So, I was reading an article/book review in Time magazine about the Deepwater Horizon where the writer, a Mr. Bryan Walsh separates people into two camps…people who can’t forget about the oil spill and say the region still hasn’t recovered (Dead coral, dolphins, depleted shrimp catches, health problems, tar balls still and oil entering the food chain…etc…) and the people who just want to forget all about the oil spill, mainly people in the oil industry and Republicans who complain that offshore drilling has slowed under Obama.
And I just gotta ask, which I know puts me in that first group…forget about the oil spill? Seriously? You’d have to be pretty boiled over with distracted emotion to forget about millions of barrels of oil and millions of gallons of Corexit being dumped all over our nation’s main source of seafood, among other things…
Hmm, did I say anger?
Yeah, the GOP, they’re really, really angry…at Obama and the new Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOERME) with it’s new (kind-of) safety regulations and (kind-of) oversight.
GOP Rep. Doc Hastings is beside himself pissed, issuing subpoena’s every chance he gets…but with all that anger, being so focused and all…I gotta ask, “Hey, GOP, what about BP?”
Can you spare a bit of your angry jackassery for the dipshits at British Petroleum?
As this article points out, by way of a review of Abrahm Lustgarten’s book, Run to Failure: BP and the Making of the Deepwater Horizon:
“What had been a company with a history of safety—even dullness—was turned upside down. And while profits and market share increased, the accidents started piling up. In 2005 a major explosion occurred at BP’s Texas City refinery, killing 15 workers. Employees had complained for months of the dangerous conditions at the refinery, but nothing was done. The next year a major spill occurred in BP’s Prudhoe Bay, Alaska facilities, resulting in more fines for the companies. Even before Deepwater Horizon, BP was cited far more often by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration for safety violations than any other company. As Scott West, a former EPA official who had investigated the company in Alaska, told me after the spill, BP was a “serial environmental criminal.”
A “serial environmental criminal…”
So, Obama and BOERME play it safe, a move necessitated by the fact that British Petroleum played it anything but and thus caused the United State’s worst environmental disaster of all time and now, correct me if I’m wrong, but the oil industry and the GOP are maintaining that it is Obama who’s the asshole in all this?
Well, in my opinion, you guys should all go and kind of eat some shit…and that goes double for you, Vitter, you self righteous-hypocritical prick. Maybe you might listen to reason at the next BOERME meeting if they bring you a pair of diapers and a bible, ass.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Well, okay yes, some things are improving, sure…I mean, it is more difficult to actually see the remaining oil from BP’s catastraphuk, not too much is washing ashore these days which means the tourist industry is thriving again and that’s great, if you happen to be an owner or employee of such service oriented industries…but if you’re making you’re living or giving a damn about what’s happening below the water’s surface in the Gulf, then all those rosy prognostications coming from the BP camp are just so much bullshit bent on appealing to the markets and the government board types who do the approving of deep-sea oil leases…
We’ve all heard by now about the dolphins, especially those in Barataria Bay, the sicknesses and the strandings…essentially all the sick and dying dolphins that appear to be suffering from oil toxicity according to a study done by the NOAA…
Okay…well, a new study, this time by scientists at Haverford College have found “compelling evidence” that the BP oil, so wonderfully sunk and kept out of sight by the millions of gallons of toxic Corexit dispersant dumped by the oil company, has seriously impacted deep-sea coral.
“We would not expect deep-water corals to be impacted by a typical oil spill, but the sheer magnitude of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and its release at depth make it very different from a tanker running aground and spilling its contents,” said Helen White, Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Haverford College, “Because of the unprecedented nature of the spill, we have learned that its impacts are more far reaching than those arising from smaller spills that occur on the surface…”
They found the damaged and dying coral 4300 feet below the surface of the water, showing Bob Dudley’s bullshit to be ever reaching…and then, a bit closer to the surface from Houma Today:
“Ever since the oil spill, it seems to me that it’s diminished completely.”
That is one full-time crabber’s view of what has happened the crab catch since the oil spill.
It is a belief that shows up in statewide and local numbers. Statewide, the crab catch in the first seven months of the year has gone from an average of 28 million pounds from 2006-09 to 17.7 million in 2010 as the oil spill was happening to 22.5 million in 2011. This year, anecdotal evidence suggests the picture could be even worse.”
