|BP Oil Spill Update 6/25/2010
use of massive amounts of TOXIC DISPERSANT:
Confirmation of what any person with two neurons to rub together knew
sixty-plus days ago:
"The bottom line, Peebles [a biological oceanographer at USF] said, is
that thanks to the dispersants 'the oil is more broadly distributed
than it would have been, and the oil droplets do have toxic
properties. It appears to be creating layers of microscopic oil
droplets that are spread throughout the gulf.' "
--FROM Despite concerns, dispersant use continues on gulf oil spill:
NOTE: Many Florida related news items found at:
Class action lawsuit targets BP and dispersant maker:
A class action lawsuit filed in federal court asserts BP and NALCO --
the maker of the dispersant COREXIT -- intentionally used the chemical
to sink oil to the Gulf floor. Braud says, "So you are not really
cleaning up the spill. You are spreading it out and sinking it to the
bottom where it becomes a permanent part of the food chain." He says
studies in the UK failed to conclude dispersants would not damage the
eco-system so the uk banned COREXIT in 1998. He also points out EPA
testing proves there are other less toxic dispersants available, that
are even more effective on Louisiana sweet crude.
Siesta to host oil-spill forums
The Siesta Key Association will host two meetings next week that focus
solely on the oil spill. The public is invited to both. It will
co-host the first with the Siesta Key Chamber, Siesta Key Merchants
Association and Siesta Key Condo Council. It will be held at 6:30
p.m., Monday, June 28, at the St. Boniface Church community center at
5615 Midnight Pass Road
BP’s Fake Cleanup: Worker quits, says “They told us not to dig”;
“Forbidden” to clean beneath surface when oil is buried 12 inches deep
WKRG Channel 5 CBS Pensacola, June 24, 2010
Former Oil Worker Says Cleanup Just For Show, WKRG Channel 5 CBS
Pensacola, June 24, 2010:
Former oil clean-up worker Candi Warren says she signed up to make a
difference, but soon found out the work of cleaning the beaches was
all cosmetic. That’s what she was told, she says.
Update: “Thick sheets of tar” below sand will be forced “to the
cleaner, higher elevated portions of unaffected beach” during heavy
Oil spill: Beach’s beauty only skin deep, Pensacola News Journal, June 25,
Despite intensive efforts by more than 1,100 workers and heavy
equipment to clean thick tar from Pensacola Beach overnight Wednesday,
massive sheets of oil remained buried in the sand.
An 8-mile stretch of Pensacola Beach that was covered with gooey oil
Wednesday appeared to be . . .
Geologist digs up “contiguous vein of oil” underneath Florida beach;
“Sheet of oil was covered by as much as a foot of sand at high tide”
Oil waste collection “directly across the street from a seafood
restaurant”; Placed alongside “ordinary household garbage, including
State Health Dept. Official: No point in collecting this stuff if
they’re just going to spread it around Investigation finds shoddy
disposal work marring oil cleanup, Ft. Walton Sun, June 24, 2010:
A leaky truck filled with oil-stained sand and absorbent boom soaked
in crude pulls away from the beach, leaving tar balls in a public
parking lot . . . ? Read
BP claims office “still doesn’t have a direct phone number for people
to call” after opening 10 days ago
BP’s Florida commander in Naples to reassure citizens the company is
in for the long haul, Naples Daily News, June 24, 2010:
BP’s Florida commander for the oil spill relief efforts, visited the
company’s Naples claims office as part of a tour of the Southwest
Raymond Dempsey tried to reassure those who fear BP will leave . . .
Despite concerns, dispersant use continues on gulf oil spill:
The bottom line, Peebles said, is that thanks to the dispersants "the
oil is more broadly distributed than it would have been, and the oil
droplets do have toxic properties. It appears to be creating layers of
microscopic oil droplets that are spread throughout the gulf."
A Gulf gale might halt BP oil collection efforts for two weeks
Winds in excess of 45 miles per hour days away from the Deepwater
Horizon gusher in the Gulf of Mexico spill could force at-sea workers
to abandon their oil collection efforts for as long as two weeks, the
head of the national response effort said Friday.
20 million people are “to have to evacuate the gulf states” says
prominent oil-industry insider
Each day, another way to define worst-case for oil spill
Oil enters Mississippi Sound
By Geoffrey Pender | Biloxi Sun-Herald
BILOXI — Boats were trying Wednesday to contain and skim oil inside
the Mississippi Sound from the BP disaster — one a patch a mile long
and a couple hundred yards wide, and another south of Petit Bois
Island near the Alabama line.
Petition Filed to Increase Protection of Gulf of Mexico Fisheries
Devastated by Rushed Oil-drilling Permits
For Immediate Release, June 24, 2010
Contact: Miyoko Sakashita, Center for Biological Diversity, (415) 658-5308
SAN FRANCISCO— The Center for Biological Diversity filed a legal
petition today urging the Bureau of Ocean Energy (formerly the
Minerals Management Service) and National Marine Fisheries Service to
increase conservation measures for essential fish habitat in the Gulf
of Mexico. The agencies have failed to adequately analyze oil and gas
activities that hurt habitat for fish and therefore the health of
crucial fisheries — a violation of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery
Conservation and Management Act.
The United States of Nigeria
Nigeria has next to no protections for its people, and so it has been
The government is bought and paid for by giant corporations to rape
and pillage at will instead of working for its own people.
For example, the government, Shell and Chevron support paramilitary
"kill and go" squads which brutally murder people who protest the
wholesale destruction of their homes and environs for oil extraction,
especially since the people get almost no share in the oil profits.
The proud country of America has been turned into the United States of
While there are no paramilitary death squads in America (although such
squads are used by the U.S. government against American citizens
abroad - and see this), there are many other similarities.
