Disenfranchised Citizen

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

Posts Tagged ‘Dispersant

Lawyers, guns and money…now featuring the Feds!

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The door to Eric Holder's office...

In the Gulf of Mexico, the government serves two fundamental roles:

1. They are the protective savior, providing certain corporations and clean-up contractors legal cover for any consequences that might arise from the manufacture and use of poisonous products.

or…

2. They are an overprotective savior, goose-stepping boogeymen who don’t know shit about marine life, and waste everyone’s time getting in the way of big oil and natural gas.

Man…it’s a damned if you do situation that’s almost enough to make one sympathetic towards the Obama administration…almost, but not quite.

Anyways…

Nalco, the makers of “safe as dish soap” Corexit, and other companies involved in cleaning up the oil filed a motion in Judge Barbier’s court asking the judge to dismiss them from liability because their product is safe they were operating on behalf of the feds, and therefore feel they are entitled to immunity from any later health claims.

You see, Nalco only manufactured the stuff, it was the government and BP who actually used it, and that is not Nalco’s fault.

And you see, the clean-up companies only didn’t provide proper protective gear to cleanup workers, it was the government and BP who actually…uh provided…who uh, what, no? Look damnit, the clean-up contractors were working for the government and therefore feel they too should be given immunity from the consequences of all their bullshit money saving, PR working tactics to score contracts and make everyone happy, well, everyone except the actual workers.

You know?

Jesus…

Thank God that Plaintiff Steering Committee is in place to put a stop to this kind of corporate dodge. I mean, after the actions of the banks in ’08, what with their causing, then benefiting from the recession at the expense of so many, you just know the attorneys aren’t going to sit still and let yet another group of companies screw the people for their own financial benef…wait, what?

“In mid-February, the plaintiffs steering committee filed a motion saying that it believed that BP would ultimately be responsible for any health issues associated with responding to the spill, so it asked the court if it could remove the clean-up, responder and dispersant defendants from its complaint so it could concentrate on BP. The plaintiffs said that such a move would dismiss the companies from the litigation, but not let them entirely off the hook.”

The PSC filed to remove Nalco and the clean-up companies because going after all these companies would be too hard? Because they just wanted to focus on BP? What, are they not getting paid enough to handle such complexities?

Okay…okay…now true, the PSC did ask for dismissal without prejudice, meaning they can re- file against these companies later, but in doing so…didn’t they just help Nalco and the cleanup companies bolster their case for getting themselves dismissed “with prejudice,” or in other words, dismissed for real? It sure would seem so…the PSC takes a half-step and Nalco sees that half-step and raises them a full, all the while arguing they were just following orders, man…it ain’t them, it was the government. We didn’t tell the Feds to dump two million gallons of this poison into the Gulf, we just brought it in on tanker trucks. They asked. We delivered. Yes, right, and the banks were just trying to turn a profit under the law, they didn’t do anything wrong either.

Recession? What recession?

Cancer cluster? What cancer cluster?

Dolphin deaths off the Louisiana coast?

Huh? What dolphin deaths?

“From February 2010, NOAA has reported 180 dolphin strandings in the three parishes that surround Barataria Bay — Jefferson, Plaquemines and Lafourche — or about 18 percent of the 1,000 estimated dolphins in the bay. Last month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said it had found 32 dolphins in the bay underweight, anemic and showing signs of liver and lung disease. Nearly half had low levels of stress hormones that help with stress response, metabolism and immune function.

Lori Schwacke, a NOAA scientist, said the dolphins’ hormone problems could not definitely be tied to the oil spill but were “consistent with oil exposure.” Over the same period of time, NOAA says 714 dolphins and whales have been found stranded from the Florida Panhandle to the Texas state line, with 95 percent of those mammals found dead. Normally, the region sees 74 reported dolphin deaths a year.”

So then, it would appear that something is not only wrong in the courthouse, something is very wrong with the wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico, especially around Louisiana where the oil spill flowed the heaviest…and in response to all this death and dying, the feds stepped in to ban the seismic equipment used by oil and natural gas companies to find geologic deposits for drilling. These seismic surveys are done with air-guns that emit pulsing sounds known to disturb marine mammals and could also disrupt mother and calf bonding for the dolphins. Okay…government being cautious…good and how long is the ban in effect for? Just until the beginning of May when calving season ends.

Again…good, so everybody’s happy, right?

Of course not…

Global Geophysical Services Inc. the company being paid to do these surveys and therefore having no conflict of interest dispute the dangers of their testing, saying, “We see no hazard to them (the dolphins) whatsoever.”

Oh, okay…well there you have it then. The company also notes that since the government has stepped in with their new unnecessary regulations, they have had to lay off thirty people…so there. Man, just give it a day until Jindal’s giving a speech somewhere to talk about what a rat bastard Obama is…

What a drag to be a fed these days.

Not only should the government provide immunity to companies that manufacture poisons or perhaps lack proper cleanup gear, thus causing health problems for untold amounts of people, but the government should stop enforcing regulations that protect marine life in the same Gulf where all those toxic poisons were dumped.

Total drag, these two roles of government in the Gulf:

You exercise a  lack of caution, companies demand you provide legal immunity.

You exercise any caution, companies demand you get out the way of big business because you’re costing money and jobs.

It’s gotta almost be enough for Obama to grab a seismic air-gun, march into Barbier’s courtroom and point it at not only the defendants, but the entire Plaintiff Steering Committee and I for one, wouldn’t mind if he did.

Hell, I might even meet him there to see if he’d let me pull the trigger.

That’s the one role I think I’d like to play.

Read the articles:

Should Gulf oil spill dispersant, clean-up companies stay in the litigation?

Feds stop oil company’s tests in Gulf amid concerns over dolphins

Have a nice day.

Corexit, oil and seafood…oops!

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What me, worry?

Did you hear the one about the dishsoap safe Corexit, so mild it wouldn’t harm your most fragile of dishes? No? Okay, well…how about that whole seafood safety, oil didn’t enter the food chain thing? No, not that one either, huh?

Well, no worries, turns out you didn’t waste your time as that was all just one tremendous line of shit.

From British Petroleum’s own safety manuals, in regards to Corexit:

Warning – Eye and skin irritant. Repeated or excessive exposure to butoxyethanl (active ingredient in Corexit) may cause injury to red blood cells, kidney or the liver…Do not get in eyes, on skin, on clothing…use with adequate ventilation, wear suitable protective clothing, flush affected area with water…”

And…

“Excessive exposure may cause central nervous system effects, nausea, vomiting, anesthetic or narcotic effects…”

Yes, just like any dish soap I’ve used in the past…

The Louisiana Environmental Network is of course, all over this, asking many of the right questions…such as why were cleanup workers using this crap denied ventilators? In fact, why did BP and its contractors tell cleanup workers that protective clothing and special equipment were unnecessary, despite the fact BP’s own manual specifically stated protective equipment should be worn?

And, I might add, this same chemical, all two million gallons worth is what contractors and the Coast Guard were dropping from planes, and dropping in such a way that it reportedly fell onshore at times.

Oh…and the whole seafood safety, oil not entering the food chain thing we kept hearing so much about, or kept hearing so much about how it wasn’t happening?

Yeah, well, it did…

By way of  Library Chronicles, I give you Dr. Siddhartha Mitra with East Carolina University:

“Our research helped to determine a ‘fingerprint’ of the Deepwater Horizon spill; something that other researchers interested the spill may be able to use,” Mitra told ECU Now Blog. “Furthermore, our work demonstrated that zooplankton in the Northern Gulf of Mexico accumulated toxic compounds derived from the well.”

Yeah, and all those zooplankton are of the lower rungs in the food chain which essentially means that the fish eating the zooplankton? Oiled, and the fish that eat the fish that ate the zooplankton? Oiled…and you, eating the fish that ate the fish that ate the zooplankton?

Huh…we probably need a study.

So…to sum up…

We’ve been told over and over that all’s well, all’s getting better in the Gulf when it turns out the oil, that BP catastraphuk Deepwater Horizon oil? It did enter the food chain and if you’re eating the seafood and now starting to wonder about that oil, and as a result now feeling kind of dirty or unclean…well, you can listen to BP’s spokespeople, about their “safe as dish soap” dispersant and perhaps use it to clean up a bit, much in the same way the company used it to clean up the Gulf and besides, I hear it really cuts grease and just might soften your hands too, if by softening you mean, again from the manual:

“Defat and dry the skin, leading to discomfort and dermatitis.”

That’s kind of like softening, right?

I don’t know.

Perhaps one should ask Bob Dudley, or better yet ask LEAN, I think they’re more likely to give you an honest response.

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.

FDA, NOAA Still Not Testing for Heavy Metals or Dispersants in Gulf Seafood

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Okay, so we don't actually have to eat it, right?

Federal officials and the Obama administration have maintained for well over two months now that all is safe in the gulf: no serious food contamination, no significant risk to air and water quality, no long-term health risks.

And all this seems well and good so long as you only ask the government’s scientists.

Asking elsewhere, one gets an entirely different story, and from such notable periodicals like the peer-reviewed Journal of the American Medical Association, or from such notable people like staff scientists at the Natural Resources Defense Council or the Chair of Cancer Epidemiology of LSU or Gina Solomon of UCSF, just to name a few. In fact, it would pretty much appear that the only people willing to go on record that everything is safe in the Gulf would be the NOAA, the FDA, the EPA, various politicians and perhaps some science types at BP.

Everybody else seems to think there is much to be concerned about here. In a great three-part series featured on RawStory, the various threats to safety are explored.

In part one, they take a look at the seafood and its dangers of long-term health risks:

In particular, experts tell Raw Story, contaminants from the massive oil spill and unprecedented use of the dispersants employed to dissolve the spill have the potential to cause cancer and neurological disorders.

Exclusive: Gulf seafood poses long-term health risks, experts say

In part two, they take a look at how heavy metals still aren’t being tested for in Gulf seafood, heavy metals such as mercury, lead and cadmium which have been linked to cancer in long term consumption:

Both National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and FDA officials told Raw Story that fish and shellfish being tested for the purpose of reopening waters to commercial and recreational fishing are not being tested for heavy metals.

Exclusive: Heavy metals go untested in Gulf seafood

In part three, they take a look at bioaccumulation in seafood, its toxicity to humans and despite repeated assertions that Corexit is safe, the extremely toxic carcinogens contained in the product. The article also discusses how currently, no seafood tests exist to measure the dispersant in seafood:

Edward Trapido, the Wendell Gauthier Chair of Cancer Epidemiology at the Louisiana State University School of Public Health, revealed to Raw Story that 2-butoxyethanol, one of the compounds in Corexit 9527 – the first dispersant used by BP – is not only considered a carcinogen by the state of New Jersey, but the NJ Department of Health says “it should be handled as a carcinogen with extreme caution.”

“Unfortunately,” Trapido added, “there were two dispersants used – 9500 and 9527. They used 9527 first, until the supplies ran out. Then they switched to 9500. But we don’t know how much of the 9527 was used.”

Exclusive: Gulf oil dispersant contained extremely toxic carcinogen

Enjoy the series…

Have a nice day.

Thad Allen rejects accusations that too many chemicals were used…

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No eye contact and I can pretend I heard no question, sir.

So the article in the Austin Statesman begins:

The government’s point man on the Gulf oil spill is rejecting assertions that federal officials allowed BP too much leeway to use chemical dispersants. Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said Sunday that federal regulators did not ignore environmental guidelines. He says some field commanders had authority to allow more dispersants to be used on a case-by-case basis.

Ass.

Simply taking this at face value is ridiculous. For one, to reject accusations that too many chemicals were used would imply Thad and BP knew what the effect of the dispersants would be on the long term health of the gulf.

They didn’t.

Yeah, they should have known because after Corexit was used at the Exxon Valdez spill, many a study was determined necessary, course then the cameras went away and soon after, so did the funding for such research and twenty years later…uh, oops.

Secondly, it would appear for some reason unknown, Thad believes that BP officials were listening to him.

They didn’t have to.

In some case’s, the Coast Guard approved BP’s requests even though the company did not set an upper limit on the amount of dispersant it planned to use.

For those not in the know…

The chemical dispersant was effective at breaking up the oil into small droplets to be consumed more easily by bacteria, but experts say it can kill seafood eggs and larvae…In humans, long-term exposure to dispersants can cause central nervous system problems and damage blood, kidneys and livers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

So again, this begs the questions Thad, what is too much leeway for a company set on covering its bottom line, and how much is too much poison to en ecosystem when any study that could have been done to determine this, wasn’t?

Methinks, you’re embarrassing yourself.

Asshole.

Read the article:

Spill chief rejects accusations that too much oil dispersant was used

Have a good evening.

Hey Gulf Coast and Beyond, Meet Your New BFF…Corexit 9500

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Corexit

So, we’ve all heard the name, read about its use, but how much do we really know about our new friend, Corexit 9500?…well, we know less than the EPA does but so what the hell else is new…the actual ingredient concentrations in this stuff is considered a trade secret, but the Nalco Holding Company that makes it was so kind as to at least share, in private of course (Can we citizens really expect any different?) with the EPA who then despite its ban in Europe, gave the go ahead. Of course they did, cause if there’s one thing we know in the good old US of A, it’s that those pesky Europeans with their safety laws, those constraints on (some) corporations…all that “for the people, for the protection of the people” bullshit…well, over here we got us a thing called corporate know-how and lobbyists and something I heard once about this thing called “bootstraps” such as pulling yourself up by or maybe that was hanging yourself from…I don’t know, doesn’t matter though cause most importantly this isn’t Europe where those Frenchmen are…you know, the ones that wouldn’t help us kick ass?

But, I digress…

Corexit 9500:

It’s a product line of solvents primarily used as a dispersant for breaking up oil slicks. BP was using Corexit 9527, but that was deemed too toxic so now we’re using it’s younger brother, you know…the “slow” one. The idea is that when you spray this stuff on an oil slick, it breaks the oil up into smaller, little globules that sink underwater, you know, creating plumes (yes, the same ones that BP denies the existence of). So why are plumes better than oil slicks? BP states that the oil will be less harmful in the deeper sea than in the coastal regions, course no oils slick has ever been this big before except that one in Mexico…and nobody has ever used this much Corexit before…ever.

Anyways, in the middle of May, the EPA, despite previously approving this stuff suddenly had a change of heart and ordered BP to stop using it within 72 hours and find something less toxic. Well, BP listened to what the EPA had to say and then said…”Nah…we’re going to keep using it anyway.” BP stated that it was the only dispersal available in the amount they needed, save one…Sea Brat 4, but that one is considered even more toxic than Corexit. The EPA, following this rebuke of its authority then reportedly went out for beers, congratulating themselves that somebody, anybody had at least taken the time out of their busy day to listen to them for a change. Furthermore, during a later game of darts the EPA reported to the press, firmly, that this was progress and next time, in no uncertain terms they would strongly consider the possibility of enforcing one of their decisions. After all, they said, being heard is half the battle, and they feel they won, hands down.

So, Corexit is now and again, the dispersal of choice…considered to be 54.7% effective in breaking down Louisiana Crude and the estimates are that over a million gallons of this stuff have been dropped into the Gulf of Mexico as of a month ago, so we are probably at double that by now. Another dispersal, called Dispersant (catchy) has been shown to be 100% effective, but oops, not enough of that around and besides, Dispersant is far less harmful to seal-life than Corexit, BP’s wonder drug, and less harmful has proven to not be BP’s forte.

What’s that you say? Corexit is harmful to sea life? You betcha…you see, as it bonds to the oil it sinks to a depth that cannot be cleaned, sinking so far down that it could very well end up killing the plankton by depriving the water of oxygen, and thus, killing everything else up the food chain. At least this is the opinion of Joe Taylor, an environmental engineer in Daphne who made this claim to WKRG news, saying also that Corexit  “will kill the Gulf of Mexico.” And of course, the large and larger oil plumes that all these pesky fish and such keep swimming through and dying, or at least ingesting has less than happy effects…and since Corexit also travels within the food change, when the little fish get eaten by big fish, the bigger fish become increasingly toxified.

Well, bully…

But hasn’t its actual toxicity level been adequately tested?

No, not really. According to the manufacturer these are mere details, though they assure that it’s harmfulness to humans is low, course, anyone working with it is supposed to wear a ventilator… What? How can it be relatively harmless if one must wear a ventilator? Well, the manufacturer might respond to this by saying “Louisiana still has some holdover pussy rules made back in the day when the French still ran things.” So, no worries… oh, but wait a minute… apparently the EPA has an opinion too: in Alaska, during the Exxon spill they said Corexit is potentially harmful to red blood cells, the liver, and may irritate eyes and skin, and they then told of cleanup workers who when subjected to this stuff suffered from respiratory, nervous system, liver, kidney and blood disorders.

Odd.

This is Corexit, a toxic batch of mixed messages with no apparent truth except the one you aren’t being given. It’s the lesser of two evils when compared to crude oil even though it is apparently harmful to everything that exists everywhere….except humans, so sayeth BP and even though the EPA might disagree, they approved it so screw ‘em, what do they know? Up to two million gallons may have been dumped into the Gulf of Mexico by now, so welcome to your new BFF, courtesy of BP and The EPA.

It does seem to me that British Petroleum is trying to have it both ways…fines levied against oil spills, gushers, catastrophucks are amassed by the amount of oil spilled, gushed or fucked, so to claim that oil plumes (the products they use is designed to create) don’t exist would seem to me as positioning themselves legally…meanwhile the EPA is not much better. They claim this stuff is safe to use, then say it is too toxic and demand BP stop using it, then BP refuses and suddenly it is okay for use again.

This is worse than thinking one side is lying to us.

Here, we know that both sides are…we just don’t know at what time so of course this gets all back to trust: when British Petroleum has been as non-forthcoming as the government, and then when either company does decide to talk to us, they throw out facts and figures that inevitably turn out false…so how are we supposed to trust? Do they not understand this as a problem? They gave us bullshit spill rates. They told us things were safe, then changed their mind. They rush out workers to the beach when Obama shows up, only to have them leave shortly after he leaves. They deny the existence of the oil plumes the product they use is designed to create. They say that they are giving reporters open access only to deny reporters time and time again, all the while claiming these denials are lies, oftentimes to the very same reporters they are denying with these lies. They claim that this isn’t having a devastating effect on wildlife and then fisherman talk about BP burning the carcasses of  dead sea turtles and dolphins.

Corexit, we’re told, is the lesser of two evils and this sounds like every other presidential election I’ve had the misfortune of witnessing, and like every candidate on the campaign trail…

Believe what?

Believe who?

Believe how?

Your times of belief are over, you sick bunch of bastards…

Something else though…

Hurricane Katrina

Hurricanes…

Now, I’m not an expert in meteorology, but I know enough to know the basic way a hurricane works is that they are tropical depressions then fueled by moisture in the air over warm water. So, how much of this Corexit, some of which enters the air, gets dropped back from the hurricane in the form of rain, and what happens when this rain falls on land, and not back into the Gulf? Corexit takes 28 days to biodegrade, so even if they were to stop using it now that’s roughly another month for a hurricane to go through the gulf and pick this stuff up before dropping it over the gulf states…what catastrophuk might this then cause? Two million gallons poured in so far…2,000,000 gallons of this crap that we know kills everything but humans, which it only harms at a low rate. Has anyone checked out the possibilities of this scenario?

Cue Thad Allen of the Coast Guard: “We are doing this without a manual.”

Perfect.

Someone else to believe in apparently, maybe I should just go back to trusting Joe Lieberman…after all, we are in a time of war.

Have a nice day…

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