NEWS ALERT: Feds Are Allowing BP to Leave Oil on Gulf Beaches


Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, a “plan” has surfaced to intentionally abandon oil-cleaning efforts on some beaches that are crucial for wildlife but not frequented by tourists.

Ben Raines at Alabama’s Press-Register reports: “While public ‘amenity’ beaches – such as the tourist beaches in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach or Gulfport – are to be cleaned until they are oil-free, other areas will not get scrubbed as thoroughly, according to the final draft of a plan written by federal officials.” In many ways, this amounts to a BP bailout plan. It’s absolutely outrageous!

Mr. Raines reports that “the ‘SCAT Shoreline Treatment Implementation Framework’ was signed in early October by BP PLC, the U.S. Coast Guard and officials from the state environmental agencies in Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida.” According to the Press-Register: “The agreement establishes ‘No Further Treatment’ thresholds for beaches, marshes and manmade shorelines.”

There are many things about this that leave you shaking your head. But let’s just look at one or two statements that have become much more telling than they were ever meant to be. First, we hear from BP to learn just who matters in this planning process. The Press-Register quoting BP spokesman Todd Beyer: “It was signed off on by all stakeholders. That’s the Incident Command and all other state and federal agencies involved in the process. They signed off on it, we’re assuming everyone is happy with the plan.”

Note, BP’s vision is that ALL stakeholders amount to Incident Command and state and federal agencies. No environmental voices, no fishermen, no residents, no mayors, certainly no parish presidents – in other words, nobody who might be in touch with all those “small people” (a reference made by BP’s chairman early on in this disaster).

And here’s another example of where NOAA stands on all this, again quoting the Register: “Federal manuals on shoreline cleanup after oil spills make clear that ‘natural restoration’ – meaning leaving oil in place – is often the preferred solution for sensitive areas. During a telephone conference in early October, Ruth Yender, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration official who wrote the cleanup plan, said that cleanup goals would vary depending on shoreline type and use.”

Funny, I always thought the cleanup goal was to remove all the oil (and dispersant). So much for “Making It Right.”

For more, including some local reaction, see Mr. Raines’ story here:

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Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
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