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Guest Post: Oil Coating Seafloor and Killing Fish, Crabs … and the American Dream

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Irish-Canadian journalist Alex Kearns, who now lives in St. Mary’s Georgia posted this image on her website today, along with the following description:

A researcher captured this image. A discarded flag (or one that has fallen from one of the many vessels in the area) rests on the ocean floor amid the oil and the bodies of dead crabs.

A two-inch layer of submerged oil is coating portions of the Gulf seafloor off the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge: a week after a smothering layer of floating crude washed ashore there. This scenario is being played out all along the Gulf shoreline.

Collecting in pockets and troughs in waist-deep water, the underwater oil is looser and stickier than the tarballs that cover the beach. The consistency is more like a thick liquid, albeit one made up of thousands of small globs. Unlike tarballs, which can often be picked up out of the water without staining the fingers, the submerged oil stains everything that it touches. If you passed your hand through the material it would emerge covered in oily smears.

There are a number of patches of submerged oil 40 to 100 feet off the beach, apparently collecting along rip currents and sandbars. The carcasses of sand fleas, speckled crabs, ghost crabs, and leopard crabs are spread throughout the oil, a thick layer of the material caking the bodies of the larger crabs – their claws looking as if they been turned into clubs made of oil.

***

Huge schools of bait fish are hugging the shore, attracting large numbers of birds. King mackerel, Spanish mackerel, mullet, ladyfish, speckled trout, and other fish are congregating in massive numbers amid the sharks.

The Dauphin Island Sea Lab measured large areas of low oxygen water just off the beach at Fort Morgan last week, beginning in water around 20 feet deep. Monty Graham, a University of South Alabama scientist, theorized that the population of oil-consuming microbes had swelled. Sea life begins to die if oxygen levels drop below 2 parts per million. “We saw some very low oxygen levels, some below 1,” said Graham, of testing he conducted aboard a Dauphin Island Sea Lab research vessel. He said that the layer of low-oxygen water closest to shore off Fort Morgan began at the bottom and rose up 30 feet.

Graham said he believed that the low oxygen levels were responsible for reports of strange behavior among fish: “The low oxygen explains things we’ve been hearing, like reports of flounder swimming on the surface.”

The low-oxygen levels offshore may also explain the dense aggregations of fish seen in the surf zone. The turbulent area near shore is naturally high in oxygen due to the influence of the breaking waves.

There are numerous reports that suggest that oil is moving beneath the surface in Alabama waters. State officials conducting shrimp trawls in the Mississippi Sound two weeks ago found oil on their nets when they pulled them. More recently, BP contractors working around Dauphin Island reported oil coming up on their anchors.

Gulf Coast Residents Hit Hard

It’s not just the sealife.

Gulf coast residents are being hit hard as well.

David Kotok of Cumberland Advisors estimates that one million jobs will be lost permanently in the Gulf coast oil services and supporting industries.

The House Judiciary Committee has found:

  • As of … Tuesday, June 15th, BP had paid less than 12 percent ($71 million dollars out of an estimated $600 million) of outstanding claims submitted by individuals and businesses.
  • Two weeks after the disaster, BP had not paid a single dollar to the individuals or businesses harmed by the explosion and the oil spill. As of May 18th (four weeks post-disaster), BP had only paid $11,673,616.
  • In apparent response to congressional oversight and the efforts of the federal government, BP began increasing their payments to affected individuals and businesses in the past few weeks.
  • Although the oil spill disaster occurred on April 20th, BP has only begun to compensate individuals for their full loss of income in the past two weeks. We understand individuals continue to experience delays in the receipt of full income awards.
  • BP has not paid a single bodily injury claim. As of Friday, June 18th, there were 717 claims submitted for bodily injury, including claims for respiratory issues, headaches, and skin irritation.
  • BP has not paid a single claim for the diminishment in value of homes in the affected areas of the Gulf South, out of a total 175 claims submitted.
  • Out of the 267 claims submitted, BP has paid only $169,371 in loss of income claims for affected restaurants. However, the lack of data from BP on the damage amounts requested by the affected restaurants or the number of claims paid makes it impossible for the Committee to determine if restaurants and other Gulf Coast businesses are being properly compensated.

