Thursday, October 28, 2010

Tests Warned of Cement Troubles Before BP Blowout

Tests warned of cement troubles before BP blowout

- Associated Press
WASHINGTON -- Tests performed before the deadly blowout of BP's oil well in the Gulf of Mexico should have raised doubts about the cement used to seal the well, but the company and its cementing contractor used it anyway, investigators with the president's oil spill commission said Thursday.
It's the first finding from the commission looking into the causes of the April 20 explosion that killed 11 workers and led to the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history. And it appears to conflict with statements made by Halliburton Co., which has said its tests showed the cement mix was stable. The company instead has said BP's well design and operations were responsible for the disaster.
The cement mix's failure to prevent oil and gas from entering the well has been identified by BP and others as one of the causes of the accident.

Similar stories:

  • Tests before oil rig explosion showed faulty cement, panel says
  • HEADLINE HERE
  • Report: Halliburton knew BP well's cement likely unstable
  • BP investigation cites multiple failures, but not well's design
  • BP, Transocean, Halliburton will blame one another for spill
BP and Halliburton decided to use a foam slurry created by injecting nitrogen into cement to secure the bottom of the well, a decision outside experts have criticized.
The panel said that of four tests done in February and April by Halliburton, only one - the last - showed the mix would hold. But the results of that single successful test were not shared with BP, and may not have reached Halliburton, before the cement was pumped, according to a letter sent to commissioners Thursday by chief investigative counsel Fred H. Bartlit Jr.
BP had in hand at the time of the blowout the results of only one of the tests - a February analysis sent to BP by Halliburton in a March 8 e-mail that indicated the cement could fail. The slurry tested in that case was a slightly different blend, and assumed a slightly different well design, but there is no indication that Halliburton flagged the problem for BP, or that BP had concerns, the letter said.
"Halliburton (and perhaps BP) should have considered redesigning the foam slurry before pumping it at the Macondo well," Bartlit wrote.
Independent tests conducted for the commission by Chevron on a nearly identical mixture were also released Thursday. The results concluded that the cement mix was unstable, raising questions about the validity of Halliburton's final test.
BP, as part of its internal investigation, also conducted independent tests that showed the cement mix was flawed, but its analysis was criticized by Halliburton, which said it was not the correct formula. BP's report also mentioned a cement test Halliburton performed in mid-April, but it appears BP obtained the results after the accident and considered its methods flawed.
By contrast, the commission obtained proprietary additives from Halliburton as well as a recipe to re-create the slurry that was used on the well. One and a half gallons of the actual mix used on the rig remain, but it is being held as evidence in criminal and civil investigations.
A spokeswoman for Halliburton said the company was reviewing the findings and would have a response later. BP said it would not have a comment on the panel's conclusions Thursday.
Halliburton shares dropped from near $34 to below $30 in New York trading in the half hour after the commission released its finding. The shares recovered a bit, and closed at $31.68, down $2.74, or 8 percent. BP shares rose from $40.38 to $41.28, then quickly reversed course and fell to $40.28. The shares finished trading with a gain of 49 cents at $40.59.
In testimony before the joint Coast Guard-Bureau of Ocean Energy Management investigative panel, Halliburton engineer Jesse Gagliano, when asked if he would pour the same cement again, said he would. Thomas Roth, a vice president at the company, said before a panel assembled by the National Academy of Engineering in September that Halliburton had used foam cement on 1,000 jobs, including 279 wells at 15,000 feet or deeper.
Roth faulted BP's well design and BP's decision not to run a test to confirm the cement had set properly. He also said Halliburton's cement could have been contaminated by the oil-based muds BP used to drill the well. Such contamination can form channels in the cement through which oil and gas can escape.
The independent investigators do not address other decisions that could have contributed to the cement's failure and the eventual blowout, such as BP's decision to use fewer centralizers than recommended by Halliburton. Centralizers make sure the well's piping is centered inside the well so the cement bonds correctly.
BP has also been criticized for not performing a cement bond long, a test that checks after the cement is pumped down whether it is secure. There are also questions about whether BP pumped down enough cement to seal off the bottom of the well, which was located more than three miles below sea level.
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Associated Press writer Harry R. Weber in Atlanta contributed to this report.
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Online:
Presidential Oil Spill Commission: http://www.oilspillcommission.gov


Read more: http://www.kentucky.com/2010/10/28/1499184/tests-warned-of-cement-troubles.html#ixzz13hRm3Ot2

