Saturday, June 5, 2010

More Attempts by BP to Control the Message & Spin PR in their favor

We've heard about the 50 million BP spent with "Purple Strategies" on a new ad campaign in the hopes of improving their image and trying to convince people that they understand the magnitude of the spill and trying to impress upon people the idea that they will clean it up and "make it right".

We've heard about the efforts to bar photographs of the dead and dying wildlife from getting out to the media in an effort to "control the message" that gets out, no doubt because they don't want people more outraged than they already are.

We've also heard about their efforts to keep people from viewing the spill from the air as well as on the ground by refusing to allow flights if they learn that photographers are on board.  The FFA denies this is the case but has admitted to restrictions over the airspace and when people call for permission they are denied access routinely unless accompanied by either someone from BP or the Coast Guard.

Now we've learned something new.

BP Buys 'Oil' Search Terms to Redirect Users to Official Company Website

BP, the very company responsible for the oil spill that is already the worst in U.S. history, has purchased several phrases on search engines such as Google and Yahoo so that the first result that shows up directs information seekers to the company's official website.
A simple Google search of "oil spill" turns up several thousand news results, but the first link, highlighted at the very top of the page, is from BP. "Learn more about how BP is helping," the link's tagline reads.
A spokesman for the company confirmed to ABC News that it had, in fact, bought these search terms to make information on the spill more accessible to the public.
BP continues to try and control their image which seems to be more important to them than in actually working on cleaning up the disaster they have created and compensating the people whose lives have been destroyed by BP's greed.

This company doesn't seem to grasp the idea that all they are doing is pissing more people off by these tactic's designed to control the message that gets out rather than working towards fixing the problems they have created.

Has no one told them that if they put as much effort into cleaning up the mess as they do trying to control their 'image' they might have gotten a better response from the people?

What You Can Do To Help In The Gulf Even If You Cannot Make It There **Updated**

CNN put together this wonderful list of things that you can do to help if you are unable to go to the Gulf and physically help.

Adopt a pelican
It is heart-wrenching to watch birds drenched with oil. The International Bird Rescue Research Center, which picks up oiled birds, cleans and rehabilitates them, is asking for support for its 23-member team of bird-rescue experts.
The organization allows individuals to donate or adopt a bird. Adopting a pelican, for example, costs $200, which will go to the cost of raising and eventually releasing the bird.
The organization’s team is working with the Tri-State Bird Rescue, setting up rehabilitation centers in Louisiana, Alabama and Florida. Birds that are cleaned – it takes almost an hour to clean a single oiled pelican – and rehabilitated are then released in oil-free areas chosen by federal and state trustee agency personnel and the International Bird Rescue Research Center. The Tri-State Bird Rescue is also taking donations and adoptions.
Tweet, blog, update
The National Wildlife Federation is asking for support from those who aren’t able to volunteer or donate by spreading their cause via social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter.
For example, they are asking Twitter users to tweet and retweet messages with the #NWF tag. There is a Facebook fan page, and users can support the Wildlife Federation by setting up a “birthday cause.” Instead of getting presents from friends, you can direct them to donate to the organization of choice.
The organization also has created web banners that blog users can embed on their sites that will take readers to the wildlife federation website, which urges readers to volunteer or donate.
Each $10 donation will go toward dispatching teams to monitor the coast for wildlife hurt by the spill, restoring nesting grounds, public education and policy work.
Donate to help fishermen and the Louisiana seafood industry is asking for donations to help families and businesses in the Gulf most affected by the disaster. With more than 30 percent of the waters closed to fishing, the site claims that a good portion of the fishing industry will be affected.
All donations will go to the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation, in partnership with the Louisiana Seafood Board, and the America’s WETLAND Foundation, which heads the “Campaign to Save Coastal Louisiana” project.
Write a letter
Donations aside, the Audubon Action Center is asking for people to write to their senators and members of Congress to support President Obama’s proposed 2011 budget, which includes $35.6 million for larger coastal restoration projects. The site has a suggested letter that can be edited and sent out.
Part of it states: “We have an opportunity to create jobs, work to mitigate the impacts of this tragic oil spill, and again rebuild the critical coastal marshlands that nurture a significant Gulf of Mexico fishing industry, and buffer the Louisiana coast and its communities from storms and other threats.”
Donate hair
Matter of Trust, a nonprofit organization that looks at how to recycle surplus materials such as hair, is asking for salons, pet owners, farmers and “hairy people,” to donate their locks, fur, fleece, feathers, nylons and such.
These fibers, the company says, are efficient materials for collecting and containing oil spills. Collected fibers are stuffed into recycled nylons and covered in mesh to make booms. “Every type of hair is fine (straight, curly, all colors, dyed, permed, straightened...) but only head hair,” the organization’s website says.
Leave a word of condolence
While all are focused on containment and cleanup efforts, there were lives lost in this disaster. Eleven workers died in the explosion of the Deep Water Horizon on April 20. Transocean has a condolence page on its website for people to leave memories and photos to remember those who died.
What You Can Do To Help Even If You Can't Make It There

Other Organizations where you might be able to help:

Mobile Bay National Estuary Program:

Louisiana Gulf Response Team:

Hands On New Orleans:

Remember that this disaster is not over when the well is capped.  The oil will be coming ashore for months and months even after the oil has stopped gushing into the Gulf.  There will be a great need for help, so do what you can, even if it means just spreading the word.  We are facing an ecological and economic nightmare that will affect many.  Our country, our people, our wildlife & sea life and our environment need all the help they can get.  

