Call On Congress For Change! More BP Oil Seeping Into the Gulf!

The Press-Register of Mobile, Alabama discovered new BP oil seepingjust a mile from the site of last summer’s debacle.  BP wasted no time at all in claiming that the oil wasn’t theirs… but the facts prove otherwise.  The fingerprint is clear, as is the location of the oil — exactly where one would expect it to be as it rose up from a mile deep.  Then there’s the use of Corexit itself, a solvent which has been banned in the UK, and proves far more dangerous than the oil itself.  Corexit is clearly implicated in the deaths of well over 100 dolphins this spring — an that’s only those who made it to the beach to be counted.   Think back on the way that BP tried to cover up the damage and dodge responsibility at every opportunity.  It’s clearly time to change the way that oil companies are monitored, and the way that their messes are cleaned up.

With the clear understanding that removing a natural resource for personal/corporate profit is decidedly a privilege and not a right, Protect The Ocean calls upon Congress to impose the following procedures and processes on ANY oil drilling,  (and especially those occurring under water):

  • There shall be frequent independent monitoring of all activities, operations and well sites (including those supposedly capped off.)
  • Oil companies shall have no involvement, direct or indirect, in the clean-up operations or oversight, but shall provide complete cooperation and compliance.
  • The responsible oil company shall bear all costs of inspection and clean-up, and shall not be allowed to employ tax credits to do so.  If the company’s responsibility is greater than its assets, each other oil company with operations in the U.S. shall bear a proportionate portion of the costs of cleanup, and no further operations will be allowed by a company until that company’s portion is paid.  (This will push them to police themselves as well.)
  • Any time any operation is determined by investigators/monitors to be deficient or presenting unacceptable risks, that operation shall be halted immediately, and immediate appropriate steps taken to alleviate the potential damage to personnel and the environment.
  • The purpose of these collective actions is to eliminate any threat or harm from the harvesting of oil from the planet.  This is the single highest priority.  All other considerations shall take a lesser position beneath that goal.  If oil cannot be gotten without damage, then permission to attempt to gain that oil shall be withheld immediately and until such time that convincing evidence is presented that a solution to that danger has been found.

Click here to sign the petition being sent to Congress and the President. Demand the Changes! Help Us Protect The Ocean!

Campaign poster for the Oil Drilling Responsibility

No More Profit Without Responsibility

$1 BILLION Dog & Pony Show Begins in Gulf

Gulf Oil Spill Cleanup Progress Announced

NOAA proudly announced that an “unprecedented” one billion dollar deal has been struck with BP to begin restoration of the Gulf.   Is that supposed to impress?  The spill and the use of solvents at depth to bury the oil are also “unprecedented.”  Not one to look  a gift-horse in the mouth, (even when said billion-dollar horse is a fraction of what is owed), one reads on to find out what this money is earmarked for.

There are still millions of gallons of crude oil and at least 1.4 million gallons of Corexit in the Gulf’s waters.  That oil and solvent continues to affect the creatures (including man) living in and near those waters.  A bit over a month ago, dead dolphins began littering the beaches, babies born premature or stillborn at TEN times the usual numbers — and that’s just the near-shore species’ corpses that made it to the beach.  Despite government claims to the contrary, shrimp continues to come up laced with both oil and Corexit.  Instead of acknowledging this, our government simply raises the “acceptable” amount to 500 ppm — when 2.6 ppm is lethal on fish fry within 96 hours.

With that reality, one would THINK that the first order of business would be to find and extract the remaining oil and pollutants with that billion dollar down-payment.  One might think, but that’s not what they’re going to do.  Instead, each of 5 Gulf states will get 100 million dollars with which to reform the coastal/shoreline regions.  Then each of 3 government agencies will get $100 million, and NOAA and the Department of the Interior will distribute the remaining $300 million as they see fit, for projects that “meet the other requirements of the (35-page) Framework Agreement” and are “approved by the Trustee Council comprised of all the natural resource trustees.”  Sure, it’ll bring some cash to their economy as people are paid to take on the cosmetics of the coast.  But that doesn’t do a  thing for the water itself.

