tagged w/ ecocide
PLEASE READ NEWS LINKS & TAKE ACTION AGAINST THIS INHUMANE, SADISTIIC & COMPLETELY UNETHICAL CRUELTY
Unknown to most taxpayers, their money is going toward supporting the brutal practices of federal wildlife agents.
Send this proof to your representatives and the Dept of the Interior---tell them you want wildlife officials and technicians to be fired for egregiously cruel acts performed upon trapped wildlife; AND tell them you want the federal wildlife agency to ban cruel 'denning' practices of wolf and coyote pups.
Please click on link and read article below:
*Email Dept of the Interior: email@example.com
***Also contact your representatives***PLEASE READ NEWS LINKS & TAKE ACTION AGAINST THIS INHUMANE, SADISTIIC &... more
Manatees in Southwest Florida are suffering from exposure to red tide, in a bloom that has persisted since September 2012. Most recently, the highest concentrations have appeared in Pine Island Sound in Lee County, and in Sarasota County. Pine Island is an important manatee feeding ground, particularly during the winter months, when hundreds of manatees are congregated in the Orange River. Manatees in this area are first trying to find refuge from the cold, then finding themselves exposed to fatal toxins when they go out to feed. More than 100 miles of coastline and manatee habitat are affected by some level of red tide, from Sarasota to Lee County, and into the Florida Keys. In recent weeks, the number of manatee deaths and rescues from red tide has greatly increased.
Red tide acts as a neurotoxin in manatees, giving them seizures that can result in drowning without human intervention. Thankfully, if manatees exposed to red tide can be moved out of the affected area by trained biologists and stabilized at a critical care facility, their prognosis is very good. Remember to call 1-888-404-3922 IMMEDIATELY if you see a manatee that may be suffering from red tide exposure or any other injury.
At least 174 manatees in southwest Florida have already died from red tide exposure in 2013, and an additional 33 manatees died from this cause in 2012. In recent weeks, many more have been found alive, suffering from red tide toxicity, and successfully rescued and transported to a critical care facility. These stabilized red-tide affected manatees can't be released back into their home waters where they could be re-exposed to deadly red tide, but space is needed at the critical care facilities to accommodate new red tide victims and manatees suffering from cold stress, watercraft strikes, or other ailments.
The Manatee Rehabilitation Partnership (MRP), of which SMC is a charter member, has decided to move now-healthy manatees to secondary care facilities until the red tide subsides and they can be released. This is where we need your help. With so many manatees currently in rehabilitation and new facilities coming on line to assist in the care of red tide affected manatees, funds are needed to feed all of these hungry manatees. Even when wild plants are harvested and transported, which is less expensive than supplying boxes of produce, the costs add up. SMC is committed to helping these manatees, but we need the help of our dedicated members to make this happen.
While manatees are suffering from red tide in the southwest, another threat is claiming manatee lives on the east coast, in Brevard County. Several dozen manatees have died of unknown but presumed natural causes, possibly from a different toxin, in Brevard since 2012. With most of Brevard's seagrass wiped out from a huge die off, it is unknown if manatees may be accessing another food source that is making them sick and killing them.
Clearly, Florida's manatees need your help right now. Please make a donation to our Emergency Rescue Fund today so we can be equipped to help manatees anytime and anywhere that help is needed.
Aquatic Biologist, Executive Director
Save the Manatee Club
About SMC Contact Us Donate Nowhttp://www.savethemanatee.org/
Manatees in Southwest Florida are suffering from... more
Photo: A baby elephant mourning its poisoned mother
It was a shocking sight for the rangers of the Gunung Rara Forest Reserve: a baby elephant trying in vain to wake its mother with its trunk. She had been poisoned, along with 13 other animals. Their carcasses were found over the past four weeks on land controlled by Yayasan Sabah, the state wood and palm oil group. The elephants all belonged to the same herd, which had been staying at the edge of the rainforest reserve – in close proximity to a logging camp and oil palm plantations.
“The elephants ate rat poison. That’s how the plantation workers prevent the animals from eating the fruit of the oil palm”, suspects Laurentius Ambu, director of the local conservation authority. The Borneo pygmy elephant is a rare forest elephant subspecies, of which no more than 1,500 animals remain – almost all in Sabah.
