Stick a Fork in Me.

Day 32.

BP’s oil spill is a cancer we have all been watching.  And each day IT. JUST. GETS. WORSE.  My stress levels are out of control.  I TRY not to get too consumed, not to read EVERY report, to skip a day of any coverage.  But even what little I allow in is too much and I get kicked in the stomach again.

The latest? Here’s what I’ve seen on the news or read in newspapers online:

1.  There is some hullabaloo in Plaquemines Parish about the feds giving the Parish authority to dredge small levies (abt 90 miles worth) to keep the oil from FURTHER damaging the marshes.  Parish president reports he’s been told NO by the Corps of Engineers, but the Corps say the decision is “still under consideration.”  Em, WHAT? How frigging much time do you need?  Frankly, the Parish asked for this dredging five years ago post-Katrina to help protect the parish against hurricanes–with that decision likewise apparently still being considered.  So it’s not like this is all new to the Corps.  I don’t know if dredging is good or bad.  Without knowing a thing about it, on face value, it seems good. But if bad, then fine. But DECIDE AND ACT.  If NOT dredging, then move your bloomin’ arse on Plan B already!  It’s been THIRTY-TWO DAYS and the oil is now onshore.  We have no luxury of time.

2.  Apparently BP has access to, well, I won’t say “good” dispersants, but let’s say LESS HARMFUL dispersants than are currently being used.  They are currently using Corexit WITH THE EPA’S APPROVAL.  There is NO DISPUTE this dispersant is harmful, toxic, BAD.  So, the EPA got all righteous and has come down on BP and said NO MORE! You MUST STOP USING COREXIT by this Sunday.  Wait, what?  THIS SUNDAY?  Is this a joke?  It’s ALL AROUND BAD and the EPA acknowledges that and gives them THREE MORE DAYS of spewing that into the waters? Someone please explain this to me.  ESPECIALLY in light of the fact that BP is apparently SITTING ON a small mountain of the “less bad” dispersants in Texas.  Really? Why? WHY?

3.  BP is reporting that it is now considering BURNING some of the marshes to burn off the oil and keep it from getting further inland.  THIS, THIS, BP, THIS IS TOO MUCH.  Seriously.  You have GOT to be joking.  Burn the marshes?  BURN THE MARSHES?  Not, first, DREDGE.  Not first, use better dispersants.  Not, um, I dunno, DO BOTH.  But instead DO NEITHER? WAIT THIRTY-TWO DAYS and then say, “WHOO! This is getting out of control!  We need to consider BURNING the marshes to get a handle on it.”

Here’s a few suggestions lil ole me, non-engineer, bookish she-girl can think of BEFORE you burn my marshes:

1.  Stuff the hole with BP executives.  Or their money.  Or both.  They’d be far less missed than the marshes.

2.  BOMB the well so that it falls in on itself.  Apparently this is a viable option.  My theory on why they didn’t do this straight away?  It may render the reservoir, THAT LARGE RESERVOIR OF BLACK GOLD, inaccessible down the line.  In other words, the gazillions of dollars BP can make from this reservoir CANNOT be put to risk by bombing it.  Even if that means MILLIONS in damages.  Your classic cost-benefit analysis.  This is merely speculation on my part.  But it keeps creeping into my thoughts.

3.  Use EVERY idea you are given, BP.  Kevin Costner’s brother’s gizmo? USE IT.  Hair and fur in berms? Yup.  Fishermen using their nets to capture tarballs? Absolutely.  Let’s face it.  You could use ALL OF THESE resources spanning miles and miles and miles of the oil and STILL have uncaptured oil to contend with.  Why snub your nose at any of these?  You say they may not work?  Hmm.  Take a peek, BP, your own efforts AREN’T WORKING.  Take the ideas.

4.  GET BP OUT OF THE DRIVER’S SEAT ALREADY.  I was initially saying that this was an industry problem and as such they were in the best place to find the solution.  What could government do regarding STOPPING THE LEAK?  But now? Well, hell, BP has had a month to dazzle us, impress us, build our confidence.  What has it done?  Lied about the amount of oil leaking (again, because the more they spill, the more the government assesses clean-up costs to them), lied about events leading up to the explosion, gave double talk to fishermen about compensating them for damages while asking them to waive claims against them if they helped with the clean up.  Oh, and they’ve flooded the waters with toxic dispersants.  AND they are somehow connected with the animal cleanup efforts to the detriment of the volunteers and the animals.  Oh, yeah, and they also tried to stop reporters from having access to the areas where they are doing things onshore.  AND there are reports that the survivors from the explosion (let’s not forget that explosion and the 11 deaths) were pressured by BP to NOT TALK.

