the coverup of lingering damage done by the release a year ago of crude oil into the gulf of mexico by BP’s deepwater horizon catastrophe is sickening. most media outlets are running bullshit PR pieces (Gulf Coast beaches clean of 2010’s oil spill) about the “amazing recovery” of wildlife in the areas affected by the oil spill.
in addition, there has been another major oil spill.
Alaskan environmentalist Dr. Riki Ott explains policy and science disconnect, via Policy Fails: BP and Exxon Oil Spills | The Cornell Daily Sun.
By Seyoun Kim
Ott used the Exxon Valdez oil spill of 1989 in the Prince William Sound of Alaska as evidence to what she believed would likely occur to the Gulf ecoysystem. After the Exxon Valdez oil spill cleanup finished, the government claimed all was back to normal; however local scientists worried about the ecosystem collapsing in the future.
Four years later the ecosystem indeed collapsed as the populations of fish such as Pink Salmon and Pacific Ferring dropped precipitously and the bird populations soon followed. Even to this day, the Pacific Herring population in the area has yet to recover.
In 1970, the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) was passed based on scientific knowledge at the time and since then, much research has been conducted on the toxicity of oil. Ott stated the studies found that “oil is much more toxic than we thought, about a thousand times so,” she said.
Yet, “the science has shifted, but the public policy has not, so right now, our federal laws are inadequate to protect worker safety, public health, and the environment from oil,” she said
Ott claims OSHA has a loophole such that it fails to recognize chemical illness as a legitimate health problem and as a result, many health problems caused by the oil and the dispersant are not being treated. This has left people with respiratory and visceral problems that physicians cannot seem to cure.
Ott showed a video of work she did with graduate students close to the Exxon Valdez oil spill site 17 years after the spill. The students dug a small hole in the beach and filled it with sea water. Oil soon rose to the surface of the hole. After the lecture, Winkler said that “it’s amazing how the oil is still there.” Because the same methods were used to clean up the BP disaster as in the Exxon Valdez oil spill, Ott suggested that decades from now, the beaches on the Gulf coast still might not be safe for tourists.
Winkler said the anecdote that was most shocking to her was when Ott went to a site which she was told had a pile of dolphin carcasses and found nothing. Ott claimed the military had taken the carcasses out to sea away from the oil disaster area. She was shocked at “what lengths the companies and government have been going to hide what is going on.”
Large new oil spill under investigation off Louisiana’s coast
The U.S. Coast Guard is investigating a large oil sheen off the Louisiana coast about 20 miles north of the site where the Deepwater Horizon oil rig blew up last April.
John Wathen of the Waterkeeper Alliance first heard reports about the slick on Saturday and flew over the site for a firsthand look. He shot the photo above, and more images from his flight can be seen here.
“It was hard to believe I was seeing as much oil in the South Louisiana area again,” he wrote on his blog yesterday. “It was even harder to believe that our so called government watchdogs have not closed these fishing grounds!”
Wathen says he hasn’t seen so much oil in the Gulf since last July. Rocky Kistner of the Natural Resources Defense Council reports that a helicopter pilot sighted the slick on Friday, and a fishing boat captain who sailed through it that same day said it was strong enough to make his eyes burn.
According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the first call about the spill came in to the National Response Center at about 11 a.m. on Saturday, with the caller describing a sheen about a half-mile square. A couple of hours later, another caller reported a sheen about 100 miles long originating from the same area and spreading west.
The Coast Guard says it collected samples from the slick that showed trace amounts of petroleum hydrocarbons, oil and grease. It speculates that the pollution could be caused “by a tremendous amount of sediment being carried down the Mississippi River due to high water, possibly further agitated by dredging operations.” The agency says it does not believe the pollution is coming from the Deepwater Horizon spill site.
On Sunday, officials with Louisiana’s Jefferson Parish said an oil well south of Grand Isle had released oil for four to six hours before being plugged, the Daily Comet reports.