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“There’s Pods of Dead Dolphins Everywhere”

8:57 pm in BP oil disaster, Energy by marymccurnin

I follow New Orleans Ladder to stay abreast of the BP Tragedy. There I found the newest youtube of Kindra Arnesen.

Kindra Arnesen is a Gulf Coast resident who has been actively fighting BP and trying to keep people informed about what is happening and not happening. I have been watching her since last May when BP started their massive kill of the northern Gulf of Mexico.  She does not look well in this video. She has been hospitalized once with infected lesions. The two women that work with her were hospitalized at the same time with chemical pneumonitis. I am concerned for Kindra. I am concerned for our planet. Have we really forgotten so soon?

Please watch.

Grand Isle and the Illusion of Health

12:31 pm in BP oil disaster, Uncategorized by marymccurnin

Booms on Grand Isle Beach

As I step from the airplane onto the accordian walkway I bump into a wall of heat and humidity that I had forgotten existed. July in New Orleans is not hospitable. The thick weather was created for flying cockroaches and alligators not modern, whimpy humans.

I am in town for a week to visit with my family and am curious to see if there was evidence of the BP tragedy in my hometown. What I do find is very interesting and consistent with a place that lives with the tangible possibility of danger and excitement on a seasonal basis. The two seasons that come to mind are hurricane and Mardi Gras.

In Sacramento where I live the oil "spill" is a persistent topic of conversation. My neighbors talk about it. Commentors and posters on FDL write about it. I have to admit to be obsessed by it.

But in New Orleans I find that the disaster is not the first thing to be discussed. New Orleanians have adapted to the possibility of high water either from the river or the coast since its founding in 1718. People are still trying to overcome the physical and mental stress of Katrina. Perhaps since neighborhoods and business districts have not yet been marked by oil there is no sense of urgency. And New Orleans has never been known for its sense of urgency. It also seems unfair that a people should have to absorb so much negative information.

On Saturday my friend, Sydney (name changed to provide anonymity) and I go to Grand Isle. Sydney has been going there for years to fish and hang out with compatriots. It takes two hours to drive there. The land is flat. Then it gets flatter. Then it becomes water. There are rows on the horizon of dead oaks where the salt water has eroded inland. It has been a wet summer and the Mississippi river has pushed water into the last places that can hold it. The ride is green, blue and white; vegetation, sky and clouds.

Usually, this is the time of year when the little town would be filled with fishermen. They have been replaced with cleanup crews and security guards. The crews are kept herded together. They are dressed in white clothes, big straw hats, and black or yellow boots. They are bound together by a fraternity of sweat and a clear need for employment. The guards wear clean, perfect British Petroleum t-shirts with security badges. You can tell everyone is waiting for the day to be over. It is 91 degrees and the heat index is at 105.

The first beach we see is clean. There are rows of orange, water filled booms about fifty feet from the gulf. Tracks from a bulldozer persist up and down the entire beach. Way in the distance to the east you can see people slowly bending and shoveling. I climb over the booms and land on the lower part of the beach. I am hit with a sudden odor of oil. This smell lives close to the sand and is pungent.

I keep thinking "Where is the death and destruction? I don’t see any damn oil!"

Sydney takes me to the mangroves in the wetlands. The water is murky but it often is. Big swirls are evidence of red fish. Herons hang on the mangroves hunched over waiting for a meal.

We make our way to Grand Isle State Park and Pier. British Petroleum has a huge compound there to feed the workers. There are three large white tents filled with mostly men eating their lunches. The tents are air conditioned.

We meet Giada Connestari, a photographer and Emanuele Bompan, a reporter. Both are from Italy. The four of us walk through the tents and onto the pier. Sydney asks me later if I had heard all of the coughing in the tents. I had not. I was mostly taking in the air conditioning and watching people suck down sandwiches and soft drinks.

At all entrances and exits to beaches and parking lots the ubiquitous BP guards are on patrol. You can tell they had been schooled on smiles and p.r. They are now pretending the beaches belong to the public until they are told otherwise. I also notice that most of the cleanup crew is black. Most of the security guards are not. It reminds me of chain gangs I saw as a very small child but without the strain of unadulterated repression running through it.

We walk down the pier to the gulf. Brown pelicans dive after invisible fish. A shark swims looking for prey. We talk to people investigating or vacationing. Everyone is dismayed that things look so good. Emanuele Bompan who is also a cartographer explains that the beaches had just been cleaned and that oil is expected to be back that night. He also tells us that size of the land mass relative to the size of the spill means that things will seem normal in a lot of areas. This is particularly true since most of the oil is still at the bottom of the gulf or mingling with Corexit to form a more toxic soup. Damn dispersants. The chemical gives an illusion of health where there is none.

Photos Dating From June 1 Through July 10, 2010

Sydney and I are tired and hungry. We leave the beach and drive back into Grand Isle to find a restaurant. We don’t get to see one another very often and have an intentionally leisurely meal. We eat shrimp and sausage gumbo. Sydney has a crab meat poboy. I have a BLT. It is one of the most satisfying meals I have had in a long time.