“I remain concerned that BP is stiffing too many victims and short-changing others,” [Committee Chairman John] Conyers said.

Reuters notes that BP is paying only a fraction of what the fishermen think they’re entitled to.

CNBC points out that BP is only paying fishermen one month’s pay – pegged to pay from their slowest season.

USA Today notes:

State officials in Louisiana and Florida say the payouts, so far, have been small and often too slow and that BP hasn’t given them the data they need to adequately monitor the process.

WDSU reports:

Some people claim the payout process is unorganized, and other said there is no system in place to account for how many days the fishermen have worked and no clear time frame for when they’ll see the money they’ve earned.

CBS notes:

Some businesses have been asked to file 1,700 pages of documents before they can get a check.

The L.A. Times notes that:

BP’s request for tax records poses a problem for some residents of fishing communities in southeastern Louisiana — the nonconformists who haven’t kept records or reported their cash income.

Time Magazine makes a similar point:

Fishing can bring in a lot of money in a very short period of time during the right season, but fishermen might be hard-pressed to provide evidence — bank statements, pay stubs — that can back that up. The same goes for many other businesses: if receipts are dwindling at a restaurant, or guests are cancelling at a resort, how is it possible to prove that the spill alone is responsible? “We’re stuck in the middle,” says Chris Camardelle, whose seafood restaurant in Grand Isle has been badly hurt by the oil spill. “So it’s a tricky situation.”

Jane Hamsher notes that fishermen harmed by the Exxon Valdez oil spill have had to wait 20 years to see any money, and – for many fishermen – all of that money was been swallowed up by government fees and taxes.

But as bad as it is for fishermen, it’s worse for everyone else. For example, AP notes:

BP PLC says 90 percent of the compensation checks it has issued so far have gone to fishermen.

Those who provide goods and services to fishermen are receiving next to no compensation.

Given that the oil spill is killing not only fish and crabs – but the American dream for millions of Gulf Coast fishermen, shrimpers, tourist industry workers and others – the image in the photograph above is very powerful indeed.

Washington’s Blog

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52 comments

  1. ndk

    While it’s not nearly so vivid, graphic, and deadly as this particular tragedy, the American Dreams of most of us are being gradually washed away on a blackened tide. There is now an aristocracy both of individuals and corporations, who are either too well placed or too dearly needed. We’ve got no leverage over either.

    We need for Transocean, BP, etc. to be okay, because despite all our aspirations, we’re utterly dependent on the oil that they are able to source. Like so many crabs(well, maybe more of a lamprey), they are more valuable to us alive than dead. We can’t go after them punitively, and even worse, we must be careful not to hamper their profitability or business too much, lest it come back to hurt us in the end.

    We also require the capital that the wealthy have, because while we live in an era of massive productivity gains and economic success, the gains are completely unshared by the (dwindling pool of) workers. We’re both unwilling and unable to tax it out of the rich. But even worse, we need them to spend money in our countries, much as the “small people” in Louisiana and other Gulf states are so dependent on money spent by oil workers. So we actively curry their favor.

    This is just going to get worse. The set of professions hit by this constant impoverishment of labor is expanding. While an incompetent Bangladeshi is far less lethal and evocative than the oil, the end impacts on employment here, including the multipliers, are similar.

    Unless there’s a volte-face, and social stability and progress are considered more important by the wealthy than their relative position, this is just the most visible death of the American Dream. Despite some noteworthy individual efforts, I don’t see the system becoming egalitarian any day soon.

    So if you must cry, give the Gulf one of your eyes(and they surely deserve it), but save the other one for the rest of us. We’re all on our way.

    1. alex black

      If you think the incompetent Bangladeshi is a threat to the American labor force, meet the millions of upcoming Indian and Chinese engineering students, whose math skills make much of America’s student population look like a gigantic special ed class.

      1. muhrvis

        I agree. Capitalism means that incompetent, inefficient companies that do not respond to the demands of customers MUST go out of business. The jobs will be taken by other, better companies. That is capitalism in action. The idea that big companies “must” survive is garbage promoted by those elitists possessing a right-wing version of the welfare state, who think any company is entitled to success and who want to keep their money no matter how incompetent they are.

