BP Oil Spill

Gulf Spill Devastated Marine Life

Everyone in the Gulf region knew this long before this report was released…

BBC News – Science and Environment

Gulf spill’s effects ‘may not be seen for a decade’

The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill “devastated” life on and near the seafloor, a marine scientist has said.

Studies using a submersible found a layer, as much as 10cm thick in places, of dead animals and oil, said Samantha Joye of the University of Georgia.

Knocking these animals out of the food chain will, in time, affect species relevant to fisheries.

She disputed an assessment by BP’s compensation fund that the Gulf of Mexico will recover by the end of 2012.

Millions of barrels of oil spewed into the sea after a BP deepwater well ruptured in April 2010.

Professor Joye told the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in Washington that it may be a decade before the full effects on the Gulf are apparent.

She said they concluded the layers had been deposited between June and September 2010 after it was discovered that no sign of sealife from samples taken in May remained.

Professor Joye and her colleagues used the Alvin submersible to explore the bottom-most layer of the water around the well head, known as the benthos.

“The impact on the benthos was devastating,” she told BBC News.

“Filter-feeding organisms, invertebrate worms, corals, sea fans – all of those were substantially impacted – and by impacted, I mean essentially killed.

“Another critical point is that detrital feeders like sea cucumbers, brittle stars that wander around the bottom, I didn’t see a living (sea cucumber) around on any of the wellhead dives. They’re typically everywhere, and we saw none.”

Organisms on the seafloor stimulate the activity of micro-organisms and oxygenate the sediments, two tasks at the bottom of the aquatic food chain that will inevitably have longer-term effects on species nearer the surface – including the ones we eat.

Professor Joye noted that after the Exxon Valdez spill, it took several years before it became clear that the herring industry had been destroyed.

As such, she disagrees with the assessment in February, by the administrator of BP’s $20bn (£12bn) compensation fund, that the Gulf of Mexico will have recovered from the spill by the end of 2012.

“The Gulf is resilient,” she said.

“I do believe that it will recover from this insult, but I don’t think it’s going to recover fully by 2012.

“I think it’s going to be 2012 before we begin to really see the fisheries implications and repercussions from this.” 

Bacteria Ate Mostly Gas, Not Oil In BP Spill

BP is trying to shirk its responsibility to the people of the Gulf Coast once again….

Huffington Post

Bacteria that attacked the plumes of oil and gas resulting from the Deepwater Horizon gusher in the Gulf of Mexico mainly digested natural gas spewing from the wellhead — propane, ethane and butane — rather than oil, according to a study published in the journal Science.

4 Myths to Dispel on Hurricane Katrina Anniversary

Black Voices

August 29, 2005, is a day many Americans recall vividly. It marks the day that Hurricane Katrina forever changed the lives and fate of a city with a culture as rich as the land and waters it sits on. That day brought about sentiments of confusion, frustration, anger, strife, disgust, desperation and death.

Related Article: Hurricane Katrina: Five Years Later, Signs of Progress but Troubles Persist

Never in the history of the United States have we seen so many people with so many questions and so few answers:

“What’s happening?”
“Where am I going to go?”
“How am I going to repair or replace everything?”
“When can I go home”
“What’s left after the water recedes”
“WHO’S GOING TO HELP ME?”

Ironically, some of these questions are still unanswered after 5 years.

But being a New Orleans native, I’ve found a few misconceptions and myths that are associated with Hurricane Katrina and those who were so severely devastated by the storm. Here are some of the more common ones:

1) Those from New Orleans who left the city due to the storm are/were REFUGEES.I’m afraid not, folks. In fact, the very word suggests that we were not citizens of the United States prior to Hurricane Katrina, have never paid taxes in this country (and worst of all) not wanted here.

To be clear, an “evacuee” is far different from a “refugee.” We are not some illegal aliens looking to come to the “…land of the free and home of brave.” We are AMERICANS, which is why the response effort, or lack thereof, pierced the hearts of so many who weren’t New Orleanians but still realized they were witnessing the worst natural disaster coupled with the worst response effort in United States History.

2) The Lower 9th Ward is the only area that was damaged by the storm.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s debatable that the 9th Ward didn’t sustain the most damage due to Hurricane Katrina. The eastern half of the city took a significant amount of damage, as did other low-lying areas of the Big Easy, such as the 7th Ward and LakeView areas.

Unfortunately, though, the continuous coverage of the 9th Ward makes for BETTER press, because it consisted of some of the older houses in the city, which results in more distinct, visible examples of the devastation suffered due to the flood waters. Couple that with the fact that the area is also home to many who fall below the poverty line and have struggled to return to normalcy (let alone their everyday plight prior to the storm), and it’s easy to see why the cameras don’t venture too far from the area.