Despite Heavy Oil, Louisiana Keeps Fisheries Open

Despite Heavy Oil, Louisiana Keeps Fisheries Open

by Dahr Jamail
NEW ORLEANS - Massive slicks of weathered oil were clearly visible near Louisiana's fragile marshlands in both the East and West Bays of the Mississippi River Delta during an overflight that included an IPS reporter on Oct. 23. The problem is that, despite this, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has left much of the area open for fishing.
[Dean Blanchard, of Dean Blanchard Seafood Inc. in Grand Isle, Louisiana. "The Coast Guard should change the colour of their uniform, since they are working for BP. We've known they are working for BP from the beginning of this thing. None of us believe anything they say about this oil disaster anymore."(Photograph: Leslie Rose)]Dean Blanchard, of Dean Blanchard Seafood Inc. in Grand Isle, Louisiana. "The Coast Guard should change the colour of their uniform, since they are working for BP. We've known they are working for BP from the beginning of this thing. None of us believe anything they say about this oil disaster anymore."(Photograph: Leslie Rose)
Four days prior, on Oct. 19, federal on-scene cleanup coordinator for the BP oil disaster, Coast Guard Rear Adm. Paul Zukunft, declared there was little recoverable surface oil in the Gulf of Mexico.Both bays cover an area of roughly 112 square kilometres of open water that surround the Southwest Pass, the main shipping channel of the Mississippi River. While East Bay remains closed for fishing, West Bay was open for fishing when IPS spotted the oil on Oct. 23, despite the fact that the day before a BP oil cleanup crew had reported oil in West Bay to a local newspaper.
"They are literally shrimping in oil," Jonathan Henderson, the Coastal Resiliency Organiser for the environmental group Gulf Restoration Network, who was also on the flight, exclaimed as our plane flew over shrimpers trawling in the oil-covered area.
Others remain concerned about the use of toxic dispersants that BP has used to sink the oil.
"Potential ecosystem collapse caused by toxic dispersant use during this disaster will have immediate and long-term effects on the Gulf's traditional fishing communities' ability to sustain our culture and heritage," Clint Guidry of the Louisiana Shrimp Association told IPS.
"This has been an exercise in lessening BP's liability from day one. I think we're moving into a situation where the PR is saying the area is safe to fish and it's safe to eat, but that's not the reality," he said.
The waters in the East and West Bays are under the jurisdiction of Louisiana's Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), while waters further from the coast are under federal jurisdiction. LDWF does receive input, however, from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Earlier on the same day IPS spotted the oil, a spotter pilot for LDWF had flown over the same area and told Southern Seaplanes there was no oil.
"He is the spotter for LWDF and saw that bay, and it is still open," Henderson told IPS. "He should have closed the bay for fishing. So now you can see how sophisticated they are in tracking this. Either this guy is completely incompetent, or has an agenda to keep as much of Louisiana's waters open for fishing as he can, whether there is oil or not. I don't see how he could have flown down there today and not seen it. It's criminal."
When IPS called the LWDF requesting to talk with the LDWF oil spotter, department officials said "that person is not available to comment".
The LWDF website has a number to call in order to report oil sightings. When IPS called that number, the call was answered by a BP response call centre.
On Oct. 23, the Coast Guard claimed that the substance floating in the miles-wide areas of West Bay appeared to be "an algal bloom".
Lt. Cmdr. Chris O'Neil said a pollution investigator for the Coast Guard collected samples from the area, and while they had yet to be tested, "based on his observation and what he sees in the sample jars, he believes that to be an algal bloom."
Fishermen who have traveled through and fished in the area over the weekend, however, refuted these Coast Guard claims.
"I scooped some up, and it feels like oil, looks like oil, is brownish red like all the dispersed oil we've been seeing since this whole thing started," fisherman David Arenesen, from Venice, Louisiana, told IPS.
"It doesn't look like algae to me. Algae doesn't stick on your fingers, and algae isn't oily," he said. "The area of this stuff spans an area of 30 miles, from Southwest Pass almost all the way over to Grand Isle, and runs very far off-shore too. We rode through it for over 20 miles while we were going out to fish, I dipped some up, and it's oil."
Arenesen saw the substance on Friday, the same day it was reported by the Times Picayune newspaper in New Orleans.
"It was at least an inch thick, and it went on for miles," Arenesen said, adding, "It would be easy to clean since it's all floating on the surface."
IPS spoke with Gary Robinson, a hook and line mackerel commercial fisherman working out of Venice who was also in the substance in question recently.
"I was out in West Bay on Oct. 22, and I was in this thick brown foam, about five inches thick, with red swirls of oil throughout it, and there was a lot of it, at least a 10-mile patch of it," Robinson said while speaking to IPS on his boat. "I've never seen anything like that foam before, the red stuff in it was weathered oil, and there was sheen coming off my boat when I came back into harbor. I'm concerned about the safety of the fish I'm catching."
Dean Blanchard, of Dean Blanchard Seafood Inc. in Grand Isle, Louisiana, spoke with IPS about the Coast Guard claim that the substance was likely algae.
"Hell, we got oil coming in here every day, it's all around us, we know what oil is," Blanchard said. "The Coast Guard should change the colour of their uniform, since they are working for BP. We've known they are working for BP from the beginning of this thing. None of us believe anything they say about this oil disaster anymore."
"Everyone, including the feds, are talking about the fact that less of the oil actually reached the surface than was below," Captain Dicky Tupes of Southern Seaplanes told IPS, "And now we're seeing some of that submerged oil surface here. How long will this go on?"
The East Bay area appeared to be completely covered in kilometres-long strands of weathered oil of various colors. While flying approximately 16 linear kilometres across the bay, IPS saw nothing but streaks of the substance across the surface.
"That oil is covering just about the entire length of Southwest Pass," Tupes said.
A recent month-long cruise by Georgia researchers reported oil on the sea floor that they suspect is BP's. While government officials question whether there is oil on the sea floor, the Georgia scientists say the samples "smelled like an auto repair shop".
The research team took 78 cores of sediment and only five had live worms in them. Usually they would all have life, said University of Georgia scientist Samantha Joye, who went on to call the affected area a "graveyard for the macrofauna".
"The horrible thing is they've been inundated with this oily material... There's dead animals on the bottom and it stinks to high heaven of oil," Joye added.
University of South Florida's Ernst Peebles said the oil on the floor if the Gulf "is undermining the ecosystem from the bottom up".

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fish Kill and BP Cover Up Confirmed on Grand Isle by Jerry Moran - Gulf Coast Oil Spill

Fish Kill and BP Cover Up Confirmed on Grand Isle by Jerry Moran - Gulf Coast Oil Spill

10/25/2010

Fish Kill and BP Cover Up Confirmed on Grand Isle by Jerry Moran

In light of recent comments made by LDWF and NOAA biologists in an article on CNSNews.com that there is no evidence that ANY fish died as a result of the oil spill I feel compelled to revisit a few photos from the first days of the spill and to repost some information and photos gathered just this week by intrepid New Orleans photo-journalist Jerry Moran.  Jerry found the stench of death every where on Grand Isle, and mounds of dead fish buried in the sand by BP clean up crews, just this week!!!
First, lets look at what Bo Boehringer of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries said," Fish have died for seasonal related reasons, said Bo Boehringer, spokesman Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.", and “We’ve investigated fish kills, but none have yet been tied to oil impacts,”
Here are some photos from May 23rd on Grand Terre Island.  We encountered MANY dead large Redfish and Black Drum that day. All of these fish were still there when I revisited the island later that week, meaning NONE had been tested by LDWF.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Massive stretches of weathered oil spotted in Gulf of Mexico

Massive stretches of weathered oil spotted in Gulf of Mexico



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.
Oil Slick in Gulf of Mexico Enlarge MATTHEW HINTON / THE TIMES-PICAYUNE A boat travels through oil that was spotted in West Bay just west of the Southwest Pass of the Mississippi River Friday October 22, 2010. Oil Slick in West Bay gallery (9 photos)
  • Oil Slick in Gulf of Mexico
  • Oil Slick in Gulf of Mexico
  • Oil Slick in Gulf of Mexico
  • Oil Slick in Gulf of Mexico
  • Oil Slick in Gulf of Mexico
The discovery, which comes as millions of birds begin moving toward the region in the fall migration, 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.