So WHY, OH, WHY is BP still at the helm?  The government says its because under the law, they are “responsible.”  No shit they are.  But being the “legally responsible party” does NOT mean you are going to ACT responsibly.  For example, if you hit me with your car and it is your fault, you are responsible for my injuries.  Does that mean YOU get to select my doctors, make my appointments, decide on my treatment without ANY input from me? HELL NO!  It means that you will PAY for MY doctors; you will be FINANCIALLY RESPONSIBLE for my damage.  Oh, Obama administration, you are really messing this on up as badly as is imaginable.

So who would I PUT in the driver’s seat? Maybe a government appointed task force, or an Oil Czar.  Or the smartest engineer at Shell.  Or Kevin Costner’s brother.  I don’t know that answer at this moment, but give me 32 days of monitoring a colossal mishandling by BP, and put me in a position the EPA is in, and I could give you an answer post haste.

So let’s get on with this already.  Let’s GET SERIOUS about it at last.  Let’s stop pretending that Nature can take care of herself.  Because Nature is no longer dealing with herself, thanks to the unlimited Corexit that BP, with the EPA’s approval, let’s not forget, has now mixed in with the oil.

And by all means, DO INVOLVE THE LOCALS.  They know their marshes, their tides, their complex ecosystems better than an Big Oil man or anyone from Washington.

And put the talk of BURNING out of your minds, BP.  It only shows how out of your minds you BP folks are.

This post was originally published on www.nolanotes.com on May 22, 2010.

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9 thoughts on “Stick a Fork in Me.

  1. I’ve wondered the same thing. Why is BP STILL running the freak show??? Why do they insist using a chemical THAT WAS BANNED IN ENGLAND because it was too toxic to break up the oil??? Why is the EPA letting them?? What is up with the Army Corp???? Boycott all products by BP and insist they PLUG THE HOLE, get out of the Gulf and GO BACK TO ENGLAND!
    Click on the link

    http://www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com/go/doc/2931/541843

    Click on Tech/Suggestions
    Tell them you want BP to PLUG THE HOLE AND STOP USING COEXIT TO BREAK UP THE SPILL. TELL THEM TO MAKE BP CLEAN UP THEIR MESS THEN GET OUT!!!!

  2. THANK YOU for putting into words all of the emotions I’ve felt for the past two-three weeks. It all seems so bizarre. Louisiana is being screwed by our own government via nonaction (we will put together a task team, bla bla bla) and our marshes are dying.

    All the best of Jefferson Parish. I hope that Plaquemines is next in line to JUST DO IT.

    Thanks again for a great post.

  3. If only all of the locals from each area would have just lined the damn marshes and coast with hay for the last month…my God how much oil would have been blocked from the marshes and wildlife.
    After all it’s grass…………what has everyone been waiting on?
    Please don’t tell me it’s the same gov.’t that came to help in New Orleans.

    Last I heard BP didn’t own the marsh….the coast, the islands…..
    Why anyone in their right mind is listening to bp I don’t understand.
    When my house is on fire i don’t wait for permission to get the hose I JUST GET IT.

    • Judith, this isn’t the simple matter of a house fire. This is more akin to a bomb being placed into your house by a crazy person. Let’s say one small bomb already went off causing small damage, but there are other bombs you can see. If you take action to unwire it, sure, your house may be saved and all is done. But, there’s also the chance you miss one or unwire it incorrectly and your house blows up and, hey, that was your choice of action, right? But if you blow up your entire neighborhood with your action (or inaction), then it isn’t just a matter of you having the unfettered right to do (or not) what you want with your property. Sure, the crazy person is liable for the cost, but we don’t expect him to unwire the bombs. But it is of such a devastating impact that if we don’t all work together to do the CORRECT thing, we all suffer more.

