contaminating gas extraction practice known as hydrofracking.

While people and the planet bear the brunt of Exxon’s negligence, the company leverages its immense wealth and influence to buy the right to continue conducting dirty business as usual. In addition to funneling millions to industry front groups that peddle misinformation about climate science and belittle the significance of global warming, ExxonMobil spends tens of millions annually on federal political lobbying, and millions more on contributions to federal politicians to buy favorable policies. And even though Exxon made tens of billions of dollars in annual profit–Tillerson himself has made over $40,000,000 in the last five years–American taxpayers still handed out billions of dollars in subsidies to Exxon and other oil companies each year.

As Worcester Polytechnical Institute offers Mr. Tillerson an honorary degree for concluding the education of the graduates of 2011, someone should probably also offer Tillerson an honorary degree in corporate carelessness. He has certainly earned it.

Check out the full story, as told by WPI students, on their Facebook page. They invite all to attend Richard Heinberg’s speech tomorrow. Greenpeace applauds the students of Worcester Polytechnical Institute for standing up to ExxonMobil’s polluting influence.

A battle for the Earth’s last remaining frontier

2:42 pm in Uncategorized by Philip Radford

A fire ship hoses down an iceberg near the Stena Forth drilling ship in Baffin Bay.

There are clear signs that a new Arctic oil rush has begun. Earlier this month Shell submitted plans to the US government for for new drilling in the icy waters off Alaska’s north coast, and now a Scottish company has won permission to take a similar gamble near Greenland. Tomorrow Hilary Clinton will fly to the picturesque town of Nuuk in Greenland to discuss how spill response equipment might work in one of the world’s most extreme and beautiful environments. I can save her the trip – it won’t.

Here are some facts. Over the next few years a handful of powerful oil companies will tow rigs beyond the Arctic Circle to drill for a few short months before the winter sea ice closes in. They’ll rely on untested equipment and wildly ambitious response plans in the event of a blowout or other major accident. When October comes, the sea ice will close in and leave the area completely isolated until the following summer.

Think about that for a moment. This means that if a blowout happened in the fall, oil could gush out underneath the ice from Halloween through Thanksgiving, all the way to Memorial Day or, depending on the oil spill and the ice, the fourth of July or longer. Wildlife like bowhead whales, polar bears, seals and walrus would have to fend for themselves as the world looks on helplessly and the oil companies make their excuses. We tried. We took precautions. It’s a big ocean. The Arctic will recover. Sound familiar?

Global warming is happening faster in the Arctic than on anywhere else on earth, and multinational oil companies are desperate to exploit the newly opened seas for huge profits. Safety is not their first priority, whatever the glossy brochures and reassuring words might say. The Deepwater Horizon disaster took 6,500 well equipped vessels over three months to cap. In the Arctic Ocean there aren’t even that many kayaks.

In the Arctic Ocean, the world’s last real frontier, Big Oil is taking bigger risks than ever before and dressing up their recklessness as necessity. They’re wrong. We can prevent extracting oil from the Arctic – and the Gulf of Mexico, and the Tar Sands in Canada -by taking it out of Detroit instead. We can ‘produce’ millions of barrels a year simply by not using it in the first place. Cleaner cars with better engines mean lower bills, less pollution and a healthier industry.

Our politicians have become hypnotized by the mantra of the fossil fuel lobby and are repeating it like drones – more, more, more. At some point this thirst, this reckless and desperate urge has to stop. One day, somewhere, we must draw a line in the sand and say: enough. This year just might be the moment, and Alaska’s Arctic Ocean might be the place.

The State of the Union and the Environment

12:26 pm in Uncategorized by Philip Radford

In these challenging times it will not be surprising if President Obama glosses over critical environmental issues in his State of the Union address January 25. The nation is struggling to find jobs for the unemployed, we are still at war in two countries, and recent tragedies deserve to be addressed. But the State of the Union is also the opportunity to lay out for Congress but more importantly the public what the President hopes to do this year. And while working to restore people’s economic and security confidence, the President must also promote policies that will protect public health by protecting the environment.