On the plane ride back to California I sit next to a young man heading towards Portland. He is a helicopter mechanic and has been working on the spill. The company who employs him has been dropping sand bags in front of wetlands to try and protect them from the corruption they will certainly endure. He tells me that the camp in Venice, La where he and eight of his fellow workers have been living was just rented out for $2400 a night (24 beds) for the next year by the Louisiana Department of Fish and Game. This comes to a total of $876,000 for the year. At least one family on the coast of Louisiana will be secure for a good long while.

*Below are photographs of Grand Isle taken in the 1920′s and 1930′s by Fonville Winans. He is well known in Louisiana. He also took a portrait of my family in 1958 when I was eight years old.

Copyright www.fonvillewinans.com

1930 Photographs by Fonville Winans

There is Oil in the Rain in New Orleans!

11:46 am in Uncategorized by marymccurnin

There is oil in the rain in New Orleans today.

These videos were done June 22, 2010. I have no idea if this is a valid concern or just oil on the streets. It looks real to me but I thought it was worth posting.

May 4, 2010 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Information and Links

8:23 am in BP oil disaster, Energy by marymccurnin

Here are links for May 4, 2010 to news, wildlife rescue, state and federal sites, volunteer sites and others. As always, I will update them as the information becomes available. Your links and information are needed. They will be included on the next day’s post. Science and Twitter were added as new categories today.

Huffington Post by Dan Froomkin
NOAA Warned Interior It Was Underestimating Threat Of Serious Spill
NOAA is the nation’s lead ocean resource agency, and the warnings came in its response to a draft of the Obama Administration’s offshore oil drilling plans. The comments were Web-published in October by the whistle-blowing group, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).
……as I recall when Bush tried to weaken the authority of NOAA by hiring incompetent people a mass resignation was threatened. Bush backed down. NOAA is good people.

Oiled Wildlife Care Network Blog by Mike Ziccardi
"Lastly, we finally have great news on the training front.  After a complete re-review by OSHA of the “paraprofessional” training program, health and safety trainings will begin tomorrow, and will be fully in operation Wednesday."
….. Mike Ziccardi is my hero. Please go to his blog and comment. Mr. Ziccardi is working long hours and is leading the bird rescue effort.

News Updates:

Deepwater Horizon Response
Gulf Restoration Network
Skytruth
NOLA.com
al.com
http://www.pnj.com Pensacola FL
http://www.sunherald.com Biloxi/Gulfport MS
http://www.al.com/press-register/ Mobile AL
Reuters
New York Times

Science:

Ocean Circulation Group University of South Florida

Activism:

Care2

Volunteer or Work:

Wetlands International
Volunteer Florida
Volunteer Louisinana
emergency.Louisiana.gov
OilSpillVolunteers.com
Pascagoula River Audubon Center
Mobile Bay National Estuary Program
Coalition To Restore Coastal Louisiana

Help Rescue Wildlife:

Oiled Wildlife Care Network Blog-U.C. Davis This is information from the front lines in LA.
Florida Shorebird Alliance
The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies
Tri State Bird Rescue and Research
IBRRC International Bird Rescue Research Center
Facebook/Louisiana Dept of Wildlife and Fisheries
California Department of Fish and Game, Office of Spill Prevention and Response
Wildlife Health Center, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine

Federal, State, Information, Fact, Sites:

Volunteer Florida
Volunteer Louisinana
LA Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Projected Trajectory
U.S.Coast Guard District 8 Flicker Site
Deepwater Horzon Incident Site

NOAA
NOAA Environmental Modeling Center
Environmental Economics Blog
Environmental and Urban Economics Blog
Twitter Oil Spill
EPA

Health Related Concerns:

Poison Control Center

Hazwoper Certification:
(Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response)
There are many places across the country to take this course.

National Environmental Trainers, Inc. Martinez, GA
Safety Council Baton Rouge, Addis, Gonzales, LA
MSU/Safety and Environmental Training Courses MS
Osha Compliance Safety Training Folsom, CA

Twitter:

al.com
nola.com

Others:

British Petroleum Site (cringe)

May 3, 2010 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Information and Links

9:23 am in BP oil disaster, Energy by marymccurnin

What decision can you make today to lesser your consumption of oil?

Here are links for May3, 2010 to news, wildlife rescue, state and federal sites, volunteer sites and others. I will update them as the information becomes available. Any information or links are appreciated. Thanks to everyone who provided links. Please keep them coming. There is some overlap between the catagories.

Chemicals at source reducing amount of oil spill reaching surface of Gulf, BP CEO says

What does this really mean? Is this just another poison? Will it help or hurt? And have you heard? British Petroleum in not responsible for the spill but they will clean it up. …..Expletive!