Once again, out of sight is out of mind.   The only aspects that this deal will attend to are the ones that humans can readily see, the ones that are an eyesore to residents and, more importantly, tourist visitors.  But that’s not where the majority of the damage is being done.   Ever the politician, Salizar claims “This milestone agreement will allow us to jump-start restoration projects that will bring Gulf Coast marshes, wetlands, and wildlife habitat back to health after the damage they suffered as a result of the Deepwater Horizon spill.”  No, Mr. Secretary, it will not.  You can try to terraform the shoreline til the sea-cows come home, and that won’t stop the poisoning that the oil and Corexit have been doing for a year, now, and will CONTINUE to do until they are removed from the Gulf.

Ken Salizar isn’t the only one with such low expectations and short-sighted perspectives.  Trudy Fisher, Mississippi Trustee and Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, said “Since the day of the oil spill, our goals have been to make Mississippi whole and to assure that our coastal areas completely recover…”  The coast isn’t the problem.  The waters off the coast are.   Either a demonstrated understanding of the nature of the problem is lacking, or we’re back to the Dog and Pony Show, politics as usual, while the Gulf withers and dies.

People will get work.  The shorelines will one day look pretty again.  But the death and destruction of offshore oil and oil-burying solvents marches on.  Our very existence, and that of all of the other creatures in the sea, depends on our willingness and ability to clean up after ourselves.  Put on the Dog and Pony Show all you want, but the REAL issues in the Gulf’s waters remain.  We used to think the Gulf waters should have a Skull & Crossbones on them, to warn people of the dangers that lie beneath.   If they are going to continue to ignore the presence of the oil and Corexit while tidying the flower boxes at the window, maybe we should just go ahead and set up a big tombstone instead.

What do you think: Does this represent real progress in the Gulf oil spill cleanup?

Exponentially High Baby Dolphin Deaths in the Gulf

Signs of Horrors to Come?

In the latest of repercussions from the BP debacle in the Gulf of Mexico, we got word of baby dolphins washing up dead on the shores Mississippi and Alabama — at ten times the normal rate of stillborn mortality.  The Sun Herald reports that 17 babies less than 3 feet in length have been found, premature or stillborn.  Unfortunately, that’s only part of the story.  The ocean recycles very efficiently; many more dead babies likely never made it to the shore. This being the first of the babies to be born since the spill, we have no real idea how far-reaching the devastation may be.

Dead Baby Dolphin

This is one of a score of dead baby dolphins that washed up on the shores of the Gulf earlier this week.

Dr. Moby Solangi, director of the Institute of Marine Mammal Studies, confirmed that the death rate is highly abnormal, and informs that it appears that most were born premature.  Some were aborted at that time, others were stillborn.  Other points made are that some of the bruising that might have made it appear to be trauma was likely from the mothers trying to push the babies to the surface and get them to breathe.

It is not uncommon to sight one, maybe two stillborn dolphins a year.  That there have been a score found on shore already is pretty solid proof that this is a significant anomaly.  It may also be a warning that we, too, are at risk from the oil and Corexit.  Just because we don’t live IN the water doesn’t mean it’s not affecting us as well.

This is amongst the results of the use of Corexit and the oil spill itself.  We see it because we notice something as large as a baby dolphin floating on in to shore.  To be sure, many millions of other living things have been lost, and their offspring dead.  As Protect The Ocean warned last summer, the use of Corexit has made a tragic event  into a full-blown disaster of epic proportions.  We are just now beginning to see the effects of this myopic decision.  Corporate greed must never be allowed to choose and control the choices made in our planet’s waters again.
Scientists continue to discover even greater areas of Gulf floor covered in oil that was kept from rising by Corexit.  In the places where it is found, what should be breeding grounds for the next generation of ocean flora and fauna to come, the ocean floor is lifeless, dead.   Some may want to claim that this is not empirical proof.  We cannot afford to wait for any more decisive evidence than has already been seen.

Remember: As go the oceans, so go we all.  What happens in the Gulf effects every one of us, eventually.  Please support efforts to ban the use of Corexit in the States and abroad, as has already been successfully done in the UK a decade ago.

As the dolphin families mourn the loss of their infant children, we mourn their loss as our own, and hope that the ocean is able to recover soon from the horrors we have released upon it.