Wednesday’s CBS Evening News lead story featuring the BP oil disaster was sickening. Katie Couric‘s report included new video of a second leak site that adds brings the estimate of the total leakage by independent scientists to 95,000 barrels day, 19x the official BP-US government calculation (recall that it took over three weeks just to get the first 30 seconds of video out of BP, and then only after intense pressure from the media and the White House); overhead video of the the first wave of the thick gooey stuff washing ashore in Louisiana; and a chilling confrontation of a CBS news crew trying crew trying to film the landfall with BP contractors and a couple of Coast Guard officials who threatened to arrest them if they did. CBS was told that the Coast Guard was “under BP rules.”
Over at CNN, Anderson Cooper did a good job exposing just how evasive BP continues to be trying to hide the true magnitude of the problem. On the hot seat was BP exec Bob Dudley, who tried desperately to shift blame for withholding valuable video evidence of the source leak to the Coast Guard. Senator Barbara Boxer looked into that and was told that because BP is in charge, that they can withhold or release the information as they see fit. Not impressed by how BP has handled things to date, she and other Democratic senators are demanding a criminal investigation of the whole matter.
Cooper also drilled down on the issue of the hundreds of thousands of gallons of the chemical dispersant Corexit being used, pointing out that there are at least a dozen other companies that make dispersants deemed more effective and less toxic. Corexit is banned as unsafe in the UK. Apparently BP doesn’t have anyone sitting on any of their boards as they do for Nalco, the company that manufactures and sells Corexit, tens of millions of dollars of the stuff thus far. Dudley claimed to know nothing about BP’s involvement in Nalco. Cooper also asked Dudley why BP’s CEO Tony Hayward was back in England after promising not to leave the US until the emergency was over. Again, crickets.
Late Breaking News. The Washington Post reports that:
The Environmental Protection Agency informed BP officials late Wednesday that the company has 24 hours to choose a less toxic form of chemical dispersants to break up its oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, according to government sources familiar with the decision, and must apply the new form of dispersants within 72 hours of submitting the list of alternatives.
Meanwhile, a half dozen dolphin and and 150 sea turtle carcasses have been found on shore.
Today marks the second month of Oilmeggadon. Nine days after the oil eruption was first reported, the White House held a presser featuring Rear Admiral of the U.S. Coast Guard, Sally Brice-O’Hara, who in response to a question replied :
…And I don’t imagine, given the professionalism of our partner, BP, and — maybe partner was — let me back up. (Laughter.)
Sorry, but I don’ find that funny, especially in light of the threatened arrest of the CBS news crew that was simply trying to show the American public just what the fuck is going on.
It will be interesting to see if Obama’s next public pronouncement will feature something more than just tough sounding words. It’s time he use his executive authority to declare this a national security matter or whatever the hell he has to do. Put someone in charge that doesn’t have BP’s obvious conflict of interest. Start kicking ass and taking names.
Time to act presidential, Mr. President. Politically, you risk being seen as just another captive of the oil industry, successor to the Cheney-Bush axis of oilevil. You can do better than that.
For the sake of the environment, you must.