More information on ways you can help (I will update this whenever I get new information on ways to help):

 Anyone in the Mississippi area can contact the city of Biloxi and leave contact information through an online form. Volunteers will be notified as soon as opportunities to help have been organized.

 The Wildlife Sanctuary of Northwest Florida is also seeking donations and volunteers as it prepares for the arrival of affected birds and other animals. Learn more at
• Matter of Trust is a San Francisco-based nonprofit that’s been accepting donations of debris-free pet fur and human hair since 1998 to craft oil-absorbing hairmats. Their website offers instructions for hair donors.
 The Nature Conservancy is seeking donations and messengers. Telling your friends about what's a stake in the Gulf is critical to the group's efforts, according to Conservancy President Mark Tercek.

 The Alabama Coastal Foundation is currently accepting donations for clean-up efforts at their website, Volunteers should send their contact information including name, e-mail address and phone number to
 Mobile Baykeeper says the best way to help now — before the oil hits the shoreline — is by picking up litter and debris. “If you can get to your favorite shoreline today or tomorrow you can help speed up the clean up process,” officials said. Volunteers will be trained and organized for the cleanup process in the days and weeks to follow; call (251) 433-4229 to sign up.
 The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana has joined with partners on the local, state and federal level to start registering volunteers. Sign up at

This link takes you to a page that has a listing of charities & their ratings as links to them for additional ways to help:  Charity Navigator

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Disturbing New Images From The Gulf Oil Spill

**Edit to Add **  This is what a Brown Pelican looks like NOT covered in oil.

You can view the rest of them here.

These are the images that BP doesn't want you to see, and has been working hard at keeping out of the public eye to avoid the outrage photos like this are sure to cause.

What is New with the Oil Spill? Part V

I apologise for the delay in putting up Part V.  The weekend brought me unexpected company as well as a bout of depression over the increasing amount of news coming out about this spill.  I had to take a break and try and stop thinking about it constantly before I drove myself over the edge.

Back to business.
We've seen a few of the pictures but we also now have plenty of evidence that BP  is doing everything in their power to keep photo evidence of the devastation is kept to a minimum.  BP has been in control and continues to be in control and their main concern aside from getting the oil saved for themselves is to spin this into the best possible light in their favor.

An example of the PR spin that goes on, seemingly with permission from those within the Coast Guard who are repeatedly proclaimed to be in charge. President Obama came to Louisiana to give a press conference and to once again announce that the US Government was in charge of this operation and that everything that could be done was being done. Clean up crews were on the ball, in full hazmat gear, working diligently to clean that nasty oil off the beaches, and out of the marshes.

Reports came out shortly thereafter that bus loads of workers had been brought in, in full hazmat gear, to clean up the beach where the President would be visiting. Hundreds of workers. Then when the President left, buses showed up to pick those workers up and take them home.

Jefferson Parish Councilman Chris Roberts, whose district encompasses Grand Isle, told Yahoo! News that BP  bused in "hundreds" of  temporary workers  to clean up local beaches. And as soon as the president was en route back to Washington, the workers were clearing out of Grand Isle too, Roberts said.
"The level of cleanup and cooperation we've gotten from BP in the past is in no way consistent to the effort shown on the island today," Roberts said by telephone. "As soon as the president left, they were immediately put back on the buses and sent home."
Roberts says the overnight contingent of workers was there mainly to furnish a Potemkin-style backdrop for the event — while also making it appear that BP was firmly in command of spill cleanup efforts.
New Orleans NBC affiliate WDSU reports that the workers were paid $12 an hour and came mostly from neighboring Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes.
Jefferson Parish Councilman Chris Roberts Reports Hundreds Bused In By BP For President’s Visit

So this is what is being fed to the citizens of this country and the world. BP tells us all that worker safety is a priority and they are using all the manpower they have to help clean up the oil that continues to roll ashore daily, onto the beaches, into the marshes, and onto the barrier islands.

PENSACOLA - Local charter boat captains and commercial fishermen took to the streets today... to proclaim that BP has broken its promise to them. 
They say BP lied to them... when they said fishermen would be given first consideration for jobs through the Vessels of Opportunity Program.
They rallied right here this morning to get their point across.
With creative homemade signs and banners... Pensacola Beach charter captains and commercial fishermen are taking their anti-BP message... public.
We've been told some things that do not seem to be the case... we've been told that we'd be hired first, that the charter and commercial fisherman would be put in front of everyone else... because we're the first ones hit by this issue.
They have hired a lot of people already, but they have not hired local captains like they said they were gonna. 
Jerry Andrews is the captain of The Entertainer... and says to date... he's only heard about two local charter boat captains BP has hired.
Probably 90% of the people they activated or hired... has nothing to do with the fishing industry whatsoever, and that's what has got us so up in arms.