Malaysia continues to rely on exporting tropical timber and palm oil. Policymakers are in the process of clearing the last remaining rainforest areas in the states of Sabah and Sarawak for plantations. And with those forests, Borneo is losing an incredible wealth of animal and plant species, including endangered rhinos, orangutans and proboscis monkeys.
Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman is driving the deforestation by personally granting permits to clear the rainforest and establish palm oil plantations. He is also Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the state-owned Yayasan Sabah Group. In late 2012, the company started to cut down another 70,000 hectares of rainforest for plantations, leaving no room for the forest elephants.
Call on Aman and the Malaysian government to put an immediate end to this crime against nature and to work toward protecting the rainforests and their residents.
https://www.rainforest-rescue.org/mailalert/905?ref=nl&mt=1519Photo: A baby elephant mourning its poisoned mother... more
Gorilla family in Virunga National Park https://www.rainforest-rescue.org/uploads/photos/teaser_small/kongo-virunga-np-gorilla-baby.jpg
The dense montane rainforest in the Virunga National Park is one of the last remaining habitats of the endangered mountain gorillas. Virunga is located in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and is the oldest national park in Africa. The park, about twice the size of Rhode Island, and along the shores of Lake Edward, was designated a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. In addition to the gorillas, it is home to other endangered species. Now the national park, the gorillas and the people living along the lake face an existential threat.
In late 2011, the UK-based oil company SOCO was granted exploitation rights for oil blocks in the eastern part of the Congo. Up until then, an exploitation moratorium had been in place for the country’s sensitive rainforest regions. Sixty percent of Block 5 covered by SOCO fall within the borders of Virunga. As Ephrem Balole of the park administration said: “The company has received a permission to start exploration in the park by presidential decree. However, law prohibits the exploitation of natural resources within the park.”
The park administration and the local population have joined forces in an attempt to prevent the drilling, which would destroy large parts of the Virunga rainforest and also threaten Lake Edward. The lake provides the livelihood of many people in the region. The UNESCO has issued a sharply worded note of protest to the Congolese government, declaring the oil drilling to be in violation of international law. The EU is providing funding for Virunga, but to date, only a small group of members of the European Parliament has issued a resolution against the drilling activities planned in the park.
Please write to the responsible institutions and demand the preservation of Virunga National Park *PLEASE READ, X-POST & SIGN*https://www.rainforest-rescue.org/mailalert/900/dr-congo-oil-company-threatens-gorilla-... more
By Riki Ott
All six of Julie Creppel's young children are sick. Vomiting. Blisters all over their bodies, even in their throats. Boils. Severe headaches that wake them up screaming at night. Nausea. Fevers. Diarrhea. Stomach spasms that contort their bodies in pain. Skin lesions. Psoriasis. Nose bleeds that gush unexpectedly. Respiratory infections. Dizziness. Sinus infections. Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease. Hair loss. And more.
The Creppels live in Boothville, La., in south Plaquemines Parrish. Area health clinics and hospitals are experiencing an influx of sick children for treatment for a range of symptoms that began after the BP oil disaster. The increase in numbers of sick children coincides with the massive spraying of toxic chemical dispersants into the water and air that began in 2010. More troubling is the fact that the children are still having these symptoms to this day.
The Corexit dispersants used in the Gulf are known human health hazards, causing eye and skin irritation, respiratory problems, harm to liver, kidney, and blood cells, injury and even death to unborn babies, immune suppression, skin disorders, and more.
Not surprisingly, the symptoms Julie's children suffer are epidemic across the Gulf states that were impacted by the BP disaster -- and the secondary disaster, the widespread use of Nalco's Corexit dispersants.
More at the linkBy Riki Ott
All six of Julie Creppel's young children are sick. Vomiting.... more
So excuse me while I do not get excited by the wrist slap they got from this Justice Dept. for the ecocide they precipitated that is still going on.
"Supermajor BP has recorded a profit of $25.7 billion for the 2011 calendar year, up from the $3.72 billion loss recorded in 2010 on the back of the Macondo disaster.
The company made a replacement cost profit of $23.9 billion for the year, up from the $4.91 billion loss recorded in 2010, on the back on reduced earnings from its exploration and production arm – down 1.27% to $30.5 billion from 2010’s $30.89 billion.
This came despite an average production average of 3.45 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, higher than the anticipated rate of 3.4 million bpd set for 2011.
