Tuesday, August 31, 2010

FORGOTTEN BY FEMA

Here’s a video about Slidell 5 years ago

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/video/2010/08/19/VI2010081903120.html

 

 

Huffpo on MRGO

Here is a link to  a huffington post by Greg Palast where he gets it right about the MRGO:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/greg-palast/bushd-again-new-orleans-m_b_697515.html

 

And here is an excerpt:

 

Until the Army Corps made this crazy gash in the Mississippi Delta fifty years ago, Mother Nature protected the Crescent City with a green wreath of cypress and mangrove. The environmental slash-job caused the government's own hydrologist to raise alarms from Day One of construction.

Unless MR-GO was fixed or plugged, the Corps was inviting, "the possibility of catastrophic damage to urban areas by a hurricane surge coming up this waterway." (I'm quoting from a report issued 17 years before The Flood.)

A forensic analysis by Dr. John W. Day calculated that if the Corps had left just 6 miles of wetlands in place of the open canal, the surge caused by Katrina's wind would have been reduced by 4.5 feet and a lot of New Orleaneans would be alive today.

The Corps plugging its ears to the warnings was nothing less than "negligence, insouciance, myopia and shortsightedness."

That list of fancy epithets poured from the angry pen of Federal Judge Stanwood Duval who heard the evidence in a suit filed by the surviving residents of the Ninth Ward and St. Bernard's Parish. His Honor ruled that the drowning of the Ninth Ward and St. Bernard Parish was a man-made disaster.

Still, the Administration drags its feet on payment under the legal theory of "Discretionary Function." In lay terms, that means, "Nyah, nyah, nyah! You can't hold the Army Corps responsible for gross negligence." The Justice Department also argued that the court should not consider the number of people drowned. Ugh.

Judge Duval slapped away the government's cockamamie defense.

So then, why oh why oh why would Obama, after his grandstanding about BP's responsibility to the people of the Gulf Coast, refuse to compensate some of the same people for the far greater damage caused by the Corps?

Let me tell you: it goes beyond the money. To "make things right" means Obama would have to face down powers fiercer than any Taliban: Big Oil.

The widening of MR-GO drowned New Orleans; it was not an Act of God. It was an Act of Chevron. An Act of Shell Oil. And, yes, an Act of BP.

Thanks, Greg.

Bird releases provide hope in Gulf oil spill response

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Birds released on Rabbit Island, Louisiana on August 26, 2010.

Dear Friends and Supporters,

This past week we released more than 150 clean birds after successful rehabilitation at the ongoing Gulf Oil Spill bird rescue. They were returned to the wild on Rabbit Island, another clean bird nesting island in western Louisiana.

We've had a fair amount of storm activity in the last few weeks and have had to schedule bird releases around heavy wind and rain. That's unfortunate for us but will not impact the birds who can wait a few extra days before they return to the wild. We have made the best use of that time by providing live fish for them to eat so the young pelicans can continue to play and develop hunting skills as they plunge feed and chase live minnows in their pools.

Why are we still getting oiled birds?

While the number of oiled birds has slowed down tremendously, and especially in the last month, we are still receiving fledgling pelicans, gulls and terns. These fledgling birds became oiled while they were playing and bathing in the puddles in the inland areas or on the shorelines of small islands. In July a strong storm surge pushed oil onto some of the nesting islands in the Grande Isle area. These islands are primarily made up of sand, gravel and shell and the highest elevations are typically no more than 4 feet high.

Laughing Gull release Gulf Oil Spill

One of the Laughing Gull chicks released last week.

















Some islands have low growing mangrove forests and many of the islands are covered with tall grasses. The storm surges pushed oil through the grasses and mangroves and much of it settled in shallow inlets and pools that are located throughout the inner areas of the islands. Some of these young birds have been oiled for a while and the only reason they survived was because the warm weather and hot sand allowed them to stay warm.

As they begin to fledge and hang out on the edges of their islands they are easier to capture without frightening the other birds. Since early July we have received around 500 oiled fledglings. We not only have to wash and rehabilitate them, we must take over the role of their parents and help them to learn to eat on their own and become decent hunters and foragers. That is where the live fish and other stimulating foods come in. So, in essence we are now operating a nursery and classroom for the feathered orphans of the spill. The birds now ready to be released have graduated to a state where we think they have a good chance for survival. They may be delayed for a few days but when they are ready they will be released into colonies of their species so that they can pick up where they left off in their education.

Watch: Video of young Brown Pelicans feeding on minnows

As of August 29, 2010 the Tri-State Bird Rescue and IBRRC Response Team have successfully cleaned and released 1,129 healthy birds back to the wild in Texas, SW Louisiana, Florida and Georgia. See: Updated bird numbers

You can follow IBRRC's ongoing rescue efforts on Facebook, Twitter and our Blog.

We continue to remain hopeful and part of that comes from your encouragement and continuing support.

