Feds, Coast Guard, join BP to prove they’ve learned very little…

This was very unlikely to not have happened, or not ever happen again...maybe...

In two developments this past week, British Petroleum officially welcomed the Coast Guard and the Federal Government to their party that history forgot. Behind the ivy covered walls, steel doors and security guards of BP headquarters, Bob Dudley toasted Coast Guard Captain, Julia Heim and BOEMRE head, Michael Bromwich, celebrating a rousing relapse of maritime irresponsibility and forgetfulness. Toast completed, Bob turned on the tequila fountain, shaped like a deepwater oil rig, and they all took an extra shot for luck…

Whereupon a few Gulf Coast journalists decided to go and wreck the party by writing a few editorials to ask Julia and Michael…um, what the hell, remember the whole oil spill, corporate irresponsibility thing?

Julia and Michael, you remember all that, right?

Well, apparently Julia, the Coast Guard Captain, doesn’t remember shit because while the Coast Guard signed an agreement with BP, transitioning the clean-up portion of the response towards one of coastal recovery, she seemed to forget a few very important details. Not only does the agreement allow BP to pretty much weasel their way out of any more clean-up and its accompanying costs, she forgot to specify any long-term monitoring of the Gulf Coast. Captain Hein also left out any part where BP continues to pay for aerial monitoring of the Macondo well site.

Yeah, bang-up job, Ms. Hein.

So, all this means that if/when oil comes into the Louisiana wetlands and marshes it will now be up to the public to discover and report it. Then, the state will have to prove it is actually BP oil, which as the oil degrades will become increasingly impossible to do, which in turn will leave the state on the line to pay for the clean-up. When Tropical Storm Lee hit on Labor Day and dumped tar mats, tar balls and other assorted tar products…BP’s clean-up was very slow and when the next storm hits, it will be even slower, or not come at all…thanks to the Coast Guard and their bullshit agreement. Not to mention all those oil slicks they kept discovering this fall by the Macondo Well. Remember? BP and the Coast Guard denied the slicks even existed, until they were photographed by a non-profit group. Then they denied the slicks were in the vicinity of the Macondo site, until it was shown they were, and finally, they then denied the oil actually came from the Macondo well until journalists had tests run, proving them wrong for a third time.

Now, any more monitoring is on the state dime.

Garret Graves, chairman of the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority said of the Coast Guard’s relationship with BP, it’s “like they’re a victim of Stockholm Syndrome,” referring to a phenomenon in which hostages become sympathetic to their captors, but I disagree. The Coast Guard never seemed like a hostage at all, more of  a willing participant or co-conspirator in this agreement, one which Louisiana representatives refused to sign, a fact Julia and the Coast Guard simply ignored, going ahead with the agreement regardless. No, that ain’t a hostage, that’s someone with an open invite to party with Bob.

Which brings us to the other party guest, Mr. Michael Bromwich…

This individual currently runs what was formerly the MMS, that lovely regulatory agency that was doing blow and hookers with the oil company reps they were supposed to be monitoring. No wonder the Deepwater Horizon blew up, hard to see a design flaw in the specs when the design prints are on a table covered with empty beer cans. Now, as we all know, the MMS is the BOEMRE, a much more catchy acronym that stands for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, and with this new moniker came a brand new seriousness about safety, or so we’ve all been told, but then they go and release to the public a draft called the “Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement.” The point of the BOEMRE’S OCSOGPEIS is to analyze and weigh the “environmental implications of continued drilling in federal waters between 2012 and 2017,” also, “the economic analysis associated with the new impact statement projects the potential for future spills and the damage they might cause based on all “spills from 1964-2010 excluding the catastrophic Deepwater Horizon (DWH) event.””

Wait, what?

So, when this agency estimated environmental impacts and possibilities of a spill by analyzing data from the past, they decided to leave out the economic and environmental impacts of the biggest oil spill in United States history?

Why, because it screwed up the curve?

Believe it or not…that’s precisely why. From the report and accompanying article, “If a more recent period is chosen (1990-2009)” for the risk analysis. For instance, using only the 19 years prior to the BP spill in the environmental analysis, the report concludes, this would further “decrease the anticipated environmental costs” of continued drilling.”

You see, if we just kind of leave out the whole millions of barrels spilled, millions of gallons of Corexit dispersant dumped, eleven people dead thing from last summer, well then, deepwater drilling not only looks more economically beneficial but damnit, wouldn’t you know it is environmentally sound, too? Really, no fooling.

Course another take on it could be: “By omitting the nation’s largest environmental disaster from its calculation of the environmental costs of drilling, BOEMRE continues to bury its head in the sand and pretend that the Deepwater Horizon accident never happened,” Catherine Wannamaker, with the Southern Environmental Law Center, said in an emailed statement. Wannamaker said that even low-probability events such as the Deepwater Horizon blowout must be included when looking at the economic and environmental costs of offshore drilling, “BOEMRE tries to move forward without truly accounting for these risks and costs,” Wannamaker said. “This is not a responsible course of action for a supposedly reformed agency.”

