Chelsea Green Publishing

Disaster on the Horizon

Pages:248 pages
Size: 5.375 x 8.375 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Paperback: 9781603583169
Pub. Date October 22, 2010

Disaster on the Horizon

High Stakes, High Risks, and the Story Behind the Deepwater Well Blowout

Availability: In Stock


Available Date:
October 22, 2010


Disaster on the Horizon is a behind-the-scenes investigative look at the worst oil well accident in US history, which led to the current environmental and economic catastrophe on the Gulf Coast. Cavnar uses his 30 years in the business to take readers inside the disaster, exposing the decisions leading up to the blowout and the immediate aftermath. It includes personal accounts of the survivors, assembled from testimony during various investigations, as well as personal interviews with survivors, witnesses, and family. It also provides a layman's look at the industry, its technology, people, and risks. It deconstructs events and decisions made by BP, Transocean, and the US Government before and after the disaster, and the effects of those decisions, both good and bad.

Cavnar explains what happened in the Gulf, explores how we arrived at deep water drilling in the first place and then charts a course for how to avoid these disasters in the future.


"Because of Bob Cavnar's extensive experince in the oil and gas drilling business--which includes being the victim of a drilling-related explosion himself--his book brings alive the BP disaster in ways no other account has done. Cavnar lets the reader understand how the disaster really happened, and who bears responsibility. Not surprisingly, he also shows what happened during the Bush administration to make this tragedy more likely."--Howard Dean, former DNC Chair and Vermont governor; author of Howard Dean's Prescription for Real Healthcare Reform

"Cavnar captures all the drama of the disaster with an oilman's expertise. This book not only explains what happened on the well on April 20th, but all the decisions made in the past that led up to that fateful night. In the process, Cavnar hasn't just delivered a riveting story, but a political call to arms."--Mimi Schwartz, executive editor of Texas Monthly and co-author of Power Failure: The Inside Story of the Collapse of Enron

Bob Cavnar, with thirty years of oil patch experience, has written the definitive story of the blowout in the Gulf. It is a gripping and deadly tale--one that takes the reader to the rig site, where he makes you feel the blast and heat from the explosion, and gives you an unrivaled look at what actually went on in the blowout and in the months that followed it. Lives tragically lost and lessons to be learned. A must read for everyone concerned about the oil industry, the effectiveness of government regulation, and America's energy future.--Mark White, former governor of Texas

"Brilliant. A must read to understand what happened--and why."--Bruce Babbitt, former U.S. secretary of the Interior and governor of Arizona; author of Cities in the Wilderness

Publishers Weekly-
Cavnar, a veteran of the energy industry (including early work on oil rigs and pipeline construction), does a more-than-admirable job of clarifying deepwater drilling, specifically the corporate interests behind it and the mechanics and risks associated with it. Cavnar approach his subject like a muckraking reporter, pointing fingers and wringing hands and, though he doesn't spare BP, he argues that their hands were tied. Regarding their lowball estimates of oil spilled in the early days, Cavnar states that "liability is based on the amount of oil released into the environment"; though BP officials "probably had calculated the actual flow rate to within a few percent," releasing those figures would have meant owning up to a much greater liability. Especially chilling is Cavnar's assertion that other disasters will follow Deepwater Horizon, since 27% of domestic production comes from deepwater drilling and a 2009 study of subsea Blow Out Protectors showed a failure rate of 45%. Even if the US were to regulate or ban all offshore drilling, multinational companies would set up deepwater rigs near more lenient nations to sidestep the problem. Ultimately Cavnar issues a call to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels; only this, he suggest, will spare us ecological catastrophe.