Sincerely,

Jay signature

Jay Holcomb, Executive Director
International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC)

 

 

Monday, August 30, 2010

MLK vs Glen Beck

Click on image to get a legible copy (unless you need a microscope like me. )



h/t Lisa Villano Mulvey from FB.

Riki Ott: An Open Letter to US EPA, Region 6

Riki Ott: An Open Letter to US EPA, Region 6: "Based on these documents, and more, we believe that dispersant spraying in inland and near shore waters across the Gulf of Mexico from Louisiana to the western Florida panhandle is occurring now and has continued unabated (before) and since July 19, the date that the seafood safety panel proclaimed was the last day dispersants were sprayed. Based on these documents, and more, we believe that the dispersant spraying in inland and near shore waters is being conducted for the sole purpose of sinking the visible oil, an activity that is supposedly illegal. According to the University of South Florida, dispersed oil micro-droplets have been documented throughout the Gulf water column and are likely to affect the entire ecosystem."

Here's to you, Viking Fans!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Katrina Radio Broadcasts

WWL radio - which was the only station broadcasting all thru the storm (that's what we listened to as we stayed for the storm) has offered links to the broadcasts before and during the storm at this link

Scroll down the page till you get to "Katrina Audio Archives" on the right hand side and click on any one of the

Also, check right above the Radio Archives section to "Katrina Movie Extra 1". This is a movie showing those horrendous hurricane winds outside the radio station's building, across from the Superdome. It's riveting.

Vince Vance's I am New Orleans

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Katrina Memories

here's a link to what was going thru our minds in the first few weeks following the storm .

and here's my website documenting Katrina's wrath

Hopefully I caught all of the dead links.

Excellent Katrina Interactive

We were without electricity for a few weeks, so I missed quite a bit of what went on via the television and internet. I just found this fantastic interactive site from USA Today that has TONS of Katrina information from NOLA and the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

The power of Katrina's Winds



This is a picture of a billboard in Slidell, bent by the storm's winds.

Katrina Evacuation

Bayoucreole details her family's exodus from Katrina here. We stayed for the storm so I have no idea what it's like spending hours stuck in traffic. I can't imagine.

Our Katrina memories are on a website I can't access here from work, so I'll get to it when I get home and post it here.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Migrant Shorebirds arrive in the Gulf

It's here, what we've been fearing. Birds are starting their annual migration through the Gulf Coast and coming into contact with the oiled shorelines.

from a "birding blog" (linked above), an excerpt:
Today on Grand Isle Beach, where it is open to swimming, fishing and crabbing, the beach was strewn with new tarballs, and not one person was cleaning any of it. These tarballs warm in the sun and soak into the sand, or become gooey and can directly oil bird's plumage, especially Sanderlings and Plovers that forage along the beach front.

The scale of this disaster is so huge, that many people seem to be ok with the amount of oil that is being left on the beaches now, and will likely never be cleaned. The fact of the matter is, if the amount of oil just on Grand Isle right now were to wash in on a New England Beach, or in San Francisco it would be a major environmental disaster. The apathy towards this catastrophe is very dis-heartening, and is directly affecting our nation's avi-fauna, and there seems to be no outcry for better handling.

The USFWS seems to be content with all of the oil on the shores, even on the Chandeleur Islands, and Raccoon Island. I can bring a shovel to any beach now and find lots of oil under the sand from Waveland, MS to Terrebonne Bay, Louisiana. On the east end of Grand Isle alone, a thick mat 50 meters by 10 meters wide, and 6 inches thick blankets the shoreline. That is 18,500 gallons worth of weathered oil on the shores, which goes uncleaned even today. The amount of fresh oil represented by that number is likely double the figure! Now extrapolate that along the entire southeastern Louisiana Coast where oil of this type is everywhere. Is that OK?

Those that don't "get it"

from nolanotes blog an entry about memories of deciding to return home to New Orleans after Katrina. She writes about an encounter in Thanksgiving of 2005 with a person who shares the feelings a seemingly large number of people in this country have:


That Thanksgiving, we traveled to Taos, NM. We were still bruised from Katrina but brave enough to venture out. A clerk in a store inquired where we were from. “New Orleans?” he snarled with a sneer, “I don’t know why they are bothering to rebuild. It’s not worth my tax dollars.”


I don't think I'll ever be able to understand how so many still hold so much malice towards their own countrymen.

But read the total post here. Her answer to that shallow minded clerk is worth the read.

Katrina Memory

From "gris-grits" blog, memories of walking thru Bay St. Louis, Ms. 4 months post-K

gris-grits: Katrina Memory #4

Monday, August 23, 2010

Real Americans, Please Stand Up

One of my favorite "talk show" people from the 70's thru the 80's - Dick Cavett - opines on the silly "mosque" to do going on.