      The marshes are owned by the State of Louisiana. And each Parish was charged with coming up with a plan that had to be approved by the State (as owner) and the Oil Pollution Trust (as payor). So let’s say the Parish gets State approval and the Trust just sits and delays. Unfortunately, there is only so much financial resources our strapped Parishes have to expend with no hope of recovering if after-the-fact their plan isn’t approved. The Parishes HAVE done things. The aren’t sitting with their thumbs up their asses waiting for the feds to take over. They’ve placed booms. As of yesterday, the Parish commandeered BP’s boats to use them to be of aid. They have used their citizens/volunteers to do things as well. In fact, the Parish leaders and its citizens have done the most as of yet to preserve those marshes. And that’s as it should be. UNTIL it gets to the magnitude that the damaged marshes is no longer just about the area immediately surrounding the marshes. These marshes have an impact on this ENTIRE COUNTRY. Like it our not. My way of thinking? They aren’t “owned” by anyone. They were here before all of us and *should* be here long after all of us. And while we are here with them protecting us, we are its curator for our short time. And right now, we are falling woefully short as that curator.

      • nola…..
        your first paragraph supports my point.

        bp representing the crazy!

        An action or an inaction can prove disasterious…though I JUST CAN’T IMAGINE, FROM WHAT I HAVE SEEN THUSFAR, THAT LINING THE MARSHES WITH A NON TOXIC SUBSTANCE THAT DOESN’T FLOAT AWAY BUT ONLY BECOMES MORE HEAVY WHEN SATURATED WITH WATER AND OIL COULD BY ANYONES STANDARDS BE LESS EFFECTIVE THAT THIS BOOM FAILURE AND THIS WATCH AND WAIT MENTALITY.
        Yes, I understand that someone will have to pay for whatever action is taken to SAVE WILDLIFE AND MARSHES (ISN’T THAT SUPPOSED TO BE BP?)
        BUT FOR ME THE WAITING HAS CONDEMED ALL.
        ONCE THE OIL IS IN ….BEAUTIFUL INNOCENT CREATURES SUFFOCATE IN OIL AND DIE.
        I SAY SAVE THEM FIRST ……..THEN FIGURE OUT WHO THE BILL GOES TO.
        AND YES………EVERYONE HAS TO BE HELPING THESE INNOCENT BEINGS WHO CANNOT HELP THEMSELVES BUT UNFORTUNATELY HAVE TO RELY ON THE HUMAN RACE TO NOT KILL THEM.
        SO FAR THE ANIMALS ARE LOSING BIG TIME….. SO I DON’T REALLY SEE HOW THE HAY PROJECT COULD NOT HAVE HELPED…AND STILL CAN AS MORE AND MORE AND MORE AND MORE OIL IS COMING. YOU CAN COUNT ON IT.

        • Judith, I don’t think we disagree on the fundamentals. I say do all we can NOW. Not sure the hay will work, but unless there’s a convincing argument that it will make it worse, I say DO IT. Why not? Cheap, easy, and possibly effective. My point to you was that the Parish isn’t given unfettered right to do what it wants regarding the marshes for the reasons stated above. It is killing me to see Nungesser PLEAD for help, leadership, decisions. If he had the money, he’d do it and deal with consequences later, I am sure. But he doesn’t. He, like those marshes and the creatures in them, is at the mercy of others–others that Nungesser has stated have “no passion to do what is right.” And THAT is the sad reality of this entire situation.

  4. i saw an old dear friend yesterday- a retired senior engineer from shell. he said the part that BP needed to protect the well from this catastrophe was a 500,000 part. it had been determined that the part was too expensive (by corporate officers) even though this particular rig had been through several different safety issues.

    can we not forget we also lost 11 people. 11 people who can never be buried by their families?

    obviously, BP should not be allowed to make any more decisions about safety or saving anything.it is time for local governments (supported by their federal gov) to stand up and oust BP from any more recovery attempts. we must save ourselves. stuffing the well with these decision makers sounds like a good start.

    meanwhile, once again many of us are going through the motions of waiting for our communities’ recovery (again) before the damage has even ended. this is like watching the coverage of the city filling with water and people waiting at the convention center on repeat, over and over for 32+ days. although this spill will impact many more and for years to come…

  5. Wow what a great blog! It was an enjoyable read of a devestating problem. I was born in New Orleans and have been there many times to visit and I worked offshore on the rigs in the 70s and 80s. I love Louisiana and I think the way the leadership there has done a great disservice to the people. It is time to take EVERYONE involved to task for their parts in this clustershag!!
    I for one do not want any more rigs drilling in depths exceeding the ability of divers. Not sure what that depth is but this horror has shown us how dangerous this activity can be.

    Love your blogsphere I will visit again.

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