BP NOT Hiring Locals For Work Like Promised

Dying, dead marine wildlife paint dark, morbid picture of Gulf Coast following oil spill

Here's what President Obama didn't see when he visited the Gulf Coast: a dead dolphin rotting in the shore weeds.
"When we found this dolphin it was filled with oil. Oil was just pouring out of it. It was the saddest darn thing to look at," said a BP contract worker who took the Daily News on a surreptitious tour of the wildlife disaster unfolding in Louisiana.
His motive: simple outrage.
"There is a lot of coverup for BP. They specifically informed us that they don't want these pictures of the dead animals. They know the ocean will wipe away most of the evidence. It's important to me that people know the truth about what's going on here," the contractor said.
"The things I've seen: They just aren't right. All the life out here is just full of oil. I'm going to show you what BP never showed the President."
The day was 85 degrees, the blue sky almost white with sunshine, the air fresh with salt tang.
After checking that he was unobserved, he motored out to Queen Bess barrier island, known to the locals as Bird Island.
The grasses by the shore were littered with tarred marine life, some dead and others struggling under a thick coating of crude.
"When you see some of the things I've seen, it would make you sick," the contractor said. "No living creature should endure that kind of suffering."..........
"I saw a pelican under water with only its wing sticking out," he said. "I grabbed it and lifted it out of the water. It was just covered in oil. It was struggling so hard to survive. We did what we could for it.
"Nature is cruel, but what's happening here is crueler."................
"BP is going to say the deaths of these animals wasn't oil-related," he said. "We know the truth. I hope these pictures get to the right people - to someone who can do something."

Dead Dying Marine Wildlife Paint Dark, Morbid Picture of Gulf Coast Following Oil Spill

BP is apparently barring cleanup workers fromsharing photos of dead animals that have washed ashore. But whether we're seeing them or not, the bodies are starting to add up.
Late last week, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and other responders issued a tally of the animals collected as of Friday in oil-impacted regions of Alabama, Florida , Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas—dead and alive. Those stats are shocking: 444 dead birds, 222 dead sea turtles, and 24 mammals (including dolphins). I sent a request to the Unified Command office last week asking for data on wildlife collected over a normal time period, pre-oil-disaster, for comparison. I haven't received a reply

BP Bars Photos of Dead Wildlife-Bodies Pile Up

We've heard this tale over and over again from so many.  BP is forbidding photographs of all the dead and dying animals all the while they proclaim that they aren't hiding anything.  Why, if they aren't trying to hide anything are we not getting more of these pictures out there?  Why is this the same story we hear this same story time and again from different people all who are trying to simply get the truth out there?

This kind of coverup is the worst because people are deliberately hiding the truth from the American people and the world at large to prevent more outrage against a company that has profound problems with safety and has a long and protracted history of ignoring safety issues.

Lets take a look at some of the history that is readily available on BP's safety problems.

BP's Dismal Safety Record

As the nation comes to grips with the worst oil disaster in its history , there is evidence BP has one of the worst safety track records of any major oil company operating in the United States.
n two separate disasters prior to the Gulf oil rig explosion, 30 BP workers have been killed, and more than 200 seriously injured.
In the last five years, investigators found,BP has admitted to breaking U.S. environmental and safety laws and committing outright fraud. BP paid $373 million in fines to avoid prosecution.
BP's safety violations far outstrip its fellow oil companies. According to the Center for Public Integrity, in the last three years, BP refineries in Ohio and Texas have accounted for 97 percent of the "egregious, willful" violations handed out by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

BP's Dismal Safety Record

The reason for BP's apparently complacency was a culture of fear that it had fostered amongst its employees for more than 15 years. In the 1990s, BP had hired a private security outfit to go through employees' trash, even setting up a dummy public interest firm to attract the attention of conscience-minded employees and trap them. In 2004, an internal report by a law firm concluded that BP employees were subject to retaliation for reporting environmental and safety concerns, and this was only revealed after a confrontation with a Congressional committee resulted in its release.