Here is the link to the whole piece and here
is a piece of it, hoping you read it all


These are not proud moments in my heritage. But now, I’m genuinely ashamed of us. How sad this whole mosque business is. It doesn’t take much, it seems, to lift the lid and let our home-grown racism and bigotry overflow. We have collectively taken a pratfall on a moral whoopee cushion.


I'm a person of few words and I am at awe at the UNNECESSARY too wordy replies to this post. I feel like yelling: tell it in 30 words or less!!!! But that's just me.

Scuzzbucket of the Week

This scuzzbucket comes for a "I know tragedies of all kind and yours aren't as bad as mine" from California. (read his letter at the link)

NOLA blogger Michael Homan penned a heart-felt editorial which made it to the Sacramento Bee about the man-made disaster in New Orleans after Katrina.

But "James" still carries the anger within his heart as do a number of people about what they percieve as "New Orleans wants a handout" with this quote:


I have a question for you. Why is it that 5 years after Katrina people in New Orleans are still unable to cope with the aftermath of Katrina? After billions of dollars have been poured into New Orleans, why are we still hearing from the people of Louisiana, "We need more money?"


Why can't you let go of your anger, James? If you've been thru all that you have you would understand.

I will stop my post here because I'm about to launch into a line of obcenities I don't want to release.

Have a great day, Mr. Scuzzbucket James.

Katrina: Before-AFter and Now

 Here’s a link to a gallery from the Gulf Coast of Mississippi that shows pictures of homes before and after Katrina and what the properties look like five years after the storm

http://www.sunherald.com/2010/08/21/2420601/202-st-charles-bay-st-louis.html

 

 

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Dan Baum on NOLA

From a Washington Post article by Dan Baum

"The longer I spent there, the clearer it became that what makes New Orleanians so different from other Americans is that they are experts at the lost art of living in the moment. They're less deadline-driven and less money-obsessed than the rest of us. Their identities are more rooted in their neighborhoods, second line clubs, and Mardi Gras krewes and Indian tribes than in their personal achievements. They don't squeeze friends and family into busy lives; they build their lives around them. Sharing a beer on the porch is not something a New Orleanian must schedule two weeks in advance."

amen to dat!!

Friday, August 20, 2010

forgotten stretch of Grand Isle Beach

Audubon Magazine has a great article detailing a section of Grand Isle that hasn't been touched since the oil came ashore due to political reasons


Leanne Sarco (left), an educator at Grand Isle State Park, and Audubon's Melanie Driscoll dig through thick oily goop on a stretch of Grand Isle that never got cleaned. (Photo by Justin Nobel/Audubon Magazine)


excerpt:

"The strange goopy objects stuck in the muck are hermit crabs, oiled beyond recognition. They are food for the terns and gulls which flock nearby. Heavy oil is gone from much of the Gulf but on this stretch of Louisiana beach it remains. Park managers, worried the large machines being used to clean beaches would trample bird nests insisted that BP use alternative methods here. This never happened; instead the area was missed completely."

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Adopted Pelicans

About 3 months ago several people pooled their money
to pay for rehabilitation of oiled pelicans. Blog First Draft has posted an adoption certificate and a picture of one of the adopted pelicans here

Eat it to Save it: America Voting with Forks

 

Eat it to Save it: America Voting with Forks

Posted: 18 Aug 2010 10:17 PM PDT

New Orleans food activist Poppy Tooker is mad as hell.

New Orleans food activist Poppy Tooker is mad as hell and she's not going to take it anymore. In June, she was asked to write a blog entry in response to the BP oil spill for Slow Food USA, an organization in which she thought was in line with her belief in preserving culinary traditions and endangered flavors – so much so that she had pioneered the New Orleans chapter over a decade ago.

Yet the organization made an editorial decision to add a question mark to the title, demonstrating to Tooker a lack of support for her and the article's message.

"It infuriated me," says Tooker. "I was skewered and put on the bar-b-cue pit. That's a monthly newsletter sent out to all national members."

Tooker's article, entitled "Eat Gulf seafood" – but listed in the online newsletter as "Support Gulf Fishermen – By Eating Gulf Seafood?" – quickly began a heated debate one step above children's taunts on the school playground.

This is incredibly stupid advice, wrote a reader named Katherine Welsh. How does eating seafood help clean up the oil spill? And who would want to eat seafood from the Gulf?

Another individual, identified only as "SP" thought fishermen in the Gulf should give up their way of life altogether: Wouldn't it be better to support Gulf fishing families by funding a retraining program or a small business incubator just for them? Or perhaps a relocation program? The damage to the Gulf cannot be reversed in the near future, and these people have to do something to support their families in the meantime.

When Kate Walsh the publication's director of communications was reached by phone and asked about the blog entry, the editorial decision to add the question mark, and Slow Food USA's position on the consumption of Gulf of Mexico seafood, she had no comment. Walsh said that Josh Viertel the President of Slow Foods USA would send a statement by e-mail but no such document arrived.

