Friday, June 11, 2010

BP Destroying Evidence

BP is trying to cover-up the widespread evidence of the dead birds resulting from the oil spill.  We've known that they have done everything in their power to hide the evidence of the oil coming ashore as well as keep the media from getting those photographs of the dead wildlife and sea creatures that have suffered a cruel death at the hand of BP's greed, but now they are taking it a step further by having clean up crews rake up the carcasses of the dead birds, instead of collecting them for necropsy's in order to determine the cause of death.  In raking up the birds they are separating the heads from the bodies which means it is not going to be autopsied,  according to Dr. Riki Ott, marine toxicologist, who is down in Louisiana.  It is important that all the dead and dying animals be collected as they are needed to evaluate the damages caused by this spill.

The body count of affected wildlife is crucial to prove the harm caused by the spill, and also serves as an invaluable tool to evaluate damages to public property - the dolphins, sea turtles, whales, sea birds, fish, and more, that are owned by the American public. Disappeared body counts means disappeared damages - and disappeared liability for BP. BP should not be collecting carcasses. The job should be given to NOAA, a federal agency, and volunteers, as was done during the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska.
NOAA should also be conducting carcass drift studies. Only one percent of the dead sea birds made landfall in the Gulf of Alaska, for example. That means for every one bird that was found, another 99 were carried out to sea by currents. Further, NOAA should be conducting aerial surveys to look for carcasses in the offshore rips where the currents converge. That's where the carcasses will pile up--a fact we learned during the Exxon Valdez spill. Maybe that's another reason for BP's "no camera" policy and the flight restrictions.

From the Ground: BP Censoring Media, Destroying Evidence

She also reports that while up in a small plane flying from New Orleans to Orange Beach, the pilot reported that noticed "the thin red line marking the federal flight restrictions of 3,000 feet over the oiled Gulf region had just jumped to include the coastal barrier islands off Alabama".

The reason for doing so?  To keep the media from seeing and reporting on the oil that is reaching the beaches.   It is widely known now that the booms are not being used properly and are thusly ineffective from keeping the oil from reaching its target, which is another reason for BP to keep the media access limited.

The more we see and hear from people, the more obvious it is that BP is in charge of this with the Government playing a minimal role and one of solely deferring to whatever BP wants with regards to the clean up effort.   As stated by Dr. Ott, BP should have no say whatsoever in the collection of evidence, and allowing them to control any aspect of this is criminal.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

BP Attempts Blackmail Against the United States; BP Is Pouting Over Anger Directed At Company

Yes, as if they hadn't done enough damage already now BP is threatening blackmail.

It emerged last night that BP is considering bowing to President Obama's demand to scrap its dividend payout to shareholders. It is understood the oil giant would proceed with such a move only if it could strike a deal whereby the U.S. would tone down its relentless attacks.

BP Tries To Blackmail US

It obviously isn't enough that they are dragging their feet to pay out claims that are being made to BP due to lost wages, lost business and collapsing coastal communities due to the negligence of BP, but now, now they are upset about their being "attacked".

BP is not the only one who is upset with how the United States and its citizens are reacting to this EPIC DISASTER which is of BP's own creation, no it seems that other Britons are getting into the act.

Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, this morning became the most senior UK politician to defend BP, saying "anti-British rhetoric" levelled at the company was a matter of "national concern" and that the oil giant was paying "a very, very heavy price" for what had been an accident.
"I would like to see a bit of cool heads rather than endlessly buck-passing and name-calling," he said. "When you consider the huge exposure of British pension funds to BP it starts to become a matter of national concern if a great British company is being continually beaten up on the airwaves."
London Mayor Angry At US Reaction to BP & Oil Spill

So this mayor is calling this spill an "Accident"?  Like it was an unavoidable event that occurred through no fault of BP ?
Are they also going to dismiss the long and detailed history that BP has with deliberate and egregious safety violations for which has brought the company not only probationary periods in Alaska and Texas but has caused them to be fined millions upon millions of dollars and even had their behavior towards whistle-blowers  be called "tactics like were used in Nazi Germany" but a member of the judiciary?

Perhaps the British need to be reminded of the lives that BP's negligence has cost, and I am not talking solely about the sea & wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico, but the many human lives that have been lost as a result of this accident and others.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

"The rig's on fire! I told you this was gonna happen!"