The oil was sighted in West Bay, which covers approximately 35 square miles of open water between Southwest Pass, the main shipping channel of the river, and Tiger Pass near Venice. 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. The captains said most of their sightings have occurred during stretches of calm weather, similar to what the area has experienced most of this week.
On Friday reports included accounts of strips of the heavily weathered orange oil that became a signature image of the spill during the summer. One captain said some strips were as much as 400 feet wide and a mile long.
The captains did not want to be named for fear of losing their clean-up jobs with BP.
Coast Guard officials Friday said a boat had been dispatched to investigate the sightings, but that a report would not be available until Saturday morning.
However, Times-Picayune photojournalist Matt Hinton confirmed the sightings in an over-flight of West Bay.
Robert Barham, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, said if the sightings are confirmed by his agency, the area will be reclosed to fishing until it is confirmed oil-free again.
map-mysteryoil-102310.jpgView full size
Just Tuesday, Coast Guard Rear Adm. Paul Zukunft, in charge of the federal response, and his top science adviser, Steve Lehmann, said that little of the 210 million gallons of oil spilled into the Gulf remained on the surface or even on the Gulf's floor. Lehmann pointed to extensive tests conducted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that included taking samples of water from various depths, as well as collections of bottom sediments both far offshore and close to the coast.
Those claims, announced on the six-month anniversary of the spill, brought quick rebuttals from a variety of environmental and fishermen's groups who insist their members have been reporting sightings of surface oil all along.
LSU environmental sciences professor Ed Overton, who has been involved in oil spill response for 30 years, said he believes both claims could be accurate. The Louisiana sweet crude from the Deepwater Horizon is very light and has almost neutral buoyancy, Overton said, which means that when it picks up any particles from the water column, it will sink to the bottom.
"It's quite possible that when the weather calms and the water temperatures changes, the oil particles that have spread along the bottom will recoagulate, then float to the surface again and form these large mats.
"I say this is a possibility, because I know that the (Coast Guard) has sent boats out to investigate these reports, but by the time they get to the scenes, the weather has changed and they don't see any oil."
"I think the reports are credible, but I also think the incident responders are trying to find the oil, too,'' Overton said. "This is unusual, but nothing about this bloody spill has been normal since the beginning."
Overton said it is important for the state to discover the mechanism that is causing the oil to reappear because even this highly weathered oil poses a serious threat to the coastal ecology.
"If this was tar balls floating around, that would be one thing, but these reports are of mats of weathered oil, and that can cause serious problems if it gets into the marsh," he said
The reports are a great concern to wildlife officials. The Mississippi delta is a primary wintering ground for hundreds of thousands of ducks and geese, some of which already have begun arriving. The West Bay area leads into several shallower interior bays that attract ducks, geese and myriad species of shore and wading birds each winter.
Earlier this month state wildlife officials were expressing optimism the spill would have minimal impact on most waterfowl visitors because little oil had penetrated the sensitive wintering grounds.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Gulf Coast are sick from the effects of the oil gusher.

However, here is what Allen and the corporate media are not talking about — residents along the Gulf Coast are sick from the effects of the oil gusher.



"The harm dealt by this silent enemy is beginning to creep into the lives of those living and working in the Gulf. The problem has been lurking in the Gulf since the first days of the BP oil spill and now has the potential ignite a disaster unlike any this country has ever seen," reports Project Gulf Impact, an organization of citizen journalists who are doing what the corporate media refuses to do. "The residents of the Gulf of Mexico are entering a crisis whose scope cannot be calculated. Several symptoms have been reported, from subtle to severe: skin rashes and infections, upper respiratory burning, congestion and cough, headaches, nausea, vomiting, and neurological symptoms including short-term memory loss and coordination problems. These health problems, if acknowledged at all, are mis-diagnosed, buried, and mis-attributed."

In August, chemist Bob Naman tested the waters off Orange Beach, Alabama, and found they tested positive for the dangerous neurotoxin pesticide 2-butoxyethanol, the main ingredient of Corexit 9527A.

Months ago we were told by the government this version of Corexit was no longer in use.

Mr. Naman apparently made a mistake by making his findings public. He was subsequently threatened by BP. "I am not certain the reason or nature of the threats or whether they were financial or physical threats, but given the sudden rash of untimely deaths of those with damaging knowledge about BP I would not take any threats from BP lightly," Alexander Higgins wrote on August 24.

On September 1, Infowars.com carried a story about a swimming pool in Homosassa, Florida, testing positive for the Corexit 9527A marker 2-butoxyethanol. Samples were tested by Robert Naman, the thorn in BP's side. The story was ignored by the corporate media.

For BP and the Obama administration, scrubbing the oil gusher and its untold number of victims from the front page is more important than the health of people along the Gulf coast. The Democrats want the oil gusher to go away because of the political damage it will inflict on them during the mid-term elections this November. Republicans want it to go away because they are covering BP's back. Illness and misery will not be allowed to interrupt the political dog and pony show.

On September 18, 2001, then EPA administrator Christie Whitman announced the air at Ground Zero was safe to breathe. Experts estimate that as many as 40,000 people breathed noxious pollution, including dust, in the wake of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

But the afflicted — including heroic first responders — should not expect help from the government.

The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2009 would provide medical monitoring to those exposed to toxins, increase treatment at specialized centers for those afflicted by toxins and reopen a compensation fund to provide for the economic loss of victims. It was characterized as another Obama entitlement program by the GOP House leadership, who vowed to defeat the legislation.

Fresh food that lasts from eFoods Direct (Ad)

If the massive poisoning of the people of the Gulf is ever exposed, we can expect a similar response on the part of the government.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Dr. Michael Harbut, talks about the human effects of exposure to petroleum products.

This is a message and post from Pam Batson, Mobile Resident effected by BP Slick.

"This is good. 

Dr. Michael Harbut, professor of medicine at Wayne State University in Detroit  Everything he mentions is EXACTLY the symptoms we've seen exhibited in the Gulf region repeatedly since the spill. The other day I was talking with a guy who has ...walked the beach every day this summer and was complaining that he's lost most of the feeling in his feet. I hadn't heard about that, but Dr. Harbut addresses it here, that neuropathy and nerve damage are common. The other day, against my better judgement, I walked barefoot on what appeared to be a clean beach. Afterwards, the soles of my feet were orange. The dispersed oil is not always apparent, but it is there. No more barefoot walking on the beach!"

 

Curbside Consult, Gulf Oil Spill Health Hazards, Dr. Michael Harbut, Professor of Medicine, Wayne State University, August 5, 2010:

See here for Dr. Harbut's closing remarks and contact information: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZH9FgY...

For more information or to download the full 22 minute video, visit http://www.sciencecorps.org/gulf_oil_...

Hexane info starts at 6:50 in

Friday, October 15, 2010

Coastal Voices Part 03 Tonya Shell

Tonya Shell tells her story of getting sick from just breathing the air along the GULF COAST.
Tonya and her partner, like many others are leaving the Gulf Coast forever





Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Coastal Voices Part 02 Ashley Richards

Ashley Elizabeth Richards speaks out about getting sick while working for a contractor cleaning up the BP Slick.

Dr. Riki Ott Speaks Out at Orange Beach Public Health Forum

Dr. Riki Ott Speaks Out at Orange Beach Public Health Forum

October 11th, 2010 The Public Needs to Get Involved for the Truth to Come Out
by Glynn Wilson


ORANGE BEACH, Ala. — While the tourists were wandering around looking at the arts and crafts, listening to the music and munching on an array of grub Saturday at the National Shrimp Festival in Gulf Shores, another group of folks gathered at a church in Orange Beach to discuss what is apparently considered a taboo subject along the coast: the human health effects from the BP oil disaster.
The featured speaker was Dr. Riki Ott of Alaska, a recognized expert in chemical illnesses who has devoted her life to the cause since the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound in 1989.
While everyone from local town officials to the British Petroleum corporation and its private contractors to the Coast Guard and even the Obama administration at the top blocked efforts for scientists to tell the public just how bad the Gulf oil disaster could be — and the mainstream, corporate media has largely ignored the human health effects story — Dr. Ott says she now has information that the U.S. Navy knew about the problems and even suspended routine training exercises in the Gulf.
“We’re getting contradictory information, which is incredibly annoying,” Dr. Ott said. “The public face says one thing, and behind the scenes there’s an entire other thing going on.”
So she’s helping to launch a Gulf-wide, community-based health survey to assess the health problems with short-term diagnosis and treatment and a long-term monitoring program, along with a public information campaign to get the word out to people.