BP Sordid History In Alaska

From 1993 through 1995, a BP contractor on the North Slope, Doyon Drilling, saved money by illegally dumping hazardous materials down oil well shafts. The company pleaded guilty in federal court to a felony violation of the Clean Water Act and was fined $3 million. BP's punishment for pleading guilty to failing to report the dumping as soon as it learned about it: a felony conviction in 2000 that brought a $500,000 fine, five years probation and an order to create a nationwide environmental management program that cost the company at least $40 million.
BP was still on probation, and under strict rules to prevent reprisals against employees who raised environmental concerns, when new problems erupted in its North Slope corrosion control program.
Despite warnings from a leak-detection system, a badly corroded 34-inch-diameter pipeline in Prudhoe Bay lost oil for at least five days before a worker driving down a nearby service road on March 2, 2006, smelled oil and spotted the spill, which covered at least two acres of tundra. At 200,000 gallons, it was the largest ever on the North Slope.
Just five months later, on Aug. 6, 2006, a second spill of about 1,000 gallons was discovered on another line. Subsequent investigation found the line was riddled with corrosion, with 176 places where more than half the original diameter had been eaten away..........
The chief of BP's corrosion unit, Richard Woollam, who was reassigned to nonsupervisory duties in 2005, took the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination during the hearings, which uncovered a 2004 report by the Houston law firm Vinson & Elkins warning BP that employees faced retaliation for reporting problems.
Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, suggested BP had decided to "bet the farm" that the pipeline wouldn't fail before Prudhoe Bay would run out of oil, saving it the cost of replacement. He accused the company of fostering a "corporate culture of seeming indifference to safety and environmental issues." In 2007, BP pleaded guilty in federal court in Anchorage to another violation of the Clean Water Act for the 2006 spill. This crime was a misdemeanor, but it still cost BP $20 million in fines and restitution and three more years of probation. Prosecutors said the spill occurred because BP was more interested in cutting costs than in maintaining an aging oil field.
A BP vice president told the judge that the corrosion problems were "out of character" for the company. BP had learned its lesson, he said.
But in November last year, 46,000 gallons of oil and water gushed from an over-pressurized BP pipeline on the North Slope, prompting the EPA and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation to open another criminal investigation of BP. An EPA investigator declined to comment last week on the probe's status.
.....In its report on the 2005 refinery explosion in Texas, the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board criticized "organizational and safety deficiencies at all levels of the BP Corporation," and said management failures could be traced from Texas to London.

BP Has History Of Safety Failures

So this shows us that there is a long and well documented history of safety problems and attempts at covering up the problems, and yet what happened with the Deep Horizon Rig?  It sank, killing 11 people and causing the worst environmental disaster in this country has ever experienced.   Was this preventable or was this just another problem within BP like history has shown us is more than likely the case?  Good question and the more time that passes the more we are finding out.

Documents Show Early Worries About Safety of Rig
Internal documents from BP show that there were serious problems and safety concerns with the Deepwater Horizon rig far earlier than those the company described to Congress last week.
The documents show that in March, after several weeks of problems on the rig, BP was struggling with a loss of “well control.” And as far back as 11 months ago, it was concerned about the well casing and the blowout preventer.
On June 22, for example, BP engineers expressed concerns that the metal casing the company wanted to use might collapse under high pressure.
“This would certainly be a worst-case scenario,” Mark E. Hafle, a senior drilling engineer at BP, warned in an internal report. “However, I have seen it happen so know it can occur.”
The company went ahead with the casing, but only after getting special permission from BP colleagues because it violated the company’s safety policies and design standards. The internal reports do not explain why the company allowed for an exception. BP documents released last week to The Times revealed that company officials knew the casing was the riskier of two options.
Though his report indicates that the company was aware of certain risks and that it made the exception, Mr. Hafle, testifying before a panel on Friday in Louisiana about the cause of the rig disaster, rejected the notion that the company had taken risks.
“Nobody believed there was going to be a safety issue,” Mr. Hafle told a six-member panel of Coast Guard andMinerals Management Service officials.

Documents Show Early Worries About Safety of Rig

BP Lacked Well Control Six Weeks Before Blowout, E-Mails Show

May 30 (Bloomberg) -- BP Plc told U.S. regulators six weeks before its Gulf of Mexico well blew out that workers had difficulty maintaining control, according to e-mails released today by the House Energy and Commerce Committee investigating the spill.
A March 10 e-mail to Frank Patton, the Minerals Management Service’s drilling engineer for the New Orleans district, from BP executive Scherie Douglas said the company planned to sever the pipe connecting the well to the rig and plug the hole.
“We are in the midst of a well control situation on MC 252 #001 and have stuck pipe,” Douglas wrote, referring to the subsea block, Mississippi Canyon 252, of the stricken well. “We are bringing out equipment to begin operations to sever the drillpipe, plugback the well and bypass.”
Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, a California Democrat, and Representative Bart Stupak, a Michigan Democrat and chairman of the panel’s oversight subcommittee, released the documents related to oil-well design, and e-mails from March, February and November 2009. The documents “raise questions, but their connection to the blowout, if any, require additional investigation,” the lawmakers said.
The e-mails shows that as early as the second week of March, BP was enlisting help from J. Connor Consulting Inc., a Houston-based firm that advises some of the world’s biggest energy companies on how to respond to oil spills.
Federal regulators gave BP permission to cement the well at a shallower depth than normally would have been required after the hole caved in on drilling equipment, the e-mails showed.

BP Lacked Well Control Six Weeks Before Blowout, E-Mails Show

Now BP was not alone in their problems, and they had plenty of help in their ability to let problems slide, to ignore previous problems and get passes on safety plans.   The MMS (minerals management service) who is tasked with oversight of these Oil & Gas Companies were literally and figuratively in bed with these companies and allowed this to happen.

