Despite the best efforts of the BP/US government duopoly to minimize the sheer magnitude of the unfolding disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, scientists, reporters, politicians, community leaders, and activists of all stripes are saying enough is enough, and are taking the initiative to deal with it.
In previous weeks, much of the media attention has focused on the effects the toxic spew is having on the local economies, the environment , and the wildlife. This week attention turned towards the health effects it’s having on humans. For instance, CNN did an interview with Dr. Susan Shaw, Director of the Marine Environmental Research Institute. The anchor interviewing her is Rick Sanchez, who noted that he had been trying to get a hold of this very busy woman for a long time. (Nice to know that there are individuals more concerned with getting vital environmental work done than booking career enhancing face time on the tube:
Dr. Shaw is also participating in a new TED sponsored group calling for immediate funding to monitor the toxic nightmare that BP is making of the Gulf of Mexico.
Another group of scientists, led by Dr. Ira Leifer from UCSB have put together a detailed $8.4 million proposal to gather crucial real-time information now before conditions make that impossible. The goal is to produce a comprehensive understanding of the effects of off-shore oil drilling on the environment, which the BP-US government duopoly seems intent at this stage on obscuring. The proposal can be downloaded as a .pdf from here.
And KO did his part this week to mobilize the citizenry by drawing attention to BP’s policy of not requiring protective respirators for cleanup workers:
A new website, BPmakesmesick.com, was launched this week that enables individuals to demand that the BP-Government duopoly require safety equipment for clean up workers. You can sign the petition here. Over 50,000 people have done so already.
Meanwhile, the coverup continues. The US Coast Guard issued new media access rules that make it near impossible for reporters to document the immediate effects of the pollution on the wetlands and beaches. It is now a felony punishable by a $40,000 fine and jail time to approach any closer than 65 feet to (failing) oil booms or goo covered wildlife or beaches without Coast Guard approval. NPR did a segment Thursday featuring a Coast Guard Captain spokesman who insisted that there was no problem with media access, that they were only trying to prevent acts of vandalism– by the media! though he couldn’t provide any examples of same. The interviewer and a couple of reporters tried repeatedly but in vain to get on him record saying that it was okay for reporters to do their jobs documenting this calamity without having a government minder. What is this, the fucking Soviet Union? Communist China?
In other BP related events this week:
1. AP reports that there are over 27,000 abandoned oil and gas wells in the GOM, a third of which have only “temporary” caps. One such temporary cap is sitting on a well that was first drilled in the 1940s.
2. BP and the Coast Guard finally got around to admitting, a month after it was discovered by Dr. Chu and his team of nerds at the Department of Energy, that there really is a mysterious second pipe lodged in the BOP, after first saying such a thing was “impossible”:
The idea that a loose pipe shot up from deeper in the well and prevented the shear ram from closing has been espoused by such experts as oil industry investment banker Matt Simmons and Bob Bea, a University of California at Berkeley engineer leading a scientific investigation into the blowout. But others have wondered if the mystery pipe isn’t just a section of the same drill pipe that came loose, or even a pipe that fell down the riser from the rig 5,000 feet above.
The Coast Guard’s acknowledgement of the two metal tubes Friday — and a subsequent reference by BP to its plans to tie the two pipes together as the company installs a new oil collection system over the shaved-off riser — actually comes more than a month after the Department of Energy noted the existence of two pipes using special imaging technology. At the time, BP dismissed the Energy findings as “impossible” because only one pipe in sections was used for drilling, a Tribune News Service story reported last month.
3. BP CEO Tony Hayward spent the week rattling the tin cup, trying to raise cash from various Mideast investors. Let’s hope he succeeds.
4. BP ran the old ‘homosexual from Prague’ routine* on Gulf businesses expecting their second monthly compensation check that the company’s PR division had promised. (*The Czec is in the male).
5. NOAA expanded the no fishing zone to 33.5% of the federal waters inside the GOM
6 . A day after major expose by Truthout concerning BP’s highly fucked up Alaska pipeline operations, the executive in charge suddenly decided he needed to spend more time with his family and resigned.
7. BP continued to harass journalists over coverage of yet another one of it’s environmental crimes two weeks before the Macondo well blowout, the release of tens of thousands of toxic chemicals into the air above one of its Texas refineries.
Just another week in BP’s world, which unfortunately, is ours as well.