  • Runner-up - Foreword Book of the Year Award: Environment - 2010


Bob Cavnar

Bob Cavnar is a 30-year veteran of the oil and gas industry with deep experience in operations, start-ups, turn-arounds, and management of both public and private companies. He is currently chief executive officer of Luca Technologies, which harnesses natural processes to produce natural gas sustainably. Previously he was President and Chief Executive Officer of Milagro Exploration, a large, privately held oil and gas exploration firm based in Houston, Texas with operations along the Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi Gulf Coasts, and offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. Cavnar holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Southern Methodist University and completed the Program for Management Development at the Harvard Business School.  He blogs at This Small Planet and The Daily Hurricane.


Bob Cavnar on Al Jazeera re: Halliburton & BP 10-28-2010

Bob Cavnar on NBC Nightly News re: BP Blowout Preventer 09-06-2010

Bob Canvar on MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann re: Drilling Regulation

Bob Canvar on MSBNC's The Rachel Maddow Show re: Recent Oil Rig Explosion

Bob Canvar on MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show re: BP Oil Spill and Toxic Mud

Bob Cavnar on FNC's Studio B With Shepard Smith 03-22-2011

Bob Canvar on NBC Nightly News re: BP Blowout Preventer

Bob Canvar on NBC Nightly News re: BP Blowout Preventer


Seeds of Deception & The Hidden Dangers in Kids Meals (Book & DVD Bundle)

Seeds of Deception & The Hidden Dangers in Kids Meals (Book & DVD Bundle)

By Jeffrey M. Smith

Without knowing it, Americans eat genetically modified (GM) food every day. While the food and chemical industries claim that GMO food is safe, a considerable amount of evidence shows otherwise. In Seeds of Deception, Jeffrey Smith, a former executive with the leading independent laboratory testing for GM presence in foods, documents these serious health dangers and explains how corporate influence and government collusion have been used to cover them up.

The stories Smith presents read like a mystery novel. Scientists are offered bribes or threatened; evidence is stolen; data withheld or distorted. Government scientists who complain are stripped of responsibilities or fired. The FDA even withheld information from congress after a GM food supplement killed nearly a hundred people and permanently disabled thousands. While Smith was employed by the laboratory he was not allowed to speak on the health dangers or the cover-up. No longer bound by this agreement, Smith now reveals what he knows in this groundbreaking exposé.

Today, food companies sell GM foods that have not undergone safety studies. FDA scientists opposed this, but White House and industry pressure prevailed and the agency's final policy--co-authored by a former Monsanto attorney--denied the risks. The scientists' concerns were made public only after a lawsuit forced the agency to turn over internal documents.

Dan Glickman, former Secretary of Agriculture, describes the government's pro-biotech mindset: "You felt like you were almost an alien, disloyal, by trying to present an open-minded view. . . . So I pretty much spouted the rhetoric. . . . It was written into my speeches."

In Seeds of Deception Smith offers easy-to-understand descriptions of genetic engineering and explains why it can result in serious health problems. This well-documented, pivotal work will show you how to protect yourself and your family.

DVD Overview

Three videos in one: includes an interview with Jeffrey M. Smith, footage of scientists, and a look at the miraculous improvement in student behavior that accompanied a change in diet at a Wisconsin school. Also included is a lecture by Smith on "The Health Dangers of Genetically Engineered Foods and Their Cover-up."

Available in: Mixed media product

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Seeds of Deception & The Hidden Dangers in Kids Meals (Book & DVD Bundle)

Jeffrey M. Smith

Mixed media product $34.95

Collapse (DVD)

Collapse (DVD)

Director Chris Smith filmed Ruppert sitting alone in a room that looks like a bunker and chain smoking as he tells of the dangers facing our society.