BP’s fourth quarter 2011 profit was $7.68 billion, up from the $5.04 billion recorded in the third quarter and the $5.57 billion recorded in the fourth quarter of 2010.
In an announcement, BP chief executive Bob Dudley said the company’s operational momentum was returning, with the company playing to its strengths."So excuse me while I do not get excited by the wrist slap they got from this Justice... more
The general public has not seen images of Shell Oil Co.'s Arctic drilling rig, the Kulluk, on site off the coast of Alaska, and a sense of the rig's proximity to protected lands has been hard to grasp. Until now.
I don't think the public has realized how close it is.
- Gary Braasch, photographer
Oregon-based photographer Gary Braasch flew to Alaska, chartered a plane in the town of Deadhorse, far above the Arctic Circle, and flew out to the rigs. His photographs provide, for the first time, a sense of perspective of the Kulluk rig in its environment, 12 miles offshore of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
"The location has been published for years in Shell's permits," he said in a phone interview. "We just went out there and, sure enough, there it was. But having the landscape just behind it was so amazing, and I don't think the public has realized how close it is."
More at the linkThe general public has not seen images of Shell Oil Co.'s Arctic drilling rig,... more
The oil in a slick detected in the Gulf of Mexico last month matched oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill two years ago, the Coast Guard said Wednesday night, ending one mystery and creating another.
“The exact source of the oil is unclear at this time but could be residual oil associated with the wreckage or debris left on the seabed from the Deepwater Horizon incident,” the Coast Guard said.
The Coast Guard added that “the sheen is not feasible to recover and does not pose a risk to the shoreline.” One government expert said the thin sheen, just microns thick, was 3 miles by 300 yards on Wednesday.
Some oil drilling experts said it was unlikely that BP’s Macondo well, which suffered a blowout on April 20, 2010, was leaking again given the extra precautions taken when it was finally sealed after spilling nearly 5 million barrels of crude into the gulf.
BP declined to comment. But a BP internal slide presentation said the new oil sheen probably came from the riser, a long piece of pipe that had connected the drilling rig to the well a mile below the sea surface.
The presentation said that “the size and persistence of this slick, the persistent location of the oil slick origin point, the chemistry of the samples taken from the slick ... suggest that the likely source of the slick is a leak of Macondo ... oil mixed with drilling mud that had been trapped in the riser of the Deepwater Horizon rig.”
But Ian MacDonald, a professor of oceanography at Florida State University and a spill expert, cautioned said that the origin of the new oil remains uncertain. “The jury is out here,” he said, adding that it was too early “to rule out that this is oil freshly released from the reservoir.”
The sheen, located about 50 miles off Louisiana’s shore in the Mississippi Canyon block 252 where the Macondo well was drilled, was detected in satellite images taken on Sept. 9 and Sept. 14. The Coast Guard said the size of the sheen has varied with weather conditions.
Samples of the crude were collected and sent to a Coast Guard laboratory in New London, Conn. On Tuesday, the Coast Guard told BP and Transocean, owner and operator of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig that caught fire and sank, that the oil from the sheen and spill matched.
In a meeting Wednesday, the Coast Guard told the companies to come up with a plan of action for determining the source. “No one’s 100 percent as to where it’s coming from,” said Frank Csulak, scientific support coordinator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Since the disaster in 2010, which killed 11 workers, the wreckage of the massive rig, the crumpled riser and some hardware used in the attempt to kill the well have remained on the gulf floor. T
An August 2011 investigation, which came after oil blobs were observed on the surface and which included a visit to the wellhead by a remotely operated vehicle, turned up no sign that the well was leaking. That inspection was conducted by BP with federal government officials observing the process.
Nonetheless, there have been persistent rumors and allegations on blogs that Macondo is not truly dead, and that it is continuing to spew oil into the gulf.
More at the linkThe oil in a slick detected in the Gulf of Mexico last month matched oil from the... more
Oil is washing up along the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Isaac, confirming concerns that the storm could churn up oil in the Gulf of Mexico. A Greenpeace research team took samples from beaches along the Alabama coast on September 2, including from an area with hundreds of tar balls in the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge.