Tony Buzbee, a lawyer representing 15 rig workers and dozens of shrimpers, seafood restaurants, and dock workers, says he has obtained a three-page signed statement from a crew member on the boat that rescued the burning rig's workers. The sailor, who Buzbee refuses to name for fear of costing him his job, was on the ship's bridge when Deepwater Horizon installation manager Jimmy Harrell, a top employee of rig owner Transocean, was speaking with someone in Houston via satellite phone. Buzbee told Mother Jones that, according to this witness account, Harrell was screaming, "Are you fucking happy? Are you fucking happy? The rig's on fire! I told you this was gonna happen."

Buzbee told Mother Jones that the sailor's version of Harrell's phone conversation following the explosion was corroborated by a statement from a second crew member who says he also overheard the call. Both statements were taken in-person by Buzbee's investigator and safety consultant, who has interviewed some 60 people involved in the disaster, and signed by the witnesses, he said. Buzbee declined to make the full statements available to Mother Jones because, he said, "it is work product, meaning that it is something that I do not have to produce or disclose in litigation but that can be used at the right time in the litigation." He added that he intends to take a deposition from the crew members at a later time.

Mother Jones Get's the Scoop

So now we have eyewitness testimony that BP was warned ahead of time of the problems and ignored them, which then caused the explosion that killed 11 people, and has caused the continued spill of millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, killing countless numbers of various wildlife and sea life creatures, destroying wetlands, ruining migration habitats that are nesting grounds for untold amounts of species, causing the utter destruction of the livelihoods for vast numbers of people, for many years to come.  They knew the problems were there and ignored them.  They knew and pushed forward anyway.

As my last post indicates, this is not a one time problem for the company named BP.  This is a continued pattern of behavior that has not changed for the better, has not corrected itself even a little bit over the years and now we know that another deepwater offshore rig is being investigated.

Investigation Into Another "Problem Child Drilling Operation by BP"
In February, two months before the Deepwater Horizon spill, 19 members of Congress called on the agency that oversees offshore oil drilling to investigate a whistle-blower's complaints about the BP-owned Atlantis, which is stationed in 7,070 feet of water more than 150 miles south of New Orleans.

The Associated Press has learned that an independent firm hired by BP substantiated the complaints in 2009 and found that the giant petroleum company was violating its own policies by not having completed engineering documents on board the Atlantis when it began operating in 2007.

Stanley Sporkin, a former federal judge whose firm served as BP's ombudsman, said that the allegation "was substantiated, and that's it." The firm was hired by BP in 2006 to act as an independent office to receive and investigate employee complaints.

Engineering documents -- covering everything from safety shutdown systems to blowout preventers -- are meant to be roadmaps for safely starting and halting production on the huge offshore platform.

Running an oil rig with flawed and missing documentation is like cooking a dinner without a complete recipe, said University of California, Berkeley engineering professor Robert Bea, an oil pipeline expert who has been reviewing the whistle-blower allegations and studied the Gulf blowout.

BP's Own Probe Finds Issues with the Atlantis Rig

What is the Atlantis Oil Field?
The Atlantis oil field is the third largest oil field in the Gulf of Mexico. The field was discovered in 1998 and is located in US federal waters about 130 miles (210 km) from the coast of Louisiana in 6,500 feet (2,000 m) of water.
It has estimated ultimate reserves of about 600 million barrels (95 million m³). The British energy company BP owns a 56 percent interest in the field in conjunction with BHP Billiton Petroleum Deepwater which owns a 44 percent interest.[1] The field is expected to produce about 200,000 barrels (32,000 m³) of oil per day and 180 million cubic feet (5,100,000 m3) of gas per day starting in the second half of 2007.[2] The oil field was discovered in 1998 by the Ocean America semi-submersible, mobile drilling rig operating in a water depth of 1,870 meters.

Wiki: Atlantis Oil Field

Are we ever going to open our eyes to what this company is going to continue to do and take the needed steps to stop them from ever holding a license or lease in the country again?

Detailed History, both Past & Present, of BP's Safety Violations, Spills, Fines, & Corrective Measures

We've gotten sporadic reports of BP's history of safety violations, but ProPublica has put out a new piece that covers the very detailed and egregious history that BP has with safety violations and the deliberate attack on anyone who dares to report those violations.  It is an incredibly good read and should be passed along to everyone you know.

I'll post some excerpts of it to give you an idea on what we are up against in fighting to make BP do what is right in the wake of the damage they are causing to the Gulf, its inhabitants and our country as a whole.