Yes, the 9th Ward was hit extremely hard, but it’s not the only area that was hit – not by a long shot.

3) Everyone from New Orleans that still lives in the city or has returned is old, mentally ill, homeless, uneducated, poor or on some form of government assistance.

Again, that isn’t true. The press loves to show you those types of images on television, but it just isn’t the case. Yes, New Orleans is a city that has a significant amount of poverty and low-income housing as does every major urban city in America. But to be clear, the city consists of business owners, civic leaders and other working class professionals that include the Shrimpers who are currently being affected by the recent oil spill.

The citizens of New Orleans are doctors, lawyers, and most any other profession that exist in an urban community. Nonetheless, the business, professional, and career prospects of New Orleans, do leave a lot to be desired, particularly now in post-Katrina, as many businesses have left the Crescent City for higher ground, no pun intended.

Still, the city is filled with affluent, educated people who are chasing the American dream just as you are.

4) The levees were blown up by some government entity.

It’s been said many times that the levees were blown up but that statement is false. The levees along the river were actually in good standing condition before a barge slammed against it, causing a breach and thus the flooding began. Conspirators after the “Wow” factor put this story out, but it isn’t true.

The barges that travel along the river are large and powerful enough to cause destruction, especially with the strong winds that accompany a storm of a Category 5 hurricane. The “boom” the locals heard was actually the barge slamming against the levees, not an explosion as the conspiracy suggests.

BP Not Denying, Just Not Paying Nearly 40,000 Oil Spill Claims

Huffington Post

Sheryl Lindsay’s wedding planner business is on the brink, crumbling with each cancellation over concerns about oil. Brides-to-be are walking away from plans for beachside vows, leaving Lindsay waiting to see whether she’ll be part of BP’s promise to make whole everyone who’s suffered from its spill.

BP said Monday it had received 145,000 claims from residents and business owners like Lindsay citing lost income because of the massive spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and had paid out $324 million without denying a single claim.

That sounds pretty good, until frustrated residents and officials point out that 39,000 claims are in limbo – some of them, including Lindsay’s, have been there for months. Some that have been paid are only partial payments, and many of those people are still fighting for more money.

“Therein lies the problem,” Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood said recently. “They don’t deny them. They just hold them open forever.”

Hood speculated that BP PLC would rather wait for Kenneth Feinberg, the federally appointed administrator of the $20 billion compensation fund BP established at the behest of the White House, to take over the claims process this month. That way, if a claim is denied, “he’s the bad guy” instead of BP, Hood said.

BP claims director Darryl Willis said the company isn’t deliberately delaying. Rather, 26,000 pending claims are still being evaluated and thousands of others need more documentation, the company said.

“Our intent is to continue paying claims until this process is handed over to Ken Feinberg,” Willis said. “There’s no intent to slow this thing down.”

However, BP does defer “questionable” claims to Feinberg, including “restaurants and tourist claims from areas that haven’t been impacted by an oiled beach,” company spokeswoman Pat Wright said.

“We believe there are some tough decisions out there that need to be made on a variety of these claims because many of these are claims are not squarely within the guidelines of the Oil Pollution Act,” she added.   Continue reading…

Sandra Bullock Disowns BP-Backed Greenwashing Campaign

Think Progress

Academy Award-winning actress and New Orleans resident Sandra Bullock has severed her involvement in a campaign to call attention to the BP spill, after learning from ThinkProgress that it was a greenwashing effort by the oil industry. Bullock is prominently featured in the Restore the Gulf campaign, run by Women of the Storm and sponsored by America’s Wetland Foundation.

In an online video with other major celebrities, Bullock called for American people to “speak up” and “sign the petition” for Congress and President Obama at the campaign website, which demands that “a plan to restore America’s Gulf be fully funded and implemented for me and future generations.” The YouTube video makes her the face of the campaign:

Continue reading…

BP photoshops fake photo of crisis command center, posts on main BP site

America Blog

UPDATE 12:08PM Eastern 7/20/10: BP has faked yet another oil crisis response photo on its Web site.

UPDATE: 11:14PM Eastern: BP has now posted the “original” photo, they claim. Except – surprise – they are refusing to post the high-resolution version of the new “original” photo (update: they’ve now posted the original photo). They posted the high-res version of the altered photo earlier, and in fact, that version is still live via a link below the new photo. Why not post the high-res version of the new “original” photo? Afraid someone is going to enlarge it and find out it’s fake too?

