Steven Mufson and David Hilzenrath of the Washington Post report today (May 31) that in the wake of the failure last week of British Petroleum’s “top kill” effort to stop the flow of oil from the damaged well by shooting heavy drilling mud into the hole, company officials now warn that the crude could continue flowing until August, compounding threats to coastal wetlands, fisheries and beaches.
White House energy and climate adviser Carol Browner echoed BP’s dire warning, saying on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday that the oil spill was “probably the biggest environmental disaster we’ve ever faced in this country” and that “we are prepared for the worst. American people need to know that it is possible we will have oil leaking from this well until August when the relief wells will be finished.”
According to a study published by Texas A&M University Press, the four biggest industries in the Gulf of Mexico region are oil, tourism, fishing and shipping. Together, those four industries account for approximately $234 billion in economic activity each year. Now those four industries have been absolutely decimated by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and will probably not fully recover for years, if not decades. (Source: “U.S. Economic Collapse Top 20 Countdown“)
Mark Hemingway of the Washington Examiner reports on May 30, 2010 that the blog, The Next Right, has found more questionable connections between BP and the White House, in addition to Obama being the biggest recipient of BP’s campaign cash in Washington. BP’s ties to the White House run even deeper, connecting with none other than Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s chief-of-staff and fellow member of Chicago’s gay club, Man’s Country.
PR firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner “helped BP plan and evaluate its successful re-branding campaign, focusing the company’s branding on energy solutions, including the development of solar and other renewable energy sources.” The firm’s Stanley Greenberg is married to Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn. There was something of a flap last year when it was pointed out that White house Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel had been living in the couple’s Capitol Hill townhouse, resulting in a lot of questions about whether or not this arrangement violated congressional ethical guidelines.
Further, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee paid Greenberg’s firm some $500,000 in 2006 and 2008 while Emanuel was living with Greenberg, and Emanuel was even in charge of the DCCC during the 2006 election cycle.
And I’d be willing to bet that BP has paid Greenberg Quinlan Rosner a lot more than that. I doubt I’m the only one who thinks that BP’s relationship with the White House might be a little too close for comfort.
H/t beloved Fellowship member Doc’s Wife!
Beth Buczynski of Care2 reports today (May 31) that:
Both the Huffington Post and DemocracyNow are reporting that BP has refused to provide clean-up workers with repirators because wearing them would create a bad “visual.” It’s also being reported that BP has threatened to fire workers that try to wear their own respirators.
BP workers are increasingly being sent to the hospital complaining of symptoms like vomiting, dizziness, difficult breathing and others. The obvious cause of such symptoms is the huge amount of crude oil bubbling up to the surface (some of which evaporates into the air) along with the massive injection of chemical dispersants into the waters (some of which also evaporates). BP claims it’s monitoring air quality, but so far has not gone public with any air quality test results (Natural News).
Last week, Care2’s Ann Pietrangelo reported that Louisiana Congressman Charlie Melancon sent a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius, requesting temporary health care clinics to serve volunteers and workers in Louisiana…. Sebelius [responded by sending] her own sternly worded letter to BP Chairman Lamar McKay, urging the company “to take responsibility for the health consequences of the disaster.”
[…] “There’s no way you can be working in that toxic soup without getting exposures,” Hugh Kaufman, a senior policy analyst at the EPA’s office of solid waste and emergency response, told the Washington Post. Kaufman likened the situation to the World Trade Center cleanup after 9/11, which left workers with long-term respiratory problems despite repeated official claims that workers did not need respirators because the working conditions were safe. “It’s unbelievable what’s going on. It’s like deja vu all over again,” he said.
Lastly, John D. Sutter of CNN reports on May 28, 2010, of the silent environmental disaster in the Gulf:
It’s been five weeks since an oil rig exploded and sank, rupturing a pipeline 5,000 feet beneath the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. Some clues about what so much oil — perhaps 22 million gallons of it — will do to the environment have become obvious:
Dolphins have washed up dead. Endangered sea turtles have been found with oil stuck on their corneas. Lifeless brown pelicans, classified as endangered until recently, have been carried away in plastic bags. Beaches in Grand Isle, Louisiana, are spattered with gobs of sticky crude. And when the moon rises over the coast there, the oil-soaked ocean sparkles like cellophane under a spotlight.
But what’s really going on in the depths of the ocean and in the all-important root systems of coastal marshes may prove to have more impact in the long term, and scientists know much less about what’s happening in these invisible reaches of the Gulf ecosystem.
As one oceanographer put it, a Chernobyl-sized catastrophe could be brewing under the sea. Or the environment here may be dodging a huge bullet. “It’s kind of like falling out a window,” Overton said of the confusion. “We don’t know how hard that ground is gonna be until we hit bottom. We don’t know if we’re going to land in soft shrubs and live — or if we’re going to hit a rock.”
If scientists’ worst fears are realized, the oil plume in the Gulf could choke off and kill coastal marshes in the productive Mississippi Delta and barrier islands, turning these verdant tufts of life — which look like hairy putting greens floating out on the water — into open ocean. That would snap the region’s marine food chain, exposing and starving all kinds of organisms.
Overton said the impacts of such an occurrence would last for a century.
H/t beloved Fellowship member May!