Hundreds of tar balls on the beach at Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, Alabama on September 2, 2012
According to the US Coast Guard, oiled pelicans and other wildlife have been found in Louisiana marshes as well. As people struggle with flooding, wind damage, and power outages in the wake of the hurricane, officials have expressed concerns that on top of that disaster, Hurricane Isaac may stir up oil from the BP spill:
“This is another disaster on top of the hurricane that we’re going to have to deal with,” Garret Graves, chairman of Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, told The Huffington Post. “The threat is not insignificant.”
Up to 1 million barrels of oil are estimated to remain in the Gulf of Mexico. That oil remains, Graves said, because BP has failed to clean it all up in the more than two years since the tragedy. “That’s four to five times the oil that was spilled with the Exxon Valdez,” he added.
One of the tar balls on the beach at Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge
Meanwhile, officials in Washington DC are calling on federal agencies to provide an update on their oil spill cleanup efforts in the wake of Hurricane Isaac:
More at the linkOil is washing up along the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Isaac, confirming... more
Musician and naturalist Bernie Krause has spent 40 years recording over 15,000 species in many of the world's pristine habitats. Photograph: Courtesy of Hachette Book Group
"The birds are silent in the woods.
Just wait: Soon enough
You will be quiet too"
- Robert Hass
When musician and naturalist Bernie Krause drops his microphones into the pristine coral reef waters of Fiji, he picks up a raucous mix of sighs, beats, glissandos, cries, groans, tones, grunts, beats and clicks.
Bernie Krause records life on a coral reef in Fiji Link to this audio The water pulsates with the sound of creatures vying for acoustic bandwidth. He hears crustaceans, parrot fish, anemones, wrasses, sharks, shrimps, puffers and surgeonfish. Some gnash their teeth, others use their bladders or tails to make sound. Sea anemones grunt and belch. Every creature on the reef makes its own sound.
But half a mile away, where the same reef is badly damaged, he can only pick up the sound of waves and a few snapping shrimp. It is, he says, the desolate sound of extinction.
Recording of an area of badly damaged coral reef Link to this audio Krause, whose electronic music with Paul Beaver was used on classic films like Rosemary's Baby and Apocalypse Now, and who worked regularly with Bob Dylan, George Harrison and The Byrds, has spent 40 years recording over 15,000 species, collecting 4,500 hours of sound from many of the world's pristine habitats.
But such is the rate of species extinction and the deterioration of pristine habitat that he estimates half these recordings are now archives, impossible to repeat because the habitats no longer exist or because they have been so compromised by human noise. His tapes are possibly the only record of the original diversity of life in these places.
"A great silence is spreading over the natural world even as the sound of man is becoming deafening," he writes in a new book, The Great Animal Orchestra. "Little by little the vast orchestra of life, the chorus of the natural world, is in the process of being quietened. There has been a massive decrease in the density and diversity of key vocal creatures, both large and small. The sense of desolation extends beyond mere silence.
"If you listen to a damaged soundscape … the community [of life] has been altered, and organisms have been destroyed, lost their habitat or been left to re-establish their places in the spectrum. As a result, some voices are gone entirely, while others aggressively compete to establish a new place in the increasingly disjointed chorus."
Hawaii, he says, is the extinction capital of the world. "In a couple of centuries since the islands were populated by Europeans, half the 140 bird species have disappeared. In Madagascar, 15 species of lemur, an elephant bird, a pygmy hippo and an estimated half of all the animals have gone extinct."
Even partially disturbed habitats lose much of their life for many years, says Krause. Recordings of a meadow in the Sierra Nevada mountains east of San Francisco before the surrounding forest was selectively logged in the 1980s sounds very different to when Krause returned a year later.
More at the linkMusician and naturalist Bernie Krause has spent 40 years recording over 15,000 species... more
As Hurricane Isaac batters the Gulf Coast, some experts are warning that the storm could threaten more than levees, power lines and gas prices.
Isaac's high winds and rains, they speculate, could also stir up remnant crude oil from the BP's Deepwater Horizon spill -- exposing more residents and wildlife to its potentially toxic effects.
"This is another disaster on top of the hurricane that we're going to have to deal with," Garret Graves, chairman of Louisiana's Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, told The Huffington Post. "The threat is not insignificant."
Up to 1 million barrels of oil are estimated to remain in the Gulf of Mexico. That oil remains, Graves said, because BP has failed to clean it all up in the more than two years since the tragedy. "That's four to five times the oil that was spilled with the Exxon Valdez," he added.