    2. alex black

      NDK – “We need for Transocean and BP to be okay”… While I’m frequently flamed here for being a “right-wing” extremist for stating my middle-of-the-road political opinions, I’ll have to disagree with you on this. I agree that we need good engineers and skilled labor to extract the oil that our economy runs on, and I agree that we have to have incentives for capital to risk the investment in doing so, but I have no problem with BP’s stock falling to zero, if our damage claims exceed their assets.

      My apologies to the British pensioners, but if I held stock in an American company that managed to turn the Thames into a septic tank, I’d have no problem with losing every penny that I owned of that stock (although I would want their management hung). And if their assets fell short of their new liabilities, I’d have no problem with the US Government picking up the tab for the balance. It would only seem “jolly good” fair to me.

      1. Vinny

        alex,

        Thank you for bringing this up. Yes, I agree, as BP is likely to go bankrupt, we need to go after the British government to pick up the costs of this incredible disaster a British corporation has criminally caused. And that miserable son of a bitch, Tony Haywire, or whatever his name may be, needs to go to prison. This is how I feel about this.

        Vinny

        1. alex black

          I’m not sure where criminal liabiity lies here – but I’ll be damned interested to see what the investigation turns up – specifically, there were people on that rig who were insisting that there were so many problems with this drilling that it should be halted, and apparently someone from BP was making calls up the chain of command – and someone high up made the decision to go forward anyway. I wouldn’t mind THAT person sharing a cell with Hannibal Lector.

          1. Vinny

            “I’m not sure where criminal liabiity lies here – but I’ll be damned interested to see what the investigation turns up.”

            Well, if nothing turns up, I’m sure we can make up some bogus evidence, just to send Tony Hayward to the big house for a few years. :)

            Vinny

  2. miles

    alex … how does non-US BP’s response to the US tragedy compare to the US Union Carbide’s response to the non-US Bhopal tragedy where over 2000 people died? i sense there might be more than just a hint of hypocrisy in the vitriol of the attacks on BP

    1. Yves Smith

      Two wrongs don’t make a right. The inability of the Indian government to extract sufficient compensation from Carbide (due no doubt to the lack of assets in India that could be seized, a vastly different situation than BP, which has many valuable operations in the US) is no excuse to let another miscreant off the hook.

      1. alex black

        I’m not saying that two wrongs make a right, I’m saying that both Union Carbide and the US government strike me a despicable in their failure to justly compensate the victims of the Bhopal disaaster, and agreeing with Miles that the toll of the Bhopal tragedy (2,000 lives) was higher than BP.

        Just my personal opinion – BP should pay for all damages they caused, and if that bankrupts them, the British government would be fair to pay the balance, and if the same priniple had been applied to the Bhopal tragedy, I would have been proud of the US government to both find a way to force Carbide to make full restitution, and if it bankrupted them, to pick up the rest of the tab with my tax dollars.

        1. Ming

          I must repectfully disagree part of your assessment for ‘reparations’ . The us government did not direct union carbide to operate in a
          negligent manner that resulted
          in the Bhopal disaster. Neither did the British government direct Bp to use the cheap blowout preventers or to ignore the warning signs about the potential blowout. It it BP and the managers who made the series of bad decisons and actions, so they are liable for the damages. If necessary,
          Bp bondholders and shareholders should be wiped out and the management (especially the managing team that ignored the safety warnings) should to jail and be stripped of their earnings from BP. The role of the British government would be to facllitate prosecution and enforcement against The BP corporations and it’s management.

        2. mytwosenseworth

          I disagree that the US Government should be a “guarantor” for the damages of a private enterprise’s disaster in a foreign nation. Yes, the Union Carbide tragedy in Bhopal was terrible in that the Indians received very poor compensation for their losses. But I, as a taxpayer, shouldn’t be “on the hook” to make up the difference for what would be a decent settlement. The best role of the US Government would be to seize assets of a negligent corporation and its shareholders, but not make everyone in the country financially “responsible”.