Years of Internal BP Probes Warned That Neglect Could Lead to Accidents

A series of internal investigations over the past decade warned senior BP managers that the company repeatedly disregarded safety and environmental rules and risked a serious accident if it did not change its ways.

Similar themes about BP operations elsewhere were sounded in interviews with former employees, in lawsuits and little-noticed state inquiries, and in e-mails obtained by ProPublica. Taken together, these documents portray a company that systemically ignored its own safety policies across its North American operations - from Alaska to the Gulf of Mexico to California and Texas.

2001 report noted that BP had neglected key equipment needed for emergency shutdown, including safety shutoff valves and gas and fire detectors similar to those that could have helped prevent the fire and explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf.
A 2004 inquiry found a pattern of intimidating workers who raised safety or environmental concerns. It said managers were shaving maintenance costs with the practice of "run to failure," under which aging equipment was used as long as possible. Accidents resulted, including the 200,000-gallon Prudhoe Bay pipeline spill in 2006, the largest ever spill on Alaska's North Slope.
During the same period, similar problems surfaced at BP facilities in California and Texas.
In 2002, California officials discovered that BP had falsified inspections of fuel tanks at a Los Angeles-area refinery and that more than 80 percent of the facilities didn't meet requirements to maintain storage tanks without leaks or damage. Inspectors were forced to get a warrant before BP allowed them to check the tanks. The company eventually settled a civil lawsuit brought by the South Coast Air Quality Management District for more than $100 million.
In 2005, an emergency warning system failed before a Texas City refinery exploded in a ball of fire. BP's investigation of that deadly accident -- conducted by a committee of independent experts -- found that "significant process safety issues exist at all five U.S. refineries, not just Texas City." It said "instances of a lack of operating discipline, toleration of serious deviations from safe operating practices, and apparent complacency toward serious process safety risk existed at each refinery." BP spokesman Odone said that after the accident the company adopted a six-point plan to update its safety systems worldwide. But last year the Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined BP $87 million for failing to make safety upgrades at that same Texas plant.
It is difficult to compare safety records among companies in industries like oil exploration. Some companies drill in harsher environments. And bad luck can play a role. But independent experts say the pervasiveness of BP's problems, in multiple locales and different types of facilities, is striking.
In August 2006, just five months after the spill at Prudhoe Bay, a pipeline safety technician for a BP contractor in Alaska discovered a two-inch snaggle-toothed crack in the steel skin of an oil transit line. Nearby, contractors were grinding down metal welds, sending a fan of sparks shooting across the work site. The technician, Stuart Sneed, feared the sparks could ignite stray gases, or the work could make the crack worse, so he ordered the contractors to stop working.
"Any inspector knows a crack in a service pipe is to be considered dangerous and treated with serious attention," Sneed told ProPublica. "The crack could have created a hellacious leaker with people grinding on it."
But instead of receiving compliments for his prudence, Sneed -- who had also complained that week that pipeline inspectors were faking their reports -- was scolded by his supervisor for stopping the work. According to a report from BP's internal employer arbitrators, Sneed's supervisor, who hadn't inspected the crack himself, said he believed it was superficial.
The next day, according to multiple witness accounts and the report, that supervisor singled out Sneed and harassed him at a morning staff briefing. Within a couple of hours, the supervisor sent emails to colleagues soliciting complaints or safety concerns that would justify Sneed's firing. Two weeks later, after a trumped up safety infraction, he was gone.
During the investigation BP inspectors substantiated Sneed's concerns about the cracked pipe. The arbiter also investigated Sneed's account of what happened when he reported the problem. Not only did the report confirm his account, but it determined that he was among the best at his job.
"They say it's your duty to come forward," said Sneed of BP's corporate policies and public statements, "but then when you do come forward, they screw you. They'll destroy your life."
"No one up there is ever going to say anything if there is something they see is unsafe," he added. "They are not going to say a word."
For years the BP subsidiary that refined and stored crude oil was allowed to inspect its own facilities for compliance with emission laws under the South Coast Air Quality Management District, the agency that regulates air quality in Los Angeles. The thinking was that companies had the technical knowledge and that self-inspection was cheaper and more efficient.
But in 2002, eight years after the program began, inspectors with the management district thought BP's inspection results looked too good to be true. Between 1999 and 2002, BP's Carson Refinery had nearly perfect compliance, reporting no tank problems and making virtually no repairs. The district began to suspect that BP was falsifying its inspection reports and fabricating its compliance with the law.
The management district sent its own inspectors to investigate, but when they tried to enter BP's plant, the company turned them away. According to Joseph Panasiti, a lawyer for the management district, the agency had to get a search warrant to conduct inspections required by state law.
When the regulators did finally get in, they found equipment in a disturbing state of disrepair. According to a lawsuit the management district later filed against the company, inspectors discovered that some tanker seals had tears that were nearly two feet long. Tank roofs had gaps and pervasive leaks, and there were enough major defects to lead to thousands of violations.
"They had been sending us reports that showed 99 percent compliance, and we found about 80 percent noncompliance," Panasiti told ProPublica. "It was clear that no matter what was said, production was put ahead of any kind of environmental compliance."
Final design drawings, called "as-built" drawings, are considered an essential safety component. They prove that a piece of equipment -- say a shutoff valve or an engine winch -- was built the way it was supposed to be. Those drawings are thus the final checks to make sure the equipment operates properly. They also serve as instruction manuals for emergencies. If there is a fire on deck or a blowout, for example, operators under extreme stress and danger can use the design drawings to find the hidden kill lever that can shut an engine down before it explodes.
Abbott told ProPublica that as-built documents had been issued for only 274 of more than 7,100 pieces of equipment, the equivalent of constructing a house without having an architect or engineer sign off on the blueprint.
ProPublica Report on the Extensive History behind BP's Deliberate & Willfully Egregious Safety Violations

