Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Byron Encalade, Voices From The Gulf

Byron Encalade, Voices From The Gulf.

Drew Landry (left Byron Encalade (right) ((Click to enlarge))
The second in a series of interviews with South Louisiana Fishermen, Drew Landry took me to Byron Encalade, in East Pointe A-LA Hache, LA, a small fishing village in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana.  He engages in harvesting seafood, oysters and shrimp; also in transporting seafood along the gulf coast states.  He is currently serving as Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana Constable 3rd Ward, American Legion Post 430 Judge Advocate, Louisiana Wildlife & Fisheries Seed Ground Permit Appeals Board, President of Louisiana Oystermen Association, President of South Plaquemines United Fisheries Cooperative and most proudly a lifetime member of the Wolfhound Pack 27th Infantry Regiment Historical Society, Inc.

Louisiana barrier island oyster bed

Byron has been an oysterman all of his life and tells it like it is for his friends and family 5 years after the BP oil disaster.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Acy Cooper, Voices From The Gulf

"Voices From The Gulf"
There is too much going on in the Gulf region today to address it with only one post and account from the people's voices. This is the first installment of a year long expose'.  I will be releasing a series of video interviews from the region over the next year. During the entire 5th I will try my best to expose first hand accounts of as many impacts to the fisheries and more importantly, the people.

We have all heard from the BP ads and lawyers that all is well and the Gulf is recovering. We have heard the stories of the incredible amounts of money BP has supposedly paid to impacted families. Please turn off the BP tv commercials that BP paid for and listen instead to the "Voices From The Gulf"

Acy Cooper, Vice President, Louisiana Shrimp Association

Acy Cooper isn't a scientist, lawyer, or corporate giant CEO. He is the vice president of the Louisiana Shrimp Association. A fisherman working in the Gulf of Mexico today while BP claims the Gulf is healing well and everyone is being compensated. Acy has the eyes and ears of the fishing community in his area. Take time to listen to his account of the shrimpers in the Gulf of Mexico, 5 years after the BP disaster.

(Click photos to enlarge)
His account of what the fishing communities are facing is startlingly different from the B P ads and what our government wants interior America to believe. (BP = Bought Paid for)
People all over the world who are confronting the deep sea drilling monster should share these stories widely. 5 years after the Deepwater Horizon, BP disaster we are just now seeing the long-term impacts. It only takes one "spill", "incident", one disaster to completely change the way of life for people who are directly impacted.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Letter to editor "ADEM fails to meet community’s needs"

ADEM fails to meet community’s needs

Dear Editor:
The Tuscaloosa News’ Lydia Seabol Avant recently did a fine job in the article “EPA Investigates Landfill,” (The Tuscaloosa News, Aug. 14, Page 1A) which described the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s investigation of the discriminatory impact on Uniontown’s citizens caused by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management’s decision to permit Arrowhead Landfill to receive waste from 33 states.
I am one of those who say the landfill was expanded without proper protections for public health and the environment. Prior to its expansion, the landfill received over
4 million cubic yards of toxic coal ash that came from the 2008 Kingston, Tenn., coal ash spill.
As one of those complainants, I can tell you the impacts and experiences are as horrifying as described in the article. Frustrated residents living near this area suffer from a wide range of medical problems linked to coal ash dust and coal ash wastewater run-off. Concerned families no longer grow vegetable gardens and the smells around the landfill can make one’s stomach turn. Their quality of life has declined as have property values.
The Alabama Department of Environmental Management bears significant responsibility for allowing this to happen.
Are ADEM officials violating our civil rights when they fail to properly review and then strengthen permits that result in little or no protection? Are they discriminating against our poor and minority communities when they fail to adequately enforce environmental laws?
Hopefully, the EPA will find out the answer to these questions.
Adam Johnston
Alliance Coordinator, Alabama Rivers Alliance


Thursday, September 4, 2014

BREAKING NEWS! BP found "Grossly Negligent"

Judge: BP Has Been Found Grossly Negligent

Posted: Sep 04, 2014 9:53 AM CDT Updated: Sep 04, 2014 10:35 AM CDT
BATON ROUGE, La. - A federal judge has ruled that BP's reckless conduct resulted in the nation's worst offshore oil spill, leaving the company open to billions of dollars in penalties.