In total, an estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil spewed into the Gulf of Mexico when the offshore rig exploded on April 20, 2010. As HuffPost reported on the spill's two year anniversary, some people, particularly children, may still be dealing with chronic coughs, headaches and other effects of exposure to contaminated air, water and seafood.
Graves fears the hurricane could spawn another wave of similar health issues.
He also noted that hurricane clean up could be complicated by the oil. Debris from a destroyed home, for example, could become hazardous waste and need special, more expensive disposal, rather than simply going to the landfill.
"The frustrating thing is that this could all have been entirely prevented," said Graves. "We've known all this time that oil is there, but BP has not been proactive in trying to remove it."
Mitchell Roffer, president of Roffer's Ocean Fishing Forecasting Service and an adjunct professor at the Florida Institute of Technology, shares Graves' concerns about the storm dredging up the old crude. "This is something that we talked about way back in May following the gulf spill," he said.
Roffer and others then argued against the widespread use of chemical dispersants to combat what would become the worst oil spill disaster in U.S. history.
"All it was doing was putting oil at the bottom of the ocean -- out of sight, out of mind," Roffer said. "I strongly believe that there is going to be some oil coming back up from submerged depths, into the water column and onto beaches."
The idea that oil deep on the ocean floor could be stirred up by a tropical storm is debated, though a growing body of research does support the possibility.
"Winds will push water away from the center of a storm, which causes an upwelling as the ocean tries to adjust," said Nick Shay, professor of meteorology and physical oceanography at the University of Miami. "It brings whatever is near the bottom up higher in the water column and currents can then push it towards the coast."
His research team has found upwellings from prior tropical storms as deep as 1,500 feet. Crude oil settled at such dark, cold depths tends to break down slower than oil closer to the surface.
Robert Weisberg, a marine scientist at the University of South Florida, follows the work of Shay and others. He, too, sees "no reason not to believe" that Deepwater Horizon oil will resurface. "We will know pretty soon," he said. "Isaac will do his own talking."
Less controversial is the potential rise of oil buried in the sand or near the shore of Gulf beaches as the hurricane bears down on the coast.
"That's the most obvious way that the oil might come back into the public eye. Erosion could expose and churn up tar balls and tar mats," said John Amos, president of the nonprofit SkyTruth, where he is urging the public to post photos of oil pollution in the wake of Isaac.
Water surges could also flush water out of marshes -- where BP oil is known to have traveled -- and back into the coastal areas. Sea turtles, added Roffer, would be among the many that could suffer the consequences.
"This is the time of year that these little baby turtles hatch," he said. "Oil is not health food for anyone."
more at the linkAs Hurricane Isaac batters the Gulf Coast, some experts are warning that the storm... more
The 1.8 million gallons of dispersant that BP and federal responders spread on the massive Gulf oil spill in 2010 are already coming back to haunt them. FuelFix.com, a Houston Chronicle spinoff devoted to covering energy, reports today that the company that manufactures Corexit, the chemical sprayed on the surface of the Gulf and at the wellhead to disperse the oil in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, is trying to get out of a proposed settlement with plaintiffs who say they have health problems resulting from the spill and cleanup.
Corexit manufacturer Nalco wants the US district judge handling the case in New Orleans to exempt it from any liability in the settlement of a class action lawsuit brought against BP and other companies involved in the disaster on behalf of more than 10,000 plaintiffs. In March, the plaintiffs and BP reached a settlement agreement that is expected to cost $7.8 billion and would cover both economic loss and medical claims, and would also establish a program to monitor the health of affected individuals. The judge is now deciding whether to approve the agreement, but Nalco says that not only should it not be included the companies that are asked to pay up in this case, but it should be excluded from any future cases:
The spill responders contend that the federal Clean Water Act provides them immunity from liability for actions taken at the government’s direction.
"Nalco provided Corexit at the express request of the federal on-site coordinators," Nalco attorneys wrote in the dismissal motion filed in May. "Nalco supplied a product that was and had been listed on the federal government's list of approved dispersants for decades and that the government repeatedly approved for use during the response."
This is a compelling argument, because it is true: Corexit was listed as an approved dispersant, and it was what BP decided to use on the Gulf. The problem, though, is something we've covered here before: The federal government doesn't consider the human or environmental effects of the chemicals when approving them for the list. Companies like Nalco don't even have to disclose what kinds of chemicals are in their product in order to get them approved, thanks to the extremely outdated and industry-friendly chemical regulation laws in this country. Current chemical regulation laws actually makes it really difficult for the Environmental Protection Agency to do more than give these chemicals a rubber stamp.