House Oversight Launches Investigation Into BP, Minerals Management Service

At the heart of the BP oil disaster is a culture of permissiveness at the Minerals Management Service, the agency supposed to regulate offshore drilling. The MMS endured one of the most embarrassing investigations of a federal agency in recent history under the Bush Administration, when the Inspector General for the Department of the Interior uncovered multiple sex and drug scandals at the agency. So it’s not like we need another investigation to know that the MMS was in bed with the corporate interests they’re supposed to regulate.

House Oversight Launches Investigation into BP & MMS

IG report: Meth, porn use by drilling agency staff:
The report said that employees from the Lake Charles, La., MMS office had repeatedly accepted gifts, including hunting and fishing trips from the Island Operating Company, an oil and gas company working on oil platforms regulated by the Interior Department.
Taking such gifts "appears to have been a generally accepted practice," the report said.
Two employees at the Lake Charles office admitted using illegal drugs, and many inspectors had e-mails that contained inappropriate humor and pornography on their government computers, the report said.
Kendall recommended a series of steps to improve ethical standards, including a two-year waiting period for agency employees to join the oil or gas industry.
One MMS inspector conducted four inspections of Island Operating platforms while negotiating and later accepting employment with the company, the report said. 

IG report: Meth, porn use by drilling agency staff

Falsified Oil Rig Inspections & Other Improprieties US Inspector General Report

On May 24, Mary L. Kendall, Acting Interior Department Inspector General's memo to her boss, Secretary Ken Salazar, discussed an "Investigative Report," titled "Island Operating Company, et al," addressing allegations that Lake Charles, Louisiana District Office Minerals Management Service (MMS) employees (in charge of inspections and oversight) "accepted gifts from oil and gas production companies."
Occurring prior to 2007, it provides evidence that "a much-needed (MMS ethics) change is required." Ordinarily, public release would have followed a formal MMS response, 90 days after getting it. But today's events forced Kendall "to release it now," saying her greatest concern is the "environment in which these inspectors operate - particularly the ease with which they move between industry and government."
She found evidence that MMS and industry personnel fraternized and exchanged gifts, and have known each other since childhood. MMS staff used illegal drugs, viewed pornography on their government computers, and sent emails with racist comments, citing one manager saying:
"Obviously, we're all oil industry. We're all from the same part of the country. Almost all of our inspectors have worked for oil companies out on these same platforms. They grew up in the same towns." They've been friends all their lives. "They've hunted together. They fish together. They skeet shoot together....They do this all the time."
John E. Dupuy, Assistant Inspector General for Investigations, prepared the report for S. Elizabeth Birnbaum, MMS's Director.
It says industry gifts included hunting and fishing trips, lunches, and other favors from the Island Operating Company (IOC), working on Gulf oil and gas rigs. In addition, one inspector was in the process of "negotiating and later accepting employment with that company." 

Falsified Oil Rig Inspections & Other Improprieties US Inspector General Report

Sex, Drug Use and Graft Cited in Interior Department 

In three reports delivered to Congress on Wednesday, the department’s inspector general, Earl E. Devaney, found wrongdoing by a dozen current and former employees of the Minerals Management Service, which collects about $10 billion in royalties annually and is one of the government’s largest sources of revenue other than taxes.
“A culture of ethical failure” pervades the agency, Mr. Devaney wrote in a cover memo.
The reports portray a dysfunctional organization that has been riddled with conflicts of interest, unprofessional behavior and a free-for-all atmosphere for much of the Bush administration’s watch.
The highest-ranking official criticized in the reports is Lucy Q. Denett, the former associate director of minerals revenue management, who retired earlier this year as the inquiry was progressing.
Sex, Drug Use and Graft Cited in Interior Department

So we can see that BP while having a culture and long history of safety issues was also allowed to continue in this manner by the very same people charged with regulating and fining them as well as collecting royalties from the Oil & Gas Co.'s.   That is how this has been allowed to get to the point where the Gulf Oil Spill was allowed to happen.

The Gulf Oil Spill was no 'accident'.   This should have been expected due to the problems we know existed and were allowed & encouraged by the refusal of anyone to stop them before they got to this point.

Something needs to be done, and I would like to start by completely tearing down MMS and starting over.  I would also love to see criminal charges filed against BP for their actions as it is obvious that fining them and making them simply pay for the clean up and destruction isn't going to be enough.  They have and will fight tooth and nail to avoid paying just like Exxon-Mobil did in the Exxon Valdez spill.   This cannot be allowed to continue.  Destroying environments and the livelihoods of thousands of people and the wholesale slaughter of animals should result in more than simple fines and an expectation of repayment of monies lost, especially when there is a well documented history of ignoring safety problems.

I'll update with more soon.....stay tuned.

