Archive for the ‘Supression of Science’ Category
Most who have followed the story of the BP Catastraphuk are familiar with the company’s enlisting of scientists and university research departments to
silence them with non-disclosure requirements explore what has happened to the Gulf environment, to do the research so all the Gulf States can be made whole, well, complete, fixed like a motherfucker while Dudley sails off to the shareholders meeting, to Texas, into the sunset whilst nodding humbly to the throngs of his adoring fans beach-side…
However, Christopher Reddy and Richard Camilli will not be standing on them sands.
In an op-ed for the Boston Globe, these two Massachusetts scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute had some sharp words for British Petroleum…the same company they came to help at said oil company’s request, volunteering their time for the good of the Gulf:
“We responded by leading on-site operations using robotic submersibles equipped with advanced technologies that we had developed for marine science. We applied them to measure the rate of fluid release from the well and to sample fluids from within the well. We then volunteered our professional time to scrutinize this data and published two peer-reviewed studies in a respected scientific journal. We determined an average flow rate of 57,000 barrels of oil per day and calculated a total release of approximately 4.9 million barrels. BP claimed that it needed to better understand our findings because billions of dollars in fines are potentially at stake. So we produced more than 50,000 pages of documents, raw data, reports, and algorithms used in our research — everything BP would need to analyze and confirm our findings. But BP still demanded access to our private communications.
Our concern is not simply invasion of privacy, but the erosion of the scientific deliberative process.”
And so British Petroleum goes to the judge, seeking the writings that contain much of the deliberative process, one where scientists question and challenge each other, push their colleagues to go deeper, be even more accurate, playing devil’s advocate against their colleagues and their own conclusions…you know, communications ripe with fragmented ideas.
“BP was able to use the federal courts to gain access to our private information. Although the presiding judge magistrate recognized the need to protect confidential e-mails to avoid deterring future research, she granted BP’s request.”
And now that they’ve gotten, what do you think might happen to those e-mails in court, as the topic turns to that magic flow-rate number of 57,000 barrels of oil per day? Or the total of 4.9 million barrels released into the Gulf, when that little fact comes up?
One might think a BP lawyer could obscure conclusive facts by reading off fragments from these e-mails…taking the smallest part to impugn the conclusions of the whole.
Yes, those more
realistic about the sham that is the court of law cynical could certainly think this, but personally, I hardly think it possible, what with BP’s long history of integrity, sound science, culture of openness, safety and responsibility to not only their shareholders, but to the environment both land and sea, and all the people of this earth and beyond…
However, Reddy and Camilli have a different opinion:
“Our experience highlights that virtually all of scientists’ deliberative communications, including e-mails and attached documents, can be subject to legal proceedings without limitation. Incomplete thoughts and half-finished documents attached to e-mails can be taken out of context and impugned by people who have a motive for discrediting the findings. In addition to obscuring true scientific findings, this situation casts a chill over the scientific process. In future crises, scientists may censor or avoid deliberations, and more importantly, be reluctant to volunteer valuable expertise and technology that emergency responders don’t possess.”
No way. BP overreaching on information control, gearing up to discredit the science, the very people they turned to for help, all in order to serve their own interests?
Utter insanity…and to prove this point, up to the microphone marched another BP spokesperson who said the company’s subpoena was, “in no way an attack on science.”
Well of course not, that would be ridiculous…and entirely irresponsible.
Have a nice day.
As any who check this site with any regularity are sure to know, my politics run to the left, really far to the left…
Left like Obama?
Left like Russ Feingold?
No…he’s nothing more than a covert member of the Heritage Foundation.
My politics…they run further left than professionals of this ilk, they rumble along similar tracks laid by a Noam Chomsky, an Alexander Berkman or Pierre Proudhon and that being the case, I understand that when it comes to the majority of Americans, when I shake my head thinking everyone’s gone crazy as I examine their belief systems and life choices…I understand my opinions are oft the minority.
Fair enough. I can accept that…
Especially when it comes to the realities of
climate change global warming…
I understand that when I look at people who have children, even my own family members and I question such choices, feeling offspring in this day and age is really a whole lot of selfish vanity and lack of control when it comes to biologic impulse…I get that my opinion is in the minority. I know when I see someone purchasing a 3-D television, and I feel that both the cost to purchase it and the energy required to run the thing is morally repugnant, again…I get it, minority opinion.