UPDATE 10:37PM Eastern: The Washington Post has the story now. Oddly, BP is now claiming that the photo is real – but it showed blank screens, and rather than show blank screens at AP’s crisis center, they instead put fake content-filled screens in the photo. Uh, a few questions.

1) Why were the screens in the crisis center blank in the middle of the crisis? Coffee break?
2) The BP spokesman claims that the photographer photoshopped the changes. Really? A professional photographer hired by BP Photoshops so poorly that a 12 year old kid could do a better job. Really? Let me show you what BP said exactly, and then the photo that supposedly this “professional” edited:

Scott Dean, a spokesman for BP, said that there was nothing sinister in the photo alteration and provided the original unaltered version. He said that a photographer working for the company had inserted the three images in spots where the video screens were blank.

Now here is the Photoshop job that the “professional” photographer did – this is just one part of the photo that he screwed up.

Continue reading…

Gulf Oil Spill Stopped: BP Says Oil Leak Is HALTED (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

 

 

Huffington Post 

NEW ORLEANS – BP finally choked off the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday — 85 days and up to 184 million gallons after the crisis unfolded — then began a tense 48 hours of watching to see whether the capped-off well would hold or blow a new leak. 

To the relief of millions of people along the Gulf Coast, the big, billowing brown cloud of crude at the bottom of the sea disappeared from the underwater video feed for the first time since the disaster began in April, as BP closed the last of three openings in the 75-ton cap lowered onto the well earlier this week. 

But the company stopped far short of declaring victory over the biggest offshore oil spill in U.S. history and one of the nation’s worst environmental disasters, a catastrophe that has killed wildlife and threatened the livelihoods of fishermen, restaurateurs, and oil industry workers from Texas to Florida. 

Now begins a waiting period during which engineers will monitor pressure gauges and watch for signs of leaks elsewhere in the well. The biggest risk: Pressure from the oil gushing out of the ground could fracture the well and make the leak even worse. 

“For the people living on the Gulf, I’m certainly not going to guess their emotions,” BP vice president Kent Wells said. “I hope they’re encouraged there’s no oil going into the Gulf of Mexico. But we have to be careful. Depending on what the test shows us, we may need to open this well back up.” 

The stoppage came 85 days, 16 hours and 25 minutes after the first report April 20 of an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that killed 11 workers and triggered the spill. 

Between 93.5 million and 184.3 million have already spilled into the Gulf, according to federal estimates.

Fox & Friends Compare Jimmy Buffett To Hugo Chavez

 

 

Jimmy Buffet held a free concert in Alabama last night for the victims of the BP oil eruption in the Gulf.   This is what the clowns at Fox & Friends had to say: 

News Hounds – Aunty Em 

The Three Stooges on the Curvy Couch, also known as Fox & Friends, set out against a brand new target Friday (7/9/10), one I never thought I’d see attacked on a news show. It was a case of changes in latitude, no changes in attitude as the Couch Crew went after Jimmy Buffett for daring to say that the BP oil spill disaster was the fault of the Bush administration’s energy policies. 

 

Gretchen Carlson: Okay. Jimmy Buffett. Here we have another celebrity—alright, he’s a great musician, right? Well, guess who he’s blaming for [starts chuckling like she can’t believe her ears] the oil spill now? 

Steve Doocy: Who do anybody blame? 

GC: Who’s the favorite target? I give you 3 seconds to give me a guess. [After zero seconds have passed.] Yep! George Bush. 

SD: LeBron James? [Because Doocy’s silly guess covered over the answer, Carlson had to repeat herself.] 

GC: George Bush. Here’s what—here’s what Jimmy Buffett said at a concert. “To me it was more about 8 years of bad policy, before [Obama] got there, that let this happen. It was Dracula running the blood bank in terms of oil and leases.” 

So didn’t Hugo Chavez, or was it Ahmadinejad, who called Bush the Devil on the U.N. floor? 

Brian Kilmeade: Uh, it was Hugo Chavez. 

GC: Chavez. So now Jimmy Buffet’s— 

BK: But Ahmadinejad would have seconded it— 

GC: —calling him a Dracula. 

BK: Yeah, but this has a lot of people in the area upset. And they’re—it looks like his sister could be paying the price. She’s got a restaurant in the area. People say, “Let’s boycott his sister.” 

Hey, it’s great to have a concert for 35,000 people expecting to go and bring some money to the area. That’s fantastic. July 4th was bad because of the oil spill, but can you just keep your opinions to yourself? 

SD: Sure. If they just want a little entertainment—take their minds off the fact that there’s so much trouble. And, given he has supported Obama in the past, but Margaritaville? To a lot of people it sounded like Koolaidville. 