"Ruppert recounts his career as a radical thinker and spells out the crises he sees ahead. He draws upon the same news reports and data available to any Internet user, but he applies a unique interpretation. He is especially passionate about the issue of peak oil, the concern raised by scientists since the seventies that the world will eventually run out of fossil fuel. While other experts debate this issue in measured tones, Ruppert doesn't hold back at sounding an alarm, portraying an apocalyptic future. Listening to his rapid flow of opinions, the viewer is likely to question some of the rhetoric as paranoid or deluded, and to sway back and forth on what to make of the extremism. Smith lets viewers form their own judgments." Thom Powers, Toronto International Film Festival

Available in: DVD

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Collapse (DVD)

Michael C. Ruppert, Chris Smith, Kate Noble

DVD $19.98

Welcome to the Machine

Welcome to the Machine

By Derrick Jensen and George Draffan

You could call them the Monkeywrench Gang of the nanotech age. Derrick Jensen and George Draffan are taking down the data mining industry, one converted mind at a time. In the face of RFID chips, consumer tracking strategies, and illegal government wiretapping, Jensen and Draffan are determined to show consumers how to fight back against government and industry to regain their rights, their privacy, and their humanity. In their new book, Welcome to the Machine: Science, Surveillance, and the Culture of Control, Jensen and Draffan take a hart-hitting look at the way technology is used as a machine, to control us and our environment. Their results are startling.

If the prospect of perpetual surveillance and psychological warfare alarms you, you are not alone. Most people would be disturbed if you told them that everything from their store purchases to their public transit rides are recorded and filed for government or corporate access. But more often than not, the smooth, silent cleanliness of its operation allows the Machine of Western Civilization to go unnoticed. In Welcome to the Machine, Jensen and Draffan draw our attention back to its eerie, persistent white noise and take a cold, hard, human look at the cultural conditions that have led us to all but surrender to its hum.

Jensen and Draffan, who teamed up in 2003 to expose industrial corruption and destruction in Strangely Like War: The Global Assault on Forests, are back to reveal both the terrifying extent of surveillance today and our chilling complacency at the loss of everything from consumer privacy to civil liberties. In this timely and important new collaboration, Jensen and Draffan take on all aspects of Control Culture: everything from the government's policy of total information awareness to a disturbing new technology where soldiers can be given medication to prevent them from feeling fear. They write about pharmaceutical packaging that reports consumer information, which is then used to send targeted drug advertisements directly to your TV.

Available in: Paperback

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Welcome to the Machine

Derrick Jensen, George Draffan

Paperback $24.95

Nuclear Roulette

Nuclear Roulette

By Gar Smith

Nuclear power is not clean, cheap, or safe. With Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima, the nuclear industry's record of catastrophic failures now averages one major disaster every decade. After three US-designed plants exploded in Japan, many countries moved to abandon reactors for renewables. In the United States, however, powerful corporations and a compliant government still defend nuclear power-while promising billion-dollar bailouts to operators.

Each new disaster demonstrates that the nuclear industry and governments lie to "avoid panic," to preserve the myth of "safe, clean" nuclear power, and to sustain government subsidies. Tokyo and Washington both covered up Fukushima's radiation risks and-when confronted with damning evidence-simply raised the levels of "acceptable" risk to match the greater levels of exposure.

Nuclear Roulette dismantles the core arguments behind the nuclear-industrial complex's "Nuclear Renaissance." While some critiques are familiar-nuclear power is too costly, too dangerous, and too unstable-others are surprising: Nuclear Roulette exposes historic links to nuclear weapons, impacts on Indigenous lands and lives, and the ways in which the Nuclear Regulatory Commission too often takes its lead from industry, rewriting rules to keep failing plants in compliance. Nuclear Roulette cites NRC records showing how corporations routinely defer maintenance and lists resulting "near-misses" in the US, which average more than one per month.

Nuclear Roulette chronicles the problems of aging reactors, uncovers the costly challenge of decommissioning, explores the industry's greatest seismic risks-not on California's quake-prone coast but in the Midwest and Southeast-and explains how solar flares could black out power grids, causing the world's 400-plus reactors to self-destruct. This powerful exposé concludes with a roundup of proven and potential energy solutions that can replace nuclear technology with a "Renewable Renaissance," combined with conservation programs that can cleanse the air, and cool the planet.

Available in: Hardcover, Paperback

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Nuclear Roulette

Gar Smith, Jerry Mander, Ernest Callenbach

Paperback $19.95