Archive for August 2011
Ed. Note: Times Picayune now reporting investigators from both BP and the Coast Guard have gone out to the well site and found nothing. BP plans to send a ROV down to the seafloor tonight to determine if the well is leaking. Also, tests on the oil sheen spotted by Press-Register reporters has come back as a match to the oil that spilled last year. So, according to USCG and BP, no oil today, but the oil yesterday is a match to the Macondo…I feel better?
Reporters from the Alabama Press Register were out on the water near the Macondo Well site to investigate reports, floating around for over a week now, about new oil sheens on the Gulf’s surface:
“The Press-Register reporters located the area where the oil was rising to the surface by going to a point directly over the Macondo well and then moving in the direction of the prevailing surface current. The first blobs of oil seen on the surface were detected about a half-mile from the well. The frequency of the sightings increased gradually over the next half-mile.
In the Olympic swimming pool-sized area where the oil was rising most frequently, new sheens were erupting every few seconds on all sides of the 36-foot boat.
Marcus Kennedy, who piloted his fishing boat, the Kwazar, 115 miles from Dauphin Island to the well site, said he was stunned by the heavy petroleum scent in the air. A nearby data buoy recorded winds of less than 2 mph at the time”
Now, reports differ on where this oil is coming from:
BP, of course, denies this has anything to do with the Macondo Well.
Phillip Johnson, a professor at the University of Alabama feels the oil is most likely residual, just oil leaking from the 5000 feet of riser pipe left on the sea floor or oil that had been trapped in various debris from the sunk platform that’s now worked its way free.
Ed Overton, an oil chemist, feels more investigation is needed, to find out what is going on, “There is no way to say for sure whether the well is leaking, based on what is on the surface,” he said. “Of course it is suspicious.”
The Coast Guard has determined the leakage is from natural seeps and permitted pollution releases at other drilling sites, but did not elaborate how this was determined, and said no boats had been out near the well location.
Robert Bea, professor emeritus at UC-Berkeley, after looking at photographs of the sheen said, “I think the primary source with high probability is associated with the Macondo well…perhaps connections that developed between the well annulus (outside the casing), the reservoir sands about 17,000 feet below the seafloor, and the natural seep fault features” could provide a pathway for oil to move from deep underground to the seafloor, Bea said.
Lot of opinions, lot of oil, lots of possible narratives…
What’s needed is the truth.
Perhaps along with that GCCF audit, US Attorney General Eric Holder might find an independent investigator to get ahead of this story now, find out what, if anything is going on in the Gulf, throw a wrench in the spin cycle and beat that dryer to hell. When the Deepwater Horizon went down 16 months ago, the information appeared immediately slanted to fit a damage control agenda, truth be damned…so much so the Justice Department is now investigating BP for faulty oil spill estimates.
Not that we are headed for a repeat, but it might be nice this time, to start any sort of response to these sheens from the basis of truth.
Where are the sheens coming from? Is it likely there will be more? Is it coming from the Macondo Well?
Is there something wrong with the seal, with the sea floor?
But I’d sure like to know…regardless of whatever anyone who might stand to lose public relations battles or profit thinks about it.
“Last week, in response to Internet postings by lawyers and environmental groups describing a leak, BP issued a blanket denial, stating, “None of this is true.””
A blanket denial from British Petroleum, with little to no explanation.
Even if they are right, a blanket denial is not good enough, not this time.
Read the article:
Have a nice day.
Ken Feinberg announced yesterday the oil spill fund has paid out $5 billion dollars to claimants to ensure the entire Gulf Coast region is made whole, and considering that British Petroleum put $7 billion dollars into an escrow account at the behest of Barack Obama and all things mea culpa, well kudos to you Ken!
Damn good show!
$5 out of $7 billion dollars spent on people who lost business and their businesses, their family’s security, their health, life as they knew it, Feinberg and the GCCF went beyond the pale, not only making sure everybody is whole, but they’re keeping an extra $2 billion dollars around, just in case, just to ensure no one, and they mean no one, slips through the cracks after the fact, so let me be the first to say…Ken? You. Are. The. Man. And furthermore…
What do you mean, $20 billion?
BP put into an account $20 billion and 16 months after the oil started flowing Ken has spent only five?
No, that can’t be right.
