Last week, a federal judge in New Orleans ruled the 2010 Deepwater Horizon debacle was the result of BP’s “willful misconduct” and “gross negligence.”
And can we hear a…’Duh!’
Yet fit to be tied with their panties in a bind.
On Wednesday night — just hours before the court’s ruling — Geoff Morrell, the company’s vice president of US communications, spoke in New Orleans at the Society of Environmental Journalists conference, and blamed the media and activists for BP’s rough ride.
The company’s efforts to clean up the spill have been obscured, he said, by the ill-intentioned efforts of “opportunistic” environmentalists, shoddy science, and the sloppy work of environmental journalists (much to the chagrin of his audience, hundreds of environmental journalists).
“It’s clear that the apocalypse forecast did not come to pass,” he said.
(Illustration found here).
The Tony Hayward doppelgänger/fuckhead reportedly also blubbered: “The environmental impacts of the spill were not as far-reaching or long-lasting as many predicted.”
And there the fun stops.
A shitload of studies/research indicate the Gulf of Mexico got screwed.
From the Guardian last April:
Four years after the oil disaster, some 14 species showed symptoms of oil exposure, the report from the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) said.
“The oil is not gone. There is oil on the bottom of the gulf, oil washing up on the beach and there is oil in the marshes,” Doug Inkley, senior scientist for NWF, told a conference call.
A study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Barataria Bay, which was heavily oiled during the spill, found dolphins were underweight and anaemic, and showing signs of liver and lung disease.
Sea turtles have also been stranding at a higher rate since the spill, the report said.
“Roughly 500 stranded sea turtles have been found in the area affected by the spill every year from 2011 to 2013.”
Last month, NOAA researchers linked the oil from BP’s well to irregular heart beats in embryonic and newborn tuna.
“We can now say with certainty that oil causes cardiotoxicity in fish,” Stanford University fish biologist Barbara Block told a press conference at the time.
BP has discounted the studies on dolphin and tuna.
And just last month, a report related to ingredients in those infamous tarballs that washed up on Gulf beaches after the explosion/spill, included within, a flesh-eating bacteria — from Care2:
A jump in cases of Vibrio on the coastline was noted after the spill.
It’s gotten so worrisome that this year, officials warned that people with compromised immune systems are in danger even just by entering the water.
Vibrio is an opportunistic bacteria that needs the right environment to transfer to humans.
A cut or small abrasion gives it a pathway to enter, as can a weak immune system.
It moves fast, causing redness and blisters while destroying the tissue and infecting the blood stream.
One fisherman, who contracted it by simply standing in the water, was dead 48 hours after the onset of symptoms.
Infectious disease specialists along the coast have warned that it can be fatal in 40-50 percent of those infected.
(My underline, again).
And an interesting angle to the Gulf water — surfing it.
A story set in my home waters, the pure-white beaches of the Florida Panhandle — from Surfer magazine two years ago:
Despite suffering burns on his skin, blurry vision, and respiratory complications, Mike Sturdivant continued surfing near his home in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, after the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
It wasn’t until the second week of July, when he began coughing up blood, that he stopped surfing along the Gulf Coast altogether.
“It became obvious to me that the symptoms I was experiencing were related to the stuff in the water,” said Sturdivant, who serves as Chairman of the Surfrider Foundation’s Emerald Coast chapter.
“It was hard for me—that you could lose your beach just like that.
“You might lose access to it.
“And you might have to watch waves roll in that are clean and beautiful but toxic.”
For almost a year thereafter, the few occasions that Sturdivant entered the water were spent conducting research.
Along with James Kirby, a coastal geologist at the University of South Florida, he focused on sorting through the misinformation on the potential health risks posed by the spill.
Perhaps the most alarming trend found in their research was that toxicity levels in the samples remained consistently high after more than a year of testing, rather than slowly declining as expected.
In April 2012, Kirby released his own report, citing a 2011 study by the US Naval Research Laboratory, which concluded that “microbial populations are susceptible to toxicity from the use of COREXIT EC9500A when applied at prescribed concentrations.”
In short, the chemicals used to clean up the spill were killing the bacteria that would have biodegraded the oil naturally in just two or three months.
As a result, two years later, there are still toxic levels of tar product on Gulf Coast beaches.
Today Sturdivant is back in the water, using his body to discern whether it’s safe to surf near his home.
He no longer spends time sitting on the beach due to the high levels of contamination, but wouldn’t think of leaving the Gulf Coast.
“I’m choosing to live in a place that’s beautiful and where I can go surfing by walking down the street,” he said.
“We make those decisions about what’s important in life and set up our lives around what we love.”
Dude, so spoke surfdom.
A follow-up to that piece would be nice — see how surf-able the Gulf four years on.
I didn’t exactly live in Fort Walton Beach, but in a tiny town a couple of miles inland, called Shalimar — my dad was mayor for a time in the early 1970s — and the waves at the local beaches, at least at the time, weren’t really considered “surfing” material. Surfboards were rare until the mid-to-late 1960s — I graduated high school in 1967. Maybe we were just backward nit-twits. In nearly 35 years, anything can change.
If you like, a post I did on my younger years, coupled with the BP oil spill, can be found here.
And one last forgettable time, back to the heartfelt BP-VP: Morrell said that while “impolitic” remarks had been made by BP officials in the past, the spill’s aftermath has been “tough on all of us.”
Dude, the guy’s a prick…whatcha ya expect?