Keyword
in
Collection
Date
to
Download Folder

0 items

Houston Breakthrough 1980-02
Page 26
Citation
MLA
APA
Chicago/Turabian
Houston Breakthrough 1980-02 - Page 26. February 1980. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. April 20, 2014. http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/371/show/364.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(February 1980). Houston Breakthrough 1980-02 - Page 26. Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/371/show/364

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Breakthrough 1980-02 - Page 26, February 1980, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed April 20, 2014, http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/371/show/364.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

URL
Embed Image
Compound Item Description
Title Houston Breakthrough 1980-02
Publisher Breakthrough Publishing Co.
Date February 1980
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women--Texas--Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • periodicals
Language English
Physical Description 32 page periodical
Format (IMT)
  • image/jpeg
Original Item Location http://library.uh.edu/record=b2332724~S11
Digital Collection Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see the UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the “About” page of this website.
File name index.cpd
Item Description
Title Page 26
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women--Texas--Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see the UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the “About” page of this website.
File name femin_201109_557ax.jpg
Transcript may come from any and all sources, we believed that the agricultural treaty was a legitimate source: and hence, this water was not being delivered contrary to the treaty, but rather, that Mexico should accept it under the treaty. That began the problem. Wright: The treaty of which Martin speaks was concluded by the United States and Mexico in 1944. According to the treaty, the U.S. is obligated to deliver to Mexico 1.5 million acre-feet of water a year from the Colorado River. T. R. Martin: Mexico contended that it had a deleterious effect, almost from the very beginning. And in the note in which it made complaint about the quality of the water, it sought damages. We, of course, having denied the grounds for complaint, did not acknowledge our liability. Jose Lopez Portillo: Mexico suffered grave damages in the Mexicali valley due to the actions taken on the Colorado River to wash the American soil. ... I stress it: they used this water to wash the American soil, and [the] water included in the treaty, [that] they delivered to us was highly salinated which made the fertile valley of Mexicali very salty. This implied two things to us: they simply transferred the salt from one side to another, and they did not deliver usuable water to us that was foreseen in the treaty. When we made a claim the United States refused to do anything about it. Now the situation has changed. It is possible that the oil that came out of Ixtoc would have polluted some of the American coastline, and perhaps it caused some damage. In the first case in Mexicali we had reasons, but these were not turned into a right. In the case of Ixtoc and the shoreline there might be reasons, but there is also no right. Robert Krueger: We're prepared to sit down and discuss these matters with Mexico. If Mexico wants to sit down and discuss them with us, we're prepared to open up environmental questions, past as well as future, with the Mexican government. Jose Lopez Portillo: We can solve any problem of this type in the future, that is what is desirable. But at the present moment, it does not seem desirable: it is undue and not dignified to assume that we are forced to do something that our American friends did not wish to do when it was their turn. The right, after all, is a recognition of the Golden Rule: don't ask from another something that you are not willing to give. Wright: Now that the shoe is on the other foot, the State Department is virtually powerless as far as compensation is concerned. As a result, south Texas coast residents have had to fend for themselves. Paul Cunningham: We had no other alternative, we've tried to pursue every course of relief that we could think of, and everywhere we turned, we ran into a brick wall. And so the lawsuit was more an act of frustration on our part, of something we need to do, kind of like the last step. This was the last remedy we knew of, not necessarily the ideal one, the only one left to us. And the beaches have basically been cleaned within the town of South Padre Island, I think you have seen that yourself, and so that part of it is over, and now what do we do to recover the economic damages that we've received, and the lawsuit's the only way I know of, because Mexico isn't up here handing out checks. The federal government's not out here handing out checks, the state government's not down here handing out checks. The local town, of course, has suffered economic loss, also, because if my business is hurt, so goes the town's revenue, because they collect their revenue from sales tax, hotel occupancy tax, in fact, their major source of revenue is from tourism. It's not from ad valorem tax. And everybody's been injured as a result of it in terms of economic losses. Wright: The city of South Padre Island is one of several interests that has filed intent to sue the companies involved with the drilling of Ixtoc I: PEMEX, owner and operator of the well; PEMARGO, the private Mexican company contracted by PEMEX to drill the well; and SEDCO, the oil-rig leasing firm founded by Texas Governor Bill Clements some 30 years ago. But it is SEDCO's actions that prompted the most controversy. Harry Hubbard, President of the Texas AFL-CIO has stated that SEDCO may be involved in a cover-up. The union has indicated it will sue all three parties. Harry Hubbard: I think that, and I think that most people believe that there has been an effort to cover up the liability of SEDCO. From the very beginning, I've said before, from the very beginning the governor said, aw, nothing to cry