While addressing the state of this Union, the President cannot ignore the very environment in which we live. If we were writing his speech to the people of the United States, we would include the following items.

Coal Pollution: The mine collapse that killed 29 coal miners in West Virginia and the Gulf oil disaster remind us of the imperative to shift from fossil fuels to energy efficiency and renewable energy sources that are available today. 24,000 other tragedies passed without public fanfare in 2010 – the number of individuals dying of lung cancer, respiratory, and heart problems caused by the air pollution from coal power plants. And headlines of jobs lost ignored that dirty energy like coal is in the way of an American recovery: every coal job in the U.S. means that we lose out on three jobs that we would have from producing the same energy with clean, renewable energy. Dirty energy companies are attacking the Clean Air Act, which could help clean up the nation’s dirtiest coal plants and cut dangerous mercury, smog, and carbon pollution.. For our health and our country, President Obama must stand strong against this country’s worst polluters.

Protect Oceans: Three quarters of global fish stocks are suffering from overfishing and 90% of top marine predators are gone, jeopardizing the food supply of hundreds of millions of people. The President’s leadership is desperately needed to create a network of large scale parks in the ocean protected from fishing, drilling, and mining, in order to restore our fisheries and protect biodiversity in our coastal waters and on the high seas. We must learn from BP’s disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, and deny BP and Shell permits to risk an even more catastrophic spill in the remote, pristine waters of the Arctic. And there is no better time for President Obama to stick to his pledge to oppose commercial whaling, as it is increasingly clear even to the people of Iceland, Norway, and Japan that killing whales for profit is no longer viable.

Preserve Forests: Over the past 50 years, the Earth has lost 20% of our ancient forests. In the U.S., only 5% remain. From the mountains of Appalachia to the peatlands of Indonesia, forests – particularly tropical rainforests – are the safeguard of the diversity of life on Earth and absorb vast amounts of global warming pollution. President Obama has voiced support for initiatives to reduce tropical deforestation; 2011 is the year to provide the funding promised to save the world’s tropical forests.

Don’t Bet on Nuclear Power: In a time of anger about ballooning budgets and taxpayer bailouts, we certainly don’t need loan guarantees or a “dirty energy standard” mandate for new nuclear plants that Wall Street says are so uneconomical that they are “corporation killers” and “a bet the farm risk”. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has said that these new nuclear loans pose a greater than 50% chance of default, in which case taxpayers would be left holding the bag. In the State of the Union, President Obama should support his own Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chief, who says that the U.S. can produce all new electricity without any new nuclear or coal power plants.

Protect People from Toxic Time Bombs: Across the country more than 300 chemical plants still use ultrahazardous poison gases that put more than 110 million people at risk of a Bhopal magnitude chemical disaster. Safer, cost effective processes are available for virtually all of these plants. As we approach the tenth anniversary of September 11th, it would be irresponsible for Congress to fail again in requiring these high risk plants to use safer chemical processes everywhere they are feasible.

The 112th Congress is threatening to roll back 40 years of environmental progress. The President can only win by standing tall and fighting for clean air for our children, a world of diversity and wilderness for our grandchildren, safe and secure forms of energy, and communities safe from toxic and nuclear disasters.

White House Hid the Truth on Spill: The Truth and the Oil is Still Out There

7:57 am in Uncategorized by Philip Radford

The President’s National Oil Spill Commission released preliminary findings today from its investigation into BP’s oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

And its initial findings will cause at least two major headaches, I mean headlines, for the White House.

First, the report finds that the White House blocked efforts by federal scientists to publicly reveal how high the oil spill rate was based on modeling they had to estimate the worse case scenario.

Visiting the Gulf of Mexico

In section 2 called The Fate of the Oil Released, there are two major issues. First says that the numbers that the Administration used to base its announcement that most of the oil had just disappeared was in fact not meant to be rigorous accounting. And second, in a section called The Fate of all Hydrocarbons, a study done in late September concluded that "most of the initial biodegradation in the plumes involved gaseous hydrocarbons (propane and ethane), rather than oil". Meaning that what happened to most of the oil remains a mystery.