Though no direct link has yet to be found between the depleted catches of not only crab, but white shrimp and brown shrimp, it would seem quite clear that when one pays attention to when this downturn began and asks what changed…one quickly recalls the death of eleven men, the dumping of oil and dispersants and a smiling CEO as BP’s oil profits continue on, and continue climbing…and with so many studies being worked on, completed throughout the Gulf, what have we yet to find out?
What are we not aware of yet? Twenty years later, has Alaska completely recovered from the Valdez?
No, no they haven’t.
And two years later, has BP’s safety record improved?
Simply put, we don’t know the half of what is and what has gone wrong out there in the Gulf as much as those with an agenda love to claim we do…therefore, British Petroleum must continue to be held accountable for their irresponsibility, demonstrated not by their press releases or bullshit public relations advertisements but by their actions of today…and tomorrow…and the day and the month and the year after that. There’s a long way to go…a long way…and whereas BP stopped suffering a long, long time ago, the people who’ve been affected by the oil company’s shortcuts, mistakes and profit mongering are still living with the pain, every day.
We’re closer to the beginning, then the end…and BP shouldn’t forget that, not even for a minute because the people living along the Gulf?
“The findings we have are also consistent with other studies that have looked at the effects of oil exposure in other mammals,” Dr. Lori Schwacke added, citing experimental studies of mink that were dosed with oil. Some of those minks developed adrenal insufficiency.”
In addition, the strandings of dolphins continue…
Though the rate has returned to normal along the Florida coast which was furthest from the spill, the stranding rates continue to be abnormally high along the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
“In Barataria Bay alone, with a population of about 1000 dolphins, 180 strandings have been reported since February 2010. In a normal year about 20 dolphin strandings would be reported in all of Louisiana.”
180 vs. 20…
Whereas I, a laymen, would of course find this story alarming…liver and lung cancer in dolphins? Screwed immune systems? Adrenal insufficiency and nine times as many strandings of dolphins along the state of Louisiana?…Well, I just have to wonder what someone much more involved in all this might think, someone like Bob Dudley. What would he think of all the illnesses being suffered by one of the most beautiful and intelligent animal species the world has to offer?
“Lori Schwacke, the lead scientist for the health assessment, said the findings were preliminary and could not be conclusively linked to the oil spill at this point…”
Mr. Bob released a British Petroleum sustainability report where in its pages, he brags about his company’s new commitment to safety, and also its commitment to it’s responsibilities along the Gulf Coast as a result of their catastraphuk.
You see, what isn’t already fine is just getting better.
So, if anyone beyond the five Gulf Coast states is continuing to pay attention to all this oil spill stuff and/or the activities of British Petroleum in general, please…stop, now. Besides, have you seen gas prices lately? Damn, that Obama sure is a dick…if he let us drill wherever and however we wanted to, gas would only be thirty-five cents a gallon…so you know, we should probably all do what the GOP says we should do, go to war with Iran as soon as possible and remove any remaining restrictions on oil speculators and probably, just for safety’s sake, reduce the capacities of our oil refineries because, again, Obama wants gas prices high, what a dick, and we here at BP are 100% committed to safety and restoring the Gulf Coast, which in turn is almost 100%, right right?
“BP Plc’s (BP/) Atlantis platform, its second-largest oil producer in the Gulf of Mexico, should be shut down until it’s proven to comply with U.S. safety and environmental laws, a whistle-blower’s lawyer told a judge.”
“A fire seriously burned one person and inflicted minor injuries on another Tuesday at BP PLC’s Lingen refinery in northwest Germany, the second blaze in three days at European refineries owned by the U.K. oil major, following a separate incident Sunday at its Castellon facility in Spain. Tuesday’s fire also is the second serious accident at its Lingen facility this year. The troubles have once again thrown the spotlight on BP’s refining safety record, which reached its nadir with a 2005 fire and explosion that killed 15 people and injured more than 170 others at its refinery in Texas City, Texas.”