Since coming to the Gulf Coast back in May, she has gathered information from Terribone Parish, Louisiana to the east of Apalachicola, Florida on what symptoms people are experiencing. They range from upper respiratory problems to headaches, dizziness, sore throat, hoarseness, ear and nose bleeds and skin rashes to upset stomach. The routes of exposure are inhalation and skin contact.
“Those are exactly the symptoms associated with crude oil. We were also told after the Exxon Valdez spill, ‘oh, don’t worry. The volatile organic compounds are all going to evaporate’,” she said. “No!”
There are some sectors of the population more at risk than others, Dr. Ott said. In studying toxicology, you learn that “dose plus the host makes the poison,” she said. So young children who breath more of the polluted mist coming off the Gulf faster than an adult and weigh less are more susceptible. Just as in child medicine the dose is different, if a child breaths in as much as an adult they will get sicker, faster. Pregnant women, the elderly and those with immune system and other health problems are also more at risk.
“These symptoms don’t seem to be going away,” she said, so medical doctors with no training in chemical illnesses typically diagnose food poisoning, heat stroke, staff infections and even scabies, even though infections and scabies are contagious, and the BP crud and related maladies are not. Scabies and staff infections can be passed from person to another, in other words, but there is no evidence for that with the oil and chemical related Gulf illnesses.
Dr. Ott has now talked to workers who were directly exposed to oil in the cleanup effort who have been prescribed antibiotics, some on their third or fourth round, she said, “and it is not clearing up.”
“Our bodies only have so many ways to say we’re sick. So cold and flu-like symptoms, headaches, these are all common things,” she said. “But they could indicate an uncommon causation, a chemical illness.”
She said people need to seek medical help, but they may have to educate their doctors about chemical illnesses since diagnoses is not an easy thing.
“If everybody turned purple because they were chemically exposed, then it would be easy to diagnose,” she said. “But it’s not like that.”
She has talked to pharmacists at CVS, Walgreens and even Winn Dixie pharmacies who say they are seeing an increase in these symptoms along the entire Gulf Coast. Some of the symptoms are acute, meaning they happen fast, and some are more chronic, meaning they develop over the long-term.
If people are misdiagnosed, as they were in Alaska after Valdez, Dr. Ott said, serious long-term problems can develop.
“After Valdez people were told they had a cold or the flu, and told to take Tylenol, to the point where the whole West Coast ran out of Tylenol. I’m still dealing with people who thought they had the Exxon Valdez Crud in 1989,” she said, but it’s “still going on 20 years later? Isn’t this a little long for a cold or the flu?”
The problem is, she said, that “the longer you leave this stuff in your body, the more havoc it can wreak.”
People along the coast who suffer any of these symptoms need to seek out the appropriate medical care and to get it properly treated, she said, which would include a physical detox program. People should also consider psychological treatment, since stress can worsen the symptoms.
On the health study, Dr. Ott said, it is important for the public to be involved as a “Gulf Coast community.”
“Let’s do it as a people, and not leave it all up to the federal government, because (based on their record of covering up the problems),” she said, “that is a really bad idea.”
The public should get involved by reporting any health symptoms to local, state and federal health agencies, and fill out the community-based health survey soon to be online at RikiOtt.com. People should also call the Deepwater Horizon Incident Joint Information Center and report health symptoms or dead or stressed wildlife at 713.323.1670.

Pilots Fly Over Environmental Horrors, Make Passengers Cry:

Pilots Fly Over Environmental Horrors, Make Passengers Cry: Mike Di Paola



Tom Hutchings
Pilot Tom Hutchings in the cockpit of his Cessna 182. "Flying is the most useful educational tool I know of when it comes to environmental issues," said Hutchings. 

Photographer: Mike Di Paola/Bloomberg
Mining
Mining operations seen from the Cessna piloted by Susan Lapis over Charleston, West Virginia. "People cry in my airplane all the time," says Lapis. Photographer: Mike Di Paola/Bloomberg
Mining
An aerial view of mountaintop removal mining near Charleston, West Virginia. SouthWings calculates the emissions produced by its planes, and neutralizes them with carbon offsets. Photographer: Mike Di Paola/Bloomberg
Mining
The effects of mountaintop removal mining are seen from the sky in Charleston, West Virginia. SouthWings has been flying media and policymakers over environmental disasters since 1996. Photographer: Mike Di Paola/Bloomberg
John Wathen  
Photographer: Mike Di Paola/Bloomberg
 
Photographer John Wathen mans a video camera over Mobile Bay, Alabama. 
SouthWings pilots have made dozens of flights over the area since the April 20 BP oil disaster. 
After waiting out a clamorous thunderstorm at the Fairhope, Alabama, airport, the Cessna juddered through lingering clouds and turbulence over the Gulf of Mexico on the 104-mile flight to BP Plc’s sunken oil rig.

