BP conceded Thursday that more oil than it estimated is gushing into the Gulf of Mexico as heavy crude washed into Louisiana’s wetlands for the first time, feeding worries and uncertainty about the massive monthlong spill.
Well color me surprised. An oil company lied and tried to cover it’s ass? Never!
Mark Proegler, a spokesman for oil giant BP PLC, said a mile-long tube inserted into a leaking pipe over the weekend is capturing 210,000 gallons a day – the total amount the company and the Coast Guard have estimated is gushing into the sea – but some is still escaping. He would not say how much.
Several professors who have watched video of the leak have said they believe the amount spewing out is much higher than official estimates.
For a looksie at the varying opinions on the damn thing click here:
Proegler said the 210,000 gallons – 5,000 barrels – has always been just an estimate because there is no way to measure how much is spilling from the seafloor.
“I would encourage people to take a look at the changing amount of oil coming from the ocean floor,” said Steve Rinehart, another BP spokesman. “It’s pretty clear that now that we’re taking 5,000 barrels of oil a day, there’s a significant change in the flow reaching the sea.”
A live video feed of the leak posted online Thursday at the insistence of U.S. Rep. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., shows what appears to be a large plume of oil and gas still spewing next to the tube that’s carrying some of it to the surface.
The well blew out after an explosion a month ago on the offshore drilling rig Deepwater Horizon that killed 11 people. At least 6 million gallons have spilled so far, making it the worst U.S. environmental disaster in decades. The Exxon Valdez tanker spilled 11 million gallons in Alaska in 1989.
There is little arguing that three weeks after the initial explosion that sunk, the Deepwater Horizon BP and their executives look insensitive, irresponsible, callous, and, at present, largely unaccountable for their actions.
Compounding their woes even further is the childish display that they, Haliburton, and Transocean put on for the public as they shrugged responsibility and instead pointed the finger of blame at each other in front of congress.
BP’s primary PR objective was damage control. This damage control was both immediate and forward-looking. Immediately they would need to dominate the coordination of press in the Gulf states.
Second, they would need to pacify the people whose livelihoods would be directly impacted by the oiling of the waterways.
Within five days of the disaster, reports started coming in of coastal residents being approached with contracts that equated the forfeiture of their rights to file claims against BP. Many local workers signed these in exchange for temporary paid positions as part of the marine cleanup.
At a time when they were coming up with half-assed solutions like “the top hat” and “the junk shot”, seemingly cooked up by a few stoners at M.I.T. after visiting their friend Billy Bong Thornton, they had a clear cut plan on how to save their corporate asses.
Another shining example of the company’s approach to things is the use of chemical dispersants that coagulate the surface slick into dense clumps that sink. One does not need a degree in hydrology to understand that this process is about sinking the spectacle of the slick below the surface of the Gulf and into less visible subsurface waters.
A submerged problem is no less a problem; the introduction of a foreign chemical into a marine habitat is a problem in itself, and a subsurface cleanup is far more complicated than collection and removal on the surface.
But we all know they just don’t give a shit about that lil’ fact.
However this trade-off mirrors more of this reoccurring theme of “out of sight, out of mind” that has become a central narrative in BP’s PR response to the disaster.
“BP is going to reckless lengths to cover up the severity of the catastrophe they caused,” says Tod Emko, of The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
“Not only are they preventing volunteers and media from getting to affected areas, but they’re also telling trained, licensed wildlife rehabilitators not to take action outside of BP-organized beach cleanups in areas that have not been hit by oil.
Imagine how much good BP could have done if they devoted even a fraction of their cover-up budget and resources to bringing in help and allowing trained professionals to aid affected areas. Instead, we can only marvel at the amount of additional suffering they’re causing the Gulf ecosystems and its inhabitants through their present actions.”
Emko’s sentiment is not a unique one. Many local residents, volunteers, and even law enforcement officials are beginning to question how BP, a foreign, non-governmental agency, can exercise jurisdictional authority over the volunteer response efforts.
And damn if that isn’t one good f@#kin’ question.
Where is the Tea Party now? Where are the “nativists” who are at the forefront of the immigration movement.
Here is a foreign based company, whose shoddy safety practices have caused arguably the single greatest environmental disaster in our nation’s history dictating to us how we can handle the situation?
But the levy of “out of sight, out of mind” may be a levy that is about to break. Tension fills the air in Gulf Coast communities amidst fear of lost jobs, lost tourists, and the related revenue they generate.
Formerly apolitical communities are now getting a crash course in ecology and community activism. Hopefully that will be at big oil’s expense.