Yeah…the safety record of BP…really, what else do I need to add, except to put out there, once again, I don’t care how many times Bob Dudley wants to go on and on about his company’s safety record…just saying it does not make it true…but of course, now, let us get back to the Gulf where happy fishermen are singing songs on their way out to the Gulf of Mexico, where the waters literally teem with safe fish to catch, with no evidence of oil, out on the water where a rainbow greets each man, woman or child who drops a cage or a net or casts a rod…while on shore all the seafood processing companies are whirring to life, barely able to handle the quantity of catches being brought to their doors or for that matter, find enough employees to work all the necessary shifts…
“Studies conducted on the effect of the 2010 BP Deepwater explosion in the Gulf of Mexico on the environment have shown that traces of the oil spill were found in the zooplankton, presenting a hazard for the gulf food chain and possibly human health.”
“Henry Poynot, the owner of Big Fisherman Seafood in New Orleans, has been selling seafood for 28 years. Al Jazeera asked him how his business was doing. “2010 was the worst year we’ve had in 15 years,” he said. “Then 2011 was worse than 2010. Some of this was the economy, but most of it is due to BP. BP has taken its toll.”
There is reality and there is Bob Dudley’s world.
In Bob’s world, he runs a safety oriented company committed to the health and well-being of all, a company committed to being responsible corporate citizens and stewards of the world.
Meanwhile, in reality, seafood catches are way down, seafood processors are working with seafood from other coasts in order to stay operational and oil has entered the Gulf Coast food chain, and not just any oil, but Deepwater Horizon oil…Bob’s oil…and BP’s safety record? It sucks. It’s the worst, with three fires in the past few months at their refineries while a whistle-blower has demanded BP shut down one of its largest oil platforms in the Gulf because it is not up to safety regulations…
Not up to safety regulations.
An oil platform of BP’s in the Gulf of Mexico, not up to safety regulations.
Yeah, that’s going to end well…then again, maybe it will. I suppose it just depends on two things…
1. Do you live on or near the Gulf Coast or far away? And 2. Whose world do you live in, Bob Dudley’s or everyone else’s?
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.
“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…”
“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?
“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.
The National Marine Fisheries Service have prepared a number of documents, data about Gulf fisheries and fishers to help the legal types better determine the status of fishing in the Gulf both before and after the spill. Involved lawyers will now be able to read over these documents and answer, for themselves perhaps, a number of questions: the fisheries are okay, or they’re not. The seafood is safe to eat, or it’s not. The water is clear of oil, of toxins, of dispersant residue, or it’s not…or worse yet, maybe the fisheries haven’t been okay for a long time and now they’re just a hell of a lot worse…
Or they’re not.
Good information to have, answers to questions many of us have been waiting for – so the data from the report, it indicates what?
I don’t know.
But what I do know is US Magistrate Judge Sally Shushan has determined this information is not for you, the public to know, not right now, maybe not ever…why? Because you are not a member of the Plaintiff Steering Committee, BP’s legal team or the Justice Department. So even though your tax dollars paid for the study…and even though that study could be a pretty good indicator of the Gulf’s health, and the health of the fish from the Gulf you’re presently eating…
You are on a need to know…
And just like way too much else in this catastraphuk, from the spill’s flow rates to the amount of dead wildlife to a real understanding of Corexit dispersant – it’s health effects and the amount that was used: you don’t need to know…
Did you hear the one about the tremendous success of the GCCF? About how much money it paid out? About all the good it did? About how it barely made a mistake, didn’t low-ball claims, didn’t deny any legitimate claims and was certainly more generous than any court?
Well, I’m sure Ken Feinberg would love to tell you about it, and he soon will…
“I’m going to step back and return to teaching, write a book about BP and compensation and watch with great interest what transpires going forward in New Orleans…this has been a rollercoaster — a very challenging, very successful program…”
Right…a successful program, says you.
George Barisich, president of the United Commercial Fishermen however, had a different take on the experience, “The GCCF sucked…”
Yeah, that’s the short answer.
The long answer is Feinberg didn’t live up to his promises, led a faulty program that upset thousands, paid out easy, quick payments quickly, took forever with longer more complex claims and when it came to interim claims that didn’t require the claimant to waive his or her right or their families right to sue British Petroleum, the process slowed to a crawl and when he did make offers on interim claims, very often he included a final claims offer too, which only added to the pressure for cash strapped claimants to take the larger sum and go away.
Bluntly put: like BP, who appear to believe that by merely claiming (repeatedly) how hard they’ve worked to make things right in the Gulf, that this will somehow make their assertion true, Feinberg seems to think that the GCCF will be seen as a success, simply because he says it has, repeatedly. Well, fine…Ken can speak to success all he likes, but it doesn’t change the opinion of far too many along the Gulf Coast, that when it came to the GCCF, It was not their interests Ken had in mind…nope, no way.