Let’s take the first piece. The Obama White House, for whatever reason and we can make a fair guess, did not want to disclose to the public how bad the oil spill could really be. Much like BP, the government instead chose to paint rosy scenarios about the size and impact of the spill. Who was the White House protecting? Certainly not the good people of the Gulf Coast. Certainly not the American public. And certainly not the Gulf of Mexico.

Now part 2, the White House continues to shakily stand by their initial assertions that 75% of the oil has disappeared. They based that on an "Oil Budget" estimate meant to help responders with their efforts, not as a definitive estimate. However, the commission report states that the Oil Budget was simply not designed to explain, or capable of explaining, the “fate of the oil”. It was not robust enough scientifically for that. Much like BP who wants to down play the presence of oil in the ecosystem and it’s effects because of legal liability, the White House is joining the industry chorus perhaps to down play it’s political liability.

There’s much in this report that’s revealing but one last piece perfectly states why the Greenpeace ship the Arctic Sunrise is in the Gulf conducting independent science and why we’re thankful others are as well. In the study mentioned above, much of the bio-degradation the Administration hoped was eating the oil was not. It is eating gaseous hydrocarbons like propane and ethane. The oil is still out there and instead of ‘fessing up to the extent that remains and the damage it will do likely for decades, the government joins with industry to keep us in the dark.

Now the White House hopes we will take their word that we can indeed go forward with more offshore drilling and that it can be done safely. How many more fossil fuel disasters will it take for our politicians to lead us out of this rut and into the secure and environmentally friendly renewable energy future we need? Instead the White House and Congress are all pushing for Drill Baby Drill as per the President’s statement back in March.

[Philip D. Radford is the Executive Director of Greenpeace US.]

Going Beyond Oil

6:53 am in Uncategorized by Philip Radford

Despite the overwhelming evidence that Big Oil’s reckless pursuit of the last remaining oil reserves (and ever-more exorbitant profits) is disastrous for the planet, governments of the world are still greenlighting dangerous deepwater drilling projects.

That’s why this morning two Greenpeace activists locked down the anchor chain of Chevron’s drill ship the Stena Carron, which was scheduled to depart for a deepwater drilling site north of Scotland’s Shetland Islands. While our activists physically prevent one more irresponsible drilling project from getting underway, we’re calling on all governments to ban deepwater drilling once and for all.

The action was launched from the Greenpeace ship Esperanza, which was also the base of operations for the activists who staged a 40-hour occupation of Cairn Energy’s Stena Don oil rig off the coast of Greenland earlier this month. There is real danger that the Stena Don could spark an Arctic oil rush, which would pose a huge threat to the climate and put the fragile Arctic environment at risk. So, for nearly two days, Greenpeace activists prevented this dangerous drilling operation from proceeding to threaten any more marine life and coastal ecosystems with catastrophic oil spills.

This is as much a moral issue as an environmental issue. We don’t fully understand the long-term effects of oil spills like the BP Deepwater Disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. We need independent science to find out what those will be. All we do know for certain is that the oil and its impacts will persist for decades. Surely we can all agree that we owe our children a healthy planet to live on? And unfortunately, as is now all-too clear, expanding offshore drilling operations is incompatible with keeping our planet healthy enough to support future generations.

That’s why we’re not only working to stop more dangerous drilling, we’re also seeking to get to the truth about the impacts of oil spills. Our ship, the Arctic Sunrise, is now halfway through its three-month expedition in the Gulf and has hosted several teams of independent scientists who are working to understand where all of BP’s oil has gone and what it’s doing to marine wildlife and ecosystems in the Gulf. You can stay up do date with the crew’s findings via our Google Earth map, which is tracking blog posts, pictures, and videos coming from the crew onboard the ship.

If you want to know even more about the long-term effects of oil spills and how we can prevent future oil spills from happening, tune in this Friday to the blogger briefing Greenpeace is hosting as part of UN Week. Greenpeace USA’s Kert Davies is onboard the Arctic Sunrise in the Gulf right now and will be participating in the briefing as well as answering your questions live via video Skype.