The only written statement on Slow Food USA's position is an online comment in response to Tooker's article on June 11th, from Emily Vaughn, the Biodiversity Program Manager.

"It infuriated me," says Tooker. "I was skewered and put on the bar-b-cue pit. That's a monthly newsletter sent out to all national members."

Like you, Slow Food USA strongly values the conscientious sourcing of food, especially seafood, where the methods of harvesting can be especially devastating if done the wrong way. That's why we provided links to groups of fishermen (White Boot Brigade, Louisiana Seafood Board) whose practices are in line with our values, and who are every bit as interested in staying away from plumes and solvents as the rest of us.

So while there are certainly a different set of considerations and criterion, the Committee feels that the eater-based conservation method can still be ethically and successfully applied to wild-caught foods.

Tooker feels that her experience with the online blog reflects the national debate over seafood safety.

"The problem is the public perception," says Tooker. "I know a lot of chefs who have and will continue to call it [Gulf seafood] by name on their menu, but the customer isn't buying it. So what do you do about that?"

Tooker's answer, like any good New Orleanian, is to educate and share the pleasures of the table, a view she expresses weekly on her radio show on NPR affiliate WWNO, Louisiana Eats!

"Your tongue and your heart are tied together by what my grandmother used to call heart strings," says Tooker. The concept of preserving endangered flavors through education and publicity via the Arc of Taste, a virtual Noah's Arc where endangered foods are nominated because of their cultural ties to a place, because they are endangered, and because they taste good is what interested Tooker to the slow food movement in the first place.

After Katrina, Creole Cream Cheese, heirloom Louisiana strawberries, the citrus fruit satsuma and Louisiana wild caught shrimp were all accepted on the Arc of Taste – a acknowledgement of their importance and deliciousness.

Now disenchanted with Slow Food USA, Tooker is following her personal mantra – eat it to save it – and voting with her fork. She continues to eat and enjoy the fresh Louisiana seafood that inspired her career and life's passions.

 

 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

There is no Ground Zero Mosque

Corexit STILL being used

From a VOO (Vessels of Opportunity) worker:

"We'd roll up on a patch of oil ½ mile wide by one mile long and they'd hold us off from cleaning it up," Miller, speaking with Truthout at his home in D'Iberville, Mississippi, said. "We'd leave and the Carolina Skiffs would pull up and start spraying dispersants on the oil. The guys doing the spraying would wear respirators and safety glasses. Their boats have 375 gallon white drums full of the stuff and they could spray it out 150 feet. The next day there'd be the white foam that's always there after they hit the oil with dispersants."

Some nights VOO crews would sleep out near the work sites. "We'd sleep out there and some nights the planes would come in so close the noise would wake us from a dead sleep," Miller added. "Again, we'd call in the oiled areas during the day and at night the planes would come in and hit the hell out of it with dispersants. That was the drill. We'd spot it and report it. They'd call us off it and send guys out in the skiffs or planes to sink it."

Read the whole sickening article here.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Lies Lies and more Lies

Regarding the premature opening of Gulf of Mexico fishing areas, an article from website truthout details the lies going on, apparently to calm people down after three months of graphic pictures and stories about the BP Oilspill. Apparently, the movers and shakers think we're all stupid and suffer from short term memory. Here's an excerpt:


On Monday, August 9, the Director of the State of Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (DMR), Bill Walker, despite ongoing reports of tar balls, oil and dispersants being found in Mississippi waters, declared, 'there should be no new threats' and issued an order for all local coast governments to halt ongoing oil disaster work being funded by BP money that was granted to the state.

Two days after Walker's announcement and in response to claims from state and federal officials that Gulf Coast waters are safe and clean, fishermen took their own samples from the waters off of Pass Christian in Mississippi.

The samples were taken in water that is now open for shrimping, as well as from waters directly over Mississippi's oyster bed, that will likely open in September for fishing.

Commercial fisherman James "Catfish" Miller, took fishermen Danny Ross Jr. and Mark Stewart, along with scientist Dr. Ed Cake of Gulf Environmental Associates and others out and they found the fishing grounds to be contaminated with oil and dispersants.


This is not to say that ALL Gulf seafood is contaminated. In my mind, it's just those waters EAST of the Mississippi River.

God help those bastards who are lying about all of this. May they rot forever in oil and corexit.

Caring for Sea Turtles

Walt Disney World is the new home for eight sea turtles injured by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The turtles are being cared for at temporary rehabilitation facilities at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park.

The eight turtles include two green sea turtles and six endangered Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtles, the smallest of eight species of sea turtles. Dr Andy Stamper, a research scientist and veterinarian with Disney’s Animal Programs, transported the turtles last week from the Florida Panhandle to the theme park.

In order to care for the animals, Disney’s Animal Kingdom has converted a backstage area into a temporary facility. Engineers and water-science experts have created salt-water pools that can hold up to 35 sea turtles.

