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BP Tricks Out the Locals


Upon seeing this morning's AP report about two Lafourche Parish officials that used money from BP for tech upgrades, leaders of the Parish that's "feeding and fueling America" suddenly seem to have many hidden qualities. Not among those, however, is brand loyalty. Perhaps hoping to channel the wisdom of a visionary, Parish President Charlotte Randolph got herself an iPad, while Parish spokesman Brenna Matherne went with a $3,100 Dell. Those purchases are among tens of millions of dollars in BP money the AP found has gone toward buying local Gulf Coast officials cool stuff that didn't have much to do with cleaning up oil. Digest.


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's Back


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.


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?


Tilting at Transocean


There's been much talk of the missing oil and the evasive claim checks. But whatever happened to the rig workers who were actually on the Deepwater Horizon when it exploded? Well, there's word from at least one such employee today. Charles Cochran is suing BP, Transocean and other companies involved in the expedition to drill oil from the Gulf. He is claiming the rig manufacturer had an "evil motive or intent" in putting the deepwater drilling rig together negligently. According to Courthouse News Service, Cochran filed a complaint in federal court stating that as a result of being thrown across his cabin as the rig exploded, he "permanently and totally physically, functionally and anatomically disabled, impaired and disfigured" as a result of the explosion. 


Crude Reality


Speaking of black menaces in the Bayou, we're again reminded today that the oil is still out there. As cleanup crews begin to think about leaving the Louisiana Gulf Coast, news of the oil that's continuing to wash ashore is apparently making its way to Baton Rogue. State Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Robert Barham told the Daily Comet he would hold BP and feds accountable for finishing the cleanup. Oil continues to be found off the former tourist haven Elmer's Island, Bay Jimmy and Pass-a-Loutre.


Feinberg, Science Diverge


Earlier this month, oil spill claims overlord Ken Feinberg noted that payments to people affected by the spill were based on the expectation that the Gulf would be fully recovered by 2012. There was instant outrage, and the assumption that he was wrong. But the one-two punch of Southern time and academic time meant there was a little lag in someone coming forward to use, y'know, science to refute him. But, over the weekend, we got one. University of Georgia Professor Samantha Joye reported  that on a recent trip to the seafloor in a submarine, she found more oil than expected.


Year of BP Bashing Ends with British-Themed Rex Parade


What with Tony Hayward wanting his life back and the $5 million in mid-Big-Oozy references to the Battle of New Orleans, it's been a rough year for British-New Orleanian relations. So, the patricians that control these things appear to have decided that it's going to take more than Jon Cleary and an afternoon tea to thaw relations. The big boys are getting the call, in the form of the self-appointed keepers of the Mardi Gras flame, the Rex Organization. The tradtional Fat Tuesday culmination that is the Rex parade will have an all-British theme this year.


Ken Feinberg to Make Much-Anticipated Bestie Announcement


The judge in charge of that other slick mess (the legal one) left by BP ruled late last night that BP Claims Czar Ken Feinberg shouldn't be considered a neutral party in the process of giving money to Gulf Coast residents. Instead, federal Judge Carl Barbier effectively said he should be considered in league with BP. If Barbier has his way, Feinberg, who is in charge of overseeing the distribution of $20 million, will also be forced to turn on the lawyers' code.


A Leak About the Leak: Feds to Lower Oil Flow Estimate


by Alexis Martinovich

The Macondo well leak might be plugged, but the flow of information from mid-level Washington officials keeps flowing unchecked. The EPA is said to be in the process of bowing to pressure to reduce the estimates of how much oil leaked into the Gulf this summer. The decreased estimate comes after the feds raised the estimate on the heels of independent reports that the flow was a lot more than initially projected. With current estimates around a 4.9 million barrel contribution to the Gulf ecosystem,  BP seems to be buckling under the pressure of paying to clean up its mess. Meanwhile, BP stocks are on the rise today. Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone were rewarded for not finishing their chores?


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Contributors:

Dead Huey Long, Emma Boyce, Elizabeth Davas, Ian Hoch, Lindsay Mack, Anna Gaca, Jason Raymond, Lee Matalone, Phil Yiannopoulos, Joe Shriner, Chris Staudinger, Chef Anthony Scanio, Tierney Monaghan, Stacy Coco, Rob Ingraham,

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