Wash. DC-based investigative reporter and former US Naval officer Wayne Madsen is in the Gulf coast to see for himself the BP oil disaster.
The following is my summary of Madsen’s first report from the Gulf, “New Orleans Special Report: The Gulf Oil Disaster Truth,” available for Wayne Madsen Report (WMR) subscribers only. Please consider subscribing to WMR by clicking HERE.
To begin with, Madsen claims that there is a massive cover-up of the truth about the oil disaster:
- Everyone he spoke with along the Gulf coast– environmentalists, wildlife specialists, fishermen, businessmen — says BP is “strangling the news of what is actually occurring in the Gulf of Mexico with the oil disaster.”
- BP has also “co-opted key federal regulatory and oversight agencies to advance its agenda and that of its oil partners, including Halliburton, Anadarko, and Transocean.”
- A number of local TV reporters who are “embedded” with Coast Guard units are “accentuating” BP’s disinformation campaign.
- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is also accused by many local environmentalists and fishermen of being complicit in the cover-up of bad news. Fishermen interviewed by Madsen said NOAA’s report claiming that tests of 600 fish caught in waters “near the edge of the oil” have proven negative for chemical toxins is “ludicrous” because there’s no fish in the waters in the oil zone or near it. Gone from the waters of the Gulf off Louisiana are grouper, snapper, amberjack, tuna, and even the small colorful blenny, which normally feeds at oil rig pylons in the Gulf.
Obama’s national incident commander and former Coast Guard commander Thad Allen is “the most hated individual in the Gulf” because he is seen as being too close to BP. Reportedly, long before the Deepwater Horizon explosion on April 20, Allen had discussed future employment at a senior level with BP.
Gulf coast locals are very critical of BP’s operation:
- BP is overly-dependent on deepwater oil skimmer boats and refuses to use skimmers that can operate in shallower waters of 1.5 to 2 feet.
- BP is not using fishermen with experience in rescuing sea turtles enmeshed in fishing nets, but threatening them with arrest if they touch an endangered turtle.
- Most of the 3,000 fishermen idled by the oil disaster have not been hired by BP. Instead, BP has hired an army of contractors and sub-contractors.
- BP has hired the same firm that performed air quality monitoring in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina’s Murphy oil spill in Chalmette to perform monitoring for the current oil disaster, The firm has been called a “proven liar” in both incidents by environmentalists and emergency planners.
- BP clean-up workers have been found dumping tar balls from the water and beaches in land fills in Mississippi and St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana. The oil from the sludge is seeping into the local water tables.
Some of Madsen’s personal observations:
- While driving to Venice, he noticed “a large number of seafood distributors and restaurants that were shuttered.”
- Madsen also began to experience burning and watering eyes, a condition that lasted hours after returning to the west bank of New Orleans.
- As reported elsewhere, Madsen confirms that BP clean-up workers are not permitted to wear respirators. Many are becoming sick, even coughing up blood.
On the condition of the Gulf waters:
Madsen describes the waters as “a hydrocarbon soup of dispersed oil bubbles that is translucent black in color.” Fishing boat owners whose boats have been used for clean-up efforts are suffering fiberglass hull damage from hydrocarbon penetration. Although BP has informed the owners that their boats will have to be destroyed afterwards and their hulls ground up, including even boats not being used for clean-up, there is no assurance that BP will compensate the owners.
Madsen confirms previous reports of BP’s nighttime spraying:
“A reputable source” told Madsen that BP has been engaged in night time spraying of a bleaching agent on Louisiana beaches to make it appear that the beaches are being cleaned up. The planes, which fly at night, disregard flight regulations by flying with their lights out. The operations have been approved by the Coast Guard and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Madsen confirms previous reports by scientists that the Gulf’s sea bed is damaged:
“NOAA is reportedly sitting on bathymetric maps of the Gulf sea floor that shows a massive fissure on the sea floor that is located 7 miles from the Deepwater Horizon site. The fissure is leaking 120,000 gallons of crude a day, along with methane gas.”
Impact of oil disaster on marine life:
- The Corexit-dispersed oil has seeped under booms set up to protect Lake Ponchartrain, which lies north of New Orleans. Dead fish and tar balls have now turned up in the lake.
- Further out in the Gulf and along sensitive refuges like Elmer’s Island, massive fish kills are being reported by local residents. The Coast Guard and BP have established a no-fly zone over Elmer’s Island, a major bird sanctuary.
- Local fishermen said that nurseries in the Gulf, responsible for producing 40% of America’s seafood, are being destroyed by the oil and the chemical soup created by the mixing of oil dispersant Corexit 9500. Corexit is breaking down the crude oil into small oil bubbles and a watery oil mixture that is seeping under the booms set up to protect sensitive fish nurseries, oyster beds, and other pristine areas. Many Atlantic fish species also spawn in the Gulf and they are also threatened by the oil disaster.
- Even barnacles, one of the most resistant sea creatures to extreme situations, are dying in vast numbers, along with sponges and coral.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is not doing its job:
- The EPA stood by as federal incident commanders ordered home wildlife rescue workers from Texas and other states. One group that was told to pack its bags was the non-profit Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation, Inc. from Texas, which has 20 years of experience in handling animal rescues from oil spills. BP hired the O’Brien Group, a subsidiary of SEACOR Holdings of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, as its wildlife rescue coordinator. Local environmentalists view O’Brien as a shill for BP.
- The EPA is also not making known air quality reports and the effects of the oil dispersant Corexit 9500.
Gulf air and water are dangerously contaminated:
- An air quality reports from Venice showed that on May 7, hydrogen sulfide in the air was measured at 1192 parts per billion. Five parts per billion is considered hazardous to human health.
- The same report also showed that benzene levels in the air were measured at 5000 parts per billion, again in the health danger zone.
- Propylene glycol, a major component in Corexit 9500, is being measured in Gulf waters at 150 times its lethal concentration.