And again, fair enough.
However…my leftist opinions don’t change the reality staring at this country and the world, at it’s children and that reality is global warming is fucking real and the time is coming soon when no one will have a choice anymore to accept or reject this reality. Flooding, temperatures, sea level rise, storm intensity, heat waves…maybe even new epidemics…all here, or on the way and pretty soon, like in a few years soon, if nothing concrete is in the works, it’ll be too late.
But again…leftist opinion…my leftist opinion.
So, what about the right?
What about God declaring us stewards of the land, about the free market, about myths, ice ages, Palinesque trumpetings and so many other lines of crap from climate deniers…and yes, I include such rightists as Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and other pseudo-democrats who attempt token changes in environmental policy that really don’t amount to shit in that mix as rightists…yeah, what about them, what about all of that?
Okay…well how about Paul Douglas?
From a GOP meterologist and businessman:
“I’m going to tell you something that my Republican friends are loath to admit out loud: climate change is real. I am a moderate Republican, fiscally conservative; a fan of small government, accountability, self-empowerment, and sound science. I am not a climate scientist. I’m a meteorologist, and the weather maps I’m staring at are making me uncomfortable. No, you’re not imagining it: we’ve clicked into a new and almost foreign weather pattern. To complicate matters, I’m in a small, frustrated and endangered minority: a Republican deeply concerned about the environmental sacrifices some are asking us to make to keep our economy powered-up, long-term. It’s ironic. The root of the word conservative is “conserve.” A staunch Republican, Teddy Roosevelt, set aside vast swaths of America for our National Parks System, the envy of the world. Another Republican, Richard Nixon, launched the EPA. Now some in my party believe the EPA and all those silly “global warming alarmists” are going to get in the way of drilling and mining our way to prosperity. Well, we have good reason to be alarmed.”
And he only goes on from here with further climate denier debunking…
He discusses how believing climate science doesn’t make you a liberal, how Christianity is no defense of being a flat-earther, of how 30 year old “alarmist” predictions from climate scientists are coming true, and faster than expected – one by one…of how capitalism, yes…capitalism can even help be a proponent to alternative energy sources if people would finally stop buying the bullshit from people making money hand over fist from rising gas prices and finally reinvest not only in newer, less destructive forms of energy, but in your own kids’ futures. And of course, he points out how getting responsible when it comes to the environment used to be a Republican thing by way of the National Parks System and the EPA, and it could be again through alternative energy job creation…
And finally, to my Louisiana friends, especially in New Orleans and southwards…to those who understand the environmental situation…grand. Good, what are we going to do about all of this? But to those in climate denial down there…seriously? You realize where you live, right? Rising sea levels and all that? No? Okay, how about this: do you honestly think all those assholes funding the war on science (which in all truth is a war on you) are going to be down on the disappearing Louisiana shores lamenting their houses as rising water makes living in them no longer tenable, or do you think they’ll be on the high ground, with a lot of your money, in gated communities, forgetting to apologize for all the lies they told you while they made that money and screwed your childrens’ futures?
Hmm…I’m guessing gated communities and major cash.
Paul Douglas, in his blog post…he concludes with the following:
“The climate is warming. The weather is morphing. It’s not your grandfather’s weather anymore. The trends are undeniable. If you don’t want to believe thousands of climate scientists – at least believe your own eyes: winters are warmer & shorter, summers more humid, more extreme weather events, with a 1-in-500 year flood every 2-3 years. For evidence of climate change don’t look at your back yard thermometer. That’s weather. Take another, longer look at your yard. Look at the new flowers, trees, birds, insects and pests showing up outside your kitchen window that weren’t there a generation ago.
This is a moral issue. Because the countries least responsible will bear the brunt of rising seas, spreading drought and climate refugees. Because someday your grandkids will ask what did you know…when…and what did you do to help? We’ve been binging on carbon for 200 years, and now the inevitable hangover is setting in. Curing our addiction to carbon won’t happen overnight. But creative capitalism can deal with climate change. I’m no fan of big government or over-regulation. Set the bar high. Then stand back and let the markets work. Let Americans do what they do best: innovate.
