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BP Picks Up Another Pair of Yes Men
by Shay Sokol
Good news finally came one year after the Big Oozy at the Gulf Coast Leadership Summit yesterday. Dr. Dean Winkeldom from the U.S. Department of Health announced the feds would set up 35 clinics along the Gulf Coast to provide health care for those affected by the oil spill. Sending the press into a particular tizzy, the federal government also promised to ban further use of the toxic dispersant. In a video that appeared along with the news release, a BP official, Steve Wistwil, expressed regret over the company’s lack of attention to this issue, and agreed to foot the bill of $525 million. Then an angry man who claimed to be with BP barged into the room and interrupted the conference, asking who the hell Wistwil was. The two men argued, each claiming to be the real BP representative. Amid the din, the truth emerged: the news was too good to be true.
Big Oozy Roundup: 365 Days Later
A year ago today, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, killing 11 workers and injuring more than a dozen. The tragedy was only beginning that day, as it took about a week for officials to admit that oil was leaking unchecked into the Gulf of Mexico from the base of the well. Like all full throttle news stories, the disaster brought many new words - some with the ring of porn - to add to the collexicon: dispersant, tarball, blowout, top kill, junk shot and, as ever, Nungesser. The national media is bringing their own gusher of coverage this week. Links to a few of today's important stories after the jump.
Big Oozy Roundup: 364 Days Later
In case you ain't heard, tomorrow's the one-year anniversary of the explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon that killed 11 and spawned the biggest, ooziest oil disaster the country has ever seen (or so they said at the time). Along with the anniversary has come a torrent of national media coverage not seen around here since, well, the last anniversary of a major manmade disaster. In any case, click through for a roundup of coverage.
Raking the Murk
Next week, the one-year anniversary of the Big Oozy is upon us. You know what that means...Media saturation! Since most of the national reporter types picked up and left in September, they'll want to get an update on what's been happening since the Macondo well was capped. Well, aside from going down to Grand Isle to see the oil that's still on the beach, they can just read the Interweb. Turns out, there's a few issues to explore. The just haven't been out in the open, yet.
You Defile It, You Buy it
When BP's oil leaked into the Gulf of Mexico, little did they know they would eventually end up gaining a piece of real estate. Everyone's favorite oil company purchased a swath of land this week near Gulf Islands National Seashore in Mississippi. The land, located on Cat Island, is apparently fouled with oil. BP intimated to the Sun Herald of Blioxi, Miss., that they bought it to make the cleanup easier. Upon news of the sale, three new watchdog groups were formed dedicated solely to keeping watch for Tony Hayward's yacht.
BP might face criminal charges for fouling up the Gulf of Mexico, but that's not stopping them from reaching a deal to start drilling again. Everyone's favorite oil company is set to begin production again in July, but they'll only be allowed to drill from wells that already exist. Speaking to ABC yesterday, NOLA's Congressman, Cedric Richmond, said the revamped permitting process and new regulator safeguards that have been put in place by the Interior Department since the Big Oozy is enough to stave off his concerns. "If BP can make it through that then I think they should be allowed to drill," he said.
LaPlace Man Gets Shot, Brings the Wall Love
After a double shooting left two people wounded in LaPlace over the weekend, police appear to have put out a standard description. Sketchy man comes to door twice, looking for man who is not there. Sketchy man returns a third time, shoots man through the door, and also hits woman on the couch. Sounds mysterious, right? Well, luckily, in the mordern media age, we have the Interweb to fill in the details. As he apparently sat healing from his wounds, the call of the Facebook was too loud to ignore for Tucker Mendoza.
Dead Dolphin Distention
It's been about a week since the last reminder of the serious paddling against the tide that's going in the Gulf, so we could use another one. Ah, yes, here it is: The AP reports scientists who were catching fish to test for oil exposure accidentally killed three dolphins in the process. The cetaceans apparently got trapped in the trawl, and drowned as a result. But don't worry, they were only small dolphins (6-7 ft. long), and their species isn't endangered. We're willing to admit that the outrage of this news coming on this particular week might be a matter of degree. The accident follows a report that says the Big Oozy might have killed 50 times more dolphins than first estimated.
Mac McClelland's Got Her MoJo Working Near Grand Isle
The Big Oozy's beginning is almost a year gone, but reports of tarballs washing onto shore continue to trickle in with the tide. Missing among the conjecture, however, has been actual photographic evidence of the beaches where the oil's still rollin'. Sounds like a good opportunity for Mother Jones reporter Mac McClelland to have a standoff with a BP flunky! McClelland returned to the scene of her prime this week, seeking to see how the beach has changed in a year down at the Grand Isle-adjacent wildlife refuge, Elmer's Island. After the go-ahead lackey lambasting, she found an even better example of primitive thinking: cleanup workers who fashion their own tools. And, oh ya, there's oil, too.
Spillness Snow Job?
In the wake of the Big Oozy, there were questions about whether the pollutants in the Gulf were bound to make coastal residents sick. Last month, a study formally confirmed that residents were reporting widespread symptoms. But there was still a lack of proof to tie them to the BP blowout. Well, one influential doctor is alleging that there might be a reason for that. Over at La. CoastPost, coastal scientist Len Bahr turns his concerns from barrier islands to corporate roadblocks. He recounts the stories of Dr. Mike Robichaux, who has witnessed Ochsner Health employees deny that illnesses of certain people close to the coast have anything to do with oil. But who, we are left wondering, is beind Ochsner?
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