Archive for the ‘BP’ Category
Meanwhile, down there…
More than eight months after an oil rig explosion launched the biggest oil disaster in U.S. history, Louisiana officials say they’re still finding thick layers of oil along parts of the state’s coastline.
“Every day, this shoreline is moving inland,” lessening flood protection for residents, Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser said.
On Friday, Robert Barham, secretary of Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, joined Nungesser on a tour of portion of Louisiana’s coastline still heavily oiled by the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, according to a statement from the wildlife and fisheries department.
“It has been eight months since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion, and five months since the well was capped. While workers along the coast dedicated themselves to cleaning up our shores there is still so much to be done,” Barham said in the statement.
During a walking tour of an area called Bay Jimmy, Nungesser said oil can be seen from a distance.
“When the tide is out … you can see thick oil onto the water for 30, 40 feet out,” the parish president said. “There’s been no mechanism to clean that up thus far.”
At one point on Friday, Nungesser began cursing at U.S. Coast Guard Cmdr. Dan Lauer.
“It seems like the federal agencies and the Coast Guard is there protecting BP. You guys ought to be as angry as me, that we don’t have more people out here doing this,” Nungesser said.
How silly. If there really was some kind of collusion between the government and BP, the Coast Guard would have been working like the oil company’s hired goons, or something.
Lauer said officials are trying to determine the best way to rid the oil while considering long-term effects of cleanup techniques.
Right. Because the highly toxic Corexit stuff attracted all of that pesky negative attention. I guess BP’s backup plan for dumping millions of gallons of poisonous chemicals into the ocean in order to sink the oil is to let the rest of it sit on the coastline more than eight months after the Deepwater Horizon explosion.
Oh well. What matters is Tony Hayward is snuggled on one of his yachts somewhere, and he’s happy. Keep drillin’, baby!
It’s been a hell of a week at Citizen Radio (which you can hear by subscribing for free at wearecitizenradio.com)
We talked full-body scanners and racial profiling, celebrated our 200TH EPISODE and interviewed Mother Jones‘ Kate Sheppard about environmental politics, Halliburton, and BP, and Daniel Burke about Australia’s refugee prisons.
It’s time to call sabotage, sabotage. Republicans have repeatedly undermined Democratic-led efforts — not for the sake of easing the recession, fixing unemployment, or stemming the foreclosure crisis — but for the expressed purpose of making Obama a one-term president.
The IMF is pressuring Ireland to cut unemployment benefits and the minimum wage, and USA Today reports that in the last 5 years fully body scanner firms have doubled their lobbying efforts..
Mother Jones‘ Kate Sheppard explains Cap and Trade, dissects Obama’s progress on environmental issues and also the global warming deniers within the GOP, Halliburton’s role in BP and hydraulic fracturing, and the environmental legacy of BP’s toxic dispersants.
The Oracle AKA Daniel Burke then gives some updates on the refugee prisons in Australia, including another tragic suicide and his rough encounter with police during a protest.
Also, Jamie shares his experience taping for Joy Behar’s show, including surviving the taunts of a demon child, witnessing the glorious Joan Collins, and -why not?- encountering the grandmother from Everybody Loves Raymond.
And as always, Citizen Radio answers a ton of your Listener Mail! Questions/comments this week include: how Christians aren’t a monolith and talking to your apathetic hipster douche bags.
- Hear all episodes by subscribing to the FREE podcast at http://wearecitizenradio.com/! (Remember to rate and review the show on iTunes!)
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I posted this the other day on Twitter, but really didn’t give the story the WTF?!? treatment it so clearly deserves. In fact, it took someone re-tweeting the story with the prelude “HOLY FUCKING SHIT” to remind me just how horrible it really is.
A massive fish kill has been reported in Louisiana – right around where the BP oil spill happened. The photos coming in of the dead fish are truly amazing (in the worst possible way).
There are a few new, developing BP-related stories that should greatly disturb any American who values openness and transparency in their democracy.
First, a chemist named Bob Naman claims samples he received from Orange Beach Alabama waters tested positive for the dangerous neurotoxin pesticide 2-butoxyethanol, the main ingredient of Corexit 9527A. The government has been claiming they discontinued the use of that version of Corexit in the Gulf. Now, Naman says he’s worried because BP called him and “threatened him.”
Next, Dr. Nyman of Louisiana State University, who began comparative tests early May to determine the impact of oil and the impact of Corexit laced oil on maritime life, says, while marine life may recover quickly from oil exposure, the same cannot be said about exposure to Corexit.
Large mammals were the least affected by the presence of oil, while the small bottom creatures, worms that are the food source for bottom feeders, were affected the most.