We can figure this out. Frankly, we won’t have a choice. But I’m a naïve optimist. We can reinvent America, leaving us more competitive in the 21st century, launching thousands of new, carbon-free energy companies – supplementing, and someday surpassing anything we can expeditiously suck out of the ground and burn, accelerating an already-warming planet. We don’t have to bury our heads in Saudi sand – we’ll never “frack” our way to a sustainable future. It’s time for a New Energy Paradigm. There’s no silver bullet. But there’s plenty of (green) buckshot, if we aim high and point America in the right direction. We need real leadership, and a viable, bipartisan blueprint for inevitable energy independence from President Obama and Congress. Yes, healthcare is important. So is the long-term health of our air, land and water.
There are steps all of us can take today. I own one hybrid, another on order. I bought a home a mile away from my office, to reduce my carbon footprint (and preserve some sense of sanity). But there’s much more I can do. Let’s challenge ourselves to reinvent our own energy ecosystems.”
Read the entire post…
Have a nice day.
…and so inconvenient.
Anyways, so as I read on the New Orleans Ladder, Sandy Rosenthal from Levees.org goes to the Louisiana State Review Board to give her presentation regarding why the levee breaches should be placed on the National Register of Historic Places (uh…duh’) and they vote three yes’s, and six…no’s?
How could this be?
Sure sounds like these professional academics suffered a brain breach. Throughout our lives, very few historical events resonate with such magnitude where collectively, as a nation, the vast majority can point to a particular incident and tell you where they were: the Kennedy assassination, maybe the Space Shuttle Explosion, 9-11, the first time environmentalists sabotaged construction of the Keystone XL pipeline (wait, what?) and of course, Katrina.
Who the hell doesn’t remember the images from Katrina?
Myself, I was standing in my sixth floor apartment at Turk and Leavenworth in San Francisco, staring open mouthed at a television, horrified, sad and furious.
And anybody who’s paying attention to the story at all understands the flooding was caused by the Corps of Engineers faulty planning and construction, so then why in the hell would the Review Board say no?
Apparently, they would prefer their applications done in disaster shorthand…uncomplicated, and politically palatable…you know that kind of history. Hell, too often our country sustains itself with it…
9-11 happened because radical Islam envied our freedoms and way of life. Lee Harvey Oswald killed Kennedy and he did it all by himself. Ronald Reagan never raised taxes. Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and of course there was a connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda. Corexit is as safe as dish soap. That Gulf Coast cancer cluster – that could have been caused by anything!
And yes…the flooding of New Orleans happened because of Katrina.
Bullshit shorthand…politically expedient and culturally comfortable, and truth ain’t got nothing to do with any of it.
So when Levees.org presents an application filled with data, fact, soil types…etc, rather than being applauded for the thoroughness of the job they did, throughout the transcript of the presentation and meeting with the Review Board, one instead reads criticisms of how their application was too complicated, too confusing, too long…oh, and the application also might have suggested the Corps of Engineers were somehow at fault when the levees they built, uh…broke.
But, as reported by Levees.org, even though the board refused to approve the application, on December 29th…
“Ms. Breaux (the State Historic Preservation Officer) confirmed to Levees.org that she has sent the 39-page nomination – along with her letter of support and other documents pertinent to the breach sites’ eligibility – to the Corps of Engineer’s Federal Preservation Officer in Washington, DC.”
So at least the idea continues to move forward, just without the benefit of an endorsement by the Review Board.
And academically speaking, it’s got to be hard to be Board Chairwoman, Glenna Kramer, so I have taken it upon myself to offer up the text of a marker, text I think she would certainly approve of, and I doubt will offend anyone, unless they were to care at all about what happened in Louisiana at the breach site of the 17th Street Canal and the East side North breach site of the Industrial Canal, but anyways, here goes:
“At this site, on some date, something happened, which caused a lot of other things to happen, bad things, though none of these bad things came as a result of anyone’s fault because tragedies are sometimes like that, blameless. And so we remember the loss of life, of homes, of community and confidence we once shared that bad things such as the kind that happened here, wouldn’t ever actually happen, and will hopefully never happen again.”
I’m guessing the Corps of Engineers would also approve.
Read the article:
Have a nice day.