  3. miles

    what bp has agreed to provide so far (and you can certainly argue that it’s too little) has not been forced legally from it via the courts, but has been provided “voluntarily”

  4. miles

    you can argue that bp is not doing enough for the 2 most pressing problems – capping the well and sorting out the oil slick – but there are 2 important points that are largely being overlooked and are very important in the debate …
    1. that the public reaction is to a large part hypocritical because the tragedy is close to home, and
    2. because we have elections soon (and it plays well to the hoi polloi) our elected officials have found bp guilty without any due legal process. i don’t know how the blame should be shared and the law hasn’t yet determined it, but i know that the rule of law – not public guesswork – should be paramount

    1. miles

      “Or Col. Mustard in the kitchen with a spanner?” … very insightful.
      I think we’ve found the hoi polloi.

    2. shillsapoppin

      ‘the’ hoi polloi is redundant. Didn’t take your Greek at Harrow, did you? BP needs a better class of shills.

  5. rental_GOM

    ‘…our elected officials have found bp guilty without any due legal process.’

    You mean that the Greens did it? Or Col. Mustard in the kitchen with a spanner?

    Sorry – the oil leaking in undeniably massive quantities from a BP well, drilled, baby, drilled at BP’s express request. Nobody needs any legal process to know, with 100% certainty, who is responsible for the massive, and ongoing, damages which BP’s blowout is creating.

    Of course, maybe you can get together with a certain Mr. Barton – he seems to think that a company actually being responsible to foot the bill for the damages it has caused is the moral equivalent of a shakedown.

  6. Debra

    That images evokes more than the end of the American dream…
    The American flag is a SYMBOL of the nation state of the United States of America…
    I’m still happily plowing my way through Barzun and “From Dawn to Decadence”.
    pp 4-5 : On October 31, 1517, Luther posted his 95 propositions on the door of All Saints’ Church at Wittenberg. His gesture was banal, and he had no intention of precipitating the revolution in the Catholic (universal) Church that ensued. According to Barzun, quoting Luther, I presume, his aim was to “elicit the truth about the sacrament of penance” in relation to the sale of “indulgences”.
    I quote Barzun and Luther here. “These were a sort of certified check drawn by the pope on the “treasury of merit accumulated by the saints”. (Luther, I presume…) “In popular belief, buying one enabled the holder to finesse penance and shorten his or her time in Purgatory– or that of a friend or relative. Luther wanted to know whether ANY SUBSTITUTE for true remorse and active penance could be BOUGHT in the open market. He thought the only treasure of the church was the gospel”. (My capital letters.)
    Luther’s question precipitated the Protestant Reformation which was a revolution that continued through violent and sectarian religious wars. The Protestant Reformation was the first chapter in the gradual rise of the European nation states, and it prepared the later political revolutions (me).
    Much emphasis has already been made about the corruption of the Catholic Church in selling indulgences and the necessity for reform.
    But Luther’s question goes beyond that of the corruption of the Catholic Church, and that’s why I am quoting him.
    Luther’s question is ALSO a question about MONEY.
    What money can buy. What it is… worth. WHERE it is worth.
    Money, like that flag, is a symbol (among other functions, admittedly). And.. it MEANS within a symbolic system TO US. Money… means about as much as that American flag to the dead crab next to it…
    Luther could ask that question because the times were right for him to ask it. And it was seized upon by thousands of men and women who were READY to hear that question, and to act upon it.
    And… well, the above article comparing the ??? not astronomical amount of $$$$$ needed to bail out the banks in what has been termed… a financial “black hole” (….) to the SMALLER figure of the number of stars in the universe makes the same parallel as this image, with… the American flag next to that dead crab.
    The question has come up because WE are ready to hear it now.
    WE have come to the point where we are closer and closer to… being able to feel FOR and WITH that dead crab. Thank God.
    Time to bring the question OUT IN THE OPEN, I say.
    Time to ask… WHAT money can buy again. WHERE it has value. And to REESTABLISH WHERE it does NOT have value and WHAT IT CAN NOT BUY.
    (Time to set LIMITS again. But I don’t know to what extent regulation can set THESE kind of limits. Maybe regulation can play a role, but not JUST regulation.)
    To recognize the ways that we are asking these questions without really being conscious HOW we are asking them, and to what extent we are asking them too.
    That means that we are probably on the verge of revolution, if we are not already in the midst of it. (In our Western civilization, the power of the nation state IN OUR OWN EYES has declined significantly. I am not sure that we have… very much faith in it any more despite some of our vocal protestations to the contrary.)
    And revolution is not exactly business as usual. I believe.
    I think that this is why we are oscillating so much between hope and despair, tempered with a big dose of rage. Individually AND collectively.