ProPublica journalism in the public interest

Chemicals Meant To Break Up BP Oil Spill Present New Environmental Concerns

News Updates:

Gulf Restoration Network

Skytruth
NOLA.com
http://www.pnj.com Pensacola FL
http://www.sunherald.com Biloxi/Gulfport MS
http://www.al.com/press-register/ Mobile AL
Reuters
New York Times

Links to Activism:

Care2

Links to Volunteer or Work:

Wetlands International
Volunteer Florida
Volunteer Louisinana

emergency.Louisiana.gov
OilSpillVolunteers.com
Pascagoula River Audubon Center
Mobile Bay National Estuary Program
Coalition To Restore Coastal Louisiana

Links to Help Rescue Wildlife:

Florida Shorebird Alliance
The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies
Oiled Wildlife Care Network Blog-U.C. Davis This is information from the front lines in LA.
Tri State Bird Rescue and Research
IBRRC International Bird Rescue Research Center
Facebook/Louisiana Dept of Wildlife and Fisheries
California Department of Fish and Game, Office of Spill Prevention and Response
Wildlife Health Center, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine

Federal, State, Information, Fact, Sites:

Volunteer Florida
Volunteer Louisinana
LA Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Projected Trajectory
U.S.Coast Guard District 8 Flicker Site

Deepwater Horzon Incident Site
NOAA
NOAA Environmental Modeling Center
Environmental Economics Blog
Environmental and Urban Economics Blog
Twitter Oil Spill
EPA

Health Related Concerns:

Poison Control Center

Hazwoper Certification:

(Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response)

There are many places across the country to take this course.

National Environmental Trainers, Inc. Martinez, GA
Safety Council Baton Rouge, Addis, Gonzales, LA
MSU/Safety andEnvironmental Training Courses MS
Osha Compliance Safety Training Folsom, CA

Others:

British Petroleum Site (cringe)

May 2, 2010 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Information and Links

10:30 am in BP oil disaster, Energy by marymccurnin

We are all the Oil Industry and we need to take responsibility for changing our lives now.

Here are links for May 2, 2010 to news, wildlife rescue, state and federal sites, volunteer sites and others. I will update them as the information becomes available. Any information or links are appreciated. Thanks to everyone who provided links. Please keep them coming. There is some overlap between the catagories.

Today is was harder to find specific information. Seems that organizations are overwhelmed or out in the field.

News Updates:

Skytruth
Time Picayune
New Orleans Daily Newspaper
NOLA.com
http://www.pnj.com Pensacola FL
http://www.sunherald.com Biloxi/Gulfport MS
http://www.al.com/press-register/ Mobile AL
Reuters
New York Times

MSNBC

Links to Volunteer or Work:

Basic Safety and Health Training will be held at The Mary C. in Ocean Springs, MS at 9:00, 10:00, 4:00, and 5:00. No reservations are required, just show up. Volunteers doing outdoor work with BP are required to undergo a 20-minute health and safety training course.

Links to Help Rescue Wildlife:

Oiled Wildlife Care Network Blog-U.C. Davis This is information from the front lines in LA.
Tri State Bird Rescue and Research
IBRRC International Bird Rescue Research Center
Facebook/Louisiana Dept of Wildlife and Fisheries
California Department of Fish and Game, Office of Spill Prevention and Response
Wildlife Health Center, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine
Discovery News

(Nothing about the oil spill at all on the Mississippi, Alabama, or Georgia department of wildlife and fisheries websites or facebook pages.)

Federal, State, Information, Fact, Sites:
Deepwater Horzon Incident Site
NOAA
NOAA Environmental Modeling Center
Environmental Economics Blog
Environmental and Urban Economics Blog
Twitter Oil Spill
EPA

Others:
British Petroleum Site (cringe)

Wildlife Rescue and More Concerning Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

10:33 am in Uncategorized by marymccurnin

Here are links to news, wildlife rescue, state and federal sites and others. I will update them as the information becomes available. Any information or links are appreciated. The situation in terms of information for the general public is sketchy.

It is hard to believe how unprepared this government is to handle this tragedy. Seems they should have volunteer teams set up having already practiced what needs to be done. And what will happen to the wildlife that is cleaned? They cannot be released until the continuing deluge is over and the habitat is recovered. Looks like we will need bird and mammal dormatories to be established.

News Updates:

Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Triples in Size
St. Bernard fishermen to help fight oil slick
Guard mobilized, BP will foot bill
Oil spill employment: Job Fair Today

Links to Help Wildlife:

Oiled Wildlife Care Network Blog-U.C. Davis This is information from the front lines in LA.
IBRRC International Bird Rescue Research Center
Facebook/Louisiana Dept of Wildlife and Fisheries
California Department of Fish and Game, Office of Spill Prevention and Response
Wildlife Health Center, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine

(Nothing about the oil spill at all on the Mississippi, Alabama, or Georgia department of wildlife and fisheries websites or facebook pages.)

Federal and State Sites:

Deepwater Horzon Incident Site
NOAA

Others:

British Petroleum Site (cringe)

Go to the Gulf Coast

11:49 am in BP oil disaster, Energy by marymccurnin

I am working on finding places for people to stay in New Orleans and the surrounding areas to help with the oil spill. I need help. Please contact me if you want to go, if you have organizing experience, or if you can help in any way. My email is mary at mccurnin design dot com.

Right now I can talking to my old church in New Orleans. The pastor is going to send me the names of organizations that helped house people during Katrina.

I need to find more info about staging areas, etc.

Any help is needed.