With the reporting we have seen on how deeply ingrained the safety violations are within the entire BP company is, on every level, it is surprising to me that they have been allowed to continue to operate.  It also shows that simply fining this company means absolutely nothing to them and they see these fines as simply the cost of doing business, rather than an attempt to get them to follow the rules and regulations set in place.

We also know that just recently.    How recently?  Tuesday, May 25, 2010.  Yes just 2 weeks ago.  This spill didn't get any real publicity due to the ongoing spill in the Gulf but it happened, and no doubt will continue to happen as long as BP is allowed to operate, as they have proven time and time again that safety is low on the list of priorities for them in scheme of things.

Oil spill shuts down Alaska pipeline

A power failure at a pump station along the trans-Alaska pipeline caused up to several thousand barrels of crude to spill into a containment area Tuesday morning. The station, which has failed before during maintenance operations, is located near Delta Junction, about a hundred miles south of Fairbanks.
The trans-Alaska pipeline is operated by Alyeska Pipeline Service Co., a consortium of five oil companies. BP, which is currently dealing with a huge oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, owns a majority interest of 47 percent.

Alaska Dispatch Report

The 'other' spill BP will be keeping quiet

Few in the US know that BP owns the controlling stake in the transalaska pipeline. Unlike with the Deepwater Horizon rig, BP keeps its name off the big pipe.
There's another reason for the company to keep its name off the pipe - its management of it stinks. The pipe is corroded, undermanned and "basic maintenance" is a term BP has never heard of.
How does BP get away with it? The same way the Godfather got away with it, bad things happen to folks who blow the whistle. BP has a habit of hunting down and destroying the careers of those who warn of pipeline problems.
In one case, BP's CEO of Alaskan operations hired a former CIA expert to break into the home of whistleblower Chuck Hamel, who had complained of conditions at the pipe's tanker facility.
BP tapped his phone calls with a US congressman and ran a surveillance and smear campaign against him. When caught, a US federal judge said BP's acts were "reminiscent of nazi Germany."
This was not an isolated case. Captain James Woodle, once in charge of the pipe's Valdez terminus, was blackmailed into resigning from the post when he complained of disastrous conditions there. The weapon used on Woodle was a file of faked evidence of marital infidelity. Nice guys, eh?
With the Gulf Coast dying of oil poisoning, there's no space in the press for British Petroleum's most recent spill
(H/T Regina @ Palingates for this link)

BP's Cost Benefit Analysis 
The Daily Beast has obtained a document—displayed below—that goes to the heart of BP procedures, demonstrating that before the company’s previous major disaster—at a moment when the oil giant could choose between cost-savings and greater safety—it selected cost-savings. And BP chose to illustrate that choice, without irony, by invoking the classic Three Little Pigs fairy tale.