    1. F. Beard

      “Time to ask… WHAT money can buy again. WHERE it has value. And to REESTABLISH WHERE it does NOT have value and WHAT IT CAN NOT BUY.” Debra

      Do you think the Lord actually honored those bought and paid for indulgences? Then consider this:

      “Why should I fear in days of adversity,
      When the iniquity of my foes surrounds me,
      Even those who trust in their wealth
      And boast in the abundance of their riches?
      No man can by any means redeem his brother
      Or give to God a ransom for him–
      For the redemption of his soul is costly,
      And he should cease trying forever–” Psalm 49:5-8 (New American Standard Bible) from http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%2049:5-8&version=NASB

      As for money on Earth, it will buy what it will buy depending on the character of the person, there is no getting around that. But what we can do is to eliminate the government backed money creation monopoly that cheats the poor and savers and drives borrowers into debt slavery.

      1. Toby

        F. Beard wrote: “As for money on Earth, it will buy what it will buy depending on the character of the person, there is no getting around that.”

        Big question in two words: Why not?

        There have been many cultures and peoples that operated without money, which each seems to have presumed nature’s bounty was enough, sharing the good times and the bad. Money is about property and hoarding, not about community and sharing. Community and sharing in an absence of money and trade characterize the vast majority of the time homo sapiens has walked this planet. Property and hoarding are actually aberrations. Money is an aberration historically speaking. Human nature seems not to require it.

        So why do we ‘need’ it?

        1. F. Beard

          “So why do we ‘need’ it?” Toby

          “Men prepare a meal for enjoyment, and wine makes life merry, and money is the answer to everything.” Ecclesiastes 10:19

      2. Debra

        I agree with Toby’s take.
        I think that Psalms are beautiful poetry but…
        I’m pretty sure that Jesus NEVER handled money personally…
        He left it to other people to handle it. Logical.
        And if indeed, as is suggested, it fell to Judas to handle the little group’s money, well then, the outcome of the three year venture was all too logical too.
        Have you ever wondered WHAT Jesus lived on in an era where people were already buying and selling, given the way he was talking ?
        I asked the Catholic priest I meet this question…
        He said that… wealthy Roman and Jewish women financed Jesus’ group.
        That’s logical too. Jesus was definitely… a ladies man… (don’t get me wrong, that is NO insult, and I too.. can be a lady…)
        Jesus was already conducting his own little experiment on getting along without money,Toby, and that experiment was already bothering people too..
        Francis… money is the ultimate corrupter, I’m afraid.
        It makes us afraid of not having enough.
        And THAT… is fatal to faith.
        I STILL haven’t decided if there is any way to “fix” it so that it can be.. MORE moral… I’ll keep reading you, Toby.

        1. D. Warbucks

          …although by now we’ve learned how to make the eye of a needle big enough to drive a hummer through.

          1. F. Beard

            “…although by now we’ve learned how to make the eye of a needle big enough to drive a hummer through.” D. Warbucks

            LOL. Funny!

            But seriously, as far as salvation is concerned:

            ‘When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, “Then who can be saved?”

            And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” ‘ Matthew 19:25-27 (New American Standard Bible) from http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2019:24-27&version=NASB

        2. F. Beard

          “Francis… money is the ultimate corrupter, I’m afraid.
          It makes us afraid of not having enough.
          And THAT… is fatal to faith.”
          Debra

          Yes, it is vicious cycle, more money can mean less reliance on the Lord can mean less faith in the Lord can increase insecurity and the desire for even more money. I’ve experienced it myself.

          Keep deception and lies far from me,
          Give me neither poverty nor riches;
          Feed me with the food that is my portion,
          That I not be full and deny You and say, “Who is the LORD?”

        3. F. Beard

          I’m pretty sure that Jesus NEVER handled money personally… Debra

          Well, He did work as a carpenter till He was 30.

        1. F. Beard

          I said “But what we can do is to eliminate the government backed money creation monopoly …”

          We are suffering the tragedy of a common money supply where private bankers can extend credit in the government enforced monopoly money supply (FRNs).

