A little over a week ago, we noted that one good way to ensure that you will be prevented from helping to clean up the oil-damaged beaches of America's Gulf Coast is to show up for work with your own safety equipment, to protect your lungs from all the toxins associated with oil and poison washing ashore all over the place.
As it turns out, another good way to guarantee that you won't play a part in the clean-up effort is to have any expertise in the field of cleaning up oil at all!
Via Brad Johnson, here's MSNBC's Chuck Todd interviewing Don Abrams of OilSpillVolunteers.com, who compiled a list "of nearly 8,000 volunteers in the first weeks after BP's Deepwater Horizon explosion" in an attempt to get BP some help. His efforts have come to naught:
TODD: Have you made any progress with taking this list of volunteers that you've compiled online, and getting folks to work.
ABRAMS: Yes. But not through BP. We've tried for about four weeks to deal with BP, beginning on May 1st. We've tried to turn over our volunteer list to them and we've tried to turn over the entire website to them, and we were unsuccessful. On May 24th, I finally sent a gentleman in Houston a note and said it's time to tell us what you intend to do. I've still not received a response from that.
TODD: How many names have you gathered?
ABRAMS: Just under 7,900.
TODD: And these are from people from all over the country.
ABRAMS: All over the country, we've had four Canadians who volunteered, we had petroleum geologists from South America, and that was within the first eight days the site will open.
TODD: Now, some local officials will argue that volunteers are nice but we want to put a whole bunch of people to work, because there are a whole bunch of folks here. And that is what BP is saying, we've got to pay these folks because we've got train them, we've got to hold them accountable, what do you say to that?
ABRAMS: I have to agree with them, but on May 13th, we turned over a list of about a hundred highly qualified people to BP, including people with two to three decades of offshore oil experience, people with experience in spill clean ups, people who are HAZWOPER instructors. As of about two days ago, I contacted about half of those people, and none of them have been contacted by BP.
Abrams's site is currently running this rather desperate sounding message:
Attention BP - If any BP management person is reading this, please contact us. We're eager to help you but we're unable to get through to the right people via the toll-free numbers. The automated response I received from your Horizon Call Center indicates that you have "hundreds of people willing to volunteer." We have thousands. Your local community outreach people are good folks who are working hard but they don't have the right information and resources. BP management needs to help us and them.
Abrams may be spinning his wheels by trying to get through to BP via their call centers. As noted yesterday, one contract employee from the BP Call Center in West Houston, Texas, told a reporter for KHOU Channel 11 that the centers were basically set up as a "diversion."
Help Not Wanted: BP Rejects Expert Volunteers [Wonk Room]
PREVIOUSLY, on the HUFFINGTON POST:
BP Call Center Employee Admits: 'We're A Diversion' (VIDEO)
Two Ways To Get Fired From The Oil Spill Cleanup Effort