Meanwhile, chemicals used in the dispersant can cause liver and kidney damage, as well as other health problems. Studies since the spill have found that the dispersants are sticking around longer than people expected and can be absorbed through the skin. In the weeks and months after the spill, many cleanup workers and nearby residents complained of ill health effects like nausea and rashes they believed were caused by the chemicals. So is Nalco liable for supplying the chemicals, or BP for buying them, or the federal government, which was supposed to be overseeing the clean up work?
If Nalco is granted an exclusion in the lawsuit, it would leave the plaintiffs who believe they are sick because of exposure to the chemicals in a tough spot: they can sign onto the settlement now, or try again to sue Nalco later. Neither option is great, according to the lawyers representing the plaintiffs:
More at the linkThe 1.8 million gallons of dispersant that BP and federal responders spread on the... more
What kind of sickos destroy children and ecosystems? Well actually, a surprising number do. Most are against both types of victimization of innocence and purity – as long as you don’t talk or do anything about it when it happens.What kind of sickos destroy children and ecosystems? Well actually, a surprising... more
United States authorities have made their first arrest in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, charging an ex-BP engineer with trying to destroy evidence tied to the country's largest environmental disaster.
The US justice department on Tuesday said it had charged drilling engineer Kurt Mix, 50, with two criminal counts of obstruction of justice for trying to destroy hundreds of text messages on his iPhone that related to the incident.
The messages, some of which investigators recovered, showed that BP knew that the leak was more than three times larger than its official estimates and that its "Top Kill" effort to plug the well at the end of May 2010 was failing.
Mix, of Katy, Texas, is the first person to be charged in the April 20, 2010, disaster that killed 11 men and sent millions of barrels of oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico, killing sea life and coating shores popular with tourists.
The messages Mix allegedly attempted to wipe from his iPhone came from the weeks after the Macondo well blowout, when BP sought to halt the undersea leak.
The charges say Mix was part of BP staff trying to estimate the amount of oil flowing from the well for the Top Kill effort aimed at halting it.
According to the charges, he sent hundreds of "real time" messages to a BP supervisor on the flow of the well and progress of the operation.
BP, based in Britain, had reported at the time that the well was leaking about 5,000 barrels a day of crude oil. The messages allegedly give a different picture.
"Too much flowrate - over 15,000," said one message Mix sent on May 26, the first day of the operation.
Even before the operation commenced, the justice department said, "Mix and other engineers had concluded internally that Top Kill was unlikely to succeed if the flow rate was greater than 15,000 barrels of oil per day."
Returning to the Gulf two years after the BP oil spill
The effort in fact did fail and the well flowed for 10 weeks more until a new effort plugged it on August 4, after 4.9 million barrels of oil had polluted the Gulf of Mexico waters.
US authorities said Mix had been under instructions from BP to retain all communications.
However, it said, as investigations were launched into the disaster, on two instances in mid-August 2010 and then again in October, he deleted strings of text messages relating to the Top Kill operation.
"By the time Mix deleted those texts, he had received numerous legal hold notices requiring him to preserve such data and had been communicating with a criminal defense lawyer in connection with the pending grand jury investigation of the Deepwater Horizon disaster," the department said.
In a statement, BP said it was co-operating with the investigation and that the company "had clear policies requiring preservation of evidence in this case".
Mix faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on each count if convicted.
"The Deepwater Horizon Task Force is continuing its investigation into the explosion and will hold accountable those who violated the law in connection with the largest environmental disaster in US history," Eric Holder, the US attorney general, said in a statement.
More at the linkUnited States authorities have made their first arrest in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon... more
Evidence now implicates top BP executives as well as its partners Chevron and Exxon and the Bush Administration in the deadly cover-up—which included falsifying a report to the Securities Exchange Commission.
Yesterday, Ecowatch.org revealed that, in September 2008, nearly two years before the Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, another BP rig had blown out in the Caspian Sea—which BP concealed from U.S. regulators and Congress.
Had BP, Chevron, Exxon or the Bush State Department revealed the facts of the earlier blow-out, it is likely that the Deepwater Horizon disaster would have been prevented.
