Levees Not War
Restore the Wetlands. Reinforce the Levees.

Posts Tagged ‘BP Oil Flood’

9/11 “Battle of New Orleans” Joins Victims of BP Oil Spill, Exxon Valdez, Hurricanes, and 9/11 First Responders

Friday, September 10th, 2010

[ The following press release is presented as a public service announcement ]

NEW ORLEANS — In a historic gathering, Gulf Coast residents devastated by the BP oil spill will join 9/11 first responders, victims of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and survivors of hurricanes Katrina and Rita to share lessons on preparing for future disasters from 1:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010. The event starts with a 1:30 meetup at the Creole Queen riverboat at the foot of Canal Street. (See schedule below.)

Outraged by what they believe is BP and the government’s inappropriate and slow response to the Gulf oil spill, this event will, for the first time, join concerned citizens with non-profit organizations for an exchange of ideas on community-led action, in response to the immediate and long-term health, environmental and economic impacts of the BP oil disaster.

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Drew Landry Sings “BP Blues” to Presidential Commission

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

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“Just Do the Right Damn Thing”

Some of the most sensible and melodious testimony we’ve heard in a long time was given yesterday in New Orleans by crawfisherman and singer Drew Landry before the Presidential Commission on the BP Oil Spill. He has rolled up his sleeves as a volunteer to help with the cleanup effort and has started a good blog, Dirty Cajuns, as a practical info resource. He talked, he sang, the commission members listened (watch their faces as the camera pans across the dais), then he talked some more. Landry was eloquent with and without his guitar accompaniment.

My name’s Drew Landry. I crawfish out in the Atchafalaya Basin. I guess in late April I went out and volunteered in Venice. I still don’t have a job, but I just wanted to help clean up the spill, and there’s millions of volunteers who want to do something to clean up the spill that are willing to work for almost nothing, and instead we’re hiring all these contractors and wasting our $20 billion. We only have a certain amount of money to spend on this deal, and I feel like if we waste all the assets we have now, years down the road we’re not going to have anything. . . .

We definitely need other solutions, I mean, going green—whatever it takes, but to cut all of our people out of work right now, and also we don’t have any fisheries, we got nothing. We don’t want to be a welfare state, there’s no point in that. We’re hard-working people. . . . I never thought I’d be the hippie who brings his guitar to the meeting, but I’ll play it for you . . . [sings “BP Blues”]

I know you all care. You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t care. . . . We’re not ready for hurricane season. There’s a Gulf full of oil, and we’re sitting here worrying about this right now when we need to be giving people hazmat training so they can defend their homeland so they’re not going to be kicked out forever . . . I mean, this could be the next expulsion of the Cajun people, people who love this place.

I know the EPA said not to use Corexit and they did it anyway. It feels like BP’s in control of this deal, and the Coast Guard does what they want, and the press can’t be around. More importantly the people don’t have a voice, they’re upset, and they’re not just angry. . . . What’s the future of our ecosystem with a hurricane in the Gulf? You know? What are we looking at? . . . This shouldn’t just be about a policy change. It should be about what makes the most sense, how are we going to keep people working. It just sucks. Just do the right damn thing. It shouldn’t be this hard. . . .

See Karen Dalton-Beninato’s interview with Landry here (he’s on the phone as he’s driving down to Grand Isle) in full here (NewOrleans.com) and here (HuffPo).

Check out his Dirty Cajuns blog (“gettin’ dirty to get clean”). The blog is loaded with good YouTube videos of people affected by the oil spill, folks down the bayou struggling to clean up the mess and get back to workin’ and livin’. See the Resources and How to Get Dirty pages with information about volunteering with the cleanup, legal and social services, etc.

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Stop BP from Hurting Cleanup Workers:
Join the “BP Makes Me Sick” Coalition

Monday, July 12th, 2010

We cannot let the denial of protective gear that hurt so many 9/11 cleanup workers happen again with the Gulf cleanup workers.

BP Refuses Respirator Masks for Cleanup Workers

Levees Not War has joined the “BP Makes Me Sick” Coalition of Gulf Coast fishermen, environmental groups, and some 60,000 Americans to press the White House and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to force BP to provide the workers cleaning up BP’s toxic mess to wear protective gear. BP has refused to allow protection because photographs of workers with air filter masks would be bad for the oil giant’s image.

20 percent of offshore workers have been exposed to 2-butoxyethanol, a chemical used in the dispersant Corexit 9527 that has been linked to health concerns. —“Where Are the Respirators?” (Mother Jones)

Click here to tell the White House and OSHA to protect workers (script provided).