BP is destroying the Gulf, because the government has supported BP
without regulating it in any meaningful way.
BP is covering up its blunders by lowballing spill estimates, keeping
reporters out of areas hardest hit by the oil (and see this, this,
this and this) and threatening to arrest them if they try to take
pictures, hiding dead birds and other sealife, telling cleanup workers
they'll be fired if they use respirators, and using dispersants to
hide the amount of spilled oil (the dispersants are only worsening the
damage caused by the spill).
And the government - despite some occasional tough talk - is letting
BP do whatever it wants.
Indeed, some even speculate that BP has been given emergency powers
which supersede those of local police and other law enforcement.
Welcome to the United States of Nigeria.
What does the BP "escrow"
deal really mean?
People all around the country have put so much pressure on the Obama
administration that it had to “do something” to look like it was
standing up to BP. The announcement today of a so-called $20 billion
escrow fund from BP would never have happened without mass pressure.
But does this fund truly respond to the needs of the people in the
Gulf Coast states?
Too much is at stake for people to let down their guard and accept the
“feel good” sound-bite version of what took place today in the meeting
between President Obama and BP’s executives.
The White House and BP are creating a mythology, or "spin," on what
the tentative agreement signifies.
It is noteworthy that BP's executives are very happy with the new
agreement. Their necessary goal as a corporation is to maximize
profits, and not to pay damages to all of those who have been harmed.
As the Washington Post reported after the meetings, "Behind the
scenes, the company had signaled what it expected from Wednesday's
meeting—and the company appears to have gotten exactly what it
It is quite clear to us, even though much more will be revealed in the
coming days and weeks, that we have to accelerate the movement for
justice. This agreement is not only inadequate but attempts to shield
BP from paying all the damages and compensation for lost work, ruined
small businesses, and a devastated ecosystem.
At first glance, one would believe, based on the headlines that the
Obama Administration compelled BP to set aside $20 billion dollars in
an escrow account to meet the needs of people and communities harmed
by BP's criminal negligence.
But this is actually a great deal for BP.
The facts on the "escrow" account
The "escrow account" in 2010 is not $20 billion dollars. BP will put
in $3 billion dollars in the third quarter of 2010 (ending September
30) and another $2 billion in the fourth quarter (ending December 31).
Thereafter, it will have to make installments of $1.25 billion each
quarter for the next three years.
This means that the necessary money will not be available to pay the
tens of billions in losses that are real and immediate. It also means
that people and businesses will have to get in line.
The real number for the escrow account in 2010 is $5 billion—six
months from now at the earliest. To put this in perspective, BP has
been bringing in between $26 billion and $36 billion annually in
profits on revenue of $250 billion, and pays out more than $10 billion
in dividends yearly.
According to a report in Forbes, BP could absorb $35 billion in spill
costs before it would have a "material impact" on its operations. But
instead, it will be allowed a paltry $5 billion a year, in an
installment plan over four years.
Another measure of perspective can be had by comparison of this $5
billion per year voluntary set-aside to the accumulated potential
fines and penalties under the Clean Water Act. BP can be fined $4,300
per barrel of oil spilled as a consequence of gross negligence. With
the recent acknowledgment that the spill volume is 60,000 barrels per
day, that is a potential penalty of over $250 million per day. Put
another way, every 60 days accumulates a potential $15 billion fine
under the Act. The voluntary arrangement to set aside $5 billion per
year is meager in comparison.
This, of course, reflects Obama’s unwillingness to exercise legal
authority against BP. Department of Justice lawyers could be
initiating prosecutions for the accumulated fines, but aside from the
announcement of potential investigations, this has not occurred.
Obama denies that his deal with BP will function as a cap on its
liability, but this remains to be determined. The deal appears to
functionally provide a shield for BP. As one investment advisor told
the Wall Street Journal, the agreement puts "an end to the financial
bleeding," and allows investors to assess what BP's total liabilities
might be. So while President Obama stresses that the plan is not a cap
on liability, it certainly appears as one. The installment terms of
the payments themselves limit the amounts that will be made available
while people are seeking claims.
Mr. Feinberg to the rescue—again
President Obama announced that the fund will be administered by
Kenneth Feinberg, a Washington lawyer who made $5.7 million in his law
practice in 2008. Mr. Feinberg has played a particular role in
Washington at the time of virtual uprising against the banks and
bankers' bonuses. He was appointed to be the “pay czar” by Obama
reviewing and approving many of the obscene bonuses doled out to AIG
and other executives after they were bailed out with hundreds of
billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money. As Reuters wrote today, "He
has been hailed for soothing the egos of Wall Street executives
clutching on to big paychecks, while still looking tough to a general
public shocked by massive payouts to firms on a government lifeline."
There is very little other information about how claims will be
processed. There will have to be determinations made as to what, in
the parlance of both BP and President Obama, is a "legitimate" claim.
While Obama stated that anyone can file a claim, that doesn’t mean
that the claim will be accepted or paid. Nor does it appear that the
decision-making process will include any of the affected Gulf coast
residents or their representatives from the fishers, shrimpers,
crabbers, unions, small business people and workers in the tourism and
recreation industry, local elected officials, clergy, and independent
scientists and environmentalists.
Details must be forthcoming about claims payments and standards. Can
we expect tens of thousands of people to receive checks by the end of
the month? One thing is clear: The limited level of the fund
necessarily means that claims cannot be paid equivalent to the damages
incurred right now.
The creation of the so-called escrow fund was the result of a
nationwide mass movement. Now is the time to step up our organizing to
make sure that we have the kind of escrow fund that can really meet
the needs of the people and repair the vast environmental damage
caused by BP.