Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

Greenpeace blog highlights Disaster on the Horizon

Mark Floegel featured this post about Bob Cavnar’s brand new release, Disaster on the Horizon, on Friday on the blog of Greenpeace USA.

I was in Venice, Louisiana in late April and early May of this year, waiting for the first oil from the blowout of BP’s Macondo well to come ashore. Journalists from across the globe, politicians, fishermen, government bureaucrats, environmentalists, BP reps all milled about in a chaotic scrum. No one had good information. It seemed that once a rumor had passed through the crowd twice, it became accepted as fact.

I wish I’d had Bob Cavnar’s phone number then.

Mr. Cavnar is the author of Disaster on the Horizon, published this month by Chelsea Green. A 30-year veteran of the oil industry, who’s lived the industry from the oil patch to the boardroom, Mr. Cavnar writes about the BP blowout, oil technology, oil politics and energy policy in clear-eyed prose intelligible to those who only consume, rather than produce, petroleum products.

Who’s to blame? Anyone as blunt as Mr. Cavnar was not going to get into the rooms where the decisions were made, but his eye for details outsiders would miss and what he gleans from public sources point in ominous directions, such as: – Transocean, which owned and operated the Deepwater Horizon, disabled or disconnected many of the alarms and emergency shutoff switches on the rig. Had those devices remained untampered, they might have shut down the engine that exploded when it encountered gas from the well. Alarms might have saved the lives of some of the 11 crewmembers that died. (Ironically, Transocean executives were aboard the rig that night to celebrate seven years of safe operations.) – The US Coast Guard, whose marine safety mission has been supplanted by drug interdiction and homeland security, no longer had authority to oversee firefighting operations on the burning rig. No fire marshal was appointed to oversee workboats that poured water into the upper decks of the Deepwater Horizon, flooding them and likely the cause of the rig’s sinking. – The Bush/Cheney administration, which spent eight years undermining the nation’s regulatory system, putting industry hacks in charge of “monitoring” their own interests and spinning the revolving door between government and corporate America at record speeds. – The Obama administration, which took the blame for many Bush administration sins, but for its own part was too eager for the crisis to be over and the oil magically “gone,” too willing to let itself be gulled by BP, letting the oil company withhold crucial information and manipulate the technical end of the response for its own interests. – BP, which dodged and weaved from Day One, always more concerned with limiting corporate liability that with limiting the size of the spill, protecting the Gulf of Mexico environment or playing straight with the federal government and the public. Mr. Cavnar asks why the drilling of relief wells was inexplicably halted for two months, that the much lauded “static kill” probably did not kill the well and asserts BP managed to outfox the feds by getting the well closed without ever taking an accurate measurement of the flow of oil. Since fines are based on the number of barrels spilled, no measurement means BP lawyers will hold the high ground when the court battle begins. (As marine conservationist Rick Steiner might say, “Lawyers yet unborn will be litigating this case.”) I don’t agree with everything Bob Cavnar writes. Let’s not get crazy; he’s an oilman and I work for Greenpeace. But if his kind of honesty were better represented in the oil industry, our nation would have had a sensible energy policy decades ago. He also doesn’t forget (as we should not) that 11 men lost their lives on April 20, sacrificed to greed and arrogance. Some of that came from their industry; some from us, with our desire for cheap fuel without wanting to think of the danger and consequences that come with it. Read the original piece at Greenpeace.org. Bob Cavnar’s new book, Disaster on the Horizon, is available now.


Dear Humans: Listen to Ben Kilham. Signed, The Bears.

When it comes to fatal human-bear encounters, too often it’s the bear who ends up on the losing end. The most recent story occurred in Thetford, Vt., where a hungry bear with slim pickings began seeking out food in town. After unsuccessful attempts to thwart the bear – known to bear rehab specialist and author […] Read More

Reimagining Restoration as a Radical Act

Finding ways to manage “invasive” species as we’ve come to know them has sparked a vigorous debate within conservation and restoration communities, as well as farmers, gardeners, and permaculturalists.In her thought-provoking book Beyond the War on Invasive Species, author Tao Orion urges us to rethink and reimagine restoration as a way to break out of […] Read More

Trust Your Unconsciousness: Elizabeth Marshall Thomas on Writing

Elizabeth Marshall Thomas is a New York Times-bestelling author, traveler, and astute observer of the natural world. In Dreaming of Lions, a paperback edition of her memoir, Thomas pens a powerful new afterword and a selection of photos from her extraordinary life is included. Below is an excerpt from her chapter about writing, and her […] Read More

Ask the Experts: Submit Your Permaculture Questions Now

Attention all growers, food-lovers, and green-living enthusiasts, we are once again celebrating Permaculture Month by putting our pioneering permaculture authors to work for you.Chelsea Green is proud to publish and distribute some of the most recognized, and award-winning, names in permaculture, and we’re making several of them available to our readers to answer any and all […] Read More

Recipe: Pascal Baudar’s Basic Wild Kimchi

Experiment with what you have, anything from the mustard family will work extremely well. Read More
Follow us
Get every new post delivered to your inbox
Join millions of other followers
Powered By WPFruits.com