“Oil can have a devastating effect on the health of sea turtles, marine mammals and birds,” said Jackie Ogden, Ph.D., vice president for Animal Programs and Environmental Initiatives at Disney Parks. “Over the next several months, many of these animals will require intense medical treatment over a prolonged period. We want to be sure that we provide top-notch medical care wherever we can – whether it’s on a beach or in a state-of-the-art veterinary facility. Ultimately, our goal is to re-release these animals so they can once again thrive in the wild of our oceans and coastline.”

According to the Sea Turtle Restoration Project, as of July 26, 790 sea turtles have been affected by the Gulf oil spill, with 498 sea turtles dead and 222 rescued. Of those rescued, 173 of those survivors are Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtles, one of the most endangered of the sea-turtle species.

Most of the turtles are recovering in rehabilitation centers such as those at Disney, which has a long track record working with these animals. Since 1986, Disney animal care teams have rehabilitated more than 250 endangered sea turtles.

This current effort is Disney’s second such rehabilitation effort this summer. Earlier in July, Disney began caring for seven Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtles that had been diagnosed with pneumonia. Those turtles were transported from the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport, Mississippi in order to make room for animals affected by the Gulf oil spill.

These wildlife rescue efforts reflect Disney’s ongoing work with animals affected by the BP oil spill. Disney’s Animal Programs, and its animal care team, is prepared to send on-site assistance.

In addition, Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Epcot’s The Seas with Nemo & Friends both have rehabilitation facilities that enable the animal care team to treat various animals at Walt Disney World Resort. As a licensed wildlife rehabilitation center, Disney’s Animal Programs supports the rescue and rehabilitation of more than 1,000 injured and orphaned wild animals each year.

Disney has also committed funds to the Gulf oil spill recovery efforts. Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF), which provides funding to non-profit conservation organizations, has donated $100,000 to environmental and animal rescue efforts. Supported by Disney’s Friends for Change: Project Green, the DWCF has given, to date, $50,000 to The National Audubon Society for their work during the Gulf oil spill and $50,000 in grant money to other organizations.

 

 

PDX2 Gulf Coast at Grand Isle


I ask the search and rescue team leader how bad the spill is, after he tells us he has worked on three other spills. “Monumental,” he says. I’m with a reporter from my hometown newspaper and he’s unsatisfied with the answer. He presses. The official speaks in gentle equivocations — it’s not his job to argue, it’s his job to get the media out to these places, to see what is the what and get the story to the public. Sure it’s controlled, but he doesn’t like a man whose tongue would be lashed. It is big and his body language says a lot. Monumental is a monumental word after all.


Read the entire post here.

Oregonians helping Gulf Coast

from the "pdx2gulfcoast.com", Oregonians Supporting their Gulf Coast Neighbors website, a report on the cleanup on the Alabama beaches and the relocation of the baby turtles. An excerpt:


Just beyond the beachgoers, there is yet another ‘Incident Command Unit’ down the beach. As we approach, walking the beach where the resorts stop, the tarballs grow by degrees in number. Closing in, we count 12 men working. They have a contraption that resembles a screen door and they are sifting sand for oil, then bagging it in plastic bags to be hauled away. Asking the men where it goes, they don’t have an answer. The ubiquitous ‘they’ that occupies hierarchy here ‘take care of it.’

This is far and away the most absurd thing I’ve seen in a three state tour of oil affected areas. Imagine sifting millions of cubic feet of sand with a f@#R%ing screen door. This is humanity reduced to helplessness. This is pissing in the wind. This is for a time at least, 12 peoples’ livelihood paid for by BP.



Please go to this website and leave a comment thanking them for their support.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

DON'T OPEN THE FISHERIES

From a recent post at Huffington Post, superwoman and marine biologist Riki Ott pens an article:
"Seafood Safety and Politics Don't Mix: Opening of Gulf Fisheries at Odds With Evidence of Harm"


Here's a heartbreaking excerpt:

"Eight days after returning home from his Gulf oil-spill response job, Jason Brashears has flashbacks of a scene that he witnessed one day in Lake Ponchartrain, Louisiana: Thousands of fish gasping at the surface in a sea of foamy oil and dispersant.

Brashears spent 65 days spotting oil in Lake Ponchartrain; Mobile Bay; and along the coast off Destin, Florida; Ocean Springs, Alabama; and Cat Island, Mississippi. His team reported oil sightings during the day. At night, planes sprayed dispersant to break up the oil."


I'm pissed, I'm pissed and I'm pissed some more. WHO ISN'T involved in this cover up and sugar coating one of the worst environmental disasters in this country?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

It's all about limiting BP's liability

Grand Isle town hall meeting - day 100 of oilspill

This is just one village on the coast. The story is the same from Texas to Tampa, folks who fly over tell me there’s still plenty of oil out there. BP is starting to scale back the use of fishermen and in the eyes of costal residents they are depending more on the use of COREXIT. What scares me the most is that most of the hermit crabs that use to reside on the beaches are gone. The concern is worms and smaller organisms that provide life for fish & birds have suffered the same fate.



