Who's to blame for the oil spill? Dick Cheney

The fingerprints of the worst vice-president ever are all over the environmental catastrophe

By Alex Pareene

Published May 3, 2010 5:30PM (EDT)

  (Associated Press)
(Associated Press)

The Gulf of Mexico oil spill could end up being the worst American man-made environmental catastrophe of this generation. With the oil still spilling and investigations into the causes yet to come, it's too early to neatly assign blame to any one person. But for now, let's hold Dick Cheney personally responsible for the whole thing.

Here's the evidence: The Wall Street Journal reports that the oil well didn't have a remote-control shut-off switch. The reason it didn't have a thing that it seems every single offshore drilling rig should have? According to environmental lawyer Mike Papantonio, it's because Dick Cheney's energy task force decided that the $500,000 switches were too expensive, and they didn't want to make BP buy any.

Is that not enough reason to blame the former Dark Lord of the Naval Observatory? Guess what: Halliburton is involved, too! The Los Angeles Times reports that BP contracted Dick Cheney's old company to cement the deepwater drill hole. Cementing the hole was, according to the U.S. Minerals Management Service, "the single most-important factor in 18 of 39 well blowouts in the Gulf of Mexico over a 14-year period." And Hallburton is already under investigation for faulty cementing in an Australian well last year.

The spill will very likely destroy the fragile economies of at least five states and it could even plunge the nation back into a recession. So thanks, Dick. Nice work.

Alex Pareene

Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon and is the author of "The Rude Guide to Mitt." Email him at apareene@salon.com and follow him on Twitter @pareene

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Dick Cheney Environment Gulf Oil Spill War Room