Days after the Deepwater Horizon blow-out, a message came in to our offices in New York from an industry insider floating on a ship in the Caspian Sea. He stated there had been a blow-out, just like the one in the Gulf, and BP had covered it up.
To confirm this shocking accusation, I flew with my team to the Islamic republic of Azerbaijan. Outside the capital, Baku, near the giant BP terminal, we found workers, though too frightened to give their names, who did confirm that they were evacuated from the BP offshore platform as it filled with explosive methane gas.
Before we could get them on camera, my crew and I were arrested and the witnesses disappeared.
Expelled from Azerbaijan, we still obtained the ultimate corroboration: a secret cable from the U.S. Embassy to the State Department in Washington laying out the whole story of the 2008 Caspian blow-out.
The source of the cable, classified “SECRET,” was a disaffected U.S. soldier, Private Bradley Manning who, through WikiLeaks.org, provided hot smoking guns to The Guardian.
The information found in the U.S. embassy cables is a block-buster.
The cables confirmed what BP will not admit to this day: there was a serious blow-out and its cause was the same as in the Gulf disaster two years later—the cement (“mud”) used to cap the well had failed.
Bill Schrader, President of BP-Azerbaijan, revealed the truth to our embassy about the Caspian disaster:
“Schrader said that the September 17shutdown of the Central Azeri (CA) platform…was the largest such emergency evacuation in BP’s history. Given the explosive potential, BP was quite fortunate to have been able to evacuate everyone safely and to prevent any gas ignition. … Due to the blowout of a gas-injection well there was ‘a lot of mud’ on the platform.”
From other sources, we discovered the cement which failed had been mixed with nitrogen as a way to speed up drying, a risky process that was repeated on the Deepwater Horizon.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., president of Waterkeeper Alliance and senior attorney for Natural Resources Defense Council, calls the concealment of this information, “criminal. We have laws that make it illegal to hide this.”
The cables also reveal that BP’s oil-company partners knew about the blow-out but they too concealed the information from Congress, regulators and the Securities Exchange Commission. BP’s major U.S. partners in the Caspian Sea drilling operation were Chevron and Exxon.
The State Department got involved in the matter because BP’s U.S. partners and the Azerbaijani government were losing more than $50 million per day due to the platform’s shutdown. The Embassy cabled Washington:
“BP’s ACG partners are similarly upset with BP’s performance in this episode, as they claim BP has sought to limit information flow about this event even to its ACG partners.”
Kennedy is concerned about the silent collusion of Chevron, Exxon and the Azerbaijani government. “The only reason the public doesn’t know about it is because the Azerbaijani government conspired with them to disappear the people who saw it happen and then to act in concert, in collusion, in cahoots with BP, with Exxon, with Chevron to conceal this event from the American public.”
Kennedy’s particular concern goes to the connivance of the State Department, then headed by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in the cover-up and deception. Chevron, noted Kennedy, named an oil tanker after Rice who had served on the oil company’s board of directors. “BP felt comfortable—and Chevron and Exxon—in informing the Bush State Department, which was run by Condoleezza Rice,” he said, “and they felt comfortable that that wasn’t going to come out.”
The U.S. Securities Exchange Commission requires companies to report “material” events. BP filed a “20-F” report in 2009 stating, “a subsurface gas release occurred below the Central Azeri platform,” suggesting a naturally occurring crack in the seafloor, not a blow-out. This contradicted the statements of three eyewitnesses and the secret statement of BP’s Azerbaijan President in then WikiLeaks cable.
“The three big actors, Chevron, Exxon and BP all concealed this from the American public,” concludes Kennedy. “This is a criminal activity.”
And why would the Azerbaijan government cover up a disaster costing it $40 million to $50 million a day? According to another insider, Les Abrahams, it has to do with at least $75 million in bribes that he paid to Azeri officials in Baku.
By Greg Palast/ecowatch
More at the linkEvidence now implicates top BP executives as well as its partners Chevron and Exxon... more
On March 3 Nicole Maurer learned of the proposed settlement between BP and hundreds of thousands of Gulf Coast businesses and residents harmed by its 2010 oil spill, the largest in US history.
In her cramped but immaculate trailer on a muddy back road in the small town of Buras, Louisiana, Nicole tells me that the two years since the tragedy began on April 20, 2010, have been “a total nightmare” for her family. Not only has her husband William’s fishing income all but vanished along with the shrimp he used to catch but the entire family is plagued by persistent health problems.