Catholic Charities is in need of funds. The shrimp season’s in trouble. Though tourism approaches normal, the shopping malls are struggling, Gulf seafood sales continue to be down, people are using food pantries like nobody’s business and many are scared about the ongoing health problems and…what?
Ken Feinberg and the GCCF released a summary report which found: “The GCCF has largely succeeded in its primary objective — to compensate those individuals and businesses who can demonstrate financial harm due to the Oil Spill…the compensation program has not been perfect; but several mid-course corrections have been made in an effort to deal with the constructive criticism offered by victims of the spill, public officials, and others.”
The compensation program has not been perfect?
You made several mid-course corrections?
You’ve largely succeeded?
Hey uh, Ken?
Some might beg to differ…
The people of the Gulf Coast don’t want to hear you’ve largely succeeded, simply because this also means you’ve often failed. One failure is a family, two failures is two families and three failures is, you guessed it, three families. So if you’ve largely succeeded, and by your own estimates you’ve received almost a million claims, how many mistakes have you often failed at?
And how many people have your failures fucked?
Spending 25% of the money you’ve been allotted to spend ain’t a success to anyone but BP, and your law firm, which BP now pays $1.5 million dollars per month for its ongoing disaster allocation business. To every person in the Gulf who lost a business, had to spend time from their kids and lost their life savings, who are coughing too much and having trouble breathing, who are disappointed every time they check their shrimp catch or lose a tear when they worry about their future…
Your $5 billion celebratory PR announcement?
It strikes me as being mere sleight-of-hand, a distraction from the mistakes you’ve made and the people you’ve left behind…
Things are getting better, many are getting paid something, and changes to the GCCF process will definitely benefit the oyster industry, but far too many still remain wanting, or out of luck and time. The GCCF, size of the job notwithstanding, seems hardly in a position to brag about spending 25% or to celebrate a process which leaves paid claimants only hoping the health of the Gulf improves, and no recourse if it does not…so get back to work and keep working until you’ve completely succeeded.
Anything less than that is failure.
Read the article:
Have a nice day.
Ah, screw it…have fun…at the 12 Bar in New Orleans
Have a nice night.
Jello Biafra & The New Orleans Raunch and Soul All Stars – Ooh Poo Pah Doo
Create disturbance in your mind…
Create disturbance in your mind…
Create disturbance in your mind…
So, back in February of this year, I started to receive e-mails from people about a certain investigative company called Guidepost Solutions.
The long and short of it is claimants were assured back then their Quick Pay Claims were a no-questions asked plan. Claimants, if they had received an EAP from the GCCF could file the paperwork, sign away their rights to sue BP, and then individuals would receive $5,000 and businesses would get $25,000 dollars…done, over, complete. Funny thing started happening though, some claimants were getting contacted by a company called Guidepost Solutions and were getting asked all kinds of questions about the legitimacy of their EAP.
Obviously, these investigations stalled out the Quick Payments for many, which were supposed to be completed within 14 days.
Also, these investigations appeared to be a reneging of sorts on the promises the GCCF had made to claimants, again, this time that there would be no questions asked…
But this was back in February, over six months ago…right right?
The troubling thing is comments keep filtering in, and those posts written about Guidepost? People keep reading them, keep finding their way to this site via Google searches, which means people keep searching for information relating to Guidepost and the GCCF, every day.
And this is troubling.
It suggests that Guidepost is still out there investigating claimants, possibly on those “no-questions-asked” payment claims. It also suggests that the GCCF’s misrepresentation continues… And for an agency that’s supposed to be helping, not hurting, it is one more potential sign they still don’t have the interests of the injured across the Gulf Coast as their primary concern, and that’s no good for anybody. Making people wait, weakening their resolve through delay tactics and financial desperation just makes the problems worse for this entire region where for many, the consequences of the oil spill continues to be felt.
Or as Byron Encalade, President of the Louisiana Oysterman Asociation, said in a recent article about the continued problems with the shrimp season, “I don’t know where this concept of ‘Everything is alright and they are doing what they are supposed to do’ came from,” he said. “These people are suffering down here, and I don’t think they have the slightest idea of how these communities are surviving. But they’re doing it on the back of Catholic Charities, nonprofits and each other.”
There’s still a long way to go…claimants don’t need anymore Guidepost GCCF stall tactics, things are still bad, and they’ve been waiting long enough.