about, don't cry over spilt milk, and all those kind of things. Most recently, I saw a quote in the paper where he was blaming the attorney general and myself and probably the state Democratic Party chairman of trying to make a political issue out of a very serious disaster. So, from the time it started until today, in the words of our governor, there was nothing to talk about, now it's a very serious disaster. So I think it's very obvious. Why did they pull the rig out and sink it, you know, so? Why did they go and while they were saying we're not responsible, we're not liable, and get a limitation on liability, get a deadline on the date that anyone can sue for liability? Wright: Following the blowout of Ixtoc I, SEDCO maintained that it was exempt from any liability. But subsequent events throughout the summer challenged the credibility of SEDCO's claim. First, company officials authorized the disposal of the suspect rig in the waters 200 miles east of the well site. Next, doubts arose concerning the actual number of SEDCO employees aboard the rig at the time of the blowout. And finally, in September, SEDCO asked a Houston federal court to limit any liability that might be found to $300,000 dollars. By asking the court for this limitation, SEDCO forced parties wanting to sue to file their intent to do so before the court-determined cut-off date of October 23,1979. Wright: Texas Attorney General Mark White has monitored the situation very closely all summer. On Thursday, October 18th, the state of Texas formally announced plans to sue PEMARGO and SEDCO. Mark White: That's a decision that was made ... due to the fact that the rig was so terribly damaged and so unseaworthy that they sank the rig. Later, we discovered that they pulled the rig 200 miles before they sank it, and they sank it in the very middle of the Gulf of Mexico. We thought this was an unusual decision. Steve Mahood, Vice-president and General Counsel, SEDCO, Inc.: The vessel was structurally damaged, it was structurally unsound. All of the drilling equipment had been lost and fallen overboard, and the vessel was apparently a total loss the day after the fire occurred. However, our insurance underwriters and we ourselves sent surveyors and engineers, structural engineers, down to the site, and all of these people boarded the unit and studied it and ran metal and discovered what equipment had been lost, and after a two or three week study thereafter, the conclusion was drawn by not only us, but by independent parties and our insurance underwriters, that the vessel had no value, and it was, in fact, a derelict wreck. And since it had no value, [and] we were spending about $16,000 a day in tugboats and personnel just standing by to make sure that it didn't get away or, if in the event of a tropical storm, . .. that the vessel didn't break up in some fashion, we wanted to get rid of this liability: it was no longer an asset to anyone, it was merely a liability, and it was a threat to navigation. Certainly a hazard if it did break up, might run into another rig that was down there, or might run ashore and would be very expensive to remove. So the best thing for all parties was to take it out into very deep water where it couldn't be a hazard to anyone and sink it, which is what we did. Harry Hubbard: SEDCO has said we're not liable. In fact, they said in the beginning that they didn't have any employees on the rig, then they had three, and in the final analysis, they had seven, so where does negotiations begin, when you can't even get a straight answer out of the people that at least seemingly are responsible for it? Steve Mahood: I can take personal responsibility for that . . . because back in early August, I was sitting in my office and received a telephone call from a newspaper reporter-I've even forgotten which reporter it was. He asked me how many people we had on board the SEDCO vessel involved in Mexico, and at that time, I honestly didn't know how many, but I thought there were about four. And I told him that there were about four... And the next day, he printed the story, and printed it that it was exactly four, and other newspaper articles picked up on that and from then on, it was exactly four until very soon thereafter: we had a head count and determined that it was exactly seven. So that's how the discrepancy began. Mark White: I certainly think that there are many unanswered questions ... as to the condition of the rig [and] who had actual control over the rig. There's also this delay for apparently two days, in which they were trying to make a decision about what to do about the loss of circulation in the well. All these things, and the decisions that were ultimately made, which were disclaimed by SEDCO. SEDCO has certain responsibilities that overshadow the contractual relationships they're trying to sustain behind it. Steve Mahood: Our people on board were basically there to maintain our equipment. That was their basic charge, to be sure that our equipment was properly maintained, and taken care of, and certainly they were there to be available to provide any assistance that might be asked of them in the way of advice or consultation. And that's primarily the role they had there. Wright: The city of South Padre made its intention know shortly after SEDCO asked for a limitation of liability. Kirby Lilljedahl: With the filing of that suit by SEDCO, then we could no longer sit and take no action. If the federal court established their liability at the $300,000 level, at their request, obviously our losses are much greater than that. So the board here felt that a suit was necessary to protect everybody's interests. We joined the suit involving Willacy County, a class-action suit whereby the city represents the classes of the government, be it navigation, district, city or whatever. That was filed approximately three weeks ago. In the suit, in numbers, as I recall, was $100 million. Wright: On Thursday, October 18th, Attorney General White announced that the state of Texas is suing SEDCO and PEMARGO for $10 million in damages to the Texas ecology and for clean-up costs. Governor Clements' only reaction was to say, "I don't think his suit is good against anybody." The