How much you wanna bet Ms. Wannamaker never gets invited to any of Bob’s parties.

Well, she wouldn’t be the only one because it sure seems these get togethers are not meant for you and I, especially if we have a vested interest in not only ensuring BOEMRE fulfills its responsibilities by monitoring the oil companies and all of these wells, but also that British Petroleum is not allowed to walk away from their responsibilities in the Gulf as they seem hell-bent on doing, with the complicity of BOEMRE, the Coast Guard and the Obama Administration.

Remember back when the oil spill first happened? Congress was truly up in arms and they promised to regulate this, enforce that, do whatever they had to do to ensure a preventable tragedy such as the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon could never happen again…so they declared, promised, wrote out in blood, but when push came to shove, Congress passed nothing. Well, the Coast Guard’s bullshit agreement and BOEMRES skewed numbers are just more of this same pattern. Both agencies like to talk about the unlikelihood of such catastrophic events. Yeah, that’s great and all, this ongoing unlikelihood…but it sure as hell don’t keep the coast safe and it didn’t keep those eleven men on the Deepwater Horizon alive.

What the Gulf Coast and this entire country needs, right now, is for the government to finally step up and proceed with true regulation and actual enforcement of industry, because if there’s one thing we know, they sure as hell aren’t going to do it themselves.

Have a nice day.

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“It’s like you’re in bed with BP.”

Don't worry about it, they've almost got a plan...

Approaching nine months after the Deepwater Horizon exploded, spilling 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, sensitive marshes off the coast of Louisiana are still covered with oil. Friday, state and local representatives took the media on a tour of Barataria Bay, showing an area where the oil continues to destroy the marshes and also where protective boom is gone or has been eaten away by the oil to the point of being useless.

While Billy Nungesser, president of Plaquemines Parish gave a press conference to highlight the continued destruction of Louisiana’s protective wetlands, he was interrupted by Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Dan Lauer who said, “Clearly there is oil here in the marsh but we are working as a team to find a best way to clean it up…it’s a high priority.”

“It’s like you’re in bed with BP,” Nungesser replied.

Interesting…

The Coast Guard is working on a plan.

Almost 9 months later.

When asked, Lauer gave few details as to what this plan entailed. They also couldn’t explain why there are no protective measures in the marsh to keep things from getting any worse. Lauer did however emphasize that “No one has ever said, it’s over, we’re going home.”

Ah…I see, but what does BP say?

British Petroleum spokesman Daren Beaudo said in an e-mail that with the exception of the occasional tar ball, there is no evidence of significant amounts of oil from the blown out well reaching the Louisiana shoreline since the end of August.

Ah…I see, perhaps he should tell that to the residents of Grand Isle, Louisiana, where some company’s oil is continuing to wash ashore…

From the Times-Picayune: BP has scaled back its cleanup efforts from 48,000 workers during the summer to 6,000 now. That has prompted some local officials to complain in recent weeks that the work has slowed down on the heels of the 2011 tourism season. Earlier this week, Jefferson Parish Councilman Chris Roberts also complained that clean up on the beaches of Grand Isle was at “neutral.”

Elsewhere along the Gulf Coast, tar balls are washing up in Perdido Key, Florida, on Gulf Shores, Alabama, and the shores of Mississippi. The oil is still coming ashore in four Gulf Coast states, but as we found out yesterday, the NOAA and the Coast Guard are working on a plan, all while BP denies and cuts down the amount of cleanup workers.

“This is the biggest cover-up in the history of America,” Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser told reporters, gesturing with his gloved right hand, which was covered in oil.

Agreed.

Have a nice day.

“Breathtakingly Inept” BP leaves oil on the seafloor

"And to Mr. Reilly, I'd just like to say, I couldn't disagree more with your conclusions...We here at BP get inept, okay, but breathtakingly? Maybe stupendously, or famously, or spectacularly sure...but certainly not breathtakingly."

Bill Reilly, co-chair of the Presidential Commission to investigate the oil spill, released prepared remarks to be given at an oil and gas conference conference in New Orleans writing “There is virtual consensus among all the sophisticated observers of this debacle that three of the leading players in the industry made a series of missteps, miscalculations and miscommunications that were breathtakingly inept and largely preventable.”

Oh yes he did…and he went on:

“There is also no question…that certain companies were well known within the industry to be laggards when it came to a safety culture. Yet the industry stood by and let disaster happen.”

Mr. Dudley? CEO of BP Bob? Your ears ringing yet?

No?