The sky was gray and I was green.
Then the astounding view from 3,000 feet took my mind off the plane’s sickening motion. It was 90 days after the oil disaster began on April 21. Fingerlike tentacles of glistening oil covered the surface of the sea, stretching to the horizon. We could smell the slick.
“Flying is the most useful educational tool I know of when it comes to environmental issues,” said pilot Tom Hutchings, who was as awed at the sight as I was. “Until you go up in the air and see things in the context of the whole place, you really don’t get it.”
(Even airplane views are limited, though. According to a University of Georgia study, 79 percent of the 200 million gallons of spilled oil is still underwater and will be for years.)
Hutchings is one of 37 volunteer pilots who donate their time and aircraft to SouthWings, a nonprofit conservation group that arranges flights all over southeastern U.S. for media, policy makers and community leaders. Aerial views expose the eye-popping scale of environmental catastrophes in ways that other perspectives cannot.
“When we get the news and the facts out on a situation, then people can act and make an informed decision,” said Hutchings, an environmental consultant when he isn’t flying. “Otherwise you’re just listening to the major media outlets, and we all know how much information a sound bite has.”
‘People Cry’
SouthWings pilots also usually spring for fuel. Hutchings’s Cessna 182 burned about $150 each time he flew to the rig and back, a trip he has made more than 25 times.
Susan Lapis, a pilot with SouthWings since its beginnings in 1996, has found that passengers can get emotional when they see how much damage human development has wrought.
“People cry in my airplane all the time,” she says. “Especially in West Virginia.” Last year she gave me a bird’s- eye view of the coal-mining operations around Charleston, where the devastation, a growing wasteland in the middle of otherwise verdant hills, is particularly jarring.
SouthWings offered to fly senate candidates now vying for the late Robert C. Byrd’s vacated seat over the mine sites, but it had no takers in advance of the state’s Aug. 28 primary. That’s too bad, because if policymakers ever grasped the true scope of the damage caused by the type of mining called mountaintop removal in this richly green state, it’s doubtful the practice would continue.
Positive Results
Occasionally pilots do see positive results of their work. Mark Miller, an organizer for the Southern Appalachian Forest Coalition, flew with Lapis several times over the Shenandoah Mountains while spearheading the effort to make thousands of acres there Wilderness Areas, the most protective designation for federal lands and the most difficult to get passed.
Lapis was listening to the radio in March 2009 when the Virginia Ridge and Valley Act became law.
“That boy went to Congress and got his Wilderness Area,” says Lapis. “When I heard the news on the radio, I wept.”
A cynic might wonder, how is it that an environmental group -- which goes to great heights to expose the consequences of coal or oil consumption -- can make all these gas-guzzling Cessna flights with a clean, green conscience?
“It is something that comes up,” says SouthWings executive director Hume Davenport. “We’re burning fossil fuel while decrying the industries that produce it. We could be targeted as hypocrites.”
Carbon Offsets
Now SouthWings has effectively quashed that charge. Last year it calculated the emissions produced by all of its flights, then neutralized them by buying 45 tons of carbon offsets, an investment in projects that reduce the equivalent in carbon dioxide pollution elsewhere. This year they plan to go further and offset emissions generated by their office operations and ground travel.
I have seen some incredible -- and awful -- sights from the sky, thanks to SouthWings and its dedicated pilots. Every policymaker should get up there to see the big picture.
(Mike Di Paola writes on preservation and the environment for Muse, the arts and culture section of Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are his own.)
To contact the writer of this column: Mike Di Paola at mdipaola@nyc.rr.com.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff in New York at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

Monday, October 11, 2010

America moves on from spill; Gulf coast feels abandoned

America moves on from spill; Gulf coast feels abandoned

'People don't really care about the people who were affected'

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Image: Chris Sherrill
Michelle Rolls-Thomas  /  AP
Chris Sherrill, owner of Staycations Beach Weddings, in the kitchen of Champs Place as he prepares for an event in Gulf Shores, Ala. Sherrill and other business owners along the Alabama Gulf Coast feel forgotten since the oil well has been capped and attention has been moved elsewhere.
By JAY REEVES
The Associated Press
updated 10/10/2010 9:05:10 AM ET 2010-10-10T13:05:10


About 800 miles from the Gulf of Mexico, Dave Edmonds is struggling to remind people about the BP oil spill.
There aren't many magazine covers with photos of oil-drenched birds now that BP has capped its massive gusher at the bottom of the sea. People aren't looking online for information about the historic spill like they were a few weeks ago.
So Edmonds, who lives on the Delaware coast, has started a nonprofit organization to keep the disaster on people's minds with a website and social networking campaign.


"Awareness has dropped. People don't really care about the people who were affected. They don't care about the fish life," said Edmonds, founder of Taking Back the Gulf.
For Gulf residents fighting for economic survival, a nation's short attention span is deeply unsettling, especially with oil still washing ashore. Yet it's unclear whether Americans are turning their attention elsewhere, or whether it's just the media that have.
Either way, people like Chef Chris Sherrill feel abandoned.
"It's amazing how quickly the American public forgot that this was one of the worst manmade disasters in U.S. history," he said. His wedding catering and event business in Gulf Shores, Ala., is teetering because few brides are still coming to the beach for weddings.
The slight isn't necessarily intentional. Walking with his girlfriend in a park in Des Moines, Iowa, Michael Gauthier said he wonders about the oil's lingering impact on the environment, and he fears for Gulf residents.
"It's not in your face every day so you forget about it. Who doesn't have bills to pay and work to go to? Who has time to think about what's going on in Louisiana?" said Gauthier, 26.
'Hello, there's plenty of oil'
What's going on is the continued arrival of oil washing ashore, although in lesser amounts than during the summer. Dire predictions of environmental Armageddon have yet to materialize, but there's also no consensus on how badly the ecosystem has suffered.
At first, no one could agree on how much oil was spilling into the Gulf; now there's disagreement over how much remains. A commission this week faulted Barack Obama's administration for multiple missteps, including an effort to block scientists from telling the public how bad the spill could be early on.
"If someone could say it will affect this, our shrimp are going to be poisoned for 10 years, people would think this is a bigger deal maybe," said Scott Peterson, 37, also of Des Moines.
Peterson's sentiment was echoed by Kathy Yoder, whose family works a farm in Washington, Maine. She said people may be dismissing the spill because the impacts don't seem as devastating as first predicted.
"What irritates me is people act like it's all gone because it's not floating on top of the water," she said. "I'm like, 'Hello, there's plenty of oil under the surface.'"


Recent research also raises the question of whether the spill is being overlooked outside the Gulf region, or if information on recent developments is just harder to come by. A Pew Research Center study found that only 1 percent of news coverage was dedicated to the spill last month, down from 22 percent during the height of the crisis.
However, a separate Pew survey found that 34 percent of the people responding to a poll in mid-September said they were still very interested in the spill — making it the top news item that week in terms of public interest. Participants were presented with news topics and asked how much they were following them.
But even if people say they're interested when asked directly, information from Google suggests that they're not searching as much for information about the spill online.
Interest wanes The term "Gulf oil spill" was a hot search on Google for weeks, peaking in mid-May as a sense of doom built around the fate of coastal towns, marshes and beaches. Soon, photos were all over the media of oiled marshlands and crude washing in with the surf on beaches.
Conditions on some parts of the coast improved in July, and Google searches had decreased dramatically by late that month, when BP finally capped the well and oil stopped flowing into the deep-blue waters off the coast of Louisiana.
Even more Web users lost interest through August despite the occasional blip, and people now enter in the Gulf oil spill search terms about as often as they did in April before the horrendous rig explosion and unstopped gusher grabbed the coast by the throat. Far more common today are searches for information about the economy, actress Lindsay Lohan or the University of Alabama's top-ranked football team.
One place where interest remains high is Cordova, Alaska. The northern fishing community of 2,200 was devastated after the tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground in Prince William Sound in 1989, and Gulf residents have visited to learn from survivors of the Alaska spill.
"I think like all things media-related, when you see it often enough, it's pushed to the back of your mind," said Rochelle van den Broek, executive director of Cordova District Fishermen United. "But here, it's in our minds a little bit more than other places because it's a subject so close to people."
In Louisiana, Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser became the face of the oil spill during the summer, meeting with Obama and conducting countless media interviews. The parish still sends out regular news releases with photos of fresh oil, almost begging someone to notice.
Nungesser said it's no accident that America has spill amnesia. He faults BP commercials for portraying the region as being healthier than it really is, for focusing more on successful aspects of the cleanup than the havoc the gusher created.
"What's frustrating to me is that they're obviously setting the stage for pulling out," Nungesser said.

