Disenfranchised Citizen

Chicago, New Orleans and living a beautiful, angry life between the two…

Posts Tagged ‘Corexit

More about the (not) leaking Macondo Well…

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is more than just what you can get the public to believe...

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:

BP’s Denial Upended: Gulf Flyover Surveillance Reveals Large Amount of Surface Oil at Deepwater Horizon Site

And then, the next day we read:

More Questions for BP: Why Is There a Massive Oil Production Vessel at the Deepwater Horizon Site?

And also:

Why hasn’t all the oil gone?

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.

A Message From Rousseau…

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Jean-Jacques who?

“Usurpers always choose troubled times to enact, in the atmosphere of general panic, laws which the public would never adopt when passions were cool. One of the surest ways of distinguishing the work of a lawgiver from that of a tyrant is to note the moment he chooses to give a people its constitution.”

- Jean Jacques Rousseau

An economic crisis is created by Bush tax cuts, two wars, deregulation of Wall Street and the ensuing recession…

Republican solutions: Defund Planned Parenthood, attack unions, gut social spending and attack Social Security and Medicare…all the while, business sits on trillions and uses none of it to create jobs, pay their share of taxes or help in any way the country that gave birth to their businesses…America.

And Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal buys into his own bullshit and refuses to extend a 4 cent cigarette tax while he guts higher education and sells off a pension fund that is solvent and successful, to get a little money now at the expense of the workers later through decreased services and higher premiums.

It’s simply illogical. Fuck ‘em…

These people are unpatriotic, selling out their citizens for the benefit of business and campaign contribution…or in other words, their own personal self-interest.

I wonder how much longer we’re supposed to listen, or buy into their distorted rhetoric. How close do we allow the walls to get before we have to smash a hole through to get out once again for fresh air?

Hard to say…but on a not-so-side note…for many years when the EPA would come out and say a certain pesticide is safe, or this level of arsenic in your drinking water is okay or BGH in your milk?  No problem, and did you know Corexit is non-toxic? Yeah, when the EPA speaks, my thought has often been to look to Europe, to see what their standards are as corporations tend to have less sway in dictating the safety of their country’s citizens…and now, as the GOP sees fit to try and ram through their own austerity cuts in this country while keeping sure all those of means keep their means and maybe even get a few more means to horde on too, I again take a look to Europe, to places where austerity cuts were forced through…Spain, Greece, Ireland and a few in England to see, well…what did their people, their citizens do about having their futures sold out from under them so the banks could keep all the money?

And what they did, what they continue to do is this: Should Wealth Be Held by the Few or Everyone? — That’s the Central Focus of Protests from Spain to Greece

And again, they appear to be leading the way…

Also from Rousseau:

“Tranquility is…found in dungeons, but is that enough to make them desirable places to live?”

The GOP and not a few Democrats seem to think the dungeons for 99% of us aren’t too bad at all, whereas I would differ on this note…you?

Have a nice day.

Dolphins, Turtles, Red Snapper…and now, sand dollars and starfish…

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British Petroleum? Nah...they've made things right already...free cars for everyone in the studio audience!

Most everybody’s aware by now there were an abnormal amount of dead dolphin calves washing ashore this year, as well as a much larger than usual number of turtles dying, and there is of course the red snapper, with the NOAA recommending if fishermen catch the fish, or any other kinds of fish with lesions, fin rot or other assorted maladies they not touch them with bare hands and throw them overboard, all while they continue to maintain the seafood is safe to eat. But, with all these strange events, it would seem to make sense that these occurrences, when placed side by side could be readily explained by a certain oil spill, and a certain dumping of dispersants into the Gulf of Mexico to combat said oil spill…but if you buy that explanation, you’d be wrong.

Dolphins? Probably an algae bloom.

Turtles? Damned shrimpers trawling.

Red Snapper? Well, bacteria obviously.

Okay, then how about the sand dollars and starfish washing ashore along Florida beaches?