We’re not just against oil, we’re for clean, sustainable energy. Sven Teske, the author of our Energy [R]evolution report, will be taking part in the briefing to discuss how expanding our offshore drilling operations is not only dangerous, but unnecessary. We can get to 80 percent renewable energy globally by 2050, and we’d be creating 12 million jobs by 2030 in the process.

A clean energy revolution would not only help stop global warming and get our ailing economy back on track, but it is also the only 100 percent fail-safe method for preventing oil spills. That’s because the only way to stop oil spills is to leave the oil in the ground (or hundreds of feet under the sea, as the case may be). We can’t do that until we move beyond oil and other fossil fuels as our primary energy sources.

Greenpeace will continue to confront reckless new oil drilling operations and bring attention to the issue, but we need to build a widespread movement that demands we go beyond oil as soon as possible. Join us on the blogger briefing this Friday to find out how you can help get us there.

This was originally posted on Huffington Post on September 21st.

[Philip D. Radford is the Executive Director of Greenpeace US.]

Dear White House Re: Oil Spill Not Gone

1:39 pm in Uncategorized by Philip Radford

Ms. Carol Browner
Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

August 16, 2010

Dear Ms. Browner,

During the week of August 4, 2010, you served as the administration’s principle spokesperson appearing on multiple national television programs, including NBC’s Meet the Press and ABC’s Good Morning America, to report findings from the interagency BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Budget. You stated repeatedly that "the vast majority of the oil appears to be gone."

This week, multiple independent scientists have released calculations and investigations that show quite the opposite:

* from the University of Georgia that upwards of seventy nine percent of the spilled oil still remains in the Gulf

* from the University of South Florida oil found on the bottom of the ocean in a vast area of subsea canyons some 40 miles from the Florida panhandle

* and from the Wood’s Hole Oceanographic Institution, published today in Science, new mapping of the disputed massive underwater plumes of oil.

This new scientific information tells a story that is a complete reversal of what you conveyed to the American public just two weeks ago. We are mystified about how you and government’s top scientists could have gotten the numbers and the interpretation and translation of this data so wrong. The only plausible explanation is that you rushed to put an optimistic face on the worst environmental catastrophe in American history.

Your major media appearances the first week of August included the following quotes:

"The good news is that the vast majority of the oil appears to be gone…The scientists are telling us about 25 percent was not captured or evaporated or taken care of by mother nature"
on ABC Good Morning America, August 4, 2010

"I think it’s also important to note that our scientists have done an initial assessment and more than three-quarters of the oil is gone, the vast majority of the oil is gone…The EPA has been monitoring, NOAA is monitoring, the Food and Drug Administration is looking at the fish; and, right now, nobody’s seeing anything of concern."
on NBC Meet the Press, August 8, 2010

Today, in a congressional hearing, NOAA and EPA testified that preliminary results released August 4th have not been peer-reviewed, and that this must and will be done before any conclusions can be made about the state of the Gulf. Furthermore, NOAA’s preliminary statement about oil cleaned up includes the 800,000 barrels of oil captured by ships – which never entered the Gulf but was instead likely sent to refineries and into America’s gas tanks.

Did the NOAA and EPA scientists who briefed you for the August 4th release affirm that it was accurate and credible to use the language, that "the vast majority of the oil appears to be gone."?

While you falsely reassured the American people and residents of the Gulf region on the ongoing environmental impact in the Gulf, we are also concerned that this optimistic assessment may have further undermined the administration’s credibility and the longer term efforts of the Federal government to fully prosecute BP and others for the damage to the Gulf. We remain very concerned about any possible industry influence on the collection of accurate scientific data and dissemination of information about this oil disaster by the government’s reliance on British Petroleum assets and other oil industry actors involved in the assessment and clean up response.

Greenpeace remains committed to independent review of the oil disaster’s impact and support demands made today by Representative Ed Markey that all data, calculations, formulas and citations of scientific literature behind the Oil Budget calculator be immediately released to the public and to independent scientists.

Our research vessel the Arctic Sunrise is currently hosting scientists from multiple academic institutions investigating the ongoing impacts of the oil that remains in the Gulf of Mexico as we help independent scientists in the pursuit of the truth. We will be happy to share the results of this mission with your office.