Okay, how about this:

New findings from scientists at the University of South Florida and from a broad government effort have confirmed that not only is there a layer of oil on several spots of the Gulf’s seafloor spreading out over thousands of miles, but that oil is British Petroleum’s oil…not Chevron’s Mr. Dudley, not Shell, not washed off suntan oil, but your oil.

And in these spots, all the worms and other creatures that crawl across the seafloor…yeah, they’re all dead, killed by your oil and whereas nobody can go on record as to the extent of damage this might cause for years to come yet, still speaking in your preferred language of legalese, common sense would strongly indicate that if you destroy the lowest level of the food chain, the results are going to be bad, very bad. Even worse, this would appear to be a direct result of BP, with the government and the Coast Guard’s permission, using Corexit dispersants. As you know Bob, oil typically rises to the surface, but when you (admit to) using over 1.8 million gallons of toxic, chemical dispersants? That dispersed oil, it sinks.

All over the sea floor.

In other words, this whole mess is far from over, this mess is just beginning and discoveries of new damage, Bob, will be the gift you’ve left to the Gulf Coast, the gift that keeps on giving for decades to come, all while you spend the next decades trying to pay as little as possible to all parties concerned.

Maybe you meant, “Making you right?”

In any case, you might want to give Mr. Reilly a call, he appears to have gone off script, especially when he warned you and your ilk by saying, “If this should happen again…the public and governmental response will be disproportionately severe,” Reilly said. “Because the American people are not going to forget the Deepwater Horizon.”

Here’s hoping.

Have a nice day.

Admit Me To The Ward Now, Please…

a nap...it's only a nap...only a...ALGAE!

Yes, doctor, I got a story to tell and I need to tell it now.

I’m serious, this is serious…this is very, very serious, so serious I don’t know how to stress the seriousness of it except to say, I’m serious, and yes, I need to talk to you alone. I’ll only talk to you.

Just you, and I’m serious…

You.

No, lock the door, I don’t want to be interrupted…okay…yes.

Okay…okay…yes. I’m ready, okay.

Here goes: I think the Coast Guard is trying to drive me insane, seriously.

Okay, just stay with me for a moment doc. I have my reasons and again, no interruptions. Okay, ready…okay. The Coast Guard, never thought much about the Coast Guard at all until April 20th and now I think about them all the time and no, I don’t want to rehash all events here, no. I just want to mention that hey, remember when that second oil well blew in the Gulf, back in like August? Remember the initial press reports, the ones that said there was the big oil slick coming out of it and everyone went oh, great, here we go again, now we got two blown up oil wells to deal with? Then the Coast Guard rushed on out and they said no, no, no, never you fear…it was all a mistake and everybody like breathed a sigh of relief and said oh, okay, good, great….wow, I don’t think I could have taken another one. Yeah, you remember that? You do? Okay, okay, good…what?

No, I know doc, I didn’t really think much of it at the time either. I mean, Thad Allen was making me immune to Coast Guard fuck-ups…oh, okay, okay, sorry…mistakes. Right. I figured it was just the Coast Guard, you know, being the Coast Guard…but now, now…algae.

Algae.

Not oil, algae.

The Coast Guard, those rotten fu…gentlemen, they’re starting to make me believe in conspiracy theories.

They are!

I know!

I don’t like it either!

Remember yesterday, when all those press reports came out about all the oil they found in West Bay…yeah, right, 400 feet wide, miles long, pictures of it and everything. No, not oil…no, not today…today it’s algae.

I know!

It is a relief, especially with all the migratory bird soon arriving, landing in the area right where the oil, right where the algae is drifting towards, but you know what doc? I’m worried. I’m wondering if the Coast Guard is lying. No, I don’t want to think that either. Really, I don’t and this may sound crazy, but follow me…so the Coast Guard says it’s not oil, it’s algae, right, but then they say they are going to send some of it away for testing. I’ve seen algae blooms before and they don’t look like oil slicks and I don’t care if the oil is weathered or not, and you know what the boat captain said? The one that reported the oil in the first place?

This:

“I’ve never seen algae that looked orange, that was sticky, smelled like oil and that stuck to the boat and had to be cleaned off with solvent,” said one captain, who like the others wished to remain anonymous for fear of losing their BP contracts. “I’ll wait for the lab reports. In fact, we’re also sending some samples off.”

No wait Doc, there’s more.

The boat captains said they have been telling the Coast Guard about the oil for a week, right?

Okay, so yesterday, the Coast Guard said they sent someone out on Friday to take a closer look at the possible oil slick, but wouldn’t have comment until Saturday, yeah the Coast Guard guy said they had never heard of it before, that the only report they had of oil from the area of West Bay was “a 10-by-10 area of foam and oil called into the Houma office by a shrimper.” Okay, but then today the Coast Guard said they have known about these reports all along, and actually been investigating it since mid-week. He said the reason he made his mistake on Friday is they have poor communication at the Coast Guard and there was more than one shooter on the grassy knoll.