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier's ruling Thursday could nearly quadruple the amount of civil penalties for polluting the Gulf of Mexico with oil from BP's Macondo well in 2010.

Barbier presided over a trial in 2013 to apportion blame for the spill that spewed oil from April 20 to mid-July 2010. Eleven men died when the well blew wild; BP already has agreed to billions of dollars in criminal fines.

Barbier says BP bears 67 percent of the blame for the spill. He says drilling rig owner Transocean Ltd. takes 30 percent of the blame, and cement contractor Halliburton Energy Service takes 3 percent.

It's about damn time. The Gulf residents found BP "Grossly Negligent" May 20, 2010.
My first view...

Monday, June 23, 2014

1,000-pound tar mat is being cleaned up on Fort Pickens beach.

Nearly four years to the day when BP oil began soiling our beaches, a 1,000-pound tar mat is being cleaned up on Fort Pickens beach. (Pensacola News Journal)

A U.S. Coast Guard pollution investigation team is leading another day of cleanup of a tar mat discovered Friday on the beach at Fort Pickens.
So far, the team has removed about 960 pounds of the mat, which is about 8 to 10 feet off the shoreline in the Gulf of Mexico, just east of Langdon Beach, Coast Guard spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Natalie Murphy said
Mats are made of weathered oil, sand, water and shells.
Monday marks the fourth anniversary of when the oil from the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster finally arrived on waves slicking our beaches. Tar balls and a frothy brownish-orange petroleum product called mousse, however, arrived earlier that month.
The mat was discovered on Friday by a Florida Department of Environmental Protection monitor who surveys area beaches routinely looking for lingering BP oil.
"The weather plays such a big factor in this," said Murphy. "Friday we got the cleanup crew out there and could see it (tar mat) visibly and attacked it. Then the thunderstorms came in, and they had to stop."
By the time the crew returned Saturday, the mat was reburied under 6 inches of sand, and it took the crew a while to relocate it using GPS coordinates taken Friday, she said.
With the mat located in the surf zone, it's harder to clean up.
"It's always a battle with Mother Nature," Murphy said.
The team returned today and plans to return Monday and for as many days as it takes to excavate the entire mat with shovels, although Murphy said it appears by the smaller amount excavated today they may be getting close to collecting all of it.
But the team will survey about 100 yards east and west of the mat to make sure none is still buried in the sand.
This mat is located about half a mile east of where a mat containing 1,400 pounds of weathered oil was cleaned up in March.
Cleanup is being conducted by a joint effort between BP, the Coast Guard, Florida Department of Environmental Protection and National Park Service.
It will take about a week for test results to confirm whether the oil is from the Macondo well that exploded April 20, 2004.
More than 200 million gallons of crude oil spewed into Gulf in 2010 for a total of 87 days before the Macondo well head could capped, making it the biggest oil spill in U.S. history.
Ironically, the discovery of the near-shore mat comes at a time when the National Park Service has stepped up efforts to search out suspected tar mats farther offshore.
Mats are believed to be submerged in the Gulf of Mexico waters off the seashore's Fort Pickens and Johnson beach areas.
Since April, a specialized team of underwater archaeologists has been scanning the waters looking for areas that might have trapped oil when it began washing up on our beaches four years ago on Monday.
Friday's discovery is not related to the dive team's hunt for oil, although the Coast Guard is testing several samples the team discovered to see if it is oil and, if so, whether it's from the ­Macondo well, she said.
Murphy urges the public to report any tar mat, tar ball or anything they suspected BP oil to the National Response Center hotline.
Report tar balls
Report tar ball, tar mats or anything that looks like oil pollution to the National Response Center hotline 800-424-8802.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