The President rightly promised the American public an unprecedented amount of transparency and rededication to science in his administration (versus the behavior of previous administration). We feel the President has been unfairly blamed for the Gulf disaster, but there is no getting around the fact that you were on national television telling the American public something that has now been severely contradicted by independent expert scientists.

We sent a FOIA request to NOAA on August 5, 2010, asking for disclosure of the calculations and data behind the Deepwater Horizon Oil Budget. While we await a response to our FOIA request, we would kindly request that you formally amend or retract your comments of the week of August 4th based on this new evidence.

I look forward to your prompt response.

Best regards,

Phillip Radford
Executive Director
Greenpeace US

Oily Hand

After 11 Weeks of Disaster, Time for Freedom From Oil (Photos)

10:20 am in Uncategorized by Philip Radford

Eleven weeks ago, BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil platform exploded into the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 workers. Since the explosion thousands upon thousands of barrels of oil have spewed into this precious ecosystem, hundreds of wildlife have been affected, the fishing industry has been decimated, and an entire culture is being threatened.

Greenpeace scientists and volunteers have been in the Gulf since week one collecting data and exposing the largest environmental disaster of our time. Using our boats, planes and expertise we’ve helped reporters gain access to hard to reach areas and documented the disaster ourselves every step of the way. Here are some of our most powerful photos, along with those of others, to share with you what we’ve seen in the past 11 weeks. On Independence Day this weekend, let us remember that we have yet to achieve energy independence from dirty and harmful fossil fuels.

Read the full post on the Huffington Post

Thoughts on Whose Ass Obama Should Kick

6:39 am in Uncategorized by Philip Radford

President Obama asked yesterday "whose ass to kick" over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. I have a few ideas.

1. Tony Hayward. BP CEO Tony Hayward and his company should be criminally charged for the reckless endangerment of their workers, for violations of the Clean Water Act by dumping millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf, and for stealing the income of the people who rely on the Gulf for their livelihoods. Instead, seven of my colleagues are being aggressively charged with felonies for peacefully calling on the President to stop offshore Arctic drilling. Arrest the real criminals.

2. Lisa Murkowski. Senator Lisa Murkowski is just one of many of our elected officials who seem to be working for the fossil fuel industries instead of in the interest of the American people. As the Gulf Region watches in horror at the impacts of the oil spill on its coasts, its waters, and its economy, the US Senate is scheduled to consider a proposal tomorrow from Senator Lisa Murkowski that would protect oil companies and other big polluters by gutting America’s Clean Air Act.

3. His Own and His Staffs’. Obama and his top staff must take responsibility for their distinct lack of vision in a time of oil, national security, and climate crises, clinging to weak Senate climate legislation instead of pivoting towards a vision of getting the U.S. off of oil by 2030. A smart first step would be to call for all cars to be plug-in electrics by 2030.

The Energy [R]evolution

To eliminate the risks of another BP Deepwater Disaster, we must look away from the dinosaur fossil fuel companies of our past and towards a bright future of clean, renewable energy. It is possible right now to make the changes we need for that future. Don’t believe those who tell you that it’s too hard or too expensive.

Today, my colleagues at Greenpeace and the European Renewable Energy Council released the new Energy [R]evolution report to illustrate the way forward. The report is one of the most comprehensive plans for future production and distribution of sustainable energy systems.

The report provides a detailed practical blueprint for cutting carbon pollution while achieving economic growth by replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy and energy efficiency. This phase-out of fossil fuels leads to energy security, independence from world market fuel prices, and a reduction in pollution-related illnesses.

The Energy [R]evolution shows how by 2050 renewable energy sources could provide around 96% of electricity produced in the USA and 74% of our total heating demand, accounting for around 71% of our overall primary energy demand. The blueprint would create about 800,000 jobs in the renewables sector alone, by 2030. The total fuel cost savings in the scenario described could reach a total of $4.5 trillion, or $107 billion per year.

Lack of vision by politicians and a pocket full of corporate contributions has held us back for too long. Our children are counting on us to leave them a planet free from the threat of rig explosions, devastating oil spills, and unchecked climate change, and we have that power. The Energy [R]evolution is here.