From the Pensacola News Journal:

“At first glance, it looks like a coin machine exploded on the shoreline. Thousands of sand dollars cover the beach from the Fort Pickens gate area to at least a mile west. And they’re also directly across Santa Rosa Sound from that area, on the south shore of Gulf Breeze.

The nickel- and quarter-sized sand dollars are all dead. They’re not white; rather, they’re tinged green like a coin left in water. The mass die-off is raising concerns about what killed or is killing the sand dollars and hundreds of sea stars mixed in with them.”

And then we get to the quotes from the locals, a type of quote that those following the events of the Gulf are becoming far too familiar with, uncomfortably so:

“This is not a normal thing,” Mary Lynn White 53, said. “I’ve lived in Gulf Breeze all my life. I grew up on the water, and I always take notice of changes. Something is killing them. I’d definitely say it is related to the oil spill.”

Or this one:

“I had a bait net, and I was able to scoop up the net full of them over and over and over,” said Berta Hurston, 56, of Gulf Breeze. “I’ve never seen anything like this. And I grew up in the area and I live on the water. It’s really disturbing to me.”

I seem to remember many similar statements made about the amount of dead dolphins, (never seen it like this before) turtles (no, not like this) and the condition of some of the fish being caught in the Gulf (been here thirty years and no, never), not to mention the woeful beginning to the brown shrimp season where the shrimp were more  scarce than usual and undersized, leading some shrimpers to call for an early end to the season as it might do more harm than good, and the docks aren’t buying them anyway.

In each and every one of these situations, there is an alternative culprit besides the oil spill that can be named…

But this many deaths across this many species, not to mention the fish kills occurring earlier in the year…could reasonable lead a person to believe one of two things…

Either the oil spill is the culprit, BP’s gotta pay and Feinberg needs to revise his estimation that all will be well in the Gulf by 2012 (good luck proving that in court), or…the Gulf of Mexico is in a real lot of trouble.

Neither option is appealing…but my money’s on British Petroleum being at fault.

Call it a hunch, a hunch constructed of several coincidences, with unfortunately more expected to come.

Have a nice day.

UWF Study: Corexit and oil probably worse than oil alone…

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Corexit? Well, I washed Tony Hayward's mouth out with a nice handful of the stuff.

The preliminary findings for a study done by the University of West Florida indicates Corexit may not have been effective and could be more damaging to the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem than the oil alone.

From the article in the Pensacola News Journal:

“When mixed with oil, Corexit, the chemical dispersant used by BP, is toxic to phytoplankton and bacteria — crucial elements in the Gulf of Mexico’s fragile food chain, said Wade Jeffrey, a UWF biologist with the Center for Environmental Diagnostics and Bioremediation.”That (effect) may cascade itself up through other larger organisms as you go up the food web,” he said Tuesday. “It’s one of those small pieces of a big puzzle of effects. We can’t say if we’ve seen big shifts yet. I don’t know that answer yet.””

Though British Petroleum claimed Corexit was no more harmful than dish soap and that the chemical would break up the oil and make it easier for the natural bacteria in seawater to swallow up harmful hydrocarbons, the study indicates the opposite occurred.

While the dispersant did break up the oil into smaller droplets, the hydrocarbons were not eradicated, the smaller droplets were still as toxic and made much easier for animals to absorb or consume.

This could be responsible for the die off of the young dolphins this past year:

“… the oil and dispersants appear to have disrupted the food chain and prevented dolphin mothers from building up insulating blubber to weather the cold…”

Also presenting her findings was Susan Laramore, an assistant research professor at Florida Atlantic University, who is studying the effects of oil and Corexit on shrimp, oysters and conch from larval stages through adulthood. And she found:

“…test subjects in younger life stages are more sensitive than older ones, and that they were more sensitive to dispersed oil.

“The dispersants make the oil very much smaller droplets and they’re very much more available to the animals,” Laramore said. “The dispersed oil was supposed to be less toxic…”

Less toxic.