When it comes to…
…disaster aid, clean air, clean water, financial regulation, voting rights, health care, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, mortgage reform, banking reform, union support and collective bargaining, jobs programs, unemployment insurance, infrastructure repair, fairness in taxation, energy assistance, coal, natural gas and oil industry regulation, overall environmental concerns including endangered species and especially global warming, state and national parks, wildlife refuges, storm monitoring, food safety testing and regulation, protecting the oceans…
…rebuilding the Louisiana Coast and true levee protection for the city of New Orleans and the state of California…
…taxes on hedge fund managers, honest protection of small business, rebuilding schools, funding education, funding for the CDC, the EPA, the NOAA, the NIH, the FDA, the ADA, privacy rights, 4th amendment rights, school lunches, worker re-training, protecting the constitution, protecting the first amendment, maintaining free and honest elections, funding FEMA, funding green energy, protecting American citizens from toxic pollution, protecting innocent men and women from a state sponsored death…
…reining in Wall Street, keeping commodities speculators from increasing the price of such commodities as food and oil through their trading so they can make a buck, the same extra bucks the rest of this country pays for their unlimited greed…
Yeah, the GOP solution to all of the above?
Fuck the People – The Kills
Have a nice day.
I know I’ve only been coming to you with problems lately, and I did do my best to clear the scheduling conflicts with Rick Perry’s Reliant Stadium deal, but you know how it is, the laundry needs doing, the house needs painting and the television needs watching and besides, word is you’re not going to Houston either, so live and let live, right right?
Jindal…right, Bobby Jindal…yes-sir, governor of the great state of Louisiana, God Bless America…yes.
So, I suppose I should get right to it.
Remember back during the oil spill? Yes, British Petroleum in the Gulf…right. So back during the oil…last April? No…it was last, last April in 2010, and that’s precisely my point, that was a long time ago and back during that time, not only were my political friends talking about me as a possible Republican Presidential Candidate, but a definite shoo-in for a sweet national gig should a Republican win, a cabinet post…no, I know I said the only job I wanted was the job I had, but you know how it is, I’m supposed to say that.
Oh, you didn’t?
Okay…well now you do…sure, you’re welcome.
Anyways, so we had all the press down here summer before last, and I mean all of them and they were talking to me everyday. I got to talk about how Obama wasn’t doing anything to stop the spill, how he was getting in my way, how the Feds were totally screwing this whole thing up. I got to take all these helicopter rides with all the big-time reporters, the bigs! And me too! I was big time, flying low and hard over the oil slicks, pointing out my citizens trying to clean it up. All that attention, all those speeches, the microphones hanging on my every word and I tell you, really, it was absolutely amaz…horrible. It was a horrible tragedy.
Yes-sir, a heartbreak.
Well, you see God, it’s been a long time since I got to ride the helicopter. It’s been too long, and presiding way down here, the rest of the country I think is forgetting all about poor Bobby Jindal. I need your help to wake ‘em up. This governor thing, it’s been a rough year. The whole school unification plan fell apart. The big hospital plan fell apart. People keep calling me unethical and a hypocrite about transparency and the economy, well, it really kind of sucks and hey, I love me some Tea Party people, but the way those guys want to be with the money…yes-sir, I’m worried…right, coastal erosion.
Between you, me and too many holes in the levees, these Tea Party guys are stealing my thunder. Do you know that during the whole debt ceiling fight, the press, they were talking to every presidential candidate they could find. Every single one. They talk to that head-case Bachman, the pizza guy, Palin…they even tried to talk to Romney. All of ‘em, CNN, FOX, the networks and…no, hardly anybody talked to Bobby. That’s my point. I’m kinda feeling unwanted, and that’s not all, not by a long shot. These new governors they got now! That Walker guy in Wisconsin, trashing the unions and hell, he screwed the entire state’s educational system a hell of a lot more than I could have ever dreamed, lousy, filthy teachers. Chris Christie, Nikki Haley and that guy in Maine with the French sounding name. Press, press, press, but nobody’s talking about me anymore, nobody at all. What’s a governor gotta do, blow up an oil refinery? Oh, and don’t get me started on Paul Ryan. The Ryan budget! The Ryan Budget! Eric Cantor says nobody under 55 will have Medicare when the House is done this year…Stealing the thunder! If I had my way, I’d have killed Medicare ten years ago!
It’s almost like nobody cares about Bobby, not at all. But I think we can fix it…no, I don’t want another oil spill…no, of course not a hurricane…and no, I think an earthquake might be a bit too suspicious, but I do have an idea…
How’d you know? …Oh right, God.
