Monday, May 24, 2010 British Petroleum (BP) announced that the next attempt to cap their man-made volcanic oil eruption won't take place until Wednesday, May 26th. That's two days away, that's millions of gallons of crude gushing in to the Gulf of Mexico. How many millions of gallons We, the People will never know because British Petroleum has been blatantly lying about the amount of damage and the amount of oil (there's a spill meter counting the estimated gallons per second here)
The gusher opened through corporate negligence on April 20th, 2010. The oil industry led We, the People to believe that they had sufficient resources to deal with any emergency associated with their offshore, deep water drilling efforts. They lied about that, too.
Instead of shutting it off, they have added to the toxicity by using dispersants; dispersants which do nothing but make the oil harder to photograph and identify, dispersants which the EPA has now ordered BP to stop using. They won't. In fact, according to the San Francisco Chronicle on May 24th, BP is invoking executive privilege of sorts, saying what's in the dispersants is a protected trade secret so they won't even tell the EPA what they're putting in the water.
And what about the EPA, the Environmental Protection Agency? One would think they would be leading the charge on this, since there is nothing posing a larger threat to the environment of the United States than the BP gusher. This will be the Chernobyl of our time. Established in 1970 by Richard Nixon, the EPA's sole purpose is to write and enforce regulations that protect human life and the environment.
The head of the EPA, Lisa Jackson stated Sunday, May 23rd that BP's response was inadequate. And? Where's yours?
What has been the response from the administration? On my daily syndicated radio show listeners have taken me to task about my criticisms of Barack Obama. I come on in most markets after Randi Rhodes, whom I adore, and she is a bit more positive about the administration than I. What I see is that since the gusher opened, according to Andrea Mitchell Reports on May 24th, 2010 the New York Times has reported that Federal Regulators have granted 19 environmental waivers for Gulf projects and 17 drilling permits. What I've seen is an administration that has stayed in the background, letting BP lead the charge on the efforts to stop the gaping wound in the Earth's crust that is leaking toxic fluids in to a much-needed ocean.
Obama was on television every day to pound home health care reform. Why isn't he, or Jackson, on TV every morning giving We, the People, updates? Leading the way, making us feel that this is, in fact, under control? Where are the think tanks of the greatest scientific minds in the world convened in the Gulf and manned 24/7 until a solution is found? When BP says we can't do anything until Wednesday, where's Jackson or Obama saying, not acceptable, we're taking over, this is now a military job? Why have we not assumed the responsibility for the ending of the greatest ecological disaster of our time?
Money. BP should pay, BP should do the cleanup, BP should shut it off. It's BP's hole, let them plug it. And that philosophy could prove fatal for the region, and the administration. This isn't Obama's Katrina, it's his 9/11. On 9/11 George W. Bush sat for six minutes reading My Pet Goat after he was told his nation was under attack. April 20th the White House knew a horrific gash had been opened, and so far, it has not stepped up to lead in the vacuum that is BP's corporate stonewalling.
It has been said that behind the scenes the administration has been on this from the get-go. But it does no good if the public doesn't feel it, sense it, believe it. The press has been told that the administration has assembled great thinkers.
Adm. Thad W. Allen from the Coast Guard said of the think tank "A technical team is at work devising a method, he said. "We are shoving pizzas under the door, and they are not coming out until they give us the answer," he said.
Well, less pizza, more coffee, because if dumping garbage in to the hole or inserting a straw to siphon off less than 10% of the escaping crude is the solution, say goodbye to the Louisiana coastline.
On Sunday May 23rd Interior Secretary Ken Salazaar was quoted as saying "With respect to the rest of the responses, including keeping the oil from coming near shore and onshore and dealing with those ecological values, BP, again, is the responsible party and is on the hook for doing everything that needs to happen," Salazar said. "If we find that they're not doing what they're supposed to be doing, we'll push them out of the way appropriately..."
Really? When? Two days in most knew they were not doing what they are supposed to be doing, stopping the gusher. And it would appear to be not only a good idea but the administration's obligation to seize control of this disaster. David Petit, an attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council posted an excerpt from the Clean Water Act, later amended by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, at his blog which seems to compel the President to take over:
"(A) If a discharge, or a substantial threat of a discharge, of oil or a hazardous substance from a vessel, offshore facility, or onshore facility is of such a size or character as to be a substantial threat to the public health or welfare of the United States (including but not limited to fish, shellfish, wildlife, other natural resources, and the public and private beaches and shorelines of the United States), the President shall direct all Federal, State, and private actions to remove the discharge or to mitigate or prevent the threat of the discharge.
To read the rest of Petit's blog go here.
That language seems pretty clear, the President SHALL direct, not MAY. So why hasn't he?
No one seems to know.
The Gulf can't wait for BP any longer. We, the People, can't wait for BP. BP should be shut down, seized, it's assets used in perpetuity for the damage that will continue to pour in for years to come, family's lives that will be effected for years to come, conservation efforts that will have to be undertaken to try and protect or replenish the species wiped out, yes, wiped out, by the underwater oil plumes bigger than Manhattan that are robbing the sea of its life-giving oxygen.
Hurricane season is upon the Gulf region. Hurricanes pick up water from the ocean, and drop it inland. Washington D.C, the Midwest, the East Coast all could see toxic oily rain falling down upon them in just weeks or months. This gusher could ooze from the Gulf all the way through the Eastern United States from the shores to the tiny crevices inland; streams that feed wildlife and pristine areas that will be covered in a sheen of crude.
It's already too late. Obama and the feds should have stepped in April 23rd or so. Now, it's really about how much we can save, not how much will be lost.
And to save it we need a savior. We need a leader. We need you, Barack Obama. If we're going to hell, we need strong leadership to soften the blow and make us feel as though we can, in fact, get through this.
And we need some real common sense. A leader that will end all offshore drilling period. Oil companies lie about their ability to contain, clean and monitor their disasters. Just one event is dangerous enough to destroy an entire region. The 1/3 oil we get from our own drilling isn't worth it. The money we get from other companies leasing platforms near our shores isn't worth it. BP can't make a turtle from scratch. Try creating a coastline people want to visit when it's covered in crude.
And We, the People, need to be screaming every day as loudly as we can. This is an URGENT need. This is a MAJOR disaster. It will effect everyone in the United States and world, East or West Coast, inland or coastal.
Maybe it's a blessing in disguise. The nation is splitting over the immigration issue as this disaster unfolds as well. Arizona, and now nine other states, have decided to institutionalize bigotry against brown people.
Well, one good hurricane and rain, and a majority of the Southern and Central United States might all be brown. A lovely shade of crude as it permeates every drop of water we have, from the sky to the shower. Can't profile all the brown people if we're all brown.
Maybe Obama and BP should call Jedd Clampett from the Beverly Hillbillies. At least he knew how to cap his gusher when he ruptured the Earth.
Or Iron Man. Or Thor. Because it would appear there's no real character, no person on this Earth that can solve the problem of how to stop tens of thousands of barrels of crude from spewing forth from a man-made pipeline. And if there is, they're staying awfully quiet, or worse, BP and the administration just aren't listening.
And the oil gushes. And the planet dies. And as I write this, there's no end in sight for the gash, but certainly an end in sight for the Gulf, and the lives of the people and animals that depend upon it.