  7. Vinny

    George Washington,

    Nice reporting. What I did not see mentioned, though, is that that piece of arrogant garbage that paraded before the US Congress last week, just spent a day on his yacht. What a pathetic man, if you can even call that “a man”.

    Vinny

    1. alex black

      The White House issued a statement declaring their outrage that the BP CEO was out at a yacht race. The only problem here was that while the White House was issuing this statement, Obama was out golfing.

  8. Rich Furry Flavor

    BP will not be bankrupted, they will be propped up as necessary by both the US and British governments. The damage caused by a BP bankruptcy to state and private pension funds in both countries would be enormous and the governments, or more accurately, the taxpayers, would be on the hook for the shortfall. The Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation in the US and whatever the UK equivalent is called would have to step in and pay these tremendous losses in pension funds that are already underfunded and counting on unrealistic return expectations to meet their future obligations. I am confident our rulers will conjure up the required funds and find a way to funnel them into BP, all the while denouncing them as evil and grandstanding to their constituencies, in order to prevent a pension default scenario from playing out so that the pension funds can continue the shell game for a few more years.

  9. John L

    Honestly, I think the outrage over Heyward attending a yacht race is overblown. He’s the CEO of a giant corporation, and has been closely involved with this disaster since it started. Now he’s delegated that authority to someone else, and he is trying to “get his life back”. Do people want him to sit on the beach wearing sackcloth and ashes until everything is fixed?

    I’m not saying Heyward is blameless; he made more than his share of gaffes involving how he handled this mess. I just don’t see the yacht race as one of them.

    Also, now that BP has promised to turn over $20 billion to deal with private and business claims, and an independent arbitor will be handling them, we’ll start seeing people getting their checks quicker. At least I hope so, but at the same time there needs to be some way to weed out the fraudulent claims. I don’t want to see the news reporting that someone in Atlanta ended up with this money even though they didn’t have any business/property affected.

  10. chad

    Didn’t Obama say something like it’s in all of our best interest that BP remain a strong company? Something like that.

    I smell the workings of a US taxpayer backstop of BP and it’s no secret that BP is very much in the too big to fail camp. I think a bailout of BP (or some guarantee) would be the straw that breaks the camel’s back and causes the POTUS to take to the streets.

  11. Lyle

    Re: those folks who don’t bother to keep records or file tax returns. Since they are cheats and liars by not filing, they should not get anything. The dirty little secret of the IRS is they only catch a small percentage of those who don’t pay up. I would go a bit further and say if you don’t file (or can prove you did not need to file you get no aid from anyone)
    Sure its hard for these folks, but thats tough.

  12. guttersnipe

    The Gulf oil tragedy was caused, more than not, by the eco-nuts getting the Bakken reserve and other land reserves in the US declared off-limits. No doubt BP must share blame but whadda ya expect when you’re drilling thousands of feet into the seabed more than mile deep under the ocean???? If something goes wrong, and invariably it will at some point, you have a Hell of a mess on your hands and no quick, easy way to fix it. So the eco-nuts, while maybe preserving one part of the environment, end up risking the destruction of another. Do not mistake my position, I do believe in protecting our environment in all reasonable and practical ways without keeping a political agenda.

  13. Scharfy

    BP isn’t going anywhere. Even if you crush the stock and zero out the bondholders – those wells, those lovely deepsea drillers, all of them – will be sucking up oil, and selling it.

    Whether they are doing so under a different name is irrelevant. Oil’s here. In a big way. And its staying for a while.

    I expect private industry to attempt to cut costs – its what they do. Its how they get the product to shelf, cheaply. (not saying I think its ok, its just part of the process)

    Its incumbent on GOV regulatory agencies to set the framework for safety and enforce it. Obama should be crucifying the proper regulatory people and relieving some people of duty.

    We have mercenaries gathering our energy, and they do it cheaply. We musn’t get mad at mud for being dirty. Time to put on our Big Boy pants and accept our Government’s failure to do their job, as well as our insatiable desire for oil. Lots of blame to go around here

  14. John Smith

    I can’t understand why so many people are so upset about this spill. Oil spills happen from time to time. It’s just the risk you take to have your cheap gas, which you LOVE. Sad that the Great American Public, fanned by a sensationalist media, blames BP for this when it is really their own lust for cheap fuel that is the cause. BP’s actions with regard to handling the leak have been superb. Their engineers persisted through incredibly difficult circumstanes and managed to find a way to capture most of the leaking oil. The largest oil clean-up operation ever mounted is currently underway. Despite the shrieks of the lying media, I think Tony Hayward has done a great job.