governor's response came as no surprise. Throughout the summer, he and White have clashed repeatedly over the advisability of suing the parties involved. The governor feels very strongly that the situation might be best handled by federal officials. Governor William Clements: I have consistently and constantly and forever more say it, let's be quiet and let the State Department and the Foreign Ministry of Mexico negotiate: and all this chest-thumping and talking about suing Mexico is not constructive and helpful in that regard. Wright: On August 9th, the governor said it would be "inopportune" for the state to sue Mexico over possible oil damage. The attorney general maintained that this and similar remarks made by the governor spoiled the chances for out-of-court negotiations with Mexico. In short, he said, the governor had taken away the state's trump card. Mark White: I think that was the whole reason for my request that he not continually repeat to officials in Mexico that Texas would not sue over an oil spill. This is simply not the way to engage negotiations over the payment of damages. I felt it was both unfair to the Republic of Mexico and to the people of Texas, and that misleading information should not be issued through an official source; and I think it directly resulted in positions that would not have been taken by Mexico. Governor Clements: Let me make one thing absolutely clear, to you and everybody else. By the Texas Constitution, I am the chief executive officer of the State of Texas, and the attorney general is my counselor, or lawyer, so to speak. I have been in the business environment now for some forty years, as chief executive officer to express my opinion on any subject that I deem appropriate for me to have an opinion. And I also reserve the right to take the advice, or not take the advice, of my lawyer. That's what a lawyer is for, to give advice. The chief executive officer is in his office to make decisions. And so when I decide that I will either accept his opinions and agree with him, I'll say so. And when I don't accept his opinions and advice, and I don't agree with him, I reserve the right to say so. So you know I'm not going to be in default to him on that, or anything else. Wright: Many people speculate that the Governor's reaction is motivated in part by his connections with SEDCO. Before his election, the governor was president and chief executive officer of the drilling firm. The company is currently headed by his son, Gill. Governor Clements: When I divorced myself from the company that I founded actually over thirty years ago and had always been the chief executive of that company, when I left my company and put my stock in a blind trust and resigned, I did it totally. And it's not the sort of thing you can dip in and dip out of. People don't seem to understand that. It's kind of like a surgeon being halfway through an operation and then leaving to go off and play golf, or do something else, and then come back a week later and say, well, I'm going to take up the operation again. You can't do that. And so I don't have anything to do with the operation of the company, and I don't know what they're doing, and I don't know how they're doing it. And I really am not interested. Steve Mahood: After Governor Clements had made his trip to the south Texas coast to investigate personally, he came to the office here one day-he happened to be in town—and came by here and I was in a meeting with him and three or four other people for about ten, fifteen minutes. Most of that time was really spent talking about what we understood to be PEMEX's plans to put the funnel or the cone over the well to stop the flow of the oil onto the surface of the ocean. But that was the only meeting I've had with him in connection with this matter. Wright: Perhaps the greatest lesson from this experience is that the United States and Mexico need to formulate a bilateral agreement to prevent future misunderstandings. Offshore blowouts are nothing new. Mexico has indicated that it intends to pursue a rigorous hydrocarbon program in the Bay of Campeche. The probability of future spills in southern Gulf waters will increase proportionately. Robert Krueger: It is my understanding that we first approached Mexico a number of years ago suggesting that the two nations might try to work out a treaty, doing something of this kind. We presented language on this subject to the Mexican government on, I am told, April of 1978 as initial language that we would propose for a treaty between the two countries. We have not, to my knowledge, as yet heard from them. Jose Lopez Portillo: We are willing to agree on future cases in order that both countries may be obligated to take preventive measures to correct damage whenever this should occur, and to have systems which would formalize ways of making the claim. Wright: The amount of Mexico's oil reserves is staggering. Figures for proven, probable and potential reserves are constantly on the increase. Jorge Diaz Serrano: Our last expression of reserves was made by President Lopez Portillo in his speech the first of September of this year. And we have 45 billion in proven reserves, 45 billion in probable reserves, and 200 billion of potential reserves. Wright: Jorge Diaz Serrano is the director general of PEMEX. He explains how Mexico's oil development prospects have changed since December, 1976. Jorge Diaz Serrano: What we had in those days was a tremendous expansion program: from six billion, we were expanding our reserves to 11 billion that particular month, and we announced that we were going to reach a production from 900,000 barrels per day that we had to two million and a quarter, two million, 250 thousand barrels per day in 1982. We started our program, we found the geology discoveries more, let's say, abundant, more prolific, and we decided to expand further with our program by bringing the production of 1982 to 1980. Wright: While Mexico's oil industry has progressed more swiftly than perhaps even he had imagined, President Lopez Portillo has been careful not to minimize his country's other resources. President Lopez Portillo: We don't want to turn HOUSTON BREAKTHROUGH 26 FEBRUARY 1980