No, I don’t want the prisoners from Guantanamo Bay. Maybe if I’d been able to get my privatized prisons, that’d been something but that didn’t work out either.
Got a different kind of idea on Cuba…okay, you ready?
Invade Cuba?…no, they invade us, Louisiana!
Lord, if you could do whatever it is you do and get Cuba to invade we’d really be onto something. Mainstream press will eat it up….oh, totally! Sincerely! It will be the biggest story since the oil spill and the biggest local story ever! Can you imagine the video they’ll get, the photos, the photos of me?
All me…full gear on with an M-16 racing down the beaches. I bet I could even get myself back into the helicopters. Tie a red bandanna round my head and maybe a jade necklace I take off the dead girls body, the only one who every really understood me, as I head out to avenge her death with arrows, armed with exploding tips, all sweaty and…yes! Rambo, part two…yeah, Sly’s a personal friend…Okay…right…no, you’re right, I never met him, but that movie’s pretty cool and you know what?
Everybody and their mother will be talking about Bobby Jindal again. They’ll practically throw the Presidency at me. They’ll give me every cabinet post, and an ambassadorship too! I won’t even have to campaign, I’ll just show up on inauguration day and say, “America, you’re welcome.”
Louisiana? Remember God, that’s just what we’re supposed to say…because that way, if nobody wants us to run or invites us to DC, we can pretend like we never cared at all. Yep, saving face and getting re-elected.
Not that it’ll matter.
Not when Cuba invades.
Not when me and Anderson Cooper are skimming the armada while I unload clip after clip, the camera flashes flashing and the bullets flying. CNN and Fox news will beat down the mansion’s front door during rest and relaxation.
No, no…screw MSNBC.
Limbaugh, Hannity, O’Reilly…I will be the permanent guest host between now and inauguration day and all the American citizens will be calling in, just to say thank you, to me, Bobby Jindal.
Awesome. It will be awesome.
How about on my birthday…right, I picture getting out of the car in full fatigues, or maybe a nice pair of khaki’s and then…I turn to the camera and glare, “Cuba? Not on my birthday, bitch.” Then I’ll grab a gun, a big one and charge the surf to stand on my sand berms and wait for the Cubans…cue the sunrise!
It’ll be perfect. Nobody will ever forget about me again. I’ll be 42 this year…politically, make or break…right, right…yes, of course in your name I pray, pray I make the national stage, or at least get one more ride in a helicopter before I leave the Louisiana stage…someday.
I really, really appreciate it.
Me, you, Cuba…take that Chris Christie!
Have a nice day.
A recent film, originally airing April 22nd on Discovery Planet Green, documents the impact of the oil spill on Gulf residents…
“You go out in the water and think everything’s okay, but it’s not. You close your eyes and you don’t hear any seagulls, there’s no fish jumping.”
“I’ve been in the bayou my whole life, and I ain’t ever seen so much dead stuff as I have the past six months.”
“They smiled and they looked at us and said we’re going to take care of you, we’re going to pay all legitimate claims. That was their mantra back in those days…I sent them pages of every cancellation, every date and every name, what each trip was worth and they sent me twelve percent of its value. Don’t tell me you’re going to make me whole and then send me twelve percent.”
“This is serious, they have brought destruction, they have brought pain on all of us.”
“We can’t go somewhere else. We’re stuck, we’re stuck in limbo.”
“It’s not just about industry, I grew up here, all my friends are here, everybody here knows everyone. If we go somewhere else, we’ll know no one. It’s a whole social shock, it’s not just financial. People don’t get that part of it.”
“What bothers me the most is the distinct possibility we will cease to be.”
“Time for everybody to stand up and fight for our land.”
“We can carry this message to the rest of the nation, they have a vested interest in seeing south Louisiana continue to be. It’s morally the right thing to do, politically I think it’s the right thing to do and environmentally, I know it’s the right thing to do.”
Have a nice day.
Dear God, hear my prayer…
It is my understanding that Rick Perry, current Governor of Texas and potential candidate for the Republican Presidential nomination has invited all of the nation’s governors to join him on August 6th at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. The purpose of this gathering is a day of prayer and fasting for the nation in order to seek your guidance in solving America’s problems.