Monday, May 31, 2010

What is New with the Oil Spill? Part IV

Part IV

As a reminder of what is going on in the Gulf Of Mexico

Biologist Mandy Tumlin from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and
Fisheries recovers a dead dolphin off of Grand Isle, Louisiana, on
Saturday, May 29, 2010. The dolphin will be taken for testing to see if
its death was due to exposure to toxins from the Gulf of Mexico oil
Link To Info

The Last picture I posted of a Dolphin was one in which its skin was covered with Chemical burns.  This one seems to have avoided that fate, but if it did die of exposure to toxins, will we ever hear about it?  Not if BP and officials have their way as we are not being kept informed of the true nature of what is happening with any and all aspects of this spill.

Do you suppose if pictures like these were on the news cycles constantly that people would be more up in arms about this?  I do and I think that is the exact reason that these types of photo are not on the 24 hour cycle.

We have more or less stopped the majority of the clean up efforts despite what we hear from both BP & the Coast Guard, as all boats and crew that were out on the gulf cleaning up the oil were recalled after several people got sick due to exposure to the toxic chemicals from both the oil itself and the chemicals in the dispersant being used.     This was not unexpected as Dr. Riki Ott has predicted this would happen and has even written to and personally spoken to members of congress about the effects of these chemicals on the body and brain of people as well as animals (and she did this prior to this spill, but since the spill occurred, she has been vocal about the dangers).  

Oil cleanup ships ordered to shore after crew members report illness

The U.S. Coast Guard on Wednesday ordered all ships participating in the BP oil spill cleanup in Breton Sound, La., to cease operations for the time being after crew members on three boats  reported health problems.

Four crew members reported nausea, dizziness, headaches and chest pains Wednesday afternoon after working near the oil. One person was flown to West Jefferson Hospital in Marrero, La., another was taken to the same facility by boat, and two were transported by ambulance, according to the Joint Incident Command in Houma, La.. The other crew members refused treatment at the dock.
The illnesses came a day after  BP  reported that it had heard no health complaints from local fishermen who had taken jobs with the company, laying booms and skimming oil from the Gulf. The Times reported that several fishermen complained of similar symptoms while working around oil and chemical  dispersants.
Even as the oil company dismissed the claims, a Louisiana congressman pressed a request to the federal Health and Human Services Department for assistance in placing mobile health clinics in rural areas of south Louisiana where oystermen and shrimpers live.
As a precaution, the Unified Command directed all 125 of the commercial vessels that had been outfitted with equipment for oil recovery operations in the Breton Sound area to return to their temporary accommodations.  Medical personnel were being sent to evaluate the remaining crew members as an additional precaution.
Oil cleanup ships ordered to shore after crew members report illness

Despite knowing of the potential dangers of exposure to the chemical soup, clean up crews have not been given the proper equipment needed to protect themselves from this exposure and instead of supplying the people with the proper equipment (which consists of rubber boots, rubber gloves, protective clothing and special respirators) instead they have simply called the boats in and refused to allow people to go back out.   Where is OSHA in this mess?  Good question.   Why is the Coast Guard, who is the Incident Command on this disaster, allowing this to happen?

At this link you can see for yourself what is considered “Proper Equipment” for those dealing with toxic or hazardous materials, but they do include boots, gloves, &  respirators.
Keeping Workers Safe During Oil Spill Response & Clean Up Operations:
OSHA Regulations

How often have you seen pictures of those working down there wearing the respirators?
A friend in New Orleans is concerned about the oil fumes now engulfing the southern part of town. He says it “smells pretty strong–stronger than standing in a busy mechanics shop, but not as bad as the bus station in Tijuana.”
State health officials are warning people who are sensitive to reduced air quality to stay indoors, but anyone who experiences the classic symptoms of crude oil overexposure–nausea, vomiting, headaches, or cold or flu-like symptoms–should seek medical help.
This is serious: Oil spill cleanups are regulated as hazardous waste cleanups because oil is, in fact, hazardous to health. Breathing oil fumes is extremely harmful.
After the 2002 Prestige oil spill off Galicia, Spain, and the 2007 Hebei Spirit oil spill in South Korea, medical doctors found fishermen and cleanup workers suffered from respiratory problems, central nervous system problems (headaches, nausea, dizziness, etc.), and even genetic damage (South Korea). I have attended two international conferences the past two years to share information with these doctors.
During the Exxon Valdez spill, health problems among cleanup workers became so widespread, so fast, that medical doctors, among others, sounded warnings. Dr. Robert Rigg, former Alaska medical director for Standard Alaska (BP), warned, “It is a known fact that neurologic changes (brain damage), skin disorders (including cancer), liver and kidney damage, cancer of other organ systems, and medical complications–secondary to exposure to working unprotected in (or inadequately protected)–can and will occur to workers exposed to crude oil and other petrochemical by-products. While short-term complaints, i.e., skin irritation, nausea, dizziness, pulmonary symptoms, etc., may be the initial signs of exposure and toxicity, the more serious long-term effects must be prevented.”[1]