Feinberg, like BP was just one more out of touch entity working the PR for a profit margin, British Petroleum’s eventual profit margin…claimants be damned.
“Brooke Andry is still waiting for a deal, as her business sags, “When the fishing industry bottoms out, the lodging business is gone,” said Andry, who owns the Kingfish Lodges and Venice Palms Lodge. Andry said she filed claims with Feinberg, but has seen no action. “I think Feinberg and his group did a lot of talking and not a lot of action,” Andry said. When she met with Feinberg’s representatives, she was required to bring extensive documentation of her losses, but Feinberg’s team was never prepared. “They’d just put us off and say ‘We’ll see you in another 30 days,'” she said.”
And Brooke Andry is not alone, not by a long shot.
No, this program has not been a success.
Good Lord, for another example of Feinberg’s departure from Gulf reality, just look no further than his handling of health claims:
Originally, Feinberg denied anyone had made health claims, then it turned out 200 claims had been made but the GCCF denied every one of them. In the compensation funds Feinberg ran in regard to Agent Orange or 9-11, when it came to health claims all one had to do was show symptoms and proximity, but when it came to the GCCF, suddenly Ken wanted proof of causality to even consider the claim. So you combine this rigid causality factor with 200 reported denials of claimants who tried, and I wonder how many people, sick people, didn’t even bother to file. Yet now, with the settlement, BP…the company Feinberg was going to be more willing, more flexible and more generous than, British Petroleum has included a component to pay health claims and yes, causality is still being required, the parameters of which have not yet been revealed, but at the same time there is now a process, a willingness and at least the promise of an openness in helping address the health of the Gulf Coast, especially for first responders and cleanup workers.
This uncapped portion of the health settlement includes compensation for specified physical complaints, medical consultations for the next twenty-one years, the address of later manifested conditions and also funding for a Gulf Coast Region Health Outreach Program.
This all, coming from British Petroleum…not the overly generous, overly successful, overly trumpeting Ken Feinberg.
No, Ken just denied the claims…
Take the example of the Maurer household, also in Boothville:
Nicole Maurer said she’d developed cysts on her body since the leak, while her fisherman husband has suffered bleeding from his ear and nose since he did cleanup work. They also believe their daughter’s asthma has gotten worse, “I’m so tired of being sick,” she said.
The health problems are still being studied…and the span of time BP is willing to take into consideration is encouraging because the studies being done, for example, by the National Institute of Health, are all in their early stages…yet Feinberg and his “successful” program merely seemed to ask: what health problems?
Yeah…not that BP is the final coming of the white knight in all this…
I mean, I can’t be the only person who wonders if Feinberg’s role in the GCCF was essentially to get as many claimants out of the way, and as cheaply as possible, thus paving the way for BP to then settle with those plaintiffs who told Ken to “piss off,” all still without having to go outside of the $20 billion dollar escrow fund.
Wink, wink…nudge, nudge…
Maybe Feinberg can write about that in his book…it would certainly be more interesting than what will probably be a masturbatory tome of self congratulation.
Better yet, Feinberg can perhaps do some reflection, and write the book he needs to write:
The settlement between British Petroleum and the Plaintiff Steering Committee has been reported to be $7.8 billion dollars, and also without a cap. This means that when all is said and done, if the settlement amount exceeds this monetary figure, well…so be it as British Petroleum has maintained the $7.8 billion dollar amount is only an estimate…could be more, could be less.
Either way, consider the plaintiffs paid.
So yeah, I guess that sounds pretty good and hey, at least more of the people who’ve been waiting all this time while their lives were torn asunder, at least now they will finally…wait, what?
The settlement is different for those with seafood claims? What do you mean, it’s different?
From David Hammer’s article in the Times Picayune:
“In the BP oil spill case, a key component of the proposed class-action settlement between private plaintiffs and BP is a $2.3 billion set-aside for seafood claims, the only part of the settlement that’s capped. That’s what BP is willing to pay to compensate commercial fishing vessel owners, captains and deckhands, as well as oyster leaseholders and harvesters.”