In a statement, Governor Perry said “Given the trials that beset our nation and world, from the global economic downturn to natural disasters, the lingering danger of terrorism and continued debasement of our culture, I believe it is time to convene the leaders from each of our United States in a day of prayer and fasting, like that described in the book of Joel.”
I agree, God.
So I am sure you will understand completely my wish, my prayer to you God, that you will do your part to solve America’s problems on August 6th by repeatedly striking the stage at Reliant Stadium with violent bolts of lightning.
In doing so, the rest of America will finally be free to constructively solve the remaining problems with logical analysis, scientific evidence and rational discussion.
We might finally get a decent school textbook too…
In your name I pray,
Have a nice day.
For over a year now, ever since the oil spilled, the Gulf Coast has suffered from a deluge of promises that have been left unfulfilled. We hear talk of making things right, of actions not words, various members of Congress and a President declare their disgust with British Petroleum but all the same, pass no bills to change the unfortunate status quo and make it any safer. Ken Feinberg promises to be more generous than British Petroleum, makes claims to neutrality…also false. Residents were told Nalco’s corexit dispersant was safe as dish soap, the seafood is just fine and everything will be right by 2013.
No, no and no…
So, what might it take to change things around?
What would be necessary for there to finally be real accountability in the Gulf of Mexico?
How about a 100,000 Cheri Foytlins?
In an excellent piece written by Sue Stergis and appearing in Facing South, much of Cheri’s story is told:
Cheri, a reporter in Louisiana, feared the stories of Gulf Coast residents weren’t being heard after the disaster began so she travelled to Gulf communities where pollution was washing ashore, only to return to her home in Louisiana, 150 miles west of New Orleans suffering from severe headaches and respiratory problems. Her doctor diagnosed her with severe bronchitis, and when she asked him to conduct tests to see if her illness was linked to chemical exposure, her doctor refused.
This led her to involvement with the Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN), who did do the tests she requested and they found her blood levels of ethylbenzene were three times the national average. Ethylbenzene is a possible human carcinogen, linked to oil, and these results, along with her experiences led her into activism, determined to make the truth known.
And the truth is, it isn’t just oil in the water.
Corexit dispersant, used at unprecedented levels to combat the spill, also remains in the Gulf.
And a year later, the long-term effects of its use on people and the Gulf environment are as known today as they were when the Deepwater Horizon exploded…and that knowledge is scant at best. So where are the studies? “Organizational delays,” are being cited as reason why BP’s promised research funding has not yet been disbursed while the EPA, who has proposed additional research into dispersant toxicity and effectiveness for 2012 finds its agency on the Republican hit list, already facing $1.6 billion dollars in cuts.
It wouldn’t be inaccurate to say British Petroleum, Nalco (the producers of Corexit) and the government who okayed the dispersant’s use are in any hurry for such evaluations to be conducted..
Like Cheri Foytlin, other activists are of course involved in the Gulf, everyone from Kindra Arnesen, to Riki Ott, to Dr. Wilma Subra. All have a story to tell, and all want the nation to know that this catastrophe is not over, far from it…
Riki Ott, who had experience dealing with the Exxon Valdez, came to the Gulf Coast and has also been working with LEAN, and she makes a very valuable point, “Figuring out what to do together is the key.” She is currently educating people on the common symptoms associated with chemical exposure, symptoms being seen throughout the Gulf, from residents to cleanup workers, all with a growing pile of medical bills on their kitchen tables.
And British Petroleum isn’t paying.
Some might argue British Petroleum has done their part, by being engaged in the cleanup, or by creating the $20 billion dollar escrow account to help pay claims, but this is of course only half the story. A long list of people who worked in the VOO cleanup program still wait to be paid. British Petroleum wrote off $13 billion dollars in clean up costs with the IRS this year, effectively rendering the claims payouts of only $4 billion so far, moot, especially when Ken Feinberg, the arbitrator of the claims process has said on several occasions it is his belief he can complete the claims process and return half of the $20 billion escrow account to BP.
$13 billion back in taxes. $10 billion back from their escrow account. $4 billion paid so far to claimants.