    1. Fred

      Not only do oil spills happen now and then, but isn’t the oil that is leaking natural? All BP did was drill a hole in the ground and the crude that had been lying down there came a bubblin’ up. Back in the day, they had crude bubblin’ up in Pennsylvania without drilling oil wells. That’s how Jed Clampett of the Beverly Hillbillies make his pile. And then they had the La Brea tar pits in LA and there are natural deposits of oil sands or tar all over the world. Oil is natural, and mass die-offs of life are also natural. The dinosaurs all died off at some point, for example. Furthermore, oil isn’t really that toxic to humans. It is nowhere near as bad as all these pharmaceuticals that we are pouring into the water supply. You can be exposed to quite a bit of crude oil, and even drink quite a bit before it affects you in any way. Whereas even a tiny amount of certain drugs is enough to kill you or drastically change the operation of your body. Those sex hormones that are causing baby boys to be born with tiny penises are particularly frightening. Finally, if there are really oil-eating microbes already gobbling up the oil, then there isn’t really that much to worry about in the long run. Though in the short run, there is this to worry about: http://www.helium.com/items/1864136-how-the-ultimate-bp-gulf-disaster-could-kill-millions

  15. Paul

    “BP’s request for tax records poses a problem for some residents of fishing communities in southeastern Louisiana — the nonconformists who haven’t kept records or reported their cash income.”

    Nonconformists? Is he mis-pronouncing “tax evaders”?

    1. JTFaraday

      Typically, it’s mispronounced “Treasury Secretary.” Small people, your day to collect has come.

  16. Jim

    The issue of Gulf coast residents being hit hard has a resonance far beyond economics.

    A front-page article in the L.A. Times this morning stated the following; “Ordinarily this time of year Adam Trahan should be out on the Gulf of Mexico on a shrimp boat, trawling from South Pass to the Chandeleur Islands. Instead he was trawling betwewen the bar at Cisco’s Hideway on Oak Lane and Artie’s out on the highway, fishing for Bud Light. I look out there and I see my life ruined. There ain’t no shrimping, there ain’t no crabing. Well the only thing I know is shrimping. That’s all I know. Now you tell me. Where do I go from here? It’s heartbreaking baby.”

    A way of life may be dying in the Gulf. Our two great symbols of modern life, the market and the state, have seemingly conspired together to threaten the culture of Cajun fisherman.

    This type of development really does get to the roots of things. The practice of shrimping, the generational skills passed from father to son, the groundings of one’s identity, are coming under attack.

    A politics which does not recognize and try to preserve such foundations and traditions is not radical–and does not speak to the deeper crisis that is unfolding in the Gulf–the loss of our subjectivity—of becoming mere objects– no longer subjects–in history.

  17. Doc Holiday

    Arrest Cheney, CEO’s and seize BP’s assets

    http://www.examiner.com/x-31532-Modesto-Political-Issues-Examiner~y2010m5d22-Arrest-Cheney-CEOs-and-seize-BPs-assets

    The BP oil well is still spewing oil into the ocean with no end in sight, so it is time for America to take over; freeze BP’s assets, escort them out of the Gulf of Mexico, and arrest the guilty parties including Cheney, regulators, and CEO’s of the companies involved. Republicans will throw a fit, but there is some precedence from one of their heroes who basically did the same thing.

    ==> Sounds good to me!

    1. Doug Terpstra

      It’s almost comical to imagine our feckless, gutless DOJ actually arresting anybody (unless it’s a corporate/military whistleblower.)

      Three weeks ago Robert Reich said,

      “It’s time for the federal government to put BP under temporary receivership, which gives the government authority to take over BP’s operations in the Gulf of Mexico until the gusher is stopped…”

      “The President should temporarily take over BP’s Gulf operations. We have a national emergency on our hands. No president would allow a nuclear reactor owned by a private for-profit company to melt down in the United States while remaining under the direct control of that company. The meltdown in the Gulf is the environmental equivalent.”