The BP spokesman, Scott Dean, tells The Daily Beast: “Those documents are several years old,” and that since then, “we have invested $1 billion into upgrading that refinery and continue to improve our safety worldwide.”

The Daily Beast Uncovers Shocking Memo re: BP's Cost Saving Analysis

So BP spokesperson Scott Dean states that they "continue to improve our safety worldwide", yet as we've seen from the ProPublica article that is just not true.  Perhaps in other parts of the world they have tried to improve safety but certainly not here and in fact they, along with others in the Oil & Gas Industry are working very hard to ensure that regulations do not get tougher for them, and are willing to spend a lot of money to see that come to fruition.

Oil Companies Weigh Strategies to Fend Off Tougher Regulations

The oil and gas industry is a formidable presence in Washington. It spent more on federal lobbying last year than all but two other industries, with $174.8 million in lobbying expenditures, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan research group.
Political action committees set up by the oil and gas producers contributed an additional $9 million last election cycle to Congressional candidates, with Koch Industries, ExxonMobil, Valero Energy and Chevron leading the way, the data showed. (BP ranked 19th, with $75,500 in contributions, most to Republicans.)

Oil & Gas Industry will Spend Millions To Help Them Fight Tougher Regulations

NASA has been keeping track of the spill and has some pretty amazing pictures of the spill and how it is spreading.  They do have an "Oil Spill Page" which you can visit and see some of the unique and varied images they offer.

This is but one example of the pictures that they have:

Ribbons and patches of oil that have leaked from the Deepwater Horizon well offshore appear silver against the light blue color of the adjacent water. Vegetation is red.

It can seem overwhelming taking in all this information, and I know first hand how distressing it can be to think of this stuff day in and day out, but we have to stay informed, we have to know what we are facing, both in terms of the damage that is happening now, and the damage we can expect to see in the future from the effects of this spill, but we also need to know and understand why & how this happened as well as what we can to to prevent this from happening again.  We will never make the Oil & Gas industry 100% safe, but we can make it safer, we can force them to follow tougher regulations, we can work towards ending our own oil addiction that has allowed these companies to get to this point of power and control over us and our environment, and we can change how we think about allowing our politicians to fight for these companies over what is best for this country as a whole.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

**Extremely Disturbing Video of the Real Impact Of The Oil Spill on Wildlife**

This is a disturbing piece of video and animal lovers will be heartbroken & enraged!

If a picture is worth a thousand words then this video is worth a million or more.

Impacts of spill on Gulf Coast wildlife quickly coming into focus

The wildlife apocalypse along the Gulf Coast that everyone has feared for weeks is fast becoming a terrible reality.

Pelicans struggle to free themselves from oil, thick as tar, that gathers in hip-deep pools, while others stretch out useless wings, feathers dripping with crude.

Dead birds and dolphins wash ashore, coated in the sludge. Seashells that once glinted pearly white under the hot June sun are stained crimson.

In Louisiana, along the beach at Queen Bess Island, oil pooled several feet deep, trapping birds against unused containment boom. 

The futility of their struggle was confirmed when Joe Sartore, a National Geographic photographer, sank thigh deep in oil on nearby East Grand Terre Island and had to be pulled from the tar.

"I would have died if I would have been out here alone," he said.

With no oil response workers on Queen Bess, Plaquemines Parish coastal zone management director P.J. Hahn decided he could wait no longer, pulling an exhausted brown pelican from the oil, the slime dripping from its wings.

"We're in the sixth week, you'd think there would be a flotilla of people out here," Hahn said. "As you can see, we're so far behind the curve in this thing."
Gilly Llewellyn, oceans program leader with the World Wildlife Fund in Australia, said she observed the same behavior by dolphins following a 73-day spill last year in the Timor Sea.

"A heartbreaking sight," Llewellyn said. "And what we managed to see on the surface was undoubtedly just a fraction of what was happening."

The prospect left fishing guide Marino shaking his head, as he watched the oil washing into a marsh and over the body of a dead pelican. Species like shrimp and crab flourish here, finding protection in the grasses. Fish, birds and other creatures feed here.
"It's going to break that cycle of life," Marino said. "It's like pouring gas in your aquarium. What do you think that's going to do?"

Latest Gulf bird numbers: 724 collected, 547 dead, 177 alive oiled, 25 released to date:

The Dangers Oil Spill Clean Up Crews Are Facing

We've heard the reports over and over again.  The oil spill clean up crews are getting sick.  So sick in fact that there have been health centers set up to deal locally with the workers who get ill.