""

Lots of interesting oil spill information at dirty cajuns dot com.

Good news for a change

The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation agreed to consolidate the litigation over the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in federal court in New Orleans before Judge Carl J. Barbier.

"Upon careful consideration, we have settled upon the Eastern District of Louisiana as the most appropriate district for this litigation. Without discounting the spill's effects on other states, if there is a geographic and psychological 'center of gravity' in this docket, then the Eastern District of Louisiana is closest to it," the panel ruled.

The decision is a victory for the City of New Orleans, which will benefit from the economic activity of having hundreds of disputes over financial responsibility for the oil disaster taking place in the city. It is also a victory for plaintiffs, who will be able to participate in the proceedings without having to travel as far.

The panel of seven federal judges, who met in Boise, Idaho, on July 29, ruled that all claims under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, personal injury and wrongful death actions should be centralized. The panel said that consolidating the legal actions "may also facilitate closer coordination with Kenneth Feinberg's administration of the BP compensation fund."

The panel also said that it believed that the "limitation of liability" proceedings brought by rig owner Transocean Ltd. in federal court in Houston is a "potential tag-along action" in this docket, and will be included on a forthcoming conditional transfer order, but the group did not make a definitive ruling on that consideration.

carl_barbier.JPGU.S. District Judge Carl Barbier

"Although our preliminary assessment is that the action should be included in the centralized proceedings, we do not prejudge the matter...the parties are free to object to the action's transfer," the judges wrote.

The panel said that it selected Barbier to oversee the litigation because he has gained considerable experience with consolidated litigation in his 12 years on the federal bench, and is already actively managing dozens of oil disaster cases. "We have every confidence that he is well prepared to handle a litigation of this magnitude," the judges wrote.

In making their choice, the judges rejected the notion that venues such as New Orleans might not provide a level playing field for all parties and that they should search elsewhere for a 'neutral' judge. "With all due respect, we disagree with the premise of this argument. When federal judges assume the bench, all take an oath to administer justice in a fair and impartial manner to all parties equally."

 

Friday, August 06, 2010

The disastrophe is just beginning

Apparently a mass fish kill was witnessed in Fourchon yesterday (August 5, 2010).

from this link (read the whole story here) an excerpt:

A lot of birds are eating the dead and dying fish. A lot of oil is still in the water and saturating the sands and marshes. The media and BP are talking like everything is fine down here, and a visible lessening of the work force is apparent. Saturated boom still lines many of the beaches and marshes further contaminating substrates and wildlife. Large swaths of weathered oil still mat Grand Isle, Grand Terre Island, and likely all of the other barrier islands that were oiled, and it is unlikely that we'll ever get a satisfactory answer to what forces combined to kill these fish in Fourchon, Louisiana. Gosh it kind of sounds like I've lost faith in the system, but it feels more like it was ripped away from me by a mega corporation, and the Government and media that it bought.

Break Down of Species of Birds Present With at Least One Oiled Individual:

Most birds with oil were lightly oiled, and the oil looked old and weathered.

Lessons from Alaska Disappearing Act

From healthy gulf dot org, advice to citizens of the Gulf Coast:
Today we met with the Prince Edward Sound Regional Citizen Advisory Board (RCAC).
During our meeting the leaders of the RCAC made clear that if the citziens of the Gulf want to obtain better safeguards and better oversight, we had better move forward quickly. They warned us that the disaster will soon be declared over.


Read it all here.

BP & Waste Mgmt - Two evils unite

Despite the fact that citizens of Harrison County, Mississippi have been fuming over what the county estimates is 1,200 tons of oil-tainted byproduct dumped there.


The dumping of oiled sand, tarballs and the hazmat suits and gloves
worn by the cleanup crews are being buried in a landfill owned by Waste Management.



Waste Management says that all the oil waste that has been stored at the landfill is classified as "non-hazardous," after being tested by the EPA and the Mississippi Bureau of Environmental Quality. It adds that there is a liner underneath the landfill, and groundwater there is monitored.

Waste Management also operates landfills that have been receiving oil waste in Mobile County in Alabama and Jackson County in Florida.

But local officials in Harrison County aren't easily assured. They point out that 250 homes are within a half-mile of the landfill.

And a supervisors meeting Monday didn't go all that smoothly.

"That landfill is in Harrison County for our waste," Supervisor William Martin said. "That's why it was built there. And now to allow BP to put all this waste in it, it's wrong."

It didn't help that a BP representative at the meeting did not have the authority to commit to anything. The representative was sent home.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

More BP Coverups: Dead Animals

From Mother Nature Network.com, this story
about BP/Government coverup of the REAL death toll of wildlife in the wake of the oilastrophe (term courtesy of Adrastos.