BP has said it's in for the long haul, and Chef Sherrill said the company needs to be. He has creditors all over the country, and he regularly must explain to them that he can't pay his bills because the spill dried up business and there's simply no money.
"It should be a crime what is happening down here," Sherrill said.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

There’s another BP oil spill?

Posted by Oilism.com on October 9th, 2010 at 02:38pm

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is a catastrophe and as it continues to unfold wildlife and locals are bearing the worst. However, did you know that there was another spill in Alaska? Apparently, BP has another spill to deal, with but with the epic spill in the Gulf, it seems as though Alaska has been overshadowed. Greg Palast says to keep it quiet, BP officials acted like Nazis.
Under Oil Spills

 

25 Comments for There’s another BP oil spill?

  • 1. Mrinsane932  |  October 9th, 2010 at 2:58 pm
    Bp, bringing oil to American shores
  • 2. xblgator2009  |  October 9th, 2010 at 3:56 pm
    @Lowfun why haven’t you done it yet if it’s so simple?
  • 3. TrilogyofC  |  October 9th, 2010 at 4:06 pm
    @claytungsten FUCK the wild life
  • 4. knight4618  |  October 9th, 2010 at 4:32 pm
    hhmmm…. somewhere out there, osama is laughing his ass off at this……. :/
  • 5. THEJMILLSBAND  |  October 9th, 2010 at 4:39 pm
    Quick question,aromatic hydrocarbons rise into atmosphere which have potential to hold latent heat,refract light,and effect weather on the West Coast if the air currents and temperature control the boundary layers. Am I correct to assume this as a possibility?
  • 6. THEJMILLSBAND  |  October 9th, 2010 at 5:16 pm
    Quick question,aromatic hydrocarbons rise into atmosphere which have potential to hold latent heat,refract light,and effect weather on the West Coast if the air currents co
  • 7. Lowfun  |  October 9th, 2010 at 5:18 pm
    @xchainlinkx no joke right. People are just sheep it seems.
    Nobody is commited to actually doing something about this.
    Simple as storming these fuckers offices and stoping their program.
    Good luck getting anyone to leave their fucking cheese filled donuts for more than a day. I’m outraged.
  • 8. bacc1991ITA  |  October 9th, 2010 at 5:30 pm
    I believe that this project is that winning is liked a comment or a response to the account thanks
  • 9. SpaceMan131326  |  October 9th, 2010 at 5:42 pm
    wake Up America this is all about depopulation as part of the United Nations depopulation programs, these people that pass the blame lie as they all own part of the Alaska pipe line, these same Jewish NWO want control of the oil now, sick as this is what they are doing to our country
  • 10. truckerfromreno  |  October 9th, 2010 at 6:34 pm
    It’s funny how the world’s two biggest oil guzzlers and polluters are suffering their worst oil spills ever. When I say funny I mean ha ha.
    RULE BRITANNIA.
  • 11. xchainlinkx  |  October 9th, 2010 at 6:46 pm
    oil spill in the Gulf, one in Alaska, one in China, and now one in Michigan!
    WHERE IS THE FUCKING OUTRAGE?! WHEN ARE PEOPLE GOING TO FUCKING GET SERIOUS AND BRING THESE OIL GIANTS OUT OF BUSINESS?!
  • 12. xshabootiex  |  October 9th, 2010 at 7:45 pm
    How could another oil spill happen? Why so abruptly?
  • 13. dreamssofblue  |  October 9th, 2010 at 8:38 pm
    as long as obama is in power our oceans are safe.
  • 14. HeyBPoil  |  October 9th, 2010 at 9:22 pm
    Please check out our website HEYBP.com We are a grass roots effort in the search for answers about how to recover from this oil spill. HeyBP.com Please check us out @ HeyBP.com
  • 15. freedombiteback  |  October 9th, 2010 at 10:10 pm
    Proof BP is the Government !!…….
  • 16. log140  |  October 9th, 2010 at 11:02 pm
    they started 2 wars for oil… now some supernatural power is saying: here is your fucking oil for free…
  • 17. nnwo2010  |  October 9th, 2010 at 11:36 pm
    Full 1 hour documentary chronicling the BP oil spill including the prior knowledge, the stock that was sold days and weeks before, the media blackout, the poisons used to ‘clean’ the spill, the lethal methane levels, the poisoned crops, the Monsanto-Corexit connection, the Goldman Sachs/BP/Federal Government connection, the mass evacuations, bioremediation—spread the word!
    youtube.com/watch?v=kAxv6Hpe4-k
  • 18. TheDraconiankiller  |  October 9th, 2010 at 11:55 pm
    @TheDraconiankiller Sorry for the screwed up editing. Another large oil spill!
    BEIJING – China’s largest reported oil spill emptied beaches along the Yellow Sea as its size doubled Wednesday, while cleanup efforts included straw mats and frazzled workers with little more than rubber gloves.
    An official warned the spill posed a “severe threat” to sea life and water quality as China’s latest environmental crisis spread off the shores of Dalian, once named China’s most livable city.
  • 19. TheDraconiankiller  |  October 10th, 2010 at 12:47 am
    The oil had spread over 165 square miles (430 square kilometers) of water five days since a pipeline at the busy northeastern port exploded, hurting oil shipments from part of China’s strategic oil reserves to the rest of the country. Shipments remained reduced Wednesday.
  • 20. kingUNDERside  |  October 10th, 2010 at 1:26 am
    lets have an up rising!!!!! killem all start with obama
  • 21. MrBEB123  |  October 10th, 2010 at 1:46 am
    Let’s boycott BP and Shell as well. These foreign companies are sucking money out of the U.S. with no real benefit. Chevron is my choice for fuel.
  • 22. claytungsten  |  October 10th, 2010 at 2:32 am
    What a mess! How many years will it take for wild life to return to normal. They should fire all BP Executives!
  • 23. BRBA19471991  |  October 10th, 2010 at 3:04 am
    Are several days that I sent to BP OIL this video that puts in comparing their solution adopted and my project born on 11/06/2010.
    I turn to the public and to YouTube because I need that BP OIL takes a position and on.
    It’s like a comment
  • 24. darylhorny  |  October 10th, 2010 at 3:58 am
    Who lives in a pineapple under the sea…. SPONGEBOBE SQUARE PANTS…. who died in the oil because of BP SPONGEBOBE SQUARE PANTS!!!
  • 25. MrStrongestmanever  |  October 10th, 2010 at 4:48 am
    @MrRippper prolly b/c they dont wanna spend the mone

After cap, residents on Gulf feel abandoned


By Jay Reeves The Associated Press
Published: Sunday, October 10, 2010 at 3:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, October 9, 2010 at 10:56 p.m.
BIRMINGHAM | About 800 miles from the Gulf of Mexico, Dave Edmonds is struggling to remind people about the BP oil spill.

