From environmentalists and wildlife specialists to fisherman and businessmen along the Gulf Coast the message is the same: BP is not only strangling the news of what is actually occurring in the Gulf of Mexico with the oil disaster but has co-opted key federal regulatory and oversight agencies to advance its agenda and that of its oil partners, including Halliburton, Anadarko, and Transocean.
The most hated individual in the Gulf is President Obama’s National Incident Commander, Thad Allen, who retired as Coast Guard Commandant on June 30. Allen is viewed as being too close to BP and there are local reports that long before the Deepwater Horizon explosion on April 20, Allen was discussing future employment at a senior level with BP.
The logistics of the oil clean-up [are] being criticized because of the over-dependence on deepwater oil-skimmer boats. No procedures are in place for using skimmers that can operate in shallower waters of 1.5 to 2 feet. There are a number of boats that could be used for shallow water skimming being tied up in port and not being used by BP.
Fishermen who have experience in rescuing sea turtles enmeshed in fishing nets are not being used in turtle rescue operations. In fact, they face arrest if they even touch an endangered turtle.
Some 3,000 fisherman remain idled by the oil disaster and most have not been hired by BP. Idled fishermen were told by BP that they would be called when their help was needed. However, later BP told them that many would probably never be called. However, BP has hired an army of contractors and subcontractors who are spending plenty of “flash money” to assuage some local businesses. However, WMR [Wayne Madsen Report] noticed while driving to Venice a large number of seafood distributors and restaurants that were shuttered.
Those hired by BP to clean up beaches and waters are not permitted to wear respirators and many are becoming sick, even coughing up blood. This editor, while driving to Venice, began to experience burning and watering eyes, a condition that lasted hours after returning to the west bank of New Orleans.
The disinformation being promulgated by BP is being accentuated by a number of local TV reporters being “embedded” with Coast Guard units in the waters off the coast and in the marshland and estuaries. Furthermore, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), accused by many local environmentalists and fishermen of being complicit in the cover-up of bad news, has issued a report claiming that tests of 600 fish caught in waters “near the edge of the oil” have proven negative for chemical toxins. Fishermen interviewed by WMR said the claim is ludicrous since there are no fish in the waters in the oil zone or near it.
Gone from the waters of the Gulf off Louisiana are grouper, snapper, amber jack, tuna, and even the small colorful blenny, which normally feeds at oil rig pylons in the Gulf and is found only in the Amazon basin, in addition to the Louisiana Gulf waters.
The Gulf waters are slowly being turned into a hydrocarbon soup of dispersed oil [globules] that is translucent black in color. Fishing boat owners whose boats have been used for clean-up efforts are suffering fiberglass-hull damage from hydrocarbon penetration and BP has informed the owners that their boats will have to be destroyed afterward and their hulls ground up. However, even boats not being used for clean-up will be destroyed with no assurance that BP will compensate the owners.
NOAA is also reportedly sitting on bathymetric maps of the Gulf seafloor that shows a massive fissure that is located 7 miles from the Deepwater Horizon site. That fissure is leaking 120,000 gallons [3,000 barrels] of crude [oil] a day, along with methane gas.
The Corexit-dispersed oil has seeped under booms set up to protect Lake Ponchartrain, which lies north of New Orleans. Dead fish and tar balls have now turned up in the lake.
Further out in the Gulf and along sensitive refuges like Elmer’s Island, massive fish kills are being reported by local residents. The Coast Guard and BP have established a no-fly zone over Elmer’s Island, a major bird sanctuary.
In addition, local fishermen said that nurseries in the Gulf, responsible for producing 40 percent of America’s seafood, are being destroyed by the oil and the chemical soup created by the mixing of oil dispersant Corexit 9500. Corexit is breaking down the crude oil into small oil [globules] and a watery oil mixture that is seeping under the booms set up to protect sensitive fish nurseries, oyster beds, and other pristine areas. Many Atlantic fish species also spawn in the Gulf and they are also threatened by the oil disaster.
Even barnacles, one of the most resistant sea creatures to extreme situations, are dying in vast numbers, along with sponges and coral.
Near Venice, Louisiana, in Plaquemines Parish, is the old Civil War fort, Fort Jackson. A national historical site and park, Fort Jackson has been turned into a major base for joint BP-Coast Guard dumping of Corexit on oil in the Gulf. WMR witnessed five helicopters carrying suspended white bags of Corexit out over Gulf waters. Hastily-erected signs at the entrances to Fort Jackson warn that the site is closed to visitors because of “construction.”