Reports are coming more and more frequently of these workers who are getting ill and they are all complaining of the same symptoms.  Dizziness, headaches, vomiting, difficulty breathing.  Flu like symptoms.

In the past week, 11 workers who have been out on the water cleaning up oil from BP's blown-out well have been treated for what Dietrich calls "a pattern of symptoms" that could have been caused by the burning of crude oil, noxious fumes from the oil or the dispersants dumped in the Gulf to break it up. All workers were treated and released.
"One person comes in, it could be multiple things," he said. "Eleven people come in with these symptoms, it makes it incredibly suspicious."
Few studies have examined long-term health effects of oil exposure. But some of the workers trolling Gulf Coast beaches and heading out into the marshes and waters have complained about flu-like symptoms - a similar complaint among crews deployed for the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska.

Gulf spill workers complaining of flulike symptoms

BP and U.S. Coast Guard officials have said dehydration, heat, food poisoning or other unrelated factors may have caused the workers' symptoms. Any excuse they can come up with to deny it is illness borne from working with the toxic chemicals they are being subjected to day in and day out trying to clean up the disaster created by BP and their desire to put profit ahead of safety.   
Both BP, The Coast Guard and OSHA are stating that repirator's are not needed as air quality testing shows no need for them.
The head of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration on Thursday said workers hired by BP PLC to clean up spilled oil don't need respirators, despite complaints from some employees and lawmakers about toxic fumes.David Michaels, assistant secretary for the Department of Labor's OSHA, said in an interview Thursday that based on test results so far, cleanup workers are receiving "minimal" exposure to airborne toxins. OSHA will require that BP provide certain protective clothing, but not respirators.

OSHA Tells Clean Up Workers Respirator's Not Needed

We have reports that BP have told worker's if they wear the respirator's they will be fired. 

Fishermen who've been hired to do cleanup and containment work in BP's Gulf Coast oil spill have been told they would be fired for using their own respirators or safety equipment that wasn't provided by BP, reported Louisiana Environmental Action Network, a Louisana-based environmental group.
"It appears that, despite the obvious potential for exposure to respiratory toxins, BP does not consider respiratory protection necessary equipment," said Paul Orr, Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper in LEAN's statement. "And even so to prevent the fishermen from using their own respiratory protection if they chose to do so is deeply troubling."

Wearing even your own respirator will get you fired

Fisherman's wife breaks the silence
Kindra Arnesen's husband often calls while he's out on a shrimping trip, so she wasn't surprised to hear her cell phone ring the night of April 29 while he was on an overnight fishing expedition.
However, this time, her husband, David, wasn't calling to tell her about the day's catch or to wish their children Aleena and David Jr. a good night. He was calling to tell her he was sick, and the strange thing about it, so were men on the seven other shrimping boats working near his.
"I received several calls from him saying, 'This one's hanging over the boat throwing up. This one says he's dizzy, and he's feeling faint. Everybody's loading up their stuff, tying up their rigs and going back to the docks,'" Arnesen remembers......
For several weeks, she hesitated to talk publicly about it. Like many fishermen who can no longer fish in the Gulf, her husband has signed a contract to work with BP to clean up the oil, and she doesn't want to bite the hand that puts food on her family's table...........
His wife says he was diagnosed with respiratory problems and prescribed medicines, including an antibiotic and cough medicines.
She says while he's feeling better, he still doesn't have the energy he used to have.
"Here we are over a month later and he's still not completely well," she says......
One of her immediate goals is to persuade BP to give its workers masks.
Graham MacEwen, a spokesman for BP, says the company isn't providing masks because their air monitoring shows there's no health threats to workers.
Arnesen says she is indeed scared that her husband will lose his job now that she's speaking out.

One Gulf Fisherman's Wife Speaks Out

Seriously?  This is how these people are being treated?  They have lost their livelihood, had their way of life stripped from them, their bills are piling up and they are being offered paltry sums to work for the company who did this to them and then they must worry about being fired for showing concern for their health due to the environment they are being forced to work in just to help save their community, the environment that BP screwed up due to putting profit over safety?    Not to mention the fact that they are being told that it is not the toxic fumes they are inhaling constantly day in and day out that are making them sick but they are told it must be something else, when we know that this atmosphere did the exact same things to workers exposed to the same toxic soup during the Exxon Valdez?