The conclusion was that an oil spill is disruptive to maritime life but does not negatively impact the seafood population on a permanent basis. The impact is temporary and can reverse and restore itself over a period of time.
The same cannot be said when natural waters contain a Corexit-oil mixture. Dr. Nyman’s studies show that the recovery period is twice or three times as long when maritime life is exposed to the toxic mixture of Corexit and oil. While the large mammals ultimately recover, the smaller fish population is reduced dramatically by 25% or more, depending on the concentration.
The bottom of the natural food chain however, does not recover and is killed in its entirety which affects all the bottom feeders in the Gulf of Mexico, including shrimp, crawfish, crabs and lobster.
Over at Counterpunch, Anne McClintock has a very good summary of the three vanishing acts playing out in the Gulf: the “disappearing” of oil courtesy of Corexit, the disappearing story in the media, and the disappearing of private contractors who are making a pretty penny helping BP and the Coast Guard keep a lid on the cover-up.
When you dump two million gallons of dispersants into the ocean, this is bound to happen
ORANGE BEACH, Alabama – If tests results are true, the absorbent boom being brought to Margaret Longs house on Cotton Bayou may already be too late.
**My chemist found the corexit,” she yells to a neighbor. She first got suspicious when she saw something in the water she had never seen before. She even took photographs, “Some times it’s about the size of a half dollar. Some times it streams along and its like floating sand.”
When the opportunity arose she took some samples. “It was floating in the water. A boat goes by making a bigger wake than its suppose to and it came over the seawall and I had puddles of water along here.”
She got samples and sent them to chemist Bob Naman in Mobile whose tests results show 13 point 3 parts per million of the chemical dispersant corexit.
Long has no doubt it is there. “There is an anger yes, very much an anger. I fear what the long term affects are going to be.” Her only question now is what will be done about it
Now that the Very Serious People have decided the dispersant fairy waved her wand and magically made all the oil disappear, it appears the media is ready to move on, and put the ugliness of the BP disaster behind them.
Things look a little different on the ground, though. BP just conducted the largest science experiment in the history of the Gulf by pouring two million gallons of toxic chemical dispersants into the ocean, and no one – not Thad Allen, Joe Scarborough, or BP – know how that will alter the ecosystem ten years from now.
The dispersants were successful in the sense that they coagulated the oil and sunk it, allowing BP to circumvent the PR disaster of blackened beaches. However, the oil did not disappear or evaporate, but clean-up efforts only focused on surface oil. Actually, there’s no good way to collect the oil deep in the ocean.
Marine scientists said an underwater plume of drifting oil from the BP Plc disaster stretched at least 35 kilometres in the Gulf of Mexico in June and proved the need for rethinking clean-up operations after deepwater drilling accidents.
The study by scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and other groups would likely become a “major part of the case” that the US government is developing against parties responsible for the spill, said Steve Murawski of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The plume may have been even longer, but the measuring work was interrupted by the approach of Hurricane Alex in June. It was 200 metres high and up to 2 kilometres wide.
Fred McCallister, a whistleblower who claims BP is using dispersants to sink oil and hide it from the pesky media’s cameras, will testify before a Senate investigative panel this week.
For quite some time, many bloggers and journalists following the BP-Corexit story, including me, have made the allegation that BP may have been experimenting by dumping over a million gallons of toxic dispersants into the ocean because they were desperately trying to prevent the oil from hitting the beaches.
(The amount of dispersants used by BP has been contested. Rep. Ed Markey has questioned the validity of BPs numbers, saying on July 31 that a new congressional report shows “BP carpet-bombed the ocean with these chemicals, and the Coast Guard allowed them to do it.”)
Everyone remembers what happened to Exxon’s public image the moment all of those adorable birds became coated in thick crude. And while BP has not been able to prevent oil from hitting all coastal birds, they have greatly diminished their PR liability by using dispersants like Corexit to coagulate the oil and sink it beneath the ocean’s surface where the media cannot photograph it, and BP won’t be fined for beach cleanup.
Former Shell president John Hofmeister rushed to Tony Hayward’s defense today on American Morning by arguing that the pandemic of populism that has swept across the US – resulting in Tony becoming Public Enemy Numero Uno – is misguided because he totally won’t walk away with as much cash as everyone thinks.
ROBERTS: What do you think he’s going to come away with in terms of a golden parachute if he’s ousted? We’re hearing certain figures, maybe a one-time payment of $1.5 million, an annual pension of $900,000 at the age of 60. I know he has a tremendous amount of money in stock as well. What do you think given the circumstances BP can give him to go out the door?