GC: [Meme complete, the topic changed dramatically, or what we used to call a “hard turn” in the tee vee news game] How about the [soccer predicting] octopus? 

What’s wrong with all of this? Let me count the ways, which will take a lot more than the 1 minute and 15 seconds it took Carlson and Company to recite their talking points and trash Buffett: 

1). Other people, perhaps even smarter than Jimmy Buffett, have blamed the greatest ecological disaster the world has ever seen on the Bush/Cheney/Halliburton oil policies. 

2). If there’s one thing Jimmy Buffett is known for, aside from his music and string of popular restaurants, is that he cares deeply about ecology. His Save the Manatee Club, co-founded in 1981 with former-Florida governor Bob Graham, is now approaching its 30th anniversay. What have The Friends been doing for the environment the past 30 years? 

3). Buffett is personally underwriting the cost of brand new boats to rescue the wildlife harmed by the oil spill. These are specially designed to have shallow bottoms to better get into the shallow marshlands. 

4). Carlson and Co. surely know that making the comparison of Buffett to Hugo Chavez and Ahmadinejad, is a dog whistle to the Fox News audience. 

5). After an exhaustive search I could find no other criticism of Buffett’s remarks anywhere on the net. No one but these three seem to be “upset.” 

6). Nor could I find anyone suggesting “Let’s boycott his sister.” However, isn’t it cute how they slip in the little suggestion that people should start boycotting his sister’s restaurant? 

7). Ted Nugent, the draft-dodger, who has been mentioned here at News Hounds 110 times for his overblown, over the top, rhetoric on FNC. Nugent has used his concerts to call Obama “a piece of shit” and suggested that the then-candidate should “suck on my machine gun.” Yet, we’ve never heard anyone at Fox say about Nugent, “But can you just keep your opinions to yourself?” In fact, just a week prior to this Buffett hit piece from The Curvy Couch, Nugent was welcomed on Hannity with, “How are you my brother? Good to see you!” Of course Nugent used his time wisely. He said Obama “is spitting on the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the 10 Commandments, the golden rule.” 

And, don’t even get me started on Janine Turner

It would seem only those who agree with conservative memes are allowed their First Amendment Rights. Everybody else should sit down and shut up. 

8). Fox News has never been known to keep its opinions to itself. 

The supreme irony in all of this is the fact that Jimmy Buffett fans call themselves “Parrotheads.” Yet, the only ones who are parroting the company line are the The Three Stooges on the Curvy Couch.

Giving New Meaning To Red States–Meet the REAL Welfare Queens, The Republican Party

Crooks & Liars - Nicole Belle

So I see this video of Utah GOP Senate candidate Mike Lee telling the Salt Lake Tribune that he basically believes the taxpayers should be on the hook for cleaning up the BP oil spill. What can you say to this weird but consistently Republican attitude that the free market means never having to pay when you’ve f&%#ed up? Think Progress has the whole exchange.

But then I read this article about the dire economic condition of my home state. You know, the eighth largest economy in the whole world. And we’re bankrupt.

It’s a story that’s being repeated all across California – and throughout the United States – as cash-strapped state and local governments grapple with collapsed tax revenues and swelling budget gaps. Mass layoffs, slashed health and welfare services, closed parks, crumbling superhighways and ever-larger public school class sizes are all part of the new normal.

California’s fiscal hole is now so large that the state would have to liberate 168,000 prison inmates and permanently shutter 240 university and community college campuses to balance its budget in the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Think of California as Greece on the Pacific: bankrupt and desperately needing a bailout.

Another flipping bailout. And then it hit me. You know who the ultimate Welfare Queens are? They’re not those fictional mamas living high on the hog and driving Cadillacs as Ronnie Raygun insisted and Sharron Angle sneers at.

The true Welfare Queens are the Republican Party.

They don’t worry about income, fetishizing tax cuts beyond all reason, yet they spend like drunken sailors. Then when they find themselves (and the state or country) completely destitute and hurting, do they consider raising taxes to pay for their rampant spending? Of course not. They want to be bailed out.

California actually institutionalized this kind of Welfare Queen attitude, thanks to Republicans like Howard Jarvis‘s Prop 13 and the California Consititution’s requirement that any budget item or proposed tax increase must get a near impossible 2/3 vote of the entire state legislature. So now there’s literally no way to get the tax increases other than the Governor holding his hand out to the Feds.

So the next time you see overly-entitled Republicans saying that the taxpayers should be bailing them out, call them what they are: Welfare Queens