There aren’t many magazine covers with photos of oil-drenched birds now that BP has capped its massive gusher at the bottom of the sea. People aren’t looking online for information about the historic spill like they were a few weeks ago.
So Edmonds, who lives on the Delaware coast, has started a nonprofit organization to keep the disaster on people’s minds with a website and social networking campaign.
“Awareness has dropped. People don’t really care about the people who were affected. They don’t care about the fish life,” said Edmonds, founder of Taking Back the Gulf.
For Gulf residents fighting for economic survival, a nation’s short attention span is deeply unsettling, especially with oil still washing ashore. Yet it’s unclear whether Americans are turning their attention elsewhere, or whether it’s just the media that have.
Either way, people like Chef Chris Sherrill feel abandoned.
“It’s amazing how quickly the American public forgot that this was one of the worst manmade disasters in U.S. history,” he said. His wedding catering and event business in Gulf Shores is teetering because few brides are coming to the beach for weddings.
The slight isn’t necessarily intentional. Walking with his girlfriend in a park in Des Moines, Iowa, Michael Gauthier said he wonders about the oil’s lingering impact on the environment, and he fears for Gulf residents.

“It’s not in your face every day so you forget about it. Who doesn’t have bills to pay and work to go to? Who has time to think about what’s going on in Louisiana?” said Gauthier, 26.
What’s going on is the continued arrival of oil washing ashore, although in lesser amounts than during the summer. Dire predictions of environmental Armageddon have yet to materialize, but there’s also no consensus on how badly the ecosystem has suffered.
At first, no one could agree on how much oil was spilling into the Gulf; now there’s disagreement over how much remains. A commission this week faulted Barack Obama’s administration for multiple missteps, including an effort to block scientists from telling the public how bad the spill could be early on.
“If someone could say it will affect this, our shrimp are going to be poisoned for 10 years, people would think this is a bigger deal maybe,” said Scott Peterson, 37, also of Des Moines.
Peterson’s sentiment was echoed by Kathy Yoder, whose family works a farm in Washington, Maine. She said people may be dismissing the spill because the impacts don’t seem as devastating as first predicted.
“What irritates me is people act like it’s all gone because it’s not floating on top of the water,” she said. “I’m like, ‘Hello, there’s plenty of oil under the surface.’ ”
Recent research also raises the question of whether the spill is being overlooked outside the Gulf region, or if information on recent developments is just harder to come by. A Pew Research Center study found that only 1 percent of news coverage was dedicated to the spill last month, down from 22 percent during the height of the crisis.


However, a separate Pew survey found that 34 percent of the people responding to a poll in mid-September said they were still very interested in the spill — making it the top news item that week in terms of public interest. Participants were presented with news topics and asked how much they were following them.
But even if people say they’re interested when asked directly, information from Google suggests that they’re not searching as much for information about the spill online.
The term “Gulf oil spill” was a hot search on Google for weeks, peaking in mid-May as a sense of doom built around the fate of coastal towns, marshes and beaches. Soon, photos were all over the media of oiled marshlands and crude washing in with the surf on beaches.
Conditions on some parts of the coast improved in July, and Google searches had decreased dramatically by late that month, when BP finally capped the well and oil stopped flowing into the deep-blue waters off the coast of Louisiana.
Even more Web users lost interest through August despite the occasional blip, and people now enter in the Gulf oil spill search terms about as often as they did in April before the horrendous rig explosion and unstopped gusher grabbed the coast by the throat. Far more common today are searches for information about the economy, actress Lindsay Lohan or the University of Alabama’s football team.
One place where interest remains high is Cordova, Alaska. The northern fishing community of 2,200 was devastated after the tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground in Prince William Sound in 1989, and Gulf residents have visited to learn from survivors of the Alaska spill.
“I think like all things media-related, when you see it often enough, it’s pushed to the back of your mind,” said Rochelle van den Broek, executive director of Cordova District Fishermen United. “But here, it’s in our minds a little bit more than other places because it’s a subject so close to people.” 




Friday, October 8, 2010

Coastal Voices Part 1













Patricia James tells her story of life after April 20, 2010
The BP Slick has impacted people in ways you are not hearing about.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


90.3 WBHM Birmingham--WBHM-FM is partnering with public broadcasting outlets across the Gulf Coast region to create the Gulf Coast Consortium, a multi-media project to expand reporting on the Gulf Coast Oil Spill.
Operating under a $538,000 grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the collaboration includes lead station Louisiana Public Broadcast; WBHM-FM, Birmingham, AL; Alabama Public Television; Mississippi Public Broadcasting; WEDU-TV/FM, Tampa, FL; WUSF-TV/FM, Tampa, FL; WWNO-FM, New Orleans, LA; WSRE-TV/FM, Pensacola, FL; WVAS-FM, Montgomery, AL; and KRVS-FM in Lafayette, LA.
Public media stations in the region have responded to the crisis with in-depth reporting for their own communities and for national audiences via NPR and PBS programs. The grant will help the Gulf Coast Consortium support stations' local journalism efforts to cover the crisis and facilitate sharing of content among stations for the next year.
"The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill is the one of the largest disasters to hit the Gulf region," says Tanya Ott, WBHM-FM News Director. "WBHM will be sending reporters to the coast regularly to explore the long-term ramifications for the environment, the economy and the people of Alabama."
In addition to creating and sharing content for broadcast and digital distribution, Gulf Coast Consortium stations will also conduct community engagement activities through social media sites and town hall meetings.
Listen to us at WBHM 90.3 FM and WSGN 91.5 FM
Follow us at @WBHM903 on Twitter and WBHM 90.3 FM on Facebook
~ October 6, 2010

Corexit Use Still Appears to Be Prevalent in the Gulf, Despite Official Statements

Corexit Use Still Appears to Be Prevalent in the Gulf, Despite Official Statements

Since the blown-out well at the Mississippi Canyon 252 Macondo site has been capped and the cleanup operations in the Gulf declared a success, BP has summarily fired thousands of workers without notice who were left unemployed as a result of the disaster. Local, state and federal agencies have been working to present a picture of normalcy, declaring the seafood safe to eat, the beaches clean and the water free from oil. The actual situation along the Gulf Coast is far from normal, with many people evacuating due to sickness and financial distress. Independent scientific reports continue to conclude the safety of the seafood is questionable at best, the beaches remain thoroughly contaminated, and the majority of the oil and dispersant is still in the water column or at the bottom of the Gulf.
Upon arriving back on the Gulf Coast three weeks ago, the first thing we found were containers of Nalco Corexit, which according to BP, the Coast Guard, NOAA and the EPA has not been used since mid-July. On the ferry boat to Dauphin Island on Aug. 25, we had the pleasure of being photographed by a Coast Guard Officer whose job was to record everyone traveling on the ferry and also the license plate numbers on all the vehicles. The officer said he could not discuss the spill but did relate his enthusiasm to return home to his family on the East Coast. Shortly after arriving on Dauphin Island we found numerous containers of Corexit and were treated to yet another day of constant surveillance by two Sheriff's Deputies, a local police officer, and what appeared to be a DHS officer in the ever-present black SUV. We discovered the Corexit in two locations on the island, one of which was a privately owned marina whose owner demanded we leave immediately. The pictures below of containers with Corexit 9500 at the private-owned marina were taken next to the highway on a local's bicycle with a Sheriff's deputy pulled up with his siren blaring and lights flashing. The next day the containers were gone.
2010-10-06-jerry1.jpg

The following week we went back to Dauphin Island and spoke to the Mark Smith, BP Deputy Branch Director in charge of the operations on the island, regarding the presence of Corexit on the island.



