Disenfranchised Citizen

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

Posts Tagged ‘toxicity

More lies, more dead dolphins…

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So then it's agreed? The dolphins are all committing suicide in protest of fewer deep sea oil platforms to swim around. Wonderful...Bob, you good with that? Great. Okay, bring the Coast Guard in here...

It just keeps getting funnier, except it’s not…

In this past week, it has been reported how, in the immediate aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon explosion, British Petroleum had demanded via e-mail that it’s own expert be kept quiet when he gave his opinion stating 82,000 barrels of  crude a day were coming from the Macondo Well. In fact, two days after ordering his silence, BP publicly announced their estimate that the flow rate was only 1,000 barrels per day. And of course, this report comes on the heels of another showing how the White House had been trying to get the United States Geologic Survey to downgrade its flow rate estimates in public statements too, reducing the USGS estimate of at least 25,000 barrels of oil per day coming from the well to a number the NIC thought sounded better, 12,000 to 25,000 barrels or better still, the estimate a White House Communications officer suggested, 12,000 – 19,000 barrels per day. Oh, and who can forget the wrongful termination lawsuit being filed by August Walters where he claims to have been fired by BP a couple of months back because he wouldn’t modify clean-up data  to make the beaches appear cleaner on paper than they in fact truly were, thus allowing BP to say they’d turned the corner and in light if this data, come to an agreement with the Coast Guard to officially move from cleanup to restoration, all while eagerly anticipating the stock bump to come from such an announcement.

Yes, these are the assholes in charge making things right along the Gulf Coast, and yes, the oil company mentioned in the above paragraph is the same British Petroleum putting out all those feel good commercials telling you how everything is just swell now. Hey! The economy, the seafood and the jobs are back!

And now, today even, when it comes to that same oil company and that same government, I’m sure if you asked, they’d go on and on to tell you how it would be impossible for the low-balling of flow-rate numbers that lead to a potentially flawed cleanup response based on their bad data, and how the fact there is still more unaccounted for oil in the Gulf of Mexico than was spilled from the Exxon Valdez…yeah, they’ll tell you how none of this has anything to do with more dead dolphins…even if there still is oil along the Louisiana coast.

Of course not.

That would be fucking ridiculous, and potentially unprofitable…

However:

“Since the beginning of the month, 14 marine mammals, including a dozen dolphins, have been found along the northern Gulf of Mexico. Half of the dead dolphins washed up on the Louisiana coast. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) calls it an “Unusual Mortality Event” in the northern Gulf and next month will mark two years since it began. The tally so far: 630 dead.

The event started in February of 2010 – two months before the oil spill began. Still, the deaths raise a red flag with the Gulf Restoration Network. “The ongoing death of these dolphins speaks to the idea that we haven’t seen all of the impacts from the BP oil drilling disaster end yet,” said Dan Favre of the Gulf Restoration Network.

Ridiculous, indeed…

Read the article:

More dead dolphins wash up on Southeast Louisiana coast

Have a nice day.

Riki Ott or Feinberg? I’m thinking Riki knows the health better…

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The lawyer says:

It ain’t what you know, it’s what you can prove…

The toxicologist says:

Lawyers don’t know a whole hell of a lot about toxicology…

“Nicholas Forte has spent the last year with an array of health issues. Headaches. Migraines. Nausea. Breathing problems so severe they would land him in the hospital.

“We have no idea what it is,” the 22-year-old Battle Creek resident told Michigan Messenger. “Then it escalated to seizures.” And while the seizures landed him in the hospital — at one point stopping his heart and his breathing — doctors are at a loss to understand why. Tests indicate none of the expected patterns for epilepsy.

Finding out why the formerly healthy young man had suddenly fallen ill drove him and his family to listen to Riki Ott, an environmental toxicologist who has been tracking the health impacts of oil spills on human beings since her home was impacted by the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska. Ott was in Battle Creek Wednesday night at the invitation of local activists. And when Forte asked Ott about his symptoms, she nodded an affirmative.