Entitled 'Death Gyre' in the Gulf, the article opines that, compared with the Exxon Valdez, the "official count" of dead sealife from the Deepwater Horizon seems unbelievably low.

"Is it possible that a massive cleanup operation in early June was focused on collecting dead animals out at sea in naturally forming 'death gyres?' According to marine toxicologist Riki Ott, such gyres of dead and dying animals were common for weeks after the Exxon Valdez spill. And we know that BP was doing everything in its power to keep dead animal photographs out of the press. Kate Sheppard and Mac Mclelland of Mother Jones documented several instances of BP actually barring photography of dead animals on public beaches"
.

The article also cites a text message supposedly sent from a worker in the Gulf at the time describing the hellish scenes. The text message hasn't been verified and was pulled from Facebook. I remember the day I read it and it seemed believable at the time: BP's hiding things, ignoring the press, the Coast Guard and EPA seemingly complicit in these underhanded activities.

But read the article for yourself and you decide.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

The oil ain't gone, y'all

From Huffpo
The Crime of the Century: What BP and the US Government Don't Want You to Know, Part I


"We, ..... spent the last few weeks along the Gulf coast from Louisiana to Florida, and the reality is distinctly different. The coastal communities of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida have been inundated by the oil and toxic dispersant Corexit 9500, and the entire region is contaminated. The once pristine white beaches that have been subject to intense cleaning operations now contain the oil/dispersant contamination to an unknown depth. The economic impacts potentially exceed even the devastation of a major hurricane like Katrina, the adverse impacts on health and welfare of human populations are increasing every minute of every day and the long-term effects are potentially life threatening."

Fate of Oil from BP Spill

from deepwaterhorizon.com
call me skeptical..............................

WASHINGTON — The vast majority of the oil from the BP oil spill has either evaporated or been burned, skimmed, recovered from the wellhead or dispersed – much of which is in the process of being degraded. A significant amount of this is the direct result of the robust federal response efforts.

A third (33 percent) of the total amount of oil released in the Deepwater Horizon/BP spill was captured or mitigated by the Unified Command recovery operations, including burning, skimming, chemical dispersion and direct recovery from the wellhead, according to a federal science report released today.

An additional 25 percent of the total oil naturally evaporated or dissolved, and 16 percent was dispersed naturally into microscopic droplets. The residual amount, just over one quarter (26 percent), is either on or just below the surface as residue and weathered tarballs, has washed ashore or been collected from the shore, or is buried in sand and sediments. Dispersed and residual oil remain in the system until they degrade through a number of natural processes. Early indications are that the oil is degrading quickly.

These estimates were derived by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Department of the Interior (DOI), who jointly developed what’s known as an Oil Budget Calculator, to provide measurements and best estimates of what happened to the spilled oil. The calculator is based on 4.9 million barrels of oil released into the Gulf, the government’s Flow Rate Technical Group estimate from Monday. More than 25 of the best government and independent scientists contributed to or reviewed the calculator and its calculation methods.

“Teams of scientists and experts have been carefully tracking the oil since day one of this spill, and based on the data from those efforts and their collective expertise, they have been able to provide these useful and educated estimates about the fate of the oil,” says Jane Lubchenco, under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “Less oil on the surface does not mean that there isn’t oil still in the water column or that our beaches and marshes aren’t still at risk. Knowing generally what happened to the oil helps us better understand areas of risk and likely impacts.”

The estimates do not make conclusions about the long-term impacts of oil on the Gulf. Fully understanding the damages and impacts of the spill on the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem is something that will take time and continued monitoring and research.
Dispersion increases the likelihood that the oil will be biodegraded, both in the water column and at the surface. While there is more analysis to be done to quantify the rate of biodegradation in the Gulf, early observations and preliminary research results from a number of scientists show that the oil from the BP Deepwater Horizon spill is biodegrading quickly. Scientists from NOAA, EPA, DOE, and academic scientists are working to calculate more precise estimates of this rate.

It is well known that bacteria that break down the dispersed and weathered surface oil are abundant in the Gulf of Mexico in large part because of the warm water, the favorable nutrient and oxygen levels, and the fact that oil enters the Gulf of Mexico through natural seeps regularly.

Residual oil is also degraded and weathered by a number of physical and biological processes. Microbes consume the oil, and wave action, sun, currents and continued evaporation and dissolution continue to break down the residual oil in the water and on shorelines.

The oil budget calculations are based on direct measurements wherever possible and the best available scientific estimates where measurements were not possible. The numbers for direct recovery and burns were measured directly and reported in daily operational reports. The skimming numbers were also based on daily reported estimates. The rest of the numbers were based on previous scientific analyses, best available information and a broad range of scientific expertise. These estimates will continue to be refined as additional information becomes available.