But, it wasn’t.

Shall we just count this as one more thing British Petroleum was wrong about? Or perhaps they weren’t wrong at all, maybe they even suspected or knew. In any case, as many of us were writing last summer, dispersed oil worked in favor of British Petroleum regardless of ecosystem effect because dispersed oil doesn’t come rolling into the beaches to make all the papers.

Dispersed oil only kills below the surface.

So it’s probably a good thing that the Louisiana Senate panel OKs ban on Gulf oil spill dispersants.

Read the articles:

Spill study sees cloudy results

Scientists find Corexit made BP Gulf catastrophe worse is not news

Have a nice day.

Here come the lawyers…a day in Judge Barbier’s court…

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Making things right...one attorney at a time...

Okay, so first we acknowledge the obvious:

Lawyers being lawyers, and British Petroleum having long since given up that whole “making things right,” and “actions, not words” schtick – at least in reality – of course BP is going to try to use every legal maneuver to pay as little as possible to anyone. Their company’s in trouble now that the Rosneft deal looks blown so yeah, that whole Gulf Coast thing…it’s one big financial/legal liability and since the media interest flags, it’s time for corporate law to rear the ugliest of heads to take the biggest bite they can…

So stated, let’s move on to the latest from British Petroleum’s attorneys in Judge Carl Barbier’s court, shall we?

Turns out (surprise) British Petroleum is of the legal opinion that the claims for economic and punitive damages as a result of their little ‘ol spill, including those who lost jobs/wages as a result of the drilling moratorium, including those first responders who got sick during the cleanup, including basically…everybody, should be summarily dismissed by Judge Barbier.

Oh…but why?

Because these people must go through Feinberg’s GCCF claims process, first.

Oh…but why?

That pesky Oil Pollution Act of 1990, that’s why. Andrew Langer, BP’s head legal talking head argues that OPA states claimants must first attempt to redress their grievances with the responsible party – BP, and if they are then denied by the responsible party, only then can they file a claim in court. Langer also claims the Oil Pollution Act supersedes maritime law, and since OPA doesn’t allow for the punitive damages allowed under maritime law, these claims must be dismissed as well.

Dismissed, just like that…upwards of 130,000 legal claims.

Judge Barbier gave no timeline on when he would rule on the matter, but perhaps Feinberg now should really want to hold off on closing all those GCCF claims offices, you know, just in case.

BP’s desire isn’t surprising, it makes sense they would want these people to go through the GCCF. Much as the oil company would like to control a United States court of law, they don’t, but the GCCF and Feinberg are a different matter. There they hold much more sway. Hell, their guy wrote the rules, the same man Judge Barbier already ruled can’t claim himself as independent of BP. Good ‘ol Ken, the lawyer whose law firm is paid $1.25 million dollars a month by BP. Way back when, the GCCF and Feinberg’s stated mission was to keep people out of court, but this didn’t entirely happen, especially when his “generous” payments turned out to not be so generous after all. So now British Petroleum argues Judge Barbier should rule in their favor and complete Feinberg’s mission for them, kick the claimants into BP’s court, where they can be delayed, stalled, and hopefully, so frustrated that some throw up their hands and take Feinberg’s “generous” claims instead of heading back into court to be delayed, stalled and frustrated anew by BP’s lawyers.

From a legal standpoint, it makes sense. What does British Petroleum really have to lose? Self respect? The goodwill of the Gulf Coast? Well, self-respect and goodwill ain’t worth a dime and this whole mess has appeared to be about the money for this company since day one. 

The plaintiffs’ attorneys, of course, disagree with BP, arguing OPA was created after the 1989 Exxon-Valdez spill because legal remedies available at the time were insufficient. They further argue the companies involved in the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon shouldn’t be able to now use OPA as a legal shield to escape punitive damages and throw these legal claims into the GCCF mess. Besides, the oil pollution act of 1990 doesn’t expressly declare an intent to displace maritime law, whereas other statutes that prevent punitive damages do specifically prohibit them.