Foreclosures, lost jobs, a questionable fishing and seafood industry, mental health problems and the host of suspicious sicknesses occurring now along the Gulf Coast: BP’s claims to accountability are nothing more than a sick joke. And British Petroleum will of course, try to deny their actions have anything to do with Gulf Coast illnesses, despite…again, from Sue Sturgis:
Wilma Subra — an award-winning environmental chemist who works with LEAN — conducted environmental analyses to document spill-related contamination. She analyzed air monitoring test data and confirmed that Gulf Coast residents were being exposed to potentially dangerous levels of airborne contaminants. She also conducted independent tests that confirmed the presence of significant levels of oil pollution in coastal soils and plants as well as in sea life. She’s also been sampling the blood of cleanup workers and coastal residents — and finding unusually high levels of contaminants associated with petroleum pollution in people’s bodies. “We are gathering evidence that I don’t believe you can dismiss,” says Marylee Orr, LEAN’s executive director.
The plight of cleanup workers, a year later, is being realized in countless stories of workers toiling in 100 degree heat with no training and no respirators and now suffering from debilitating illness, with unpaid medical bills, all being blamed on exposure to oil and toxic dispersants. Cleanup workers are suffering from symptoms such as respiratory distress, memory loss, continuing heart palpitations, headaches, sore throats, rashes and coughs.
From Roosevelt Love:
“We worked 12 hours a day seven days a week picking up boom and cleaning up oil. I saw people who passed out from working out there. But we were told not to complain or talk to the press about it or we would be fired. You started to feel like you were being used.”
From Janet Hennessey:
“It made me sick,” Janet says. “I often would have to stop while driving to work and vomit on the side of the road. We had to clean up the oil and maggots and algae would be all over the place. There were hundreds of people working there. And we never saw a respirator.” Janet says she still feels sick and she fears that the oil she brought home on her clothes may have contributed to health problems her granddaughter now experiences.
All healthy people previously, all sharing one thing in common, cleanup along the Gulf Coast…yet their medical bills remain unpaid.
This is not accountability, and it demands that people affected be heard.
Cheri Foytlin, to draw attention to the illnesses occurring in the Gulf, recently walked from New Orleans to Washington DC. There she joined a group that presented BP with a bill for $9.9 billion dollars. And now, Cheri knows this fight will have to go on…
“We’re going to keep fighting,” says Foytlin. “This is going to be a lifelong project for me.”
And it will have to be…
British Petroleum, in no small part due to their tax write-offs are again making profits…and by their own projections, will be back in the Gulf of Mexico drilling for oil before the year is over. It’s quickly becoming business as usual for a company that devastated an entire region and continues to shrug off its responsibilities, actions allowed to happen by a government that despite a lot of angry words and condemning speeches, accomplished nothing to require the oil extraction to be any safer.
Masses of people, activists and those so harmed may be the only thing the government and British Petroleum are finally forced to listen to…and I suspect angry masses of people might also assist the thousands of residents who still wait for word from Feinberg… and wonder when/if they can get back to business as usual like British Petroleum has so successfully done. They also might wonder why the promises made over the past year by the corporations and their politicians have turned out to be just one more batch of oil sunk by one more round of disperants, the promises may linger in mind but they were quickly disappeared into the Gulf, even as the waves still bring tar balls ashore.
What the Gulf needs is 100,000 more Cheri Foytlins, people working together to bring those promises back…
Until then, all we got is more waiting…
If interested, contact:
Also, read this piece by the American Zombie:
Have a nice day.
It would appear a pattern is developing in this great land of ours. Simply put, we begin with a tragedy, then we have an investigation which discovers the governmental agencies designed to prevent such tragedies either fell down on the job or didn’t care, and even worse, the fail-safe for the agency that didn’t do their job is woefully unprepared to handle the mess created. Next, we get public and government anger, utter outrage about the aforementioned tragedy and congress types propose bills, make promises and issue guarantees that a tragedy like this will never happen again, and damnit, we mean it…never.
At least until next time.
What? What happened to the guarantees, the promises and the bills?
That was so last week man, have you talked to my lobbyist?
In a recent report, it was discovered (surprise) that the US Coast Guard was not prepared for a large deepwater oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and the unified response to the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe was continually troubled by this lack of planning. Government and private sectors “demonstrated a serious deficiency… (in) preparedness for an uncontrolled release of oil from an offshore drilling operation.” The panel also found many of the Coast Guard staff members interviewed “acknowledged that they were unfamiliar” with the plans to combat such a spill, “even though they held prominent positions” in the command structure for the response. Much of this is blamed on the changes to the Coast Guard, post 9-11. As their responsibilities were diversified, the oil spill response plan atrophied which resulted in problems with coordination and communication. From the report: “While the response plan by BP, the well’s operator, was criticized as unrealistic in the report, the government’s plans were also found to be inadequate and incomplete.”