So there is a cap for part of this settlement, and it’s geared specifically for those making seafood claims…Okay, well now, $2.3 billion dollars is still a lot of money. The actual amounts paid to the plaintiffs couldn’t possibly exceed this amount, could they?
After the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska, it wasn’t until four years later the herring fishery collapsed, ruining the livelihoods of so many for years, not to mention the damage to the ecosystem.
But we’ve all heard the reports of the differences here…couldn’t possibly happen in the Gulf. The BP scientists were all over this and the Gulf is so much bigger, and the water is warmer and that makes all the difference, yes?
Perhaps…perhaps in the Gulf, it won’t take four years.
It may only take two…
From Stuart Smith’s blog –
The docks and marinas in hard-nosed fishing communities like Pointe-aux-Chenes and Venice, Louisiana, should be bustling this time of year, but today they are eerily quiet and undisturbed, like a world frozen in perpetual limbo – waiting, hoping, praying for the Gulf’s once-bountiful (even legendary) fisheries to produce again. Current reports from up and down the coast indicate the situation is dire indeed.
The oysters have been wiped out. The harvest for 2010 was the worst in more than four decades. And there’s been little improvement since then as oystermen continue to report catches down as much as 75 percent, from Yscloskey to Grand Isle. Some estimates put this year’s harvest at roughly 35 percent of the normal yield – and that’s if we’re lucky. Crab catches are in steep decline. Brown shrimp production is down two-thirds. And the white shrimp season was even worse, leading to descriptions of “worst in memory” and “nonexistent.”
Also, from an article by Dahr Jamail –
“I was at a BP coastal restoration meeting yesterday and they tried to tell us they searched 6,000 square miles of the seafloor and found no oil, thanks to Mother Nature,” Tuan Dang, a shrimper, told Al Jazeera while standing on a dock full of shrimp boats that would normally be out shrimping this time of year. Dang’s fishing experience has been bleak. “Normally I can get 8,000 pounds of brown shrimp in four days,” he explained. “But this year, I only get 800 pounds in a week. There are hardly any shrimp out there.”
When he tried to catch white shrimp, he said he “caught almost nothing”. He is suing BP for loss of income, but does not have much hope, despite recent news of an initial settlement worth more than $7bn. “We’d love to see them clean this up so we can get our lives back, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon.”
Song Vu, a shrimp boat captain for 20 years, has not tried to shrimp for weeks, and is simply hoping that there will be shrimp to catch next season. His experience during his last shrimping attempts left him depressed. “The shrimp are all dead,” he told Al Jazeera. “Everything is dead.”
And experts estimate it could be years before things get back to normal.
That’s years of running up against this cap in the settlement the Plaintiff Steering Committee has agreed to with BP.
That’s years of potential catastrophe with no recourse.
Years, all while British Petroleum continues to make billions of dollars in profit while the Gulf continues to suffer, all as a result of British Petroleum’s actions…and let’s not forget that along with this cap, the settlement also negates punitive damages, and this is not a coincidence, not at all. This is a hasty agreement that leaves thousands in the lurch for what could very well be the collapse of the Gulf’s fisheries…
“From the beginning, BP stepped up to meet our obligations to the communities in the Gulf Coast region, and we’ve worked hard to deliver on that commitment for nearly two years,” said Bob Dudley, BP’s CEO, in a statement issued Friday night. “The proposed settlement represents significant progress toward resolving issues from the Deepwater Horizon accident and contributing further to economic and environmental restoration efforts along the Gulf Coast.”
And collectively, four states threw up their hands in cheers.
Thank you’s, in unison, were heard echoing throughout Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida…and if one were to sit down by the Mississippi river, become very still, very quiet…right at dusk, that pristine moment where all is a finer shade of grey, not quite daytime and not yet the night, one could focus, listening, and maybe even hear a single brown pelican gliding above the silent, always flowing river as it opens its beak and calls: “Fuck you! Fuck you!”
And that would be right about the time I stood up from those steps heading down to said river, off the Moonwalk near Jackson Square, where I take another strong sip from the strong vodka-tonic I got walking from Flanagan’s Pub and say out loud, to nobody in particlar, “Jesus Christ, I don’t care how many times you BP guys in all your varying titles go on and on about how you are meeting your responsibilities to the Gulf…just cause you say it, and say it all the fucking time, this don’t make it true…”
So, did you hear the one about the fair and equitable settlement yet?
I’m sure you have, but if you haven’t, I’m sure Bob Dudley and any number of “Official BP Spokesperson”(s) would love to tell you all about it. They’d love you to believe quotes like Bob’s above too…but really, what they would love more than anything else is for you all, you know, to go away and let them get back to their business of record profits and record safety violations…after all, taking risks to make profit is what British petroleum does best…so…settled…settlement…everybody’s wealthy now…everybody’s happy…right right?
$7.8 billion dollars to individual claimants in the lawsuit…settled, we’re all good…right right?
Buy our stock and give us more drilling rights…yes?
Um…not so fast, Bob.
Sure, $7.8 billion dollars seems like a lot of money and all, like one big mea culpa, except that this money is coming from that $20 billion dollar escrow fund you already pledged over a year and a half ago, and as mentioned in this good Propublica article there be a number of problems with this, or at least some questions that need answering, such as:
The lawsuits were filed in Carl Barbier’s court mostly by people who felt they weren’t getting enough money from Feinberg’s GCCF, and now that the settlement will be paid from this same fund, which has only a little more than half left in it, how much are the plaintiffs going to receive, and what happens if that fund runs dry, $7.8 billion dollar estimate or not?
And for that mater, what happens to the people who were still working on claims with Feinberg?
And, tell me again, Bob, how is it fucking fair that people who sued because they were dissatisfied with this fund now wind up back in it, only this time with lawyers getting a percentage…and as for the new overseers of the disbursements, the one’s who are promising a new level of generosity…hmm, where did we hear that before?
Oh that’s right, Feinberg once said that when he took over the disbursements from BP, right before he pissed off everybody with all his “generous” offers.
Oh, and those lawyers from the PSC…
How influenced were they to settle with Bob and BP because of the big fat fees they were looking at? Really Bob? The PSC never took that into consideration their fees at all? You sure? The PSC was only serving the interests of their clients you say…uh-huh and the other attorney, Ken Feinberg was only being neutral…right? But hey, I’m sure these are all details…just more shit for lawyers to work out amongst themselves, locked in a room while the plaintiffs stand around outside wondering from which way they’re going to get screwed this time.
“I was stunned that there is no provision, as expected, for a punishment fee to by paid by BP for it’s willful negligence. In the Exxon Valdez trial, a jury awarded us $5 billion in punitives – and BP’s action, and the damage caused in the Gulf, is far, far worse. BP now has to pay no more than proven damages. It’s like telling a bank robber, “Hey, just put back the money in the vault and all’s forgiven.”
And what else did BP do, or didn’t do that very well could have entitled plaintiffs to punitive damages?
BP didn’t have emergency oil spill containment equipment at the ready as they so promised, in writing and under oath. And as a condition of drilling the Macondo Well, they were to have any oil from a blowout contained within five hours, but it took them five days just to get equipment in place. BP also mixed nitrogen into the cement which capped the well, something already proven to fail and yes, this saved them money, but it also contributed to the deaths of eleven men and this entire catastraphuk…
But hey! No punitive damages, because the Plaintiff Steering Committee settled with British Petroleum…and just like BP, the PSC only had the Gulf Coast’s interests in mind.
And now that we’re all settled, we should just go away now…go watch American Glee X Factor, starring the Voice…right right?
Hmm, but you know what else is details…
Tar balls are still coming into shore. Dolphins are still dying. Experts say we won’t know the extent of the damages for years to come.
And, as a result of this settlement, British Petroleum stocks rose three percent and it’s predicted to quickly rise another five percent more and with all this new profit, I just gotta ask, how much more money did that just make Tony Hayward? Or you, Bob…how much more money did that just make for you?
Was it more than some of the plaintiffs got?
Was it as much as the attorney fees the members of the Plaintiff Steering Committee are going to see as a result of this settlement?
Well…as you said Bob, from the beginning, BP has done all they can to step on up and meet your obligations. Yeah, but your obligations to who?
Answer me that…
Bob, you can go ahead and repeat your mantra about all the good you’ve done in the Gulf, ever since you did all that bad…go ahead, repeat it until there’s no one left to listen…fine. Knock yourself out. I’ll still be down by the river listening for the pelicans, listening to what they have to say and nodding my head in agreement: Fuck you.