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[BP]resident Obama – Where does BP begin and Obama end?

2:20 pm in Uncategorized by Philip Radford

The sticky, hot oil was so deep that my boots sank three inches and nearly came off when I took my next step.

Where the beach looked clean, I let my eyes follow baby crabs a foot more on shore where I saw the wall of debris and grass saturated four inches deep with thick, reddish-brown oil.

Last Thursday marked one month since the Deepwater Horizon exploded, killing 11 people and setting in motion an unfolding, unprecedented disaster in the U.S.

Greenpeace image: The cost of offshore drilling

[BP]resident Obama?

What was so unsettling in the Gulf was that when I was down there I couldn’t tell where President Obama began and BP ended. Greenpeace boats full of reporters were physically blocked by the coastguard and forbidden to take pictures of the oil on the beach. When asked why, the coast guard staff replied: "It’s not our policy. It’s BP’s policy." The President’s response to the spill, until yesterday when Lisa Jackson demanded that the toxic dispersants be replaced (kudos to her for this), has seemed like a page BP’s playbook of focusing on image damage control as much as oil spill damage control. He has not batted an eye in defending further off-shore oil drilling and has withheld from the public the scale of the problem.

I was heartened to hear that the President called for truck mile per gallon standards be upgraded and that fuel economy standards should be strengthened in the long-run for regular cars. The big question is if the President will virtually phase out the use of oil in cars by 2030 or continue down Ken Salazar’s misguided drill baby drill policy.

Greenpeace image: The cost of offshore drilling

The Coast Guard’s "Nightmare Scenario"

As leviathans of underwater oil move their way up the East Coast, President Obama is opening the door to what the Coast Guard called its "nightmare scenario" – drilling in the Arctic.

Shell Oil plans to begin exploratory drilling in Alaska’s Arctic Ocean this July. According to the Coast Guard, the pristine Chukchi and Beaufort Seas are extremely remote, freezing cold, covered in darkness for much of the year, and the water is incredibly choppy, making a spill a "nightmare." The rig being shipped right now to the Arctic is older than the BP Deepwater rig that exploded. Regardless, President Obama and Secretary of Interior Salazar continue to push the interests of big oil companies.

This moment will require that the President do more than say that he is frustrated with BP and (rightly) pointing the finger. President Obama should ban all offshore oil drilling and call for an end to the use of oil in our cars by 2030.

Stopping Shell’s drilling plan would be a good, first indicator that the President is moving away from the Salazar-BP oil policy. Getting America’s cars and trucks off of oil by 2030 would prove that the President is finally actually leading.

Today Greenpeace activists took a stand on the ship the Harvey Explorer to send a message to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. The activists used oil from the spill to paint the message "Arctic Next?" on the bridge of the ship, which is scheduled to depart for Alaska to support drilling operations in July.

Greenpeace image: The cost of offshore drilling

BP Waives Responsibility — Health Effects of Oil Cleanup Could Be Deadly

8:14 am in BP oil disaster, climate change, Energy, Health care by Philip Radford

After the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska, employees and volunteers working around the oil became seriously ill and many of the thousands of workers died from inhaling the toxic air and handling dispersants that contained benzene and other chemicals.

Those same chemicals are currently being used on the BP Deepwater Oil Disaster.

In the Gulf the people at risk of illness are the thousands of Louisiana fisherman rendered jobless by BP‘s oil spill. These fishermen have been left with no other option than to work for the same company that has taken away their livelihoods.

In BP‘s most recent move to avoid responsibility, the company is requiring these men and women to sign the waiver below. The waiver protects BP from being sued by their staff and volunteers for "claims and damages in connection with use of equipment connected with the Response Activities."

In other words, BP has prioritized protecting its corporate interests and pocketbook over providing medical care for injuries and illnesses stemming from those workers and families cleaning up the BP mess.

This is BP‘s second attempt to dodge responsibility and limit their liability. A previous BP agreement, that gave residents $5,000 in exchange for waiving their right to sue, was already struck down by Louisiana courts.

This post originally appeared on Huffington Post.