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04.19 Ways to Save the World
A CATASTROPHE THAT KEEPS ON HURTING, LIKE AGENT ORANGE IN VIETNAM:
America's Gulf: Ongoing Coverup and Denial
Millions will suffer and die from slow-motion development of cancers and auto-immune disease.
Wednesday, 27 October 2010
People in the Gulf Coast area exposed to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other toxins (especially Corexit) will suffer from unusual cancers and other chronic illness.
On October 22, AP reported that over 7,000 square miles of Gulf waters off Florida's Panhandle were declared oil-free and reopened to fishing. According the the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 96% of Gulf waters are now safe and reopened, spokeswoman Jane Lubchenco saying, "Our tests continue to reveal seafood from the reopened areas is safe to eat." Others disagree. More on that below.
The newly opened area is about 60 miles east of the Macondo wellhead. About 9,400 square miles of fishing waters remain closed, 4% of federal waters, down from 37% earlier.
From the start, The New Times provided cover for BP and the administration, at first denying the existence of a spill, then minimizing the disaster. On May 3, writers John Broder and Tom Zeller Jr. headlined, "Gulf Oil Spill Is Bad, but How Bad?" saying "news analysis" indicates it's really not serious after all, when evidence showed the potential for disaster.
On August 4, writer Justin Gillis headlined, "US Finds Most Oil From Spill Poses Little Additional Risk," saying:
This at a time, and later on, when independent research showed most oil remained. Corexit dispersants increased toxicity manyfold. Seafood was contaminated and unsafe. Vast areas of the Gulf and shorelines were (and continue to be) hazardous, and the risk to wildlife and human health was extreme. In other words, by downplaying the disaster, The Times defended government and BP lies, fearing the April 20 explosion provided "new fodder" for opponents.
Other Times reports highlighted the vanishing oil, low concentrations of deep sea toxic compounds, and conditions slowly returning to normal. In an October 12 update, The Times said:
In fact, the truth is mirror opposite. BP and administration officials are responsible for the greatest environmental crime in history, an ongoing disaster, affecting vast parts of the Gulf, coastal waters from Texas to Florida, most or perhaps all wildlife, and the health of millions of residents, no longer safe since April.
Drill Baby Drill
On October 12, the May imposed moratorium was lifted, six weeks ahead of its scheduled November 30 date, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar declaring:
In fact, so-called "new rules" mimic old ones. Drilling remains unregulated and unsafe, so it's just a matter of time before the next disaster strikes, besides natural seepage and annual hundreds of smaller, unreported spills. Cumulatively over time, their toxicity destroys global water and human health. Moreover, according to former NOAA supervisory researcher Jeff Short:
Lies, Damn Lies, and Coverup
The level is staggering, numerous reports countering BP and administration claims. On September 3, Boston Chemical Data Corp. laboratory findings, commissioned by the United Commercial Fishermen's Association, revealed toxic Corexit levels in test samples, meaning, besides oil contamination, Gulf seafood is extremely hazardous and unsafe.
Moreover, though BP denies it, Corexit spraying continues, mostly at night but some during day time. Fishermen report seeing it, in some cases hit by its mist. Reports say BP hired out-of-state contractors using unregistered boats, besides nightly aerial spraying. The administration's response to the entire disaster remains firm - coverup and denial, helped by a major media blackout after BP reported sealing the Macondo well on September 19.
In early October, however, four working reports issued by investigators from the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling revealed systemic coverup and censorship to suppress the disaster's magnitude, one very much ongoing.
They explained that stonewalling began in April and continued, one report concluding:
In fact, willful misinformation was released. In contrast, independent researchers produced accurate findings. BP, the administration, and major media accounts suppressed them, including evidence of criminal negligence.
Local Reports Exposing the Big Lie
On October 23, New Orleans Times-Picayune writer Bob Marshall headlined "Massive stretches of weathered oil spotted in Gulf of Mexico," saying:
On the six month anniversary of the disaster, marine biologist Riki Ott reported "people (are) now dropping dead," adding:
She added that "4 to 5 million people in the Gulf were exposed to oil (and dispersants) at dangerous levels that is going to have incredible public health ramifications...and possibly force the President out of office for lies." In fact, he should be impeached and prosecuted for war crimes abroad and ones against humanity at home.
Deaths continue to be reported as well as people finding volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other toxins in their blood. According to one observer, corruption, coverup and poisoning are occurring in plain sight. The entire region is affected and will be for decades, the dirty secret BP, government officials, and major media won't explain.
Local accounts, however, are disturbing. On October 21, New Orleans WWL-TV reported:
On October 20, AP reported Byron Encalade, president of the Louisiana Oystermen Association, saying "oyster beds are all dead or dying....I'm very pessimistic about it."
In early September, Mississippi Department of Marine Resources officials found 80 - 90% of oysters dead, citing no cause. Clearly oil and Corexit are responsible.
On October 21, Cynthia Sarthou, Gulf Restoration Network executive director, said:
On October 16, the Louisiana Shrimp Association's Clint Guidry called using Corexit a "horrific mistake," adding:
On October 22, a pilot said he "was surprised (and saddened) to witness a seemingly unrelenting tide of oil hammering our beaches, bays, and estuaries."
Other recent reports included:
A Final Comment
In fact, then, now, and for decades, contamination will remain, hazardous to wildlife and human health, what he knew yet lied and said otherwise, fronting for BP and other industry giants.
Oil and dispersants contaminate much, perhaps the entire Gulf. It's now poisoned and will remain potentially lethal for decades, maybe generations. Nothing in it should be ingested. Millions in the region are at risk. Families with small children should leave. No one should swim in coastal waters or eat any Gulf seafood, perhaps ever again. Responsible officials should ban it.
Instead, Obama, the Interior Department, NOAA, the Coast Guard, state governors, coastal mayors, regional health officials, BP, and major media reports gave the all-clear, saying conditions are nearly again normal, claiming the worst of the crisis was avoided.
In fact, a silent epidemic of cancers and other diseases will ravage coastal and inland areas for decades. The livelihoods of many residents are lost, and southern Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida may never be the same again, at least not for those now living there.
Moreover, 4,000 Gulf oil platforms now operate, the deepest and most hazardous by a consortium of companies, including BP. In addition, about 50,000 old wells pockmark the seabed, thousands with temporary or failing plugs believed to be leaking oil, gas and other toxins.
Yet deepwater drilling continues. Oil and gas pipelines keep compromising Gulf marshes, causing 15,000 acres to be lost annually, eroding wetlands and other areas. According to experts, unless restorative changes are made, the entire ecosystem will be lost in a generation.
On November 2, consider that before voting. Remember Obama's complicity in the greatest ever environmental crime, but don't imagine Republicans or Tea Party extremists will fix things. They're all beholden to power, not popular interests at a time they're being systematically eroded to divert money for militarism, imperial wars, bankers, BP, and other corporate favorites, ordinary people and ecological considerations be damned.
Listen to Lendman's cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
Mr. Lendman's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.
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Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.This story was published on October 27, 2010.