What country are we living in?  How is this allowed?  How is this even considered acceptable?

Rachel Maddow spoke to Dr. Riki Ott, a marine toxicologist who was there during the Exxon Valdez and saw this same thing happening to the people from Alaska who were exposed to the toxic fumes.

Riki Ott also expressed her views on the Environmental Forum/Reuters in an article titled:
"Lessons from the Exxon Valdez"
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.

Riki Ott: Lessons From The Exxon Valdez

So we know that Oil is considered a "hazardous material", even based on OSHA standards.  What about the chemical dispersant that is being use by the hundreds of thousands of gallons?  What do we know about that?

Thanks to some fine work by the team at Palingates who did some digging We have a lot of information on the chemical dispersant's being used and none of it is good.

One of the dispersants being used is Corexit 9500, also called Corexit EC9500A.

"Themoneytimes" reports:

At present BP is using Corexit 9500. which features high in terms of toxicity and low in terms of efficacy in comparison to 18 other EPA-approved dispersants.

"Based on the information that is available today, BP continues to believe that Corexit was the best and most appropriate choice at the time when the incident occurred, and that Corexit remains the best option for subsea application," BP said.
The EPA, had, in a directive issued Thursday, ordered BP to find a less toxic but equally effective chemical than Corexit 9500.

The instructions also demanded that the replacement should be effected within 72 hours.

The availability of this substitute had to be abundant given the enormous need.
Another dispersant used is Corexit 9527 (also called Corexit EC9527A).

The New Jersey Department of Health published a fact sheet about 2-Butoxy-Ethanol (PDF).

Under "Health Hazard Information", the department notes:
"Acute Health Effects

The following acute (short-term) health effects may occur
immediately or shortly after exposure to 2-Butoxy Ethanol:

􀁦 Contact can irritate the skin and eyes with possible eye
􀁦 Inhaling 2-Butoxy Ethanol can irritate the nose and throat
causing coughing and wheezing.
􀁦 2-Butoxy Ethanol can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
and abdominal pain.
􀁦 Exposure can cause headache, dizziness, confusion,
lightheadedness, and passing out.
Chronic Health Effects

The following chronic (long-term) health effects can occur at
some time after exposure to 2-Butoxy Ethanol and can last
for months or years:

Cancer Hazard
􀁦 2-Butoxy Ethanol may be a CARCINOGEN in humans
since it has been shown to cause liver cancer in animals.
􀁦 Many scientists believe there is no safe level of exposure to
a carcinogen."
Scientists believe that the use of these dispersants will lead to a horrible environmental disaster - the UK Independant reports:

"It's the biggest environmental disaster of our time and it's not even over yet," said the marine toxicologist Dr Susan Shaw, director of the Marine Environmental Research Institute based in Maine. She has been diving among the damage and is horrified by the contamination caused by BP's continued use of dispersants. "They've been used at such a high volume that it's unprecedented. The worst of these – Corexit 9527 – is the one they've been using most. That ruptures red blood cells and causes fish to bleed. With 800,000 gallons of this, we can only imagine the death that will be caused."

According to Dr Shaw, plankton and smaller shrimps coated in these toxic chemicals will be eaten by larger fish, passing the deadly mix up the food chain. "This is dismantling the food web, piece by piece," she said. 
"We'll see dead bodies soon. Sharks, dolphins, sea turtles, whales: the impact on predators will be seen in a short time because the food web will be impacted from the bottom up."

The largest of the clouds, confirmed by a University of South Florida research ship last week, has gone deeper than the spill itself, defying BP's assurances that all oil would rise to the surface. It is now headed north-east of the rig, towards the DeSoto Canyon. This underwater trench could channel the noxious soup along the Florida coast, impacting on fisheries and coating 100-year-old coral forests. Tests on the toxicity of another chemical cloud, some 10 miles long and heading south-west of the site, are also being done by scientists from the University of Georgia.
Marine biologists say the timing of this underwater contamination could not be more catastrophic. "This is when all the animals are reproducing and hatching, so the damage at this depth will be much worse," said Dr Larry McKinney, director of the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies in Texas. "We're not talking about adults on the surface; it will impact on the young – and potentially a generational life cycle."
According to ProPublica, during the Exxon Valdez oil disaster, an earlier version of Corexit lead to severe problems amongst clean-up workers:

According to a 2005 National Academy of Sciences report, the dispersants and the oil they leave behind can kill fish eggs. A study of oil dispersal in Coos Bay, Ore. found that PAH accumulated in mussels, the Academy’s paper noted. Another study examining fish health after the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska in 1989 found that PAHs affected the developing hearts of Pacific herring and pink salmon embryos. The research suggests the dispersal of the oil that’s leaking in the Gulf could affect the seafood industry there.