Judge Barbier, who questioned both sides’ arguments, asked how it is he is supposed to go through the 130,000 cases to determine which should be thrown out and which should be allowed to proceed. Nobody seemed to have an answer on this, beyond saying such a process will be exceedingly time-consuming.

Even more so pehaps, then the GCCF’s claim process.

But British Petroleum wasn’t the only company to get in on this four-hour hearing, and all involved had an argument on why these pesky economic claims should be dismissed. Represented in court were Anadarko, Halliburton, Cameron International and Transocean. Transocean argued that since BP is the responsible party, economic claims should only be made against BP under OPA, and then it would be BP’s right to go after the other companies to pay their share. You see, the people have filed suit against the wrong companies in the wrong order.

In other words, much like Feinberg’s screaming about unsatisfactory documentation, all of the big companies on the hook here are claiming the businesses and the people of the Gulf Coast are doing it wrong, not adhering to the correct process, not filing suit against the right company, not going through the GCCF process first, where they would inevitably be unable to document their claims in the correct way.

Or in other, other words…the claimants, the victims in this colossal fuck-all, the right thing for them to do would be to do as they are told, hurry up and wait, and go back to a GCCF process many consider long since broken.

All unless Judge Barbier, much like finally declaring Feinberg not independent, sides again on behalf of the people so harmed by this disaster, a catastraphuk not of their own creation.

Oh, but that’s not all, there’s more…

On the drilling moratorium: BP also asked for a dismissal of the claims by people who lost jobs/wages as a result of the drilling moratorium, saying it was the government who declared the moratorium, not BP, so why are they at fault? According to the plaintiffs’ attorneys, the moratorium was something the government would reasonable feel was necessary when they realized, hey, those oil rigs aren’t as safe as we ignored/were led to believe and you know what? We don’t have the resources to fight off these kind of spills so we better do a safety check. The plantiffs’ attorneys are also guessing the moratorium wouldn’t have happened had the Deepwater Horizon not exploded and since, under OPA, BP is the responsible party…well…they should be liable because one plus one usually equals two.

Unless you’re watching the latest “making it right,” advertisement by British Petroleum.

Attorneys for Nalco were also in court, the makers of Corexit dispersant and they argued they should have immunity from damage claims by people who got sick inhaling their toxins because the Federal government was in charge of the response, and it was the federal government who chose to use Corexit, “This was a spill of national significance, which put all of the decision-making in the hands of the federal government,” said their attorney.

One might wonder if this attorney is referring to the same government whose EPA expressly ordered British Petroleum to stop using Corexit dispersant, only to have BP refuse…somehow equating BP’s ability to do as they wished throughout the spill response with the ability of the government to be in charge of all the decision-making. 

There’s also the matter of all the private contractors who claim they deserve immunity too because they were doing cleanup under the same fully authoritative decision-making of the same federal government who had everyone listening intently on that whole Corexit deal. The plaintiffs’ attorneys in this case rightfully argued said contractors weren’t working for the government, they were hired by and working for BP and thus, why should they have immunity?

The entire hearing lasted a total of four hours and there’s more, but damn, my fingers are getting tired so perhaps I should just try wrapping this up:

British Petroleum, Transocean, Anadarko, Cameron International, Nalco…dismiss everything so we can better direct our funds to making things right for the Gulf Coast…

Residents and businesses of the Gulf Coast…get out of their way, you’re doing it wrong so go talk to Feinberg and he’ll tell you in no uncertain terms just how wrong you all are, while he painstakingly helps you to move on, being the loyal neutral arbitrator that he is…

The lawyers? Well, they’re busy being lawyers…

But most importantly, Judge Barbier, it’s up to you now and I for one, hope your ruling continues the process of finally making things right for all the people along the Gulf Coast that British Petroleum has made so wrong.

Read the article:

Defendants in oil spill litigation seek to have groups of claims dismissed

Have a nice day.

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