18 May 2010

Blast from the past

And I mean 'blast' quite literally. I was rereading some old posts looking for something and stumbled across this post from January 2007 entitled "What you pay for when you pay for gas":

Well, it's certainly not even a minimal amount of safety, neither for the giant BP gas company's own employees nor the environment. Here's the results of a damning report on BP's systematic shortchanging safety at its refineries - one of which blew up killing 15 people. And then there is the Alaska pipeline that BP allowed to deteriorate to the point it burst.

The Texas City plant was not the only refinery in need of greater company spending. The panel said that many hourly workers interviewed at BP's Whiting, Ind., refinery reported that as a result of underfunding, "preventive maintenance was seldom practiced, the refinery had a 'run until it breaks' mentality, and the workforce had a great deal of experience running equipment with 'Band-Aids.' " A survey of people working at a Toledo refinery showed that 33 percent of operations managers, 44 percent of maintenance technicians and 63 percent of health-and-safety employees disagreed with the statement that "process safety programs . . . have adequate funding."

After a consultant hired by BP urged bigger refinery budgets, BP increased spending somewhat. But in late 2004, weeks before the explosion, BP headquarters had asked its refineries to trim costs by an additional 25 percent. "It is not clear to the Panel why the U.S. refineries did not receive greater funding," the Baker report says.

Remember the billions in windfall profits BP and other companies raked in when your gas prices went up to $3 a gal? The price spike that ended, oh, just before the last election?

Well, the Good Book is right: there IS nothing new under the sun.

Enjoy your next fill up.


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