Economy versus environment…the oil spill fine…

Frack you...

I know I’m cynical, I get it…I admit it, but when you spend any time reading the science and the journals and watching the documentaries about climate change, fracking, even peak oil…hope ceases to really be your specialty…

It’s more two parts grim reality, one part enjoy the party while you can.

Anyways, this might explain why, when it comes to the money, the between 5.4 and 21 billion British Petroleum will have to pay to the Gulf Coast, my cynicism rears its ugly head and my doubts on much of this being used for wetlands restoration, essentially the rebuilding of Southern Louisiana become quite apparent.

I foresee businesses getting bolstered, especially out-of-state businesses being paid to rebuild parts of the Gulf Coast, focused on political pet projects that will siphon off dollar after dollar until there’s little left for the land and the people hardest hit by the spill, leaving them to get fucked even worse by the congressional negotiations than they did by BP and the GCCF…

The big picture will remain just that, a picture, a nice idea…quaint, and largely forgotten while Trent Lott gets his mansion rebuilt, or BP somehow schemes upgrades on their oil rigs from its own damned fine money.

From the article:

“A bill from Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., would require that 60 percent of the Gulf’s portion of the fine money be spent only on environmental restoration. Landrieu’s bill has garnered no cosponsors outside of Louisiana.

Last month, Bonner filed his own bill to redirect most of the fine money to the Gulf, with no such restrictions on whether it is spent on environmental or economic restoration. His proposal attracted more than a dozen lawmakers from Alabama, Florida, Mississippi and Texas as cosponsors — but none from Louisiana.”

Yeah, something like that…but on the bright side, Florida Governor Rick Scott will probably just turn down any money due his state because he’ll figure it came from Obama, or because he don’t need no stinking bailout money and also of course, because he’s an idiot…so, more for everybody else.

Read the article:

Jo Bonner: Gulf of Mexico oil spill fine agreement likely months away

Have a nice day.

Bob Dudley…what are we playing for?

"You bet your life? Hell yeah, I play that game every day baby...not with my life, of course..."

British Petroleum’s CEO, Bob Dudley has provided estimates to the business world and more importantly, to its investors that BP’s share of costs associated with the Deepwater Horizon will not exceed $40 billion dollars when all is said and done. Still trying to reassure his company’s investors, Dudley has even indicated that dividend payments will resume again in the new year.

Course, there is a lot riding on those statements and actually, it is somewhat of a gamble.

In order to meet these two goals, the estimate’s accuracy and the dividend payments, it is becoming increasingly important that BP not be found guilty of gross negligence which would quadruple the per barrel fine, and the recent uplift in BP’s stock prices assisted by these announced goals? Yeah, those stocks would again fall.

So keeping this in mind, there is ample reason for BP to keep pointing fingers at Transocean and Halliburton, according to David Prosser, business writer for the Independent:

“It is important that BP does not have to shoulder the full responsibility for the spill when Mr Reilly (Oil spill commission co-chair) makes his final report to President Obama in the New Year. And not just because sharing the blame might leave BP feeling just a little less uncomfortable. What is more important is that if Mr Reilly finds the British company only jointly culpable for what happened, he is much less likely to say it was guilty of gross negligence.”

Ah, business strategy…well, If there is one thing we all seem to continue learning about British Petroleum, it is just how strategic they are about trying to save money and cut costs, and this would seem to be more important to them than human lives, taking responsibility for their actions or doing what someone of sound conscience would consider to be the right thing, the moral thing.

From the Oil Spill Commission’s document that shows BP’s risky decisions on the Deepwater Horizon to their use of toxic chemical dispersants to drive the oil from sight, from the hiring of Ken Feinberg as arbitrator of the escrow fund to the stipulation that the fund money not paid out be given back to the company, from BP’s new insistence that the government’s estimate of spilled barrels could be off by as much as 50% to their refusal to give Gulf Coast charities further funding in helping residents make rent payments, pay utilities or put food on their tables: all strategy, all cost cutting, all serving British Petroleum’s interests.

BP appears to have never really been about making things right; their actions seem to indicate they are only about making things right enough. So it would seem in very poor taste for Bob to make this gamble, to make his suggestions and estimates, especially when these rosy scenarios appear to be based on BP’s attorneys finding a way for the company to shirk their moral responsibilities to the Gulf, again.

