Today in BP Oil Disaster: Day 58



  • BP cares about the little people. (I mean, he's foreign, so there's that, but he says it twice, for crying out loud.)

  • How did Obama's speech last night play out along the Gulf outside Louisiana?

  • In BP's latest attempt to capture more oil, workers are using the already-in-place top kill equipment to suck the oil to the rig to be burned.

  • Vacationers are trading in trips to Panama City and Destin for Costa Rica and Cape Cod — sticker shock, anyone?

  • Roger Ebert has laid a few good blows to BP on his Twitter feed. This one is my favorite.

  • Newsweek asks, "Who Can You Trust?" for oil disaster updates. Their answer: Mother Jones human rights reporter Mac McClelland. And here's a good reason why:

    The men on Elmer's Island don't wear respirators since BP and OSHA have thrown precaution to the wind and deemed them unnecessary. But the only type of air-monitoring equipment Elmer's ever seen on the island are little multigas meters that are not up to the job: They're designed for indoor use, clog easily, and only measure limited types of pollutants. And despite the known dangers of dispersants and the toxic chemicals in crude (I can attest that contact with the stuff washing up on the beach can burn), workers aren't even wearing protective Tyvek suits anymore. Of course, there are medics on hand to treat anyone who gets hurt or sick. Unfortunately, any worker who asks for a medic's help is automatically drug tested, which, for some, can be a powerful incentive to not report injuries. (Not that keeping a cleanup job necessarily equals getting paid: Elmer says the contractors continue to lose workers' paychecks, a problem he told me about the last time we talked and that has since been confirmed by the local papers.)


    In nearby Port Fourchon, where he has also worked, there are markers to denote wildlife nesting areas, but they aren't clearly labeled and no one knows what they mean, so workers drive and trample over sensitive habitats.

  • The BP victims' escrow account is marked for $20 billion. The New York Times asks experts "How Much Will BP Really Pay?" Alice Schroeder says that account could dangerously be depleted and turn into a BP bailout. Yikes. Also, LSU will receive $5 million from BP as a research grant to further study effects of the oil and response.

  • The Worst Case Scenario: An unchecked, unstoppable leak. It might be happening now.

  • This is just breaking, via Mother Jones: Oiled Kemp's Ridley sea turtles are being burned alive in response efforts, and the sea turtle recovery program is likely to shut down soon. Here's the video:

    Can we just take a break for just a few minutes today, read this, and eat a snoball?

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