TAR SANDS OIL MOBILE Exposes pipeline fiasco


Photo by John L. Wathen, Pilot Tom Hutchings

With all the talk about tar sands oil coming to Mobile Alabama and the lack of current information about the pipeline leading from Pascagoula Miss to the Downtown Mobile terminals to be built there I felt the need to expose it for what it is.
The pipeline crosses the Big Creek Lake basin where Mobile gets it's drinking water. In fact this oil pipeline crosses within less than 1/2 mile from the intake pump for the drinking water of thousands of Mobile residents.
The new storage tanks will be located less than 1/4 mile from a densely populated housing project and just over 500 feet from the head of Royal Street in Downtown Mobile

Not only is this an environmental nightmare, it is also a huge environmental injustice for the people directly impacted by the path. Politicians will tell you that the people in the corridor sold their right of way (ROW) willingly. That is not quite all of the truth. Many people were forced to sell under the threat of takings through imminent domain. (Sell it or we take it)
Photo by John L. Wathen, Pilot Tom Hutchings
As we flew from Pascagoula to Mobile I was surprised to see how many wetlands were being impacted. In the event of a rupture this will present a nightmare to contain.
Photo by John L. Wathen, Pilot Tom Hutchings

One thing sticks out like a sore thumb and that is the crossing of Mobile Alabama's drinking water source at Big Creek Lake. It actually crosses the existing pipeline carrying water to Mobile!

Photo by John L. Wathen, Pilot Tom Hutchings
We flew over the 10 Mile Storage facility owned by Plains All American. It was evident from all of the new construction that they anticipate the expansion will be approved. Why not, our politicians seem to think that profits for industry should always outweigh people, health and safety!
Photo by John L. Wathen, Pilot Tom Hutchings
 Leaving the 10 Mile facility we flew Southeast toward Mobile. Once again the close proximity to residents stood out prominently. I could see children's swing sets, yard equipment, horses, cows, and peoples front doors within only a few feet from the pipeline and the potential disaster looming there.
Photo by John L. Wathen, Pilot Tom Hutchings
As we entered the Downtown area of Mobile Tom pointed out where the new storage tanks would be built. They will lie only about 1,000 feet from a densely populated housing project and only about 500 feet from Royal Street. (distances taken from Google Earth)
Photo by John L. Wathen, Pilot Tom Hutchings
Directly across the river is where ARC wants to expand their holding tanks and install a subsurface pipeline under the Mobile River connecting the new tanks at the rail head and the expanded tank farm on Old Spanish Trail (Google)
Photo by John L. Wathen, Pilot Tom Hutchings
We flew up 3 mile Creek to the ARC Saraland site. Here railroad cars are brought to load trucks with oil reported to be tar sands oil. From the photos it was clear to see that there were already problems with the site.
Photo by John L. Wathen, Pilot Tom Hutchings
These tank trucks are leaking badly and appear to have been doing so for some time. The trucks can be seen in Google Earth as early as Jan. 2012. 

Photo by John L. Wathen, Pilot Tom Hutchings
Photo by John L. Wathen, Pilot Tom Hutchings
Close up shots of the train cars here revealed the same numbering sequence as ones also seen in Downtown Mobile belonging to Canada National Railroad.
ARC Saraland
Downtown Mobile
People living close to and impacted by this project are not being heard. Lands have been taken by greedy oil mongers through good old boy politics. That needs to be exposed and shown to the elected powers that have backed this play for profit. Any politician who supports such a recipe for disaster needs to be replaced at the next election. If such a pipeline is built, it certainly needs to take a different path considering the health and safety of ALL impacted residents.

There are simply too many unknowns and misinformation being released that say this is OK. I call on every group that has any environmental stake in this to examine it for what it's worth and denounce this as a bad idea.

