Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Week That Defies Categoriazation

Starting with the dispersants BP has been using to hide the enormity of the spill in the Gulf. The real reason BP has used nearly 2 million gallons of the dispersant Corexit in the Gulf is to hide the oil and save themselves money in possible fines, says Hugh Kaufman, a senior policy analyst at the EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. He explains that the dispersant is used to atomize the oil and force it down the water column so that it’s invisible to the eye. 

He also feels that , the government—both EPA, NOAA, etc.—have been sock puppets for BP in this cover-up. Now, by hiding the amount of spill, BP is saving hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars in fines, and so, from day one, there was tremendous economic incentive to use these dispersants to hide the magnitude of the gusher that’s been going on for almost three months. You can listen to his full interview with Democracy Now's Amy Goodman below:

In what should be considered alarming news, oil and dispersant have entered the food chain, and hydrocarbons have been detected in crab larvae. A Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries biologist expressed this concern recently:"We are quite concerned that we will see significant mortality of larvae as they encounter oil or dispersants." (Times Picayune, Bob Marshall, 7/20/2010) Further, it is a known fact that oil mixed with dispersant can actually prove to be more toxic than oil, or dispersant, alone. (See fact sheet at the link).

There's so much BP has done wrong - so many acts for which they will hopefully be criminally liable it's no surprise to read that they've been screwing up the cleanup of the Gulf on top of everything else.

As far as capping the well, that's been the good news this week as the gusher seems to be under control and they're getting closer to having the relief wells done. In a bit of bad news on this front, efforts will be suspended this weekend as they wait out a tropical storm Bonnie which could potentially develop into a hurricane.

On the environmental front, some good news beginning with Obama signing an executive order creating a new national ocean policy to protect and restore America's oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes. Followed by terrible news today, from TPM: At a press conference this afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), the Democrats' top climate and energy negotiator, acknowledged officially, and with obvious disappointment, that they lack the votes to pass legislation limiting carbon pollution, and that forthcoming energy legislation will be extremely narrow, in a bid to overcome a GOP filibuster.

Now there are those who want to blame this failure on Obama and I unsderstand that but it is not his fault. Says Harry Reid about the fate of the bill, "Unfortunately at this time we don't have a single Republican to work with in achieving this goal."

Not one single Republican to work with on legislation that is probaby more important than any other issue out there. Joe Romm believes averting catastrophic climate change is the singular most important problem we face as a society.

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