Phone the White House (comment line 202-456-1111) and OSHA (202-693-2000 or 800-321-6742). • Also fax the White House (202-456-2461) and OSHA Asst. Secretary Dr. David Michaels at 202-693-1659.

“President Obama and the federal government must demand that BP allow every cleanup worker who wants to wear respiratory protective equipment to do so—and ensure that workers get the equipment and training they need to do their jobs safely.”

The Coalition is organized by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and backed by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., president of the Waterkeeper Alliance, and supported by some 35 environmental and public health and fishermen’s groups, including the Gulf Restoration Network, Louisiana Environmental Action Network, Louisiana Shrimp Association, United Commercial Fishermen, and members of Congress including Reps. Alan Grayson, Kendrick Meek, and Carolyn Maloney (see signatories list here).

See the Mother Jones article “Where Are the Respirators?” below the fold, Elana Schor’s “Petition Urges Obama Admin to Protect Gulf Spill Cleanup Workers” in the New York Times, and Keith Olbermann’s interview with MaryLee Orr of the Louisiana Environmental Action Network on the screen below.

And then click here and here to UNF––K THE GULF.

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Smoke on the Water: Alabama Conservationist’s Gripping Video of Death at Sea

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

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On MSNBC’s Countdown on June 30 Keith Olbermann spoke to John L. Wathen, an Alabama conservationist with Hurricane Creekkeeper (Waterkeeper Alliance) who has flown over the Gulf of Mexico to film the BP oil flood, the dead and dying dolphins and whales, the fires burning on the sea’s surface, and the fires that are pouring immeasurable toxins into the air. (See more videos at bpoilslick.blogspot.com and click here for a “photobucket” of images from the aerial survey.)

In the YouTube video above of which clips were shown on Countdown, Wathen narrates in a sad Alabama drawl:

Will the Gulf ever be the same again? As we headed out toward Louisiana, it was mile after mile of rainbow, heavy, heavy slick oil, and then a circle appeared. Could there possibly be life under all of this? . . . As we looked closer, we saw this pod of dolphins obviously struggling just to breathe [36 dolphins in this pod; 18 dolphins in another]. . . . Then we found this guy, a sperm whale swimming in the oil, had just breached . . . along his back, we could see red patches of crude as if he’d been basted for broiling. Then there was this pod of dolphins found later, some already dead, some in their death throes. It seemed to be that they were raising their heads, looking at the fires, wondering, Why is my world burning down around me? Why would humans do this to me? . . .

The scope of this is beyond belief. It will take years at this rate to gather up even a portion of the oil that is on the surface today. Some of it looks more like bruised internal organs of the human body than the surface of the ocean. . . . First time I came out and saw a fire there was only one; today when we got here there were four. Within a couple of passes there were seven. From the size of these fires it seems as though we’re not only trying to kill everything in the Gulf of Mexico but everything that flies over it as well. . . .

From 1.2 miles from the shores of Gulf Shores, Alabama, to the Ground Zero site some 90 miles away, we haven’t flown over a single square inch of clear water. Imagine how many fires it will take to burn that much oil. There has to be something better than putting all this toxic smoke into the atmosphere. Why are there not large ships here with suction devices that can go down and pull this stuff closer to the source and put it on ships and recycle it somehow? . . .

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Click here for Waterkeeper.org and here for a list of Waterkeeper groups working to protect the Gulf and other waters. Click here for the Blue Frontier Campaign (and see David Helvarg’s article below the fold.)

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Gulf Coast Benefit Concerts on July 1, Coast to Coast

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

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In the spirit of Independence Day, nationwide concerts will be hosted by music venues on July 1st, 2010 to benefit those directly impacted by the Gulf Coast Oil Spill.

The organizers have created an ambitious goal: Gather music venues around the country to donate ticket sales on July 1st and create an online giving platform that encourages donations to the relief efforts. The fundraising goal is set to $500,000, which will be directed to the (nonprofit) Gulf Restoration Network, which provides assistance to the people, wildlife and wetlands affected as well as advocacy work throughout the Gulf Coast.

The organizers of the event include: Nic Adler, owner of The Roxy on the Sunset Strip; Megan Jacobs of The Roxy, Casey Phillips, talent buyer for venues including Tipitina’s in New Orleans and Viper Room & The Mint in Los Angeles, and Sloane Berrent, founder of Answer With Action and creator of The Causemopolitan.

Revenues from ticket sales will be donated to help the fishermen and their families along the Gulf Coast cope with this disaster in addition to wildlife and wetlands restoration for the Gulf Coast. Over 25 venues have been confirmed and more are being added every day. Artists performing include national as well as local acts across the US.