“One of the most difficult decisions that oil spill responders and natural resource managers face during a spill is evaluating the trade-offs associated with dispersant use,” said the Academy report, titled Oil Spill Dispersants, Efficacy and Effects. “There is insufficient understanding of the fate of dispersed oil in aquatic ecosystems.”
A version of Corexit was widely used after the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill and, according to a literature review performed by the group the Alaska Community Action on Toxics, was later linked with health impacts in people including respiratory, nervous system, liver, kidney and blood disorders. But the Academy report makes clear that the dispersants used today are less toxic than those used a decade ago.

“There is a certain amount of toxicity,” said Robin Rorick, director of marine and security operations at the American Petroleum Institute. “We view dispersant use as a tool in a toolbox. It’s a function of conducting a net environmental benefit analysis and determining the best bang for your buck.”

However, can we really trust what the producers of Corexit tell us?

The US-company Nalco with offices in Illinois and Texas has already made huge profits with the product through the Gulf spill. Two weeks ago Nalco announced that they already sold dispersants worth $ 40 million through the sale of the dispersants for the Gulf spill.

On their website they are not shy to report about the use of their valuable product in the Gulf of Mexico in detail. Look what they have to say:

"Data published by Environment Canada, that country’s main environmental agency, showed common household dish soap as having a substantially higher rainbow trout toxicity than COREXIT 9500. Put another way, COREXIT 9500 is the more than 27 times safer than dish soap."

You really would need to be brain-amputed to believe this spin.

They also found an excellent video which is a documentary about the hazards that clean-up workers face in an oil spill disaster - with the Exxon Valdez oil spill as an example, which you can view at their site (I've linked in a couple of places so that it takes you there).

So we know that reports are everywhere about the dangers of inhaling toxic fumes.  Oil is considered a hazardous substance by OSHA who has rules regarding the PPE (personal protection equipment) one needs to have when dealing with  hazardous substances (which I detailed in an earlier post), and we see from all indications that the dispersant being used by BP on this gargantuan oil spill is toxic and there is a history of the use of this stuff causing the exact same symptoms in people during the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and yet with all that, we still have not only BP but the Coast Guard & OSHA telling these clean up crews that they are not in danger and that they don't need respirator's?

We know why they are doing this.  PR.  That is it plain & simple.  It looks bad to everyone to have the workers walking around in respirators.  People might think that this is more serious than it is and we just can't have that now can we?  Much like the ban on photographing animals washing up dead and covered in oil, or the refusal to allow reporters to onto the beaches without a BP or Coast Guard Representative with them, or the refusal to allow people to fly over the Gulf below a certain level and never without one of the previously mentioned rep's, this is all done to control the message that is getting out to the general public to put a better face on this catastrophic disaster.   This should NEVER be acceptable to the public.  NEVER!

This is absolutely unacceptable.  We are treating our own people like they are worthless, like their health and well being is worthless.  This is showing that their future means nothing to those who are supposed to be doing everything to protect them from harm.   Sure, I can understand that BP could care less about them.  Look at what they are doing to our Gulf.  Look at their history of safety violations.  They are a corporation like many others who put their bottom line and profit above anything else.  That is how they got to be one of the most profitable companies, but we should expect better from the Coast Guard and OSHA, and our representatives, our elected officials.
No expense should be spared to ensure that these people are being taken care of properly while they are out cleaning up the DISASTER that BP created.   There is no such thing as overkill in this instance.  Why would you not do everything in your power to ensure that their health and welfare was protected in light of the situation, the work they are doing and the circumstances we find ourselves in because of a multinational company who makes BILLIONS of dollars every year?  Isn't it enough that BP has ruined their lives by taking away their livelihood, their way of life, the environment they rely on to make a living, must BP demand their health be another casualty of this disaster too?

Haven't these people suffered enough?

Tony Hayward said he wanted his life back, well so do these people and they aren't asking for much at all.  They deserve better then what they are being given.  Much Much Better!