Give them a call and express yourself!
Below is a video I created to expose the entire route of the pipeline and what I consider important issues associated with it. For more information concerning the pipeline and it's impacts to residents of Alabama and Mississippi, contact Tar Sands Oil Mobile

Thursday, June 27, 2013

40,000-pound tar mat unearthed on Grand Terre

40,000-pound tar mat unearthed on Grand Terre

By Nikki Buskey
Staff Writer
Published: Wednesday, June 26, 2013 at 5:45 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, June 26, 2013 at 7:51 p.m.

A 40,000-pound tar mat unearthed in the surf off Grand Terre island is a sign that three years after the Gulf oil spill, the disaster continues to affect the Louisiana coast, state and environmental officials said Wednesday.

Grand Terre is an uninhabited barrier island east of Grand Isle. The tar mat, which was 165-feet long by 65-feet wide, was a mixture of sand, shells, oil and water. It was removed over a period of a few weeks.

Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority Chairman Garret Graves said the tar mat is evidence that BP’s cleanup along the Louisiana shoreline has been insufficient.

BP couldn’t be reached for comment.

“Continuing to find oil mats in our shoreline proves that our concerns are warranted,” Graves said.

Federal on-scene coordinators for the spill are ending active cleanup this month in Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. The Coast Guard and BP are still engaging in active cleanup at several Louisiana sites, including Grand Isle, Grand Terre, Elmer’s Island, Fourchon Beach and East Timbalier.

Louisiana officials have repeatedly voiced concerns about buried oil being left behind.

A joint statement from environmental groups, including the National Audubon Society, the National Wildlife Federation and the Environmental Defense Fund, says Louisiana’s vital barrier islands, which are in jeopardy due to coastal erosion, took the brunt of the damage from the oil disaster.
“Barrier islands provide a first line of defense against storm surge, protecting communities and habitats, and they are also nurseries and breeding grounds for many species of Gulf fish, wildlife and migratory birds,” the statement says. “BP misleads audiences when it declares cleanup victory in the Gulf. It may try to sweep this recent news under the rug, but it’s going to take a pretty big broom to hide a 40,000-pound tar mat.”

Reports say the tar mat was made up of 15 percent oil and 85 percent sand, shells and water. But the entire mat itself was considered hazardous and had to be removed from the area, the groups point out.

Local officials have said BP and the Coast Guard have responded to concerns about buried oil and tar mats, sampling the beach by drilling augering holes to look for oil under the surface sands and sending scuba Shoreline Cleanup Assistance Teams to probe in the wave line for submerged oil mats on Fourchon Beach. Tar balls and tar mats have washed up regularly on the beach since the spill.

Terrebonne Coastal Restoration Director Nic Matherne said the parish has been working with the state to receive bimonthly briefings on ongoing cleanup efforts.

“There’s so much oil we’ll continue to uncover oil for years. We’re staying informed and staying on top of the issue,” Matherne said.

He added that officials have to balance the need to unearth buried oil with preventing damage to sensitive habitats like barrier islands.

“We’ve worked with the Coast Guard and the incident management team to stay informed of their modelling on wave action and where they are most likely to surface, and that’s an ongoing effort,” Matherne said.

Graves said responders have cleaned up 2.8 million pounds of oil in Louisiana this year alone.

“That’s 99 percent of all the oil removed in the Gulf,” Graves said.

Graves cited statistics that more than 1 million barrels of oil still remain unaccounted for since the spill.

“That’s five times the Exxon Valdez spill,” he said. “We can’t just wait for it to come to shore. Most importantly, we’re only seeing this oil on the beaches we have in Louisiana. What’s happening in our wetlands?”

He called for BP to set up a proactive monitoring system that can identify tar mats offshore and collect them before they wash in.

Staff Writer Nikki Buskey can be reached at 448-7636 or nicole.buskey@houmatoday.com.