      “Obama’s Oily Waterloo” on Sunday, says much the same thing. Regarding the dispersant (neurotoxin pesticide Corexit) that BP is using to ‘sink’ the oil, “After hundreds of reported illnesses, the EPA instructed BP to cease using Corexit. BP simply refused. Obviously, the fox is guarding the hen house in the most intolerable circumstances imaginable.”

      http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/06/20-1

  18. Doug Terpstra

    This sinking oil and the reported massive underwater plumes of suspended oil may be caused by BP’s use of dispersants intended to hide the horrific extent of the oil spill. But according to a Scientific America article putting the oil out-of-sight/out-of-mind may well be doing much more harm than good.

    “Is Using Dispersants on the BP Gulf Oil Spill Fighting Pollution with Pollution?”
    http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/06/18-9

    this is “the largest use of such chemicals in U.S. history. If it continues for 10 months, as long as Mexico’s Ixtoc 1 blowout in 1979 in the same region, the Macondo well disaster has a good chance of achieving the largest global use of these chemicals, surpassing 10 million liters.”

    “And there is no doubt that dispersants are toxic: Both types of the dispersal compound COREXIT used in the Gulf so far are capable of killing or depressing the growth of a wide range of aquatic species, ranging from phytoplankton to fish. “It’s a trade-off decision to lessen the overall environmental impact,” explained marine biologist Jane Lubchenco, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), at a press conference on May 12. ‘When an oil spill occurs, there are no good outcomes.’”

    “The trade-off in this case is the addition of toxic chemicals in a bid to protect the marshes of Louisiana and the beaches of Florida. But the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for one, has become concerned about the toxicity of the most-used dispersant at the Gulf of Mexico spill-COREXIT 9500-and ordered BP to look at alternatives. (COREXIT 9527 was used earlier during the spill, but it was discontinued because it was considered too toxic.)”

  19. mike

    Not long ago I saw a science show where a researcher found that oil spills tend to collect, just as the picture shows, then gets covered with silt, mud, etc or sinks under the soil and silt. There it sits, both above sea level and below, for decades, causing a slow poisoning of the ecosystem, including a kind of chemical intoxication of animals, making them more susceptible to getting eaten, which concentrates the poisons up the food chain.

    What damage there is will still be there long after any visual evidence is gone.

    I don’t expect BP to go bankrupt, the company makes too much money. They have insurance, and simply cancelling the dividend went a long way towards paying for problems. It is likely they will never have to pay the real price for damages done. They might also very well go after the other two companies involved, the smaller of which very well may go bankrupt and open under a different name.

    BP has 3 billion shares outstanding, paid 84 cents four times a year = 10 billion dollars a year right there alone.
    Earnings per share was over $6.00 a share, so they can easily afford the cost. Can they weather the shareholder lawsuits when they demand BP not be so free with their money? Most likely. Corporations almost always win these types of suites, unless they decide to deliberately lose.

  20. Bernard

    just wait till a hurricane comes. the oil with be stirred up and thrown all over everything. Hopefully it will hit Florida, then something might get done about making drilling safer.

    it is amazing to read the writers how blame environmentalists for businessmen being too cheap for that extra buck here and there. Blaming environmental reasons such as safety and go for cheap and ersatz choices , or incompetent actions is not even a good excuse, but it remains just a sad description of that kind of thinking about business, life and the mentality of those where “getting over” is the only reasonfor business. obviously, i believe somethings are beyond being valued in terms of money. the air i breathe for one. i love the way everything has a price in terms of money. there is nothing that can’t be “bought” with “money.”

    i think we are beginning to see some thing that will not be able to be purchased. that is what happening to a lot of things, nowadays. more of the “little people” must give up so the elite can enjoy their regattas.

    of course these are Savvy Businessmen, even Obama has called them such.

    i don’t need to say about such kind of misanthropes who believe such ideas. such a blatant disregard for the world we live in is just part and parcel of what got BP into such stupid and reckless behavior. it would have been much “cheaper” to cover your behind, than to have to give it all away. paying for PR after the fact. lol

    then Tony boy could go play with his “expensive boat” in the LIFE he left behind.

    such “Savvy Businessmen” need to be taught some lessons. Versailles would be a good start.

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