“We see that in 16-year olds in the Gulf,” she said. And Forte was not the only person she may have given much-needed answers to. Nearly 50 people gathered to talk about headaches, nausea, burning eyes, memory loss and rashes. There were young and old, African-Americans and whites, rural residents and city dwellers, all with one thing in common — they live by the Kalamazoo River and were exposed to last year’s Enbridge Energy Partners Lakehead Pipeline 6B.”

 

Ken Feinberg says, “Jesus, you didn’t actually watch all that did you? No? Thank God…oh, and she hasn’t proved a thing. Just check the methodology.”

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.

The Amity Choice…

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Shark's kind of oily...

Spring Break is coming…

That annual rite of passage where drunken teens descend upon the beaches to get a rest from their studies and are often side by side with families, also on vacation from the thawing but still cold North is almost here, and all along the Gulf Coast, resorts and towns who typically make a great deal of money from this annual retreat are crossing their fingers. It’s been a pretty bad year…the economy, the now rising gas prices, the BP oil spill and the resulting tons of Corexit dumped into the waters to combat said oil spill…

So, is it safe for the people to spend time on the beaches? Is the sand and water clean, or is it poison?

It would depend on who you ask.

The CDC says all is well. The NOAA, the FDA and the EPA say all is well…come on down and have a fine time, and those are some pretty heavy hitters. It would appear safe to say that the Federal Government believes nobody will come to any harm by spending days on the beaches of the Gulf Coast, in the water, breathing the air, and the owners of the resorts, the people who work in these towns certainly hope the government is right.

We all do, even British Petroleum, who even while they scale back cleanup across the Gulf Coast continues to focus their attention on the sands of the resort towns, the places where the media doesn’t fear to tread because they know that Spring Break is a proving ground for progress. It’s the time where people will come to the Gulf from all over the country and see with their own eyes whether all their PR efforts, the commercials on television, radio and the internet are right, or are what many in the Gulf believe…a load of shit.

The last thing BP needs is another batch of dead dolphins to come rolling onto Panama City Beach while the MTV crews are around, or a massive fish kill, or a storm that might bring a few more tons of tar balls from the tar mats of oil offshore.

Its also the last thing business owners in the Gulf need.

And that brings us to a choice, the choice…

Nobody in the government wants to be Roy Scheider, the Sheriff of Amity running across the sand yelling, “Oil!”

The government instead chooses the uneasy role of the mayor, anxiety and defiance etched in his quickly aging face and threatening to fire anyone who finds the shark in them waters. Meanwhile, the business community of the Gulf Coast shares the anxiety, torn between trying to revive their economy and a creeping feeling of hope that nothing bad will happen, that the oil won’t come ashore and that nobody will get sick.

Having written on this subject for awhile and having spoken to many others who also write on this subject, it is much akin to writing about seafood safety in the Gulf. Logic would seem to dictate that if you dump that many toxins into a body of water that the seafood is unsafe, but to actually write that is something else entirely, because tugging at your conscience is also the knowledge that this meme would also harm the industry of a part of the country you care for very much, and a great many people who you care about.

As I mentioned, the choice is difficult, especially when you believe that the government and its agencies, as they have been throughout this whole catastraphuk, are only giving you part of the truth or their best case scenario. For British Petroleum and the government, logic and what you believe are unimportant. What is important is what you can prove, and they seem to believe nobody can prove the Gulf is unsafe.

All despite articles such as:

NASA Data Strengthens Reports of Toxic rain on the Gulf Coast From BP Spill – Jerry Cope

or

The BP Oil Disaster: Results from a Health and Economic Impact Survey in Four Coastal Louisiana Parishes

or all of the important information available from the website:

Florida Oil Spill Law

Again, the choice is a difficult one.

But, much as I wish it weren’t the case, I’ve read too much and heard the stories of too many people for me to bury my head in the sands cleaned by British Petroleum, and I am forced to add my voice to the growing crowd of people who are pointing at the surf yelling, “Oil…Oil…Oil…” because whereas I do believe in the importance of an improving economy, I also believe that more important are any potential health risks for the people, even more important than a full beach.

Have a nice day.

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