Senator Mary Landrieu and other lawmakers are trying to pass legislation that would direct 80% of the fine levied against BP towards the Gulf Coast and its repair, so when BP is doing all that they can to drastically cut into that money amount by lowballing the government’s oil estimates and avoiding a decision of gross negligence this is more than big business just being big business and trying to protect their own.

This is another example of a company’s failure to live up to the slogans of their public relations TV commercials.

This is a gamble at the expense of the Gulf Coast.

And though it may be legal, this is wrong.

Have a nice day.

Facing the Future as a Media Felon on the Gulf Coast, by Georgianne Nienaber – In its Entirety

Facing the Future as a Media Felon on the Gulf Coast

by Georgianne Nienaber posted on Tuesday, 6 July 2010 One Comment

She removed her copywrite so this could be broadcast far and wide…so here it is, in its entirety as written and photographed by Georgianne Nienaber and Jerry Moran…Heroes are made, not born…First printed in La Progressive. Please read – nothing more for me to say…
2010 07 03 felon1 e1278169865340 Facing the Future as a Media Felon on the Gulf Coast

Is this photo worthy of a felony conviction?

The United States Coast Guard considers me a felon now, because I “willfully” want to obtain more photos like these to show you the utter devastation occurring in Barataria Bay, Louisiana, as a result of the BP oil catastrophe. If the Coast Guard has its way, all media, not just independent writers and photographers like myself and Jerry Moran, will be fined $40,000 and receive Class D felony convictions for providing the truth about oiled birds and dolphins, in addition to broken, filthy, unmanned boom material that is trapping oil in the marshlands and estuaries. We don’t have $40,000 to spare, and have had to scrape the bottoms of our checkbooks as is to hire boats to take us to the devastation the Coast Guard, under the direction of BP, does not want you to see.

2010 07 03 felon6 e1278169929954 Facing the Future as a Media Felon on the Gulf Coast

Absorbent boom reality

Here is what PB wants you to believe–kayakers enjoying a peaceful paddle in pristine waters. Does the new boom law apply to them, as well? If so, it is time for BP to redo its public relations photography, unveiled at a community meeting in Houma, or we will have a ton of kayakers as well as journalists clogging Louisiana courts and prisons.

One to five years in prison is a definite possibility for “willful violation” of the latest Coast Guard directive that flies in the face of the First Amendment. And, I guarantee you that writers and photographers will continue to try our best to use cameras and words to explain to those who have not been there exactly what is happening on our Gulf Shores. If we don’t continue to try, Americans will no longer see the images and read the words that have been a voice for the voiceless fishermen and women, coastal residents of the Delta, and the battered wildlife.

2010 07 03 felon9 e1278169996160 Facing the Future as a Media Felon on the Gulf Coast

What BP and Coast Guard does not want you to see

Working and reporting from American Gulf Coast is starting to remind me of working in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, where photos and recordings must be hidden on secreted flash drives at border crossings, and where interrogation by drunken border patrols certainly follows if one does not provide a proper “explanation” for visits to certain regions. In 2007, I was accused of being a “spy” and held by the secret police in Goma, DRC, for having video of illicit “conservation” activities. Now the same sick feelings of fear, anger, and helplessness is stalking my mind as I try to plan for the next round in south Louisiana. Never in my lifetime could I imagine that a foreign company could dictate my ability to move freely and openly in American territorial waters.

Already we have been challenged by the private security firm, Talon, on the oiled beaches of Grand Isle, and hassled by the Coast Guard and Louisiana Wildlife officials for not wearing flotation devices when it was not necessary. The law was on our side then, now the “law” is being used to limit free speech.

2010 07 03 felon4 e1278170055838 Facing the Future as a Media Felon on the Gulf Coast

God forbid you should see this

What’s next? Will media be totally shut down? Will we face assassinations like journalists do in Rwanda? I realize assassination is over-the-top, but when it crosses your mind, even for a moment, you know something is terribly wrong.

On June 30 there was an uptick in press releases flowing from “Unified Command.” The notice of the Coast Guard felony directive was buried along with EPA test results on Corexit, Thad Allen’s “official” retirement from the Coast Guard, notices about NOAA, oiled wildlife– at least nine press releases in the space of a few hours.