Okay, given…anyone paying attention to events last summer could have figured out that both BP, the Coast Guard and state officials were caught with their pants down on this one, but…what happens now? New drilling permits are being issued, ten in fact (no matter what Vitter says).
“Capt. Ron LaBrec, a Coast Guard spokesman, said the Coast Guard was reviewing the recommendations and had already begun making improvements. (The Department of Homeland Security has requested an additional $11.5 million in its 2012 budget to help bolster the Coast Guard’s ability to respond to major spills, a department official said.)”
Perhaps a complete change might be more in order? One suggestion might be to immediately discuss and begin planning how to keep politics and corporate self-interest out of the equation.
If not, one might someday read an oil spill version of the soon to be even more tragic story about developments occurring since the Massey Mine disaster, which also happened last April and killed 29 miners at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia.
If you don’t recall, there was outrage by Congress and the public that federal regulators didn’t have the power to close dozens of mines that had racked up thousands of safety and health violations (sound familiar?). At the time, both parties in Congress vowed swift action. They promised from their pulpits to fix this so no family will ever have to go through this kind of tragedy again.
A bill was proposed. It would have made it easier to shut down problem mines. It would have increased penalties for serious safety violations and offered greater protection for whistleblowers, and it took eight months for the bill to even reach the floor of Congress where two weeks ago, this bill was killed off, voted down by every single Republican and 27 Democrats.
In 2010, 48 coal miners died, the most since 55 were killed in 1992.
As retired miner, Fred Burgess said, whose stepson Ronald Mayor died in the Upper Big Branch explosion, “The miners should have a safer workplace, but the mine companies throw a lot of money around, they have lobbyists all over the place.”
Indeed, and to add insult to injury, it would appear lots of those lobbyists have been speaking to Rand Paul, who recently said in response to the MSHA’s (Mine Safety and Health Administration) new proposals which would reduce by half the amount of coal dust miner’s breathe, coal dust being the primary cause of black lung, “”Every regulation doesn’t save lives…There is a point or a balancing act between when a regulation becomes burdensome enough that our energy production is stifled.”
Or in other words, “What he’s suggesting is to keep the cost of coal down we would jeopardize the health of coal miners,” said Stephen Sanders, director of the Appalachians Citizens’ Law Center.
Oh, and speaking of guarantees and promises, anybody remember a certain town called New Orleans and this little catastrophic failure they had a few years back, you know, where over a thousand people died when the levees broke, in several places?
Yeah, remember all those promises made back in 2005, to guarantee that would never happen again?
Well, it would appear those promises were equally hollow. The Army Corps of Engineers, responsible for building and fixing the failed levees, well…they’re working on it…going on six years later. Which isn’t to say improvements haven’t been made. They have, but do those improvements match all those guarantees and promises President and Congress types threw around during the flood’s aftermath?
Anybody want to by the Crescent City Connection?
Really, I’m selling…
But, back to the Coast Guard and their report. Whereas it’s great they are working on “improvements” to their response, it might be nice to see exactly what they are working on, how they intend to coordinate federal, state and local officials, how they intend to keep financial self-interest and politics out, how their own staff will be trained on any new plans that are so coordinated to ensure each administrative and governmental level is on board, you know, so we don;t wind up with useless sand berms.
It would seem if oil companies have a right to drill out there in the Gulf, and they are…Gulf Coast residents have a right to know what will be done, and a guarantee that it will be done to respond to another spill…even after the anniversary news coverage comes and goes.
After all, coal miners still haven’t gotten protection from cost cutting mine owners.
New Orleans still hasn’t received the levees promised by Congress and the Corp of Engineers.
And now, Gulf Coast residents are waiting to see if that pattern continues or breaks, and they’d probably like to know which, before the next big spill.
Hell, I would…because if there is one thing I’d…uh…oh damn…
From the Times Picayune:
“A year after the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, Congress has done virtually nothing to address the issues raised by the oil spill — from industry liability limits, to regulatory reform, to coastal restoration, to broader issues of energy policy…”
Have a nice day.