The breakdown of British Petroleum's pipeline is more than a potential 8 percent loss in domestic oil distribution, it's likely part of a long string of criminal actions.
If they had only used the 'smart pig' the pipeline would likely be in operation.
A rupture in their lines that led to a 200,000 gallon leak this spring, an explosion at a BP refinery, and accounts of actively fabricating repair records and covering up problems are all part of a criminal investigation now underway.
"Tuesday, in an interview with NBC News, a federal official in charge of pipeline safety charged that BP has been doing inadequate maintenance for 15 years.
"Frankly, we would have expected a higher level of care from a company like BP on lines like this," says Thomas J. Barrett with the Department of Transportation's Office of Pipeline Safety. "What disappointed me was their failure to maintain these lines to an accepted industry level of care," Barrett says.
Tuesday night, BP would not comment on the criminal investigation, but insists that its maintenance program was adequate."
Pigging refers to using a machine which travels inside pipelines to detect leaks, weak seals and weak repair welds. BP stopped using these machines about 10 years ago.
But the 'smart pig' wasn't on the job. BP was able to reduce or eliminate maintenance costs, and haul their profits to record levels.
And those who reported the problems years ago to BP? Greg Palast writes:
"In one case, BP's CEO of Alaskan operations hired a former CIA expert to break into the home of a whistleblower, Chuck Hamel, who had complained of conditions at the pipe's tanker facility. BP tapped his phone calls with a US congressman and ran a surveillance and smear campaign against him. When caught, a US federal judge said BP's acts were 'reminiscent of Nazi Germany.'
This was not an isolated case. Captain James Woodle, once in charge of the pipe's Valdez terminus, was blackmailed into resigning the post when he complained of disastrous conditions there. The weapon used on Woodle was a file of faked evidence of marital infidelity. Nice guys, eh?"
Palast has the goods on BP. The new 'smart pig' is at the money trough, hogging like mad.
Let the spin to protect BP begin and let the price gouging at the pump begin!