Unfortunately, Exxon called the short-term symptoms, “the Valdez Crud,” and dismissed 6,722 cases of respiratory claims from cleanup workers as “colds or flu” using an exemption under OSHA’s hazardous waste cleanup reporting requirements.[2]
Sadly,  sick Exxon cleanup workers were left to suffer and pay their own medical expenses. I know of many who have been disabled by their illnesses – or have died.
I have repeatedly warned Congress in letters and in person to strike that loophole because it exempts the very work-related injuries–chemical induced illnesses–that OSHA is supposedly designed to protect workers from.
Remember the “Katrina Crud” and the “911 Crud?” Standby for the “Gulf Crud” because ourfederal laws do not adequately protect worker safety or public health from the very real threat of breathing oil vapors, including low levels typically found in our industrial ports, our highways during rush hour traffic, and our urban cities.
Oil is not only harmful to people, it is deadly to wildlife. I am sickened to think of the short-term destruction and long-term devastation that will happen along America’s biologically rich coastal wetlands – a national treasure and a regional source of income.
Riki Ott: Lessons From the Exxon Valdez Spill

BP learned a lot of lessons from the Exxon Valdez spill and is in full PR spin mode right now and it seems that our current administration is willing to go along with it.   BP has refused to allow the proper equipment for clean up crews and it has been suggested by several people that BP has also told people that if they use the proper equipment they will be fired.   Why?  PR baby, PR.   How bad would it look on television if you had tons of people walking around in special respirators to protect themselves?   It would make things look much worse than what BP is trying to imply the situation truly is.   We can’t have that now can we?

For weeks, cleanup crews hired by BP have been reporting health issues, but their complaints have largely been ignored. As recently as Tuesday, BP spokesperson Graham MacEwen told the Los Angeles Times he was unaware of any health complaints among cleanup workers. BP has refused to provide respirators to many hired fishermen, and the company has reportedly threatened to fire workers who use their own respirators on the job.
(Transcript of interview between and Juan GONZALEZ & AMY GOODMAN
and  guests  Clint Guidry, president of the Louisiana Shrimp Association.  Albert Huang, environmental justice attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council.
BP Threatens Workers With Firing & Refuses to Provide Or Allow Respirators

BP 'systemic failure' endangers Gulf cleanup workers

WASHINGTON — Federal regulators complained in a scathing internal memo about "significant deficiencies" in BP's handling of the safety of oil spill workers and asked the Coast Guard to help pressure the company to address a litany of concerns.
The memo, written by a Labor Department official earlier this week and obtained by McClatchy , reveals the Obama administration's growing concerns about potential health and safety problems posed by the oil spill and its inability to force BP to respond to them.
BP said it's deployed 22,000 workers to combat the spill, which experts now estimate has spewed 37 million gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico . At this point, much of the oil remains offshore.
David Michaels , the assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health who wrote the memo, raised the concerns on Tuesday, the day before seven oil spill workers on boats off the coast of Louisiana were hospitalized after they experienced nausea, dizziness and headaches.
Late Friday, the disaster response team sent four more workers to the hospital by helicopter, including two with chest pains.
In his memo to Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen , Michaels said his agency has witnessed numerous problems at several work sites and staging areas through the Gulf Coast region.
"The organizational systems that BP currently has in place, particularly those related to worker safety and health training, protective equipment, and site monitoring, are not adequate for the current situation or the projected increase in clean-up operations," Michaels said in the memo.
"I want to stress that these are not isolated problems," he continued. "They appear to be indicative of a general systemic failure on BP's part, to ensure the safety and health of those responding to this disaster."
Michaels added that BP "has also not been forthcoming with basic, but critical, safety
and health information on injuries and exposures."
Michaels raised the alarm about BP as his own agency was coming under fire for not being aggressive enough in monitoring the company or the contractors who are providing oil spill cleanup training.
Graham MacEwen , a spokesman for BP, maintained that his company is being responsive to any problems as they develop.
"We consider safety a number one priority," he said. "We will continue to try to improve our safety record."
A Big Difference Between Reports by Boots On The Ground & What BP Is Claiming Regarding Worker Safety

To date nearly ¾ of a million gallons, over 700,000 gallons of the dispersant CoreXit have been dumped into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.  This is the largest use of toxic dispersants ever used in history, and lest we forget this is a substance which has been banned in other countries due to its toxicity in sea & wildlife.

The potential for health problems with the human population is great, and the threat to the sea and wildlife is even greater.

The two types of dispersants BP is spraying in the Gulf of Mexico are banned for use on oil spills in the U.K. As EPA-approved products, BP has been using them in greater quantities than dispersants have ever been used in the history of U.S. oil spills.
BP is using two products from a line of dispersants called Corexit, which EPA data appear to show is more toxic and less effective on South Louisiana crude than other available dispersants, according to Greenwire.
BP Using Dispersant’s In Gulf Spill That Are Banned in UK