Two nights earlier on Aug. 23, a local resident found containers clearly labeled 9527 at Bayou La Batre. According to official statements, Corexit 9527 supplies were depleted in May and has not been used since then. The BP/Coast Guard operations using the Corexit dispersants 9527 and 9500 have been the subject of intense criticism. Initially, BP, the Coast Guard, NOAA, and the EPA admitted to using the more toxic 9527, which contains 2-butoxyethanol, in concentrations exceeding 50% of the dispersant. 2-butoxyethanol is known to bioaccumulate in the marine food chain. The effects on marine life and human health can be devastating. One senior staffer to a US senator agreed that the use of more than two million gallons of Corexit in the Gulf is "the largest experiment ever conducted on a civilian population without their knowledge or consent in history."
2010-10-06-jerry2.jpg
2010-10-06-jerry3.jpg

Mike Fischer, who for years was dockmaster at the Bear Point Marina, witnessed dispersant being sprayed over lagoons surrounded by civilian populations. VOO (Vessels of Opportunity) deckhands and captains witnessed dispersant being deployed less than one mile off the Alabama and Mississippi Coasts as late as mid-September from small skiffs and planes flying at night without lights. This brings into question official statements by BP, the EPA, and the Coast Guard, who have claimed that no dispersants have been deployed since mid-July, aside from a very small amount, and that they were never used within three miles of shore or on inland waterways (unless approval was obtained).
In fact, there are numerous accounts of the Corexit dispersant being used on inland waterways, lagoons, and bayous. Margaret Long, a resident of Cotton Bayou in Alabama paid to have independent tests done on soil and water samples taken from her property. The results showed high concentrations of markers for Corexit. The official excuse repeatedly used to explain the 2-butoxyethanol in test results that it can be found in many household products is nothing short of absurd. It is simply not plausible to postulate that enough detergent or shampoo or hand lotion has been dumped on Margaret's property or in Cotton Bayou to elevate levels to what was confirmed. Below are the published test results.
2010-09-30-Horace_B._Long_81810.jpg
One of the fisherman who was enlisted early on the week immediately after the April 20 blowout spent up to 20 days at a time out on the water at the source. He and his coworkers were later assigned to the VOO program and and spent their days closer to shore spotting oil. All of these workers experienced various health issues indicative of chemical exposure. Initially they were given no Hazmat training or protective equipment of any kind. When BP and the US Coast Guard began spraying the Corexit dispersants, the boats in the area were instructed to move out of the area, but not so far that they could not visually observe the planes spraying from the air. In August and September they witnessed skiffs and barges dumping dispersant within one mile of the beaches along the Alabama coast. In one known case of extreme incompetence, Corexit was sprayed directly on a boat full of workers. The entire crew of the vessel was hospitalized and remain on disability. Many of these individuals previously would not speak out on any aspect of the spill, but as BP has terminated the VOO and all programs providing desperately needed employment for locals, they are now voicing their anger and disgust. Note to BP and other petroleum companies, if you really want to keep the workers silenced, be sure to continue to pay them for several months after the initial dirty work is done.
For months now there has been ongoing speculation as to why the federal government through the EPA and the US Coast Guard allowed the toxic dispersant to be sprayed across the Gulf when every NATO ally has banned its use as well as virtually every other coastal country in the world. The Corexit dispersants are highly toxic, especially when combined with oil and bioaccumulate in the food chain, making marine life tenuous and adversely affecting the long-term health of residents along the coast. What they do accomplish is sending the oil down the water column so that from the air it is virtually invisible. As with most other aspects of "cleanup" operations related to the blowout, appearances were far more important than reality, and the images shown on national media to the public of overriding concern. Clearly one factor in these decisions was allowing BP to not lose their investment in the drilling site and to collect some portion of the oil exploding from the wellhead.
More insight into the motivation for possibly not sealing the well early and creating an acceptable face for media consumption was provided by John Bean, who was a supervisor for one of BP's main subcontractors P2S. Mr. Bean's responsibilities included supervising more than 450 cleanup workers for a large portion of the resort beaches in Alabama and cleanup operations at "Green Acres," the command center in Gulf Shores; which, not coincidentally, was leased by BP from the private owner, Gulf Shores Mayor Robert Craft's family estate. While taking a break at the Green Acres command center, Bean overheard a conversation between two men both with satellite phones.
One of the men told the other that "the numbers are in," and that BP had collected enough oil from the spill to cover 100% of the costs resulting from the spill.



Taylor Hood was also employed in the VOO program. Hood and his fellow crew members were accompanied by an older gentlemen from Arkansas who was in charge of air monitoring for their vessel. After repeatedly coming up with negative readings when they were surrounded by oil, Taylor and his shipmates, just for "shits and grins," had the official place his device directly down close to the water over a large patch of oil. Not surprisingly, the device showed zero on whatever it was calibrated to measure. Situation normal. Far from being an isolated incident, these firsthand accounts of intentional deception and cover-ups are endless.
Reports of continued fish kills numbering in the hundreds of thousands continue to come in along the Gulf Coast, especially in southern Louisiana. A large number of fisherman refuse to sell their catches and feel it unconscionable to represent seafood coming out of the Gulf as safe for human consumption. Oyster beds are dead and dying with the offspring unable to survive due to changes in membrane viscosity caused by the dispersant. Several owners of private oyster farms see the end of their family businesses, which had been a mainstay for the coastal economy for generations. Among the coastal communities sickness from chemical exposure, suicides, depression, bankruptcy, and involuntary relocation/evacuations are now commonplace occurrences. The vast majority holds not only BP responsible, but the federal government as well. The government allowed BP to dictate the response to the spill and was instrumental in assisting BP in not only covering the Gulf with toxic dispersants but subsequently covering up the horrible realities of what it has done to the marine ecosystem, the health of US citizens along the coastal region, and the countless lives that have been destroyed.
 
Follow Jerry Cope on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jercope