Ordinarily, these propaganda pieces go in the file folder. The media ban disguised as a safety rule jumped out, but there was much analysis to do regarding the EPA test results on that day. So, the bogus 20-meter (65 feet) “safety zone” surrounding all Deepwater Horizon booming operations and oil had to wait until I could wrap my head around the implications. Frankly, I wanted to ignore it.

2010 07 03 felon7 e1278170141448 Facing the Future as a Media Felon on the Gulf Coast

It is now a felony to take more photos of birds like this, wading through oil that broken booms have trapped in rookeries

The Coast Guard directive states, “The safety zone has been put in place to protect members of the response effort, the installation and maintenance of oil containment boom, the operation of response equipment and protection of the environment by limiting access to and through deployed protective boom.”

That statement is the most egregious smokescreen we have encountered on this story. No one is maintaining the boom in Barataria Bay. Boom must be anchored, cleaned, and replaced. This is not happening, and the Coast Guard, which reports directly to President Obama, does not want you to see this.

Why aren’t boom maintenance laws enforced? Instead, reporters now become felons for showing the American public the utter mess the Coast Guard, federal officials and BP have created in our once-beautiful waterways.

Here is one boom plan that is not being implemented.

“The boom is not working … it is a joke,” says Billy Nungesser, president of Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, at a Thursday Senate hearing. “It washes up on the shore with the oil, and then we have oil in the marsh, and we have an oily boom. So we have two problems.”

Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) has said that the boom only works in open ocean.

2010 07 03 felonbp Facing the Future as a Media Felon on the Gulf Coast

BP Public Relations photo displayed at community meeting in Houma in early June

Another under-reported aspect of this story is that the dispersant Corexit has done its job of hiding the catastrophe so well that booms cannot stop the oil. It slips, snakes, and slides under the booms, which are inherently worthless in shallow waters, as Landrieu says.

Here is what the Ports and Waterways Safety Act directs. Is the Coast Guard ensuring the environmental protection of Barataria Bay? It is not, and Thad Allen and BP and the federal government do not want you to see the images that bring that fact home.

The Coast Guard has a statutory responsibility under the Ports and Waterways Safety Act of 1972 (PWSA), Title 33 USC §1221to ensure the safety and environmental protection of U.S. ports and waterways. The PWSA authorizes the Coast Guard to “…establish, operate and maintain vessel traffic services in ports and waterways subject to congestion.

2010 07 03 dolphinfinclose e1278170388681 Facing the Future as a Media Felon on the Gulf Coast

Copyright Jerry Moran

In fairness to beleaguered information officers at Unified Command, there is one woman who has been trying to be helpful on several information fronts. I sent her this question:

Have you heard about the Coast Guard regulation (new) about booms and staying 20 meters away. Does this apply to unmanned booms? There is a felony penalty. Does this mean no boat traffic in Barataria Bay? It is hard to stay that distance if you are near the boomed islands.

Her response was immediate and we cannot hold PIO officers accountable for the regulations. She did sum it up in no uncertain terms.

The safety zone applies to ALL boom. In the case of Barataria Bay, the statement made in the press release,” In areas where vessels operators cannot avoid the 20-meter rule, they are required to be cautious of boom and boom operations by transiting at a safe speed and distance,” would apply.

georgianne nienaberDo you want to see more photos like this oiled dolphin in Barataria Bay, taken by Jerry Moran?

Permission to enter any safety zone must be granted by the Coast Guard Captain of the Port of New Orleans by calling 504-846-5923. Perhaps the American public should start calling him and demand that our rights of free speech and expression be reinstated in Gulf waters.

Note: I am removing all copyrights on my work. Spread these photos far and wide.

Georgianne Nienaber

Some Headlines of Interest…

A few headlines from around the web…no commentary today…didn’t ya hear? I’m sick and no amount of cold pills my co-workers keep throwing at me seem to be doing the trick…though now I do feel like I’m on speed…a whole lotta speed…

Enjoy: 

Not so Crazy? Reuters probes the idea of nuking the oil well

Us Lawmaker: Oil spill costs may run trillions of dollars

BP plans to get rid of safety watchdog

Mary Landrieu gives thumbs down on Gulf oil spill commission

John Wathen: Gulf oil spill leaves horror in its wake

Gulf oil spill: is clean up help being turned down?

BP quickly contains lawsuits

238 presidential scholars: Bush worst president of modern era

Have a nice day.