For months following the onset of the disaster, she says, there was an oil smell outside their home and “a constant cloudiness, like a haze, but it wasn’t fog.” Her 6-year-old daughter Brooklyn’s asthma got worse, and she now has constant upper respiratory infections. “Once it goes away, it comes right back,” Nicole explains.
Before the spill, Elizabeth, 9, was her “well kid.” But now Elizabeth constantly suffers from rashes, allergies, inflamed sinuses, sore throat and an upset stomach.
Nicole stares at me and catches her breath; she apologizes for the tears that flow down her face. “It’s a touchy subject,” she says. “They are just tired. Tired of being sick.”
William worked from June to October 2010 as part of the Vessels of Opportunity program that paid the fishermen BP put out of business to use their boats to clean up its oil. William transported giant bags, called bladders, used to collect oil, to the shore. When he came home at night, says Nicole, his clothes “smelled oily.” Not only were his clothes blackened; so was William.
William’s symptoms began with coughing, then headaches and skin rashes, followed by vomiting and diarrhea. About three to six months later, he started bleeding from his ears and nose and suffering from a heavy cough.
“I ain’t got no money for a doctor,” William quietly tells me, staring down at his hands in his lap. Medicaid covers the kids, but Nicole and William do not have health insurance. “We didn’t know we were gonna get sick. Now I get sick, I stay sick. I don’t sleep. I stay stressed out more than anything. I got bags under my eyes I never had before. I just don’t know if I wanna show people who I am.”
Nicole is fairly confident that the settlement is not going to bring justice. So she wants just one thing: enough money to get her entire family out of the Gulf Coast for good.
On February 27, US District Court Judge Carl Barbier was to hear opening arguments against BP, Transocean, Halliburton and all the companies involved in the disaster. The case consolidates virtually every civil charge brought against the companies by individuals, business and property owners, and the federal and state governments. It is the most complex and significant environmental litigation in history. As this article goes to press it seems unlikely that the plaintiffs will ever get their day in court. Instead, the judge has issued continuances to allow more time for a series of settlement deals to be negotiated.
As information about the settlement negotiations comes to light, several critical issues are not being adequately addressed—including the human health crisis brought on by the disaster.
Many people whose health was adversely affected by the spill would be excluded. The Medical Benefits Settlement covers about 90,000 people who are qualifying cleanup workers (out of an estimated 140,000) and 110,000 coastal residents living within one-half to one mile of the coast (out of a coastal population of 21 million). Although it would cover “certain respiratory, gastrointestinal, eye, skin and neurophysiological” conditions, it excludes mental health and a host of physical ailments, including cancers, birth defects, developmental disorders and neurological disorders including dementia.
The proposed settlement provides a health outreach program and twenty-one years of health monitoring—but not healthcare. If “nonspecified” ailments occur in this time frame, the patient must sue BP and prove causality to receive a settlement. Accepting the settlement also means forgoing the right to sue BP for punitive damages. BP estimates its total remaining liability for individuals and businesses at $7.8 billion—a lowball figure for many reasons, and much less than would be necessary if large numbers of people do suffer cancers and other chronic diseases as a result of the spill.
Also excluded from any settlement are 194,000 individuals and businesses who accepted one-time final payments from the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF), which was established by BP on June 16, 2010, to comply with the Oil Pollution Act’s mandate that it fully compensate victims of the spill. Unable to afford to wait out a legal process, 95,000 people accepted payments of $5,000, and 45,000 accepted payments averaging $15,000, agreeing to give up their right to sue BP or any of the companies for any reason, including any harmful health effects. GCCF administrator Kenneth Feinberg was “dubious” about health complaints, as he told the Times-Picayune in September. He went on to question whether cleanup workers suffering from respiratory conditions “are going to be able to provide any support medically or occupationally for the proposition that they’re entitled to get paid. We’ll see.” In the end, except for claims from those injured on the Deepwater Horizon, the GCCF did not honor a single request for compensation related to health concerns.
* * *
Witnesses reported a host of ailments, including eye, nose and throat irritation; respiratory problems; blood in urine, vomit and rectal bleeding; seizures; nausea and violent vomiting episodes that last for hours; skin irritation, burