The Times-Picayune is reporting that “miles-long strands” of oil have been spotted near Mississippi River marshes, contradicting a Coast Guard report just this week that there is “little recoverable surface oil” remaining in the Gulf. The New Orleans newspaper also reports that boat captains say the U.S. Coast Guard has been ignoring similar sightings for weeks.
According to the TP, this means some areas of the Gulf recently re-opened to fishing might have to be closed (again), a political nightmare for the government and a big PR setback for BP. The oil giant is showing heightened signs that it just doesn’t give that much of a damn in the virtual absence of congressional oversight.
Now, everyone noted the “wiggle word” of “recoverable” in the government’s latest “Mission Accomplished” statement. But you could easily argue that this is the biggest screw-up since the Obama Administration made the “vast majority of oil is gone” announcement in early August.
The Administration was singed a bit on that, and this major oil sighting comes one week before mid-term elections. We’ll see if video of the latest “Mission Accomplished” statement juxtaposed with miles and miles of lingering oil plays to the voters. It’s when you lie over and over again that even the American public gets fed up.
Oftentimes it’s dueling scientists who contradict the government. This time it was Louisiana fishermen who found “miles-long strands” of weathered oil floating toward delicate Mississippi River delta marshes.
Bob Marshall at the Times-Picayune cuts to the chase on the impact, reporting that this gives “… ammunition to groups that have insisted the government has overstated clean-up progress, and could force reclosure of key fishing areas only recently reopened.”
Believe it or not, it gets worse. It turns out the Coast Guard may have been ignoring similar reports for some time now. Mr. Marshall has this bombshell (emphasis added) : “The oil was sighted in West Bay, which covers approximately 35 square miles of open water between Southwest Pass, the main shipping channel of the river, and Tiger Pass near Venice. Boat captains working the BP clean-up effort said they have been reporting large areas of surface oil off the delta for more than a week but have seen little response from BP or the Coast Guard…”
Stay tuned on this one, and read up here: http://www.nola.com/news/gulf-oil-spill/index.ssf/2010/10/massive_stretches_of_weathered.html
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