Have a nice day.
Ed Note: The USCG now taking a fresh look at pictures of the oil they previously denied was there.
Look, I’m not trying to play the role of conspiracy buff here, but if there is one thing any of us who follow the oil spill news knows, it is:
1. Truth takes a second place to narrative.
2. Order of response: deny everything, and if caught denying, then deny it again.
I think back to the arguments about flow rates, the toxicity of Corexit and whether it was still being used, about how much wildlife was being killed, the keeping of photographers and news people out of the spill zone, BP’s purchasing of scientists at universities, all the issues of transparency with the GCCF, the killing of cameras at the well head…etc…
It’s about the control of information, and with this control, the narrative can be manipulated in favor of BP, Feinberg, the government or whoever…whoever is paying the most to control said narrative.
So, keeping all that in mind, we come back to the question that Stuart Smith continues to investigate, what is going on at the Macondo Well? Is it leaking again? Is the sea floor rupturing?
Frankly, I sure as hell hope not, course my hopes are centered on the people and the environment of the region. I would imagine that BP really hopes not too, course…we know what their main concern is… Correct, the safety and welfare of adorable puppies and kittens worldwide, and especially in the Gulf. So, BP denies there is oil coming from the Macondo well site. BP denies they hired any boats to skim for oil. The Coast Guard (about as independent from BP as Feinberg) also denies the same things and so we can go back home now, get some rest, forget about it…
Yet, then we read:
And then, the next day we read:
And one starts to wonder…
Are we fighting another narrative war, all over again?
Because BP and the Coast Guard denying any oil is leaking from the site of the Deepwater Horizon is a familiar one, it’s what they maintained days after the oil rig exploded and sank, days before the oil began to flow, days before their narrative was exposed as a facade.
Hopefully, that won’t be the case…again.
Have a nice day.
“David is not optimistic. He sees too many signs that things are not right with the shrimp catches so far. But what worries David even more is what he’s seeing—or not seeing—in the waters 20 miles offshore. He’s not seeing many small bait fish that snapper and mackerel–all predator fish–depend on. David says many fish bellies he sees are often empty, signaling they may be starving, and that some contain an unusual black substance he believes is linked to oil. Other fish David catches have lesions or strange markings that other scientists are finding too. He’s been unable to get authorities to pay attention to it. And some simply don’t want to, he says.”
And the quotes that make me angry:
“We’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t,” David says in a soft southern drawl that punctuates his decades of fishing in the Gulf. “Some people say we shouldn’t say anything about things that aren’t right so we can protect our markets. Others say we should complain so we make BP accountable. But from what I’ve seen around here, BP hasn’t been accountable for much of anything.”
Read the article:
Have a nice day.
More oil in the Gulf of Mexico…
British Petroleum says it is investigating a new sheen of oil, but did not say where they have found said sheen. Nor did they say what is causing said sheen.
What they did say is it wasn’t found near “any existing BP operations,” oh, and they added “there is a lot of sheen in the Gulf of Mexico area” and that it didn’t necessarily come from a BP (Macondo) well.
But remember back in July, that sheen confirmed to have been most definitely found in the vicinity of the Macondo Well?
Stuart Smith sure does:
“Oil from the Macondo Well site is fouling the Gulf anew – and BP is scrambling to contain both the crude and the PR nightmare that waits in the wings. Reliable sources tell us that BP has hired 40 boats from Venice to Grand Isle to lay boom around the Deepwater Horizon site – located just 50 miles off the Louisiana coast. The fleet rushed to the scene late last week and worked through the weekend to contain what was becoming a massive slick at the site of the Macondo wellhead, which was officially “killed” back in September 2010.”
Smith goes onto quote a letter written by BK Lim, a prominent geohazards specialist for thirty years. This letter was sent to US Reps Fred Upton and John Shimkus:
“There is no question that the oil seepages, gas columns, fissures and blowout craters in the seafloor around the Macondo wellhead… have been the direct result of indiscriminate drilling, grouting, injection of dispersant and other undisclosed recover activities. As the rogue well had not been successfully cemented and plugged at the base of the well by the relief wells, unknown quantities of hydrocarbons are still leaking out from the reservoir at high pressure and are seeping through multiple fault lines to the seabed. It is not possible to cap this oil leakage.”
