Posts Tagged ‘NRDC’
Two competing articles published a day apart have a very different take on the safety of Gulf Seafood…
In the first, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries report that not one bit, smidgen or iota of toxic chemicals has ever been found in Gulf Seafood and therefore the seafood is safe to eat, while in the second article, though first quoting the FDA’s website which reports the seafood “is as safe to eat as before the spill,” (a whole ‘nother can of worms), the article goes on to quote Louisiana fishermen and NRDC scientist Gina Solomon who seriously dispute the government’s findings.
Or…in other words, what’s your agenda?
Says the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries:
“The testing protocol, the first of its kind, analyzes water and seafood samples for pollutants found in the spilled oil and in various chemicals applied to disperse the oil. So far, no contaminants have been detected in any piece of seafood tested since the spill…”
Says the FDA:
“The seafood from the Gulf of Mexico is safe to consume for all consumers including pregnant women and children,” he asserts before adding, “The amount of seafood that somebody would have to eat would be the equivalent to sixty-three pounds of shrimp, or five pounds of oyster, or nine pounds of fin fish every day for five years before they would exceed levels to be concerned of. That’s how low the residues are in the seafood.”
Says Gina Solomon:
FDA only examined what would be safe for an adult. When they did their calculations they looked at what level of contamination would be safe for a 176 pound person. Children are known to be more vulnerable to contaminants in seafood because they eat more per pound of their bodyweight and their developing bodies are more sensitive to harmful contaminants. What’s more, in a pregnant woman, these contaminants can cross the placenta and harm the developing fetus. This increased vulnerability is well-known to science, and other agencies require that children be included in safety assessments.
Meanwhile, fishermen in the region continue to wonder aloud how the seafood can be safe when the shrimp seasons this year were so bad, with very little to catch, not to mention the state of the seafood they are catching:
“Fisherman are bringing in shrimp without any eyes … they evidently have lost their eyes and they’re still alive.”
So, who’s right?
Who do you want to believe?
Would seem to me that’s a personal decision…but if someone were to ask me, and I assume if you’re still reading this, you are…I might be more willing to bet my health on local fishermen and the NRDC, for a number of reasons:
Barack Obama will only benefit from clean bills of health when it comes to the Gulf. Many voters have placed the Gulf response at his feet and if this response is seen as ineffective, that affects him and his re-election chances. British Petroleum donates a great deal of money to Obama and are in bed with his administration as they begin to receive new leases for deep-sea drilling. The oil company would also love to see the perception of safe seafood begin to take hold so they can stop compensating fishermen. The state of Louisiana wants all to be well because it is their citizens being harmed by the bad reputation of Gulf seafood, a reputation that continues to be voiced outside of the Gulf Coast. Local fishermen, on the other hand, why the hell would they want to be quoted as saying something is wrong with the seafood if they didn’t believe it to be true? Feinberg and the GCCF have been short-changing everybody, livelihoods and whole ways of life are being impacted. Fishermen receive no benefit from ongoing bad perceptions whereas the NRDC, not beholden to the government or corporate sponsorship gains nothing from questioning the thoroughness of government testing or the claims of government agencies.
Oh…and the even worse problem?
Corporations and the United States Government have a long history of placing political perception and financial bottom lines over the health and welfare of their consumers and citizens and as a result, skepticism of their claims are automatic to almost anybody but the true believer. It is this distrust, born of their bad behavioral patterns that necessitates doubt of their claims…and it shouldn’t have had to be this way; it didn’t have to be this way…
But, it is…and who the hell wants to eat an eyeless shrimp?
Read the articles:
Have a nice day.
A new study published online yesterday reports the Food and Drug Administration vastly underestimated the cancer risk from seafood when the agency allowed commercial fishing in the Gulf to resume.
Miriam Rotkin-Ellman and Gina Solomon of the Natural Resources Defense Council authored the study where they found that by using flawed assumptions and outdated risk assessment methods, the FDA allowed up to 10,000 times too much contamination and didn’t identify the risks to children and pregnant women posed by eating the contaminants.
Based on the study, the NRDC filed a petition asking the FDA to protect the public by setting a standard that limits PAH’s in seafood. PAH’s can cause cancer, birth defects, neurological delays and liver damage.
And, wouldn’t you know this ain’t the first time the government’s testing of seafood has been called into question.
Remember this one, last year?
“Citing what the law firm calls a state-of-the-art laboratory analysis, toxicologists, chemists and marine biologists retained by the firm of environmental attorney Stuart Smith contend that the government seafood testing program, which has focused on ensuring the seafood was free of the cancer-causing components of crude oil, has overlooked other harmful elements. And they say that their own testing — examining fewer samples but more comprehensively — shows high levels of hydrocarbons from the BP spill that are associated with liver damage.”
Or how about this one:
A survey of 547 coastal residents in the four Gulf states by the Natural Resources Defense Council found they had seafood consumption rates far higher than those being used by federal and state regulators to determine if contamination levels pose a risk to human health, “What we are saying is our survey identified large numbers of people who are eating more seafood than the FDA (federal Food and Drug Administration) assumes in its guidelines. My assumption is there are thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people who are not protected by the FDA guidelines.”
Which of course leads a reasonable person to wonder…who exactly is the FDA trying to protect?
Perhaps it’s British Petroleum…
By the FDA saying it’s safe to fish, the fishers who might have questioned the safety of the seafood and refused to bring potentially contaminated fish to market would seem to have left themselves open to having their claims denied by the GCCF, as Ken Feinberg points to the opened waters and says, you could have earned a living according to the FDA, you simply chose not to, and that is not BP’s fault.
Or maybe it’s the Obama Administration…
To most people paying attention to what was going on in the Gulf last summer, it seemed that what the Obama administration wanted more than anything else was for this whole oil spill thing to just go away, from the all the oil is gone pie chart to the US Coast Guard bending to the will of BP at every moment. Not a big leap to see the FDA pitching in to help, declaring the seafood safe, and attempting to move the problems of the Gulf a little further from the minds of most Americans.
Well, the FDA certainly isn’t trying to protect the public…
I mean, they either really suck at their job, or more likely, they have been putting the public second in importance for decades…sincerely, ever done a Google search on FDA scandal?
Yeah, it ain’t pretty…and the FDA?
They ain’t right…who knows who they were trying to protect…quite possible they don’t even know anymore, especially when Big Pharma didn’t have anything to do with the oil spill. Without the pharmaceutical industry calling the shots, or Monsanto…face it, the FDA is just lost.
Read the article and the report:
Have a nice day.
Rocky Kirstner, writing on his blog for the NRDC, speaks to several fishermen who highlight the ongoing problems in the Gulf:
The all important white shrimp season opened a week ago and some fishermen say it too will be a disaster, perhaps worse than the brown shrimp season that ended in July and was a disappointment to many. “It’s the worst I’ve ever seen by a long shot,” says Grand Isle’s Dean Blanchard, once the largest shrimp buyer on the coast. “The white shrimp are born right here near the coast. They can’t make it through this oil. These are born to die conditions.”
Blanchard says fishermen continue to report dead dolphins in the area on a daily basis, something he says was unheard of in previous years. And on Thursday he took a trip to some oyster beds in nearby Barataria Bay that had been seeded with oyster spat to try to encourage them to come back to life. Instead they found death and devastation. “Everything was dead and the cages were full of oil. No one down here is being held accountable.”
Dean Blanchard, like many along the Gulf, also continue to have problems being compensated for the damages they have suffered from BP’s oil spill, despite all those promises from BP:
Dean Blanchard says he has given up on getting help from BP or the government. He says his business lost at least $6 million due to impacts of the BP blowout, yet BP has paid him just $1 million so far. He’s had to lay off more than half of his employees and now is wondering if he just may have to shut down altogether. “BP has turned by life upside down, and I don’t know what’s coming next. I may have to close down and go into the oil business because that seems to be the only thing left.”
And through it all, Feinberg maintains his actions with the GCCF have been “vindicated,” that the Gulf is heading towards a fast recovery, that if people, including most of those in the seafood industry, don’t raise revenues by 5% each quarter, their interim payments will be cut back and hey, final payments could be reduced in the future as well.
Feinberg maintains all will be well in the Gulf by 2013.
He continues to condition final payments upon claimants waiving their rights to sue BP, the no-sue clause, thus rendering said claimants ineligible for any further compensation from BP on an unknown future.
In fact, despite the troubles fishermen are reporting with their catches, Feinberg shrugs his shoulders and tightens up GCCF interim claims saying that since all federal and most state fishing grounds have been reopened this shows improvement in the seafood industry’s ability to get back to a way of life stolen from them by BP. He also reports an increase in catches of shrimp in the first few months of 2011…a brown shrimp season many shrimpers call a disaster.
The Gulf of Mexico is still in trouble and you are not protecting claimants, you are protecting BP, and along with BP you are morally culpable.
Read the article from Rocky Kirstner:
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.
So, let’s take a look at a few recent headlines, shall we?
From the Tri-Parish Times, tar balls are again seen coming ashore on Elmer’s Island. The Louisiana Bucket Brigade’s Peter Brabeck, an environmental monitor, spotted the new oil deposits and called them “the worst instance of oil contamination since the BP oil spill.”
From the newsstar.com, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries expert said the states fisheries and coast could feel the impact of the Gulf oil Spill for generations, “The dispersant worked in fragmenting the oil, but LSU scientists tell us there will be traceable quantities of oil longer than anyone here will be alive.”
From ABC WEAR, the Southern Environmental Law Center states Alabama’s coastline is the most environmentally threatened place in the South East United States and is facing immediate and potentially irreversible damage because of the continued threat of oil.
Sounds pretty bad, sounds like they should be doing as many studies as possible, you know, to determine the extent of the damage, to limit it as much as possible and find the best way to fight it, to make sure the fish are safe to eat, to determine for sure as the oil continues to come ashore in the future, years into the future, you know, whose oil it is that’s still screwing things up…I mean, everyone will assume it’s all a result of BP, but can ya prove it in court? After all, it ain’t what we think is right, it’s what we can prove.
So, let the studies and the analysis commence!
The more we understand, the better we can fight, the more we work together, the better our analysis, the more we can prove, the better we can get the financing from those so culpable to pay for fixing this whole mess. Information is good, information is necessary…all together everybody, let’s get to work, let’s do this, let’s…wait a minute…what?
Gulf-oil studies stalled by scarce samples…frustration of independent researchers spills out over suspended distribution by British Petroleum/US Government.
Oh yeah…right…I forgot myself for a moment…this is the Gulf of Mexico.
Turns out that ever since the Macondo Well was capped back in July, oil samples necessary for the exploration of ecological effects and to develop a better response have become increasingly scarce and currently, distribution has stopped.
So, who has the oil? Who’s gumming up the necessary environmental analysis?
1. British Petroleum
“At least as far back as September, BP began issuing a standard letter to independent researchers who requested samples, stating “Requests for source oil will be delayed…” pending development of protocols for dealing with available oil collected after the blowout. The impetus for ending distribution, BP says, was a general preservation order issued by a federal judge soon after the well was capped, which prohibited any evidence destruction. Although the order does not specifically address the oil samples, BP spokeswoman Hejdi Feick says that the company took a conservative approach in its response.
The standard letter promises that the company will develop protocols “over the next several weeks” to allow resumption of sample distribution — but no date for this has been set, according to Feick. “Our best estimate at the time we stopped providing samples did not account for all of the activity that has been necessary to ensure that BP could meet its legal obligations and resume providing material for researchers,” she says.”
2. The NOAA and the NRDC
US government agencies such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and companies they contract also collected substantial quantities of oil for use in the official Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) process, which is being used to determine BP’s liability. Although NRDA trustees filled some sample requests for small quantities, Greg Baker, an environmental scientist at NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration in Seattle, Washington, says that they too had to suspend distribution to be sure that there would be enough oil to support the legal case.
Andrew Zimmerman, a biogeochemist at the University of Florida began requesting samples back in July and was bounced back and forth between various factions of BP until he received the denial letter on September 23rd. Andrew Whitehead, a biologist at LSU, also requested samples and was turned down by BP, “I think the lack of samples will prevent important research from getting done,” says Whitehead. Ira Leifer, an oil spill expert at UC-Santa Barbara, who was part of the US government led task force that produced the official flow-rate estimate was also turned down.
And what were these three scientists attempting to study? The effects of the oil spill on marsh plants and possible clean up methods, the effects of the oil spill on fish, and a way to improve the remote sensing of surface oil. Leifer eventually gave up and went out to the Gulf to collect samples of his own and also obtained dispersant samples by what he described as “unofficial means.” He couldn’t get the dispersant from Nalco, because in order to do so he would have had to sign nondisclosure agreements.
It would seem only rational for the common-sense individual to see all this maneuvering as a way for the US government to control the information that runs against their official narrative and for BP, a strategy to minimize the information available to the public about the extent of damage.
British Petroleum, of course, says nothing could be further from the truth, “BP has no intention of withholding samples of the variety of source oils we have collected,” says BP spokesperson, Hejdi Feick, “except as is essential to ensure that BP retains adequate quantities of each type of oil to satisfy its legal requirements.”
Yeah, because if there’s one thing we’ve learned over the past nine months, it’s that British Petroleum is always concerned about their legal requirements, just as concerned as the US government’s is in keeping the public informed with the truth, about the Gulf of Mexico and their response.
Ah, another beautiful morning in the Gulf…
Have a nice day.