To view the full BP oil spill budget report, click here.
________________________________________

Monday, August 02, 2010

Oilgate

Marine toxicologist and Exxon Valdez survivor Riki Ott writes about Obama's Oilgate in this HuffPo post. Excerpt:


BP's latest pretend is that tropical storm Bonnie washed the oil away - or at least off the surface - so the company is busily laying off response crews and claiming damages were over-exaggerated......The official story emerging now from BP and most of the president's men - and now being echoed by some national media - is: the oil is gone; the danger is past and was exaggerated; the dispersants were effective in keeping oil from reaching the shore; the oil that does reach shore is mostly weathered and not toxic; and federal officials have found no unsafe levels of oil in air or water samples and no evidence of illness due to oil or dispersant use.

The dispersants used in BP's draconian experiment contain solvents such as petroleum distillates and 2-butoxyethanol. Solvents dissolve oil, grease, and rubber. Spill responders have told me that the hard rubber impellors in their engines and the soft rubber bushings on their outboard motor pumps are falling apart and need frequent replacement. They say the plastic corks used to float the absorbent booms during skimming operations dissolve after a week of use. They say the hard epoxy resin on and below the waterline of their fiberglass boats is also dissolving and chipping away. Divers have told me that they have had to replace the soft rubber o-rings on their gear after dives in the Gulf and that the oil-chemical stew eats its way into even the Hazmat dive suits.

Animated graphic on Deepwater disaster

From NOLA dot com



In this Times-Picayune interactive graphic chronicling the first 100 days of the disaster, Ryan Smith and Dan Swenson bring together many of those threads, presenting the story of what happened day by day. It maps the spread of oil on the surface of the Gulf, fishing restrictions, and the areas of shoreline that have been affected. It also points up BP's various efforts to cap the Macondo well.

Incorporated in the graphic are video vignette of the stories of six people deeply affected by the oil spill:

Pam Patrick, a Bucktown seafood vendor who asks, "How much more can we get knocked down?"
Thomas "Uptown T" Stewart, an Uptown oyster shucker who boasts of his "tasty oysters, but they are from Florida at the moment."
Mari Darr~Welch, a beach portrait photographer whose summer business is a quarter of what she would have expected without the spill.
Nick Collins, a fourth-generation oyster harvester from Golden Meadow facing "grim realities."
Chief Albert Naquin, leader of the Biloxi-Chitimacha community on Isle de Jean Charles, whose fears have not been realized.
Kevin Vanderbrook a recreational fisher from Covington who finds renewal on the water.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Not so fast, BP

From Kristen Psaki of Huffpo, a post about how BP and - probably with the blessing of the freaking U.S. Government - is getting ready to screw Louisiana AGAIN. Here is an excerpt from the above link:


Unfortunately, the meeting unexpectedly turned into a "listening session" describes (Craig)Taffaro,
"Here we are thinking we're going to a meeting to discuss post-capping activities, and we're handed a plan before there's even a discussion. It just sort of illustrated the very source of our frustration."


In another article from wsj.com

Jittery local officials are trying to stop BP PLC from removing some of the equipment and workers the company deployed along the Gulf Coast to cope with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill as it prepares to start sealing its damaged oil well for good on Tuesday.

Though the leak was stopped after the well was capped temporarily in mid-July, elected officials in several Louisiana parishes say manpower and equipment must remain there because the true scope of the disaster is still not understood.


Also because we are in the HEART of hurricane season. The damn well hasn't even been permanently capped yet and the relief well hasn't been completed due to trash in the line (I'm no engineer, the words are mine). We don't know what could happen because THIS DISASTROPHE IS NOT OVER, Y'ALL!!

More from the Kristen Psaki of Huffpo
Has the oil disappeared? Or, do we need to be asking a few different questions: Why are parish presidents and affected community members easily able to spot oil slick and sheen? What is the process for cleaning up the millions of gallons of subsurface oil that now seems to be out-of-sight and out-of-mind?

Good questions, Kristen. Keep at this, we need you here, because without reporters like you, we'd be screwed due to the depth of the federal gov't involvement in this disastrophe.

BP, do what you said you were going to do:

Missing Oil Found

The Oil Is Missing
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BP just keeps on screwing the victims

BP offers one-off payouts to stem Gulf oil spill lawsuits

US lawyers say tens of thousands of affected people in the Gulf, particularly those in the fishing and tourism industries, are weeks away from bankruptcy.

BP will begin its legal offensive this month to cap its liabilities from the Gulf of Mexico disaster by offering those affected one-off compensation payouts in return for them waiving the right to sue.
Lump-sum compensation offered in return for waiving the right to sue, but uncertainty remains for those indirectly affected.

read the entire article at the link above.

$75M Liability Cap should be on the way out

House votes remove oil spill liability cap

The Senate is expected to consider its own version of energy legislation next week, before senators leave for their August recess. But even if that measure is approved, House and Senate negotiators would need to reconcile differences between the two bills.