So, while British Petroleum is now being very careful to not say where the oil is, or where it may have come from, perhaps it’s the right time for someone to compel them to say exactly what the hell is going on…
Or are we going to have another war over flow-rate estimates, all over again?
Read the articles:
Have a nice day.
Ed Note…BP and a Coast Guard official now say “the sheen was found near two abandoned exploration well sites in the Green Canyon Block in the Gulf of Mexico. According to an online map by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Green Canyon Block – a large square-shaped area of water south of Louisiana – is south and west of the Mississippi Canyon Block where BP’s Macondo well blew up.”
So…let the debate continue: is it 500 barrels a day or 36,000?
Now, have a nice day.
Ed Note, Part 2…Daren Beaudo, BP’s latest spokesman says no oil is leaking from the Macondo well and he denies any vessels were hired to clean up anything, per the report by Stuart Smith…as far as the sheen, “We think it’s silt from a subsurface shallow water pool,” Beaudo said.
So…let the debate continue: is it 5000 barrels a day or 46,000?
That certainly is an answer.
Now, now, have a nice day.
Feinberg just changed the rules again.
On Tuesday, he added a rules modification to the GCCF claims process, designed to tighten payout criteria. “It is clear, that as time passes, it becomes increasingly difficult to determine whether changes in revenue and earnings are due to the oil spill or other factors,” the notice said.
Clear…how clear exactly?
Those (both business and individual) who continue to file interim claims must now show a 5% increase in revenue growth from 2010 to qualify for full compensation from the claims fund. Feinberg reports that businesses along the Gulf Coast are increasing their revenue on average by 10% so this 5% should be no problem, is certainly generous, and whereas this might be more accurate for those in the tourist industry, for those in the fishing industry it is less so. In justifying this growth rate for the fishing industry, Feinberg reports all federal and nearly all state fishing grounds have been reopened, there have been increases in the catch of shrimp the first four months of 2011 and a solid harvest of menhaden is expected, so all will now be well for the fishermen to continue on, recovered. Their revenue must grow by 5%, or they will not be fully compensated because any growth less than that cannot be blamed on British Petroleum and their oil spill, not anymore.
Remember back in February when the final methodology came out and Feinberg refused to compensate workers affected by the drilling moratorium because said moratorium wasn’t directly attributable to BP? Well, using this same logic, if the general impression across the country is that the seafood in the Gulf of Mexico isn’t safe and nobody wants to buy it, that isn’t BP’s fault either.
The fact that the moratorium happened, and the impression that Gulf seafood is our country’s newest carcinogen is surely not related to any oil spill.
Not at all…
I read report after report from shrimpers talking about the small catch, about the size of the shrimp themselves and how their catch was oftentimes rotting on the dock because people didn’t want to buy it. Some shrimpers were even calling for the season to be cancelled altogether.
Did their revenues increase by 5% from 2010?
Maybe, maybe not.
What about the seafood processors?
What about claimants making interim subsistence claims?
And, what happens in the future, if this oil spill has worked its way into the food supply, if the fish lesions don’t go away, if the oil found in crab larvae doesn’t disappear, if a hurricane stirs this whole mess up all over again?
In any case, the rules on interim claims just got a lot tighter, and much more complicated.
However, if this all concerns you, perhaps you might rest easier knowing that when it comes to this growth rate, Feinberg has estimated that 75% of the businesses and individuals in the Gulf will experience a 5.6% growth rate. Also, he estimates by way of previous disasters that the Gulf will recover 70% the first year and 30% the next. Oh, and when it comes to those unemployed by this spill, he now states that unemployment benefits as a result of the spill will end after 78 weeks, and his analysis shows this will cover 95% of the people without jobs.
For any of you slipping through these cracks? Well, Feinberg and BP have made you whole enough.
But back to the interim claims:
Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood has alleged that Feinberg, rather than paying interim claims, is attempting to coerce Gulf Coast claimants into accepting final claims which require they sign away their rights to sue British Petroleum for future damages. A month ago, British Petroleum made demands that Feinberg stop paying all future claims because the Gulf Coast has recovered.
As a result of these new modifications to the rules, it would appear that while Feinberg insisted Jim Hood was wrong, he thought his employers, British Petroleum, might just be right.
And anyone slipping through the percentages?
Read the rule changes:
Have a nice day.