“We know through music and the generosity of people that we can help make a difference in the Gulf Coast,” says Nic Adler. “We hope this inspires others to make a donation, attend an event and get involved.”

The wetlands and wildlife are in desperate need of our attention now and can’t wait for BP to take care of those in need. Many of our fellow Americans in the foreseeable future will have no livelihood, are preparing to leave their homes and are now lining up for food handouts. With hurricane season on the horizon, there is reason for great concern and it’s crucial the affected communities be prepared for the worst.

Details on how to make a donation or find an event to attend in your area can be found on this site. Both the online giving platform and an online auction is going to coincide with the benefit concerts.

View the press release on Pitch Engine.

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“The Oysters Never Had It So Good.”

Friday, June 18th, 2010

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For anyone who might be concerned about the effects of BP oil on Louisiana seafood and needs reassurance that “oil will be well,” you just need to sit back, relax, and watch this 1960 newsreel of “progress at work” titled Lifeline to an Oyster, “presented as a public information service by the American Petroleum Institute.” (Note that “the trouble” is said to have started when the oystermen “claimed” that the oysters were being killed off by oil production. No complaints = no trouble?)

“The trouble started down in Louisiana on the Gulf of Mexico when the Louisiana oyster fishermen claimed that oil production was killing off the local oyster population. The oil companies didn’t agree, but they agreed to look into the matter. . . .

“In the research laboratory, every type of condition is created for the ‘oyster patients.’ A blanket of crude oil is poured directly on the water. Water is jetted through oil for six months. Oil-drilling mud was emptied into the water. . . .

“Every possibility was explored. After years of study and progress, the results were in: The test oysters showed no ill effects from oil, even under conditions which far exceeded those ever present in oil production. As a matter of fact, the test oysters were so happy they brought forth new generations to share their luck. They never had it so good.”

Well then, if this wasn’t killing the oysters, what was?

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BP Celebrates Earth Day with Bonfire, Oil Spill:
Well Leaks 210,000 Gallons a Day into Gulf of Mexico

Monday, April 26th, 2010

But Seriously, Tragically, 11 Missing Workers Are Presumed Dead

On Saturday, April 24, Coast Guard officials reported that the damaged Deepwater Horizon well on the seafloor in the Gulf of Mexico was leaking oil at a rate of about 42,000 gallons (or 1,000 barrels) per day—since recalculated at 210,000 gallons per day, a fivefold increase. The leak, about 50 miles southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River, is some 5,000 feet (about a mile) below the surface. (Chris Kirkham of the Times-Picayune has written a detailed, illustrated report of efforts to cap the leak.) As of Monday afternoon, April 26, the Coast Guard said the oil spill measured about 48 miles by 39 miles, or 1,800 square miles, an area larger than the state of Rhode Island. John Amos of SkyTruth reports that NASA photographs taken Sunday, April 25, show that oil slicks and sheen (“very thin slick”) covered about 817 square miles. Amos, who in Nov. 2009 was invited to testify at a Senate hearing on the risks posed by offshore drilling, wrote yesterday (April 25):

This is bad news—it means the blowout preventer on that well is not doing its job, and that several attempts by BP, Transocean and the Coast Guard to operate a shutoff valve on the well using a robotic ROV have failed. The oil slick has grown rapidly and now covers 400 miles.

A friend in New Orleans who is an industry insider says the Deepwater Horizon well “was as sophisticated a rig as has been built operating in the Gulf of Mexico (not a rust-bucket).” He adds:

So far, cleanup efforts haven’t done very well. 126,000 gallons of oil have been spilled, but only 33,726 gallons of emulsion (which is part water) have been picked up, and this is when conditions are calm. If you assume a 50/50 water/oil mix (a conservative assumption, IMHO), the cleanup has only been 13% effective.

Dig deeper here: WWL-TV reportCoast Guard unified command updateUSCG District 8 Flickr streamMMS article on closing blowouts (big PDF)

Our friend Aaron Viles of Gulf Restoration Network reports after a flyover on Sunday (read the entire post here):

We were shocked at what we saw. The main spill was at least 8 miles across . . . and stretching for 45 miles, in a Northeastern and Southeastern direction. The crude at the surface of the Gulf has been churned into a ‘chocolate mousse’ material that was easy to spot from our altitude of 4,000 feet. The mousse covered approximately 100 square miles, and then faded into a heavy, then light sheen, which faded about 20 miles from the Chandeleur Islands, critical bird nesting and migration habitat.

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