Sunday, June 6, 2010

Happy Environment Day! Brought to you by BP

Sign at BP gas station: "Do not leave pumps unattended. You are responsible for spills."

The oil isn't the only mess BP is trying to clean up. Early on, BP executive Hayward made comments that didn't sit well with coastal residents.
On the Today Show in the beginning of May, Hayward said, "Well, it wasn't our accident, but we are absolutely responsible for the oil, for cleaning it up."
Four weeks later on the same program, he attempted an apology. "I'm sorry — we're sorry — for the massive disruption this has caused their lives. And there's no one who wants this over more than I do. You know, I want my life back."

Yeah, we all want our lives back—especially the creatures of the Gulf of Mexico.
In Florida, Escambia County Commission Chairman Grover Robinson has also lost confidence in BP after being blindsided by reports that oil was nearing the Pensacola shoreline.
"No one from unified command called us to tell us this," he says. "We absolutely found that out essentially through actually a captain who had sent it to a private citizen. We got a text message. We trusted someone would tell us before it came up."
Apologetic BP ads get criticism, not sympathy. BP exec. Hayward narrates over images of clear water, uncontaminated marshes and healthy pelicans. Cleanup crews comb white sand beaches as he touts the oil giant's response efforts: 2 million feet of boom, 30 planes and 1,300 boats deployed, along with thousands of workers at no cost to taxpayers. BP's ad imagery clashes with disturbing news photographs of pelicans coated in oil, gunk dripping from their beaks. But what's missing is a concrete plan or vision for what they plan to do next.

President Obama reeled off a ream of statistics to show the scale of the response so far. He said that more than 20,000 people are at work protecting the coastlines, and that he had authorized the deployment of 17,500 National Guard troops to help in the response. He said that 1,900 boats were in the Gulf working on the clean up, and that more than 4.3 million feet of boom had been deployed to try to keep oil from reaching the coastline. —NYT

President Barack Obama sends e-mail blast about his Friday visit to Grand Isle:
"Here, this spill has not just damaged livelihoods. It has upended whole communities. And the fury people feel is not just about the money they have lost. It is about the wrenching recognition that this time their lives may never be the same."
"We have also ordered BP to pay economic injury claims, and this week, the federal government sent BP a preliminary bill for $69 million to pay back American taxpayers for some of the costs of the response so far. In addition, after an emergency safety review, we are putting in place aggressive new operating standards for offshore drilling." —NOLA

As poet Martin Dickinson said:

Gulf: Stop calling it a "spill" We'd be lucky it that's all it was. It's a horrendous nonstop explosion of oil in a fragile ecosystem.

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A look at the aftereffects of the 1989's Exxon Valdez spill—it's still with us. It didn't go away or morph into benign clumps. Alaska and Exxon never cleaned up the lethal mess. It's as toxic now as it was 16 years ago.

In Alaskan coastal zones fouled by the Exxon Valdez in 1989, scientists discovered oil, scarcely changed, 16 years later. In some areas, its composition had not altered much from the toxic clumps and goo that had formed just weeks after the spill.
Contrary to early expectations, oil still oozes from Alaska’s beaches, toxins intact, and is expected to remain — perhaps even for centuries.  NYT

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From 1960s to 1992, Texaco (now Chevron) trashed the Ecuadorian rainforest worse than this BP spill and were let off the hook—scot free. The region still hasn't recovered.

I remember being in Quito and sitting behind a group of oil execs in an restaurant—hearing them talk, raised my hackles—there were rumors in the early 1980s something was terribly amiss—but tourists/travellers couldn't get into the region to verify. It was about the time the (downstream) Amazon freshwater pink dolphin began to disappear.

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Happy Environment Day? Ironic. Happy Mass Extinction Day In Requiem. Brought to you by BP.


Want to spend the summer helping clean up this mess? Contact some of these organizations.

A list of bird rescue, cleanuo & volunteer organizations from HuffPost

LA Gulf Response: organizations - including the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program, the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, the National Audubon Society, the National Wildlife Federation and The Nature Conservancy - are established, active advocates for the preservation and restoration of coastal Louisiana. To volunteer:
International Bird Rescue Research Center has been deployed along the Gulf Coast to help with an all-hands-on-deck effort to rescue seabirds.

They're working with Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research. Those interested in volunteering from local spill communities within Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida should visit ... See Morethe Response's Volunteer Info site for state-specific volunteer information. Call the Deepwater Horizon Response Volunteer Request Line at 1-866-448-5816 or visit the Web sites.
In kind donations are also needed at Tri State Bird Rescue:

Another resource list on Wiki: Crisis Camp.  Follow them on Twitter for more links & volunteer opportunities:...

BP is actually picking up the tab with International Bird Rescue. The smaller orgs need donations: both in-kind donations and cash. Sierra Club, Audubon, Tri-State Bird Rescue all look good. National Wildlife Federation, etc; they all are working on the spill. Haven't yet researched the aquatic end: Cousteau, Greenpeace, etc. Check out Mobile Baykeeper:

See Mobile Baykeeper also, for contact numbers:
To report oiled wildlife, please call 1-866-557-1401. BP has authorized Tri-State Rescue & Research to respond to oiled wildlife. Wildlife organizations/experts should coordinate with them by calling: 302-737-7241 e-mail: (

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