HOFMEISTER: Well, those packages are really carefully scrutinized in the U.K.. You know, I worked there for about eight years as part of Shell’s organization, and the British people, the British press, they really carefully scrutinize. And I think boards in the U.K., as well as the rest of Europe, are pretty straightforward on these separation packages. These are not as generous as what some people might see in the U.S..
The numbers are large, but remember, Tony’s running one of the major companies in the whole world. And so there is a recognition of his contributions of many, many decades and I think, you know, because of the balance with which boards take these things, the numbers I’ve seen and read about don’t surprise me at all. They’re kind of in the ballpark of what’s happened in other British companies.
Tony was born in 1957, which makes him 53. Even if he lives a relatively short life (let’s say for the sake of argument 75 years,) he’ll collect $19,800,000 from his pension, alone. That’s without counting his stock. As of December 31, he held more than 535,000 shares in BP, which would currently be worth about $327 million. If he cashed out his stock right now, and only lived until 75, he’ll ultimately collect $346,800,000 (though Tony says he’s giving up his stock option to rake in $12,394,400 under a long-term incentive plan.)
I’d love to know what kind of bet Robert Wine lost where he ended up having to explain the actions of his company to a lowly blogger.
Robert’s official title is “press officer,” and from the tone of his emails, he didn’t really appreciate a no-name busybody asking questions about the actions of the paycheck dispensary.
My favorite aspect of this exchange is how we both start off with our bestest smiles on, and adopt pristine tones of civility.
Yeah, that ends about halfway through the email convo.
Some background: I wrote BP as a follow-up to their official statement on the sand dumping allegations. BP claims the gathering and dumping of sand into piles are part of the cleaning process.
It’s possible that sand keeps washing in from the ocean and redepositing atop the oil. However, if that’s the case, then this kind of video does not bode well for BP’s overall clean-up effort.
Are they just removing some of the oil, then leaving once the sand washes back over the remaining pollution?
Like I’ve said, I contacted BP about this, and I’m still waiting to hear back from them.
Update: The ever-excellent Karen Dalton-Beninato has posted an update on the story here with a response issued today from the Coast Guard. They claim that the gathering, relocating, and dumping of sand are all part of a cleaning process that includes the temporary storing of sand in piles for “later cleaning”:
“There is a long-term treatment plan for Grand Isle which includes the collection and washing of oiled sand including buried oil. Part of this plan includes collecting and storing oiled sand in piles for later cleaning. At no time has clean sand been used by clean-up crews to cover or bury oil or oiled sand,” said Don Ballard, operations director for the Grand Isle branch.
The press release also states that, “Coast Guard crews throughout the Deepwater Horizon response branches in Louisiana are checking deployed boom and surveying for additional oil deposits after heavy weather moved through the area beginning Sunday, June 27. Heavy winds and waves have blown sand across beaches, burying oil and boom. Reports of damaged and stranded boom have been received from Plaquemines, Terrebonne, Iberia, Jefferson and Lafourche parishes. Crews are beginning a systematic effort to repair any boom that has been damaged. Heavy waves have eroded sand along beaches exposing oil that had been buried by natural sand build-up along the coasts. Beaches in Grand Isle, La., in particular, have had sand eroded away exposing buried oil.”
If this is true, it certainly would have been easier to ascertain had the infamous 65-foot rule never been implemented. The Coast Guard obviously concurs, since they lifted the “no journalists allowed” rule for a special one-day only bonanza in which the media could observe the Grand Isle team up close.
On this Independence Day, let’s remember that journalists remain crouched 65-feet away from the worst environmental tragedy in the country’s history, while the government permits a private corporation to suspend the First Amendment because it may damage its stock value.
Update 2: Today BP dropped their official explanation, which is virtually identical to the previous statement (or I should say, the Coast Guard is parroting the BP line):
There is a long-term treatment plan for Grand Isle which includes the collection and washing of oiled sand including buried oil. Part of this plan includes collecting and storing oiled sand in piles for later cleaning. At no time has clean sand been used to cover or bury oil or oiled sand.
Beaches naturally pass through a series of growth and degradation depending on the sea conditions. Storms that have passed through the area have deposited sand on the beach and eroded it again exposing oil buried by sediments brought in by the weather.
Now that the bad weather has moved through the cleanup area, crews are able to return to the water and beaches and renew the process of removing the oil.
As you might imagine, it’s impossible to secure a BP official right now for an extensive interview about this, but I keep emailing their offices with my questions. The sand in the videos don’t appear to be in piles, but rather matted down. Of course, that could very well be from the ocean washing against the piles, and flattening them, as BP says in this latest release. But in that case, how does BP discern what areas are “clean” and what areas are “contaminated?” There are no visible markers anywhere (at least that are clear in the videos).