Yesterday, Time magazine published a disgusting screed telling us all to calm down about the hundreds of millions of gallons of crude oil BP has released into the Gulf of Mexico and then even sent the author to push his drivel on Hardball. In starting the corporate media’s push-back against the level of damage arising from BP’s irresponsibility, Time has joined a team that previously consisted of BP, Thad Allen, EPA and NOAA.
Note that immediately after the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon rig, BP started spraying massive quantities of the toxic dispersant Corexit. EPA made a half-hearted attempt to get BP to change its choice of dispersant to a less toxic one and/or to dramatically decrease the amount being released, but BP’s response was to game the terms of the EPA order and change absolutely nothing. EPA simply accepted BP’s decision and said nothing further about dispersants. On Countdown this week, Hugh Kaufman of EPA made the revelation that a political decision was made within the government to allow BP to take the lead on the use of dispersants, despite concerns on the part of EPA toxicologists.
The use of dispersants led to huge underwater plumes of small oil droplets. NOAA then jumped into the act to suppress as long as possible any admission that these plumes might be connected to the leak and the use of dispersants. Just last week, we finally got confirmation from the University of South Florida that the oil in the underwater plumes is indeed from the BP leak. Ironically, in the TV news piece out of Tampa (where USF is located) announcing the confirmation of the source of the oil plumes, that news is tacked briefly onto the beginning of an interview with Senator George LeMieux where LeMieux drones on about the need to continue drilling in the Gulf:
Also last week, a third of the area that had been closed to fishing was re-opened. Yesterday, some portions of Louisiana waters also were re-opened. These re-openings, while welcome news to the fishermen who have been idled by BP’s spill, come after extensive testing of the waters and the fish in those waters. However, the lingering question remains whether the tests that were carried out were properly designed. The problem is that crude oil has over 40,000 different chemicals in it. Let’s hope that the tests that were carried out chose wisely from among that huge number of compounds, because it is impossible to detect something for which no test is run.
Note also how Thad Allen has allowed BP to game the appearance of the leaks on the cap that is now blocking most of the flow from the well and from the "seeps" in the well area. Click on one of the pages showing the multiple feeds from the ROV’s in the well area, and you will see that BP is no longer allowing any feeds that convey information to be broadcast. We no longer get a view of the base of the blowout preventer where it rises from the floor of the Gulf, so we don’t know whether gas or oil is escaping around the outside of the well casing. We also aren’t seeing feeds from any of the seeps surrounding the well, so we don’t know if the flow from them is changing over time. Thad Allen is standing by idly and missing a chance at the collection of vital data while BP is hiding what they don’t want us to see.
One more shortcoming by Thad Allen is his refusal to force BP and the government to provide a more accurate flow rate on the leak when it was flowing. By allowing BP to continue to lowball the estimate, the fines BP eventually will pay will be lower, possibly by billions of dollars.
Heckuva job, Thaddie.