Air tests from the Louisiana coast reveal human health threats from the oil disaster
The media coverage of the BP oil disaster to date has focused largely on the threats to wildlife, but the latest evaluation of air monitoring data shows a serious threat to human health from airborne chemicals emitted by the ongoing deepwater gusher.
Louisiana Environmental Action Network released its analysis of air monitoring test results by the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA's air testing data comes from Venice, a coastal community 75 miles south of New Orleans in Louisiana's Plaquemines Parish.
The findings show that levels of airborne chemicals have far exceeded state standards and what's considered safe for human exposure.
For instance, hydrogen sulfide has been detected at concentrations more than 100 times greater than the level known to cause physical reactions in people. Among the health effects of hydrogen sulfide exposure are eye and respiratory irritation as well as nausea, dizziness, confusion and headache.
The concentration threshold for people to experience physical symptoms from hydrogen sulfide is about 5 to 10 parts per billion. But as recently as last Thursday, the EPA measured levels at 1,000 ppb. The highest levels of airborne hydrogen sulfide measured so far were on May 3, at 1,192 ppb.
Testing data also shows levels of volatile organic chemicals that far exceed Louisiana's own ambient air standards. VOCs cause acute physical health symptoms including eye, skin and respiratory irritation as well as headaches, dizziness, weakness, nausea and confusion.
Louisiana's ambient air standard for the VOC benzene, for example, is 3.76 ppb (parts per billion), while its standard for methylene chloride is 61.25 ppb. Long-term exposure to airborne benzene has been linked to cancer, while the EPA considers methylene chloride a probable carcinogen.
Air testing results show VOC concentrations far above these state standards. On May 6, for example, the EPA measured VOCs at levels of 483 ppb. The highest levels detected to date were on April 30, at 3,084 ppb, following by May 2, at 3,416 ppb.

Air Tests From Louisiana Coast Reveal Human Health Threats From The Oil Spill Disaster

Now this information tells us that not only are the levels off the charts for what is considered acceptable, but it is to be expected with these levels that people will get sick.  So knowing this why are there not warnings being sounded about the dangerous nature of what is being found?  Tourists have still been encouraged to visit and take their vacations with the claims of the area being safe, and yet all the information we are finding is saying the exact opposite, and imagine the danger to the people living here and breathing in these high levels of toxicity on a daily basis for who knows how long.  Do we think that things will be any different than they were for those who suffered health problems during and after the Exxon Valdez spill?  It will be far worse because there is a larger spill, with more dispersants being used than any other time in history and there is a larger concentration of people not to mention the length of time that this has been going on and will continue to go on.  We know that the relief wells will not be able to be completed drilling until August at the earliest, so we are talking months and months of exposure .

Coastal Wildlife Vulnerable to Gulf Oil Spill:

Link To Above InfoGraphic Provided by Defenders Of Wildlife

The Material Safety Data Sheet on the CoreXit (Dispersant being used to hide the oil from the spill) shows that no toxicity studies were done on this product.

Material  Safety Data Sheet for CoreXit

If you look at #3 titled Hazardous Identification on that data sheet you will see this:

**Emergancy Overview** and it states:

Combustible.Keep away from heat. Keep away from sources of ignition - No smoking. Keep container tightly closed. Do not getin eyes, on skin, on clothing. Do not take internally. Avoid breathing vapor. Use with adequate ventilation. In caseof contact with eyes, rinse immediately with plenty of water and seek medical advice. After contact with skin, washimmediately with plenty of soap and water.Wear suitable protective clothing.Low Fire Hazard; liquids may burn upon heating to temperatures at or above the flash point. May evolve oxides ofcarbon (COx) under fire conditions. May evolve oxides of sulfur (SOx) under fire conditions


Then we have #11 titled “Toxicological Information”

No toxicity studies have been conducted on this product.

And yet if you jump to #16 titled  “Other Information” it states:

We have evaluated our product's risk as follows:
* The human risk is: Low
* The environmental risk is: Low

So we have a lot of conflicting information on this “Self Report” by the makers of CoreXit.  They have evaluated the product’s risk as low to both humans and the environment but I would have to ask, low in comparison to what?  Why a hazard warning, and why are their reports we have from the Exxon Valdez spill that indicates the exact opposite of what the Safety Data Sheet is saying?   And again if there is low toxicity levels then why is it banned in the UK due to the toxic nature?  There seems to be no question that this substance is harming both the sea & wildlife but is adding to the toxicity problems among the human population as well, so why was its use not stopped altogether?

BP was actually told to stop using it and they told the EPA no.  BP sent along its own findings stating that they felt it was the best possible option and that it would continue to use it.  We already know that it isn't the best possible option, and that BP already had ordered other dispersant's which are or were sitting in Houston Tx just waiting to be used (they were bought and paid for by BP as I indicated in a previous post),  but we also know that there is a direct connection between BP and the company that makes CoreXit.   That does seem to be a reoccurring theme throughout this disaster.

Once BP said no to the EPA, one would think that our government officials would have stepped in if the EPA didn't have the balls to step up to the plate and do something about BP's refusal to follow the demands of our own Environmental Protection Agency, but instead the EPA just backed down altogether and asked (not demanded) that BP use less of the dispersant than they were currently doing.   That seems to have been the compromise.

So as we can see, BP has been running this show from day 1 regardless of what the President and his administration are telling us.  They have deferred to BP in nearly every instance and this has been happening all along and looks to continue this way.

More to come in Part V.....