In its continuing effort to protect the public from toxic chemical exposure due to crude oil and Corexit dispersants, the City Of Orange Beach, Alabama, is hosting the Thunder on the Gulf boat races to bookend the 39th Annual National Shrimp Festival the weekend of Oct. 15. Although the vast majority of locals will not go in the water or on the beaches much less consume seafood caught in the Gulf, thanks to enthusiastic misinformation from authorities and intentionally lax testing methods such as the infamous "smell test," tens of thousands of people will be exposed to toxic chemicals through inhalation, skin absorption and ingestion.
Photo by P. Deiter
The massive horsepower of the super boats, each with two fifteen-hundred horse screws will turn the shallow water along the Alabama Gulf Coast into a toxic brew of crude and dispersant mixture for the spectators in the surf, lining the beaches, and along the shore. Although there has not been any information forthcoming yet, it seems safe to assume that the fans will be equipped with complimentary hazmat gear to protect them from the toxic brew and supplies issued so they may assist in collecting the oil and cleaning up the beaches. Orange Beach Mayor Tony Kennon complained recently when BP claims czar Ken Feinberg came to town that he had just purchased a new boat himself on April 16, four days before the Deepwater blowout, and it had been sitting out of the water all summer. He further noted that he had been unable to fish with his young son this summer. One can only wonder what the problem with the water might be as The Honorable Mayor has repeatedly insisted that the water is fine, the beaches are safe, and tourists should come play and enjoy the seafood as usual. This week's PR spot featured a boat full of children suffering from cancer on a day long fishing expedition with local celebrity spokesperson and tourism ambassador Rebecca Wilson. Not safe for the Mayor, his new boat, or his family but good for everyone else?
At the last two Orange Beach town council meetings local residents expressed concerns regarding the large number of respiratory illnesses in the area. A number of people provided blood tests showing high levels of VOC contamination and privately funded independent soil and water tests which showed dangerously high levels of markers for Corexit. The Mayor refused to consider the tests or discuss their implications. For their efforts Mayor Kennon ordered that no video or still image recording would be allowed during the town council public meetings and anyone attempting to do so would be forcibly removed. Not exactly transparent or legal, but the Chief of Police had no problem backing the Mayor up.
And this from local celebrity Rebecca Spillson, aka David Crosby:
The picture would be complete if only President Obama would come down to Orange Beach and Gulf Shores Alabama with his family and lend a much needed hand in cleaning up what BP has left behind (as opposed to a short photo-op in pristine spring-fed waters). I am sure a hazmat suit could be produced on short order replete with the Presidential Seal.