What?

No, never mind that right now.

So, all the Coast Guard guys communicated now, and they talked about it for a few days and they decided it was algae after all and the boat captains who have been boating around in the stuff, well, they’re all just stupid and they want the Gulf to be messed up forever because they don’t want to work anymore and would just rather get huge checks from BP and drink Dixie beer until their livers explode.

What?

Well, that’s what I heard.

Who? Someone at the NOAA. What, why else would the residents of the Gulf Coast constantly report sightings, constantly question the safety, pay their own money to run their own tests, why else…unless it was…

I know!

Conspiracy!

It’s like fake oil slicks off the second exploding well, now you see it, now you don’t.

Now you see it, okay, you did see it but now it’s a plant.

That’s why I’m here…oh, but I almost forgot, no wait, sit back down..no, seriously, there’s more. Yeah, so then I’m reading this other AP article where the Coast Guard guy who said that though that spot was algae, there’s another spot about ten miles away that could be oil and they’re gonna take samples and test that one too. His name? Jeff Hall, yeah, so they’re sampling both spots. One place is huge and they say is just algae and the other is small and they say might be oil. Boat Captains know about the huge one, but don’t know about the little one. So doc, what happens if the Coast Guard mixes up the two test samples and it happens to prove their theory and also prove that all Boat Captains don’t know anything about water and oil, and even worse, what if the labs the Coast Guard sent their samples to are run by the NOAA? Those guys couldn’t find cooking oil at a McDonald’s. What happens if the Coast Guard samples and the boat captain samples say two different things?

It’ll be conspiracy!

I know!

That’s why I’m in here.

I know! Seriously!

Okay…nap, yes…nap…wake me up for the Saints game, yeah?

Good, thank you, yeah Cleveland sucks…The only thing good about Cleveland turned into an asshole and moved to Miami.

What?

I know!

There ain’t nothing good about Florida…

Read the articles:

Massive stretches of weathered oil spotted in Gulf of Mexico

Coast Guard says substance found floating in Gulf is algae, not oil

Have a nice day:

Well okay then Jane, if you say so…

Jane says... Have you seen my wig around? I feel naked without it...

The NOAA reopens 7,000 more square miles for fishing in the Gulf:

Expert trained sensory analysts for NOAA sampled 155 samples of finfish from the area, and the agency sent 156 fish samples done in 22 separate composite tests for analysis in NOAA’s labs. The smell testing indicated no oil or dispersant taint, and the chemical analysis found that no levels of hydrocarbons anywhere near the level of concern for humans.

Sounds pretty good…except:

Just three days after the U.S. Coast Guard admiral in charge of the BP oil spill cleanup declared little recoverable surface oil remained in the Gulf of Mexico, Louisiana fishers Friday found miles-long strings of weathered oil floating toward fragile marshes on the Mississippi River Delta. The discovery…gave ammunition to groups that have insisted the government has overstated clean-up progress, and could force reclosure of key fishing areas only recently reopened… Boat captains working the BP clean-up effort said they have been reporting large areas of surface oil off the delta for more than a week but have seen little response from BP or the Coast Guard, which is in charge of the clean-up…

And then one of the more disturbing lines of the article, something that has been echoed in the press for months:

The captains did not want to be named for fear of losing their clean-up jobs with BP.

I’m thinking that if my bosses came to me, and told me that all of my clients had to show marked improvement or I’d be fired, and if a quick survey of my community showed a complete absence of social work positions, and if I had no other way to earn a living, well…guess what? My clients might improve as quickly as the water in the Gulf of Mexico. Their mental health symptoms might possibly disappear as quickly as the oil.

In my not so scientific estimation, despite these reports being about two different, but adjacent fishing areas, if boat captains are afraid to tell the truth, if findings by independent scientists vary widely from the NOAA’s labs, how are we supposed to trust anybody? In the reopened areas, why are we supposed to assume we are getting the complete story, especially when nobody in the NOAA talks about long term exposure, ever?

And we are supposed to take it on faith why, because Jane says so? Because she has been so willing to release data and procedural information for analysis by others?

This rough climate of misinformation and agenda begs two pointed questions:

Is their any truth in the Gulf of Mexico or is their simply fear? And to Jane Lubchenco of the NOAA – if things are as safe in the Gulf as you claim, will you commit to feeding your family seafood from the Gulf of Mexico four times per week for the next year?

Check out the articles, both from the Times Picayune:

Massive stretches of weathered oil spotted in Gulf of Mexico

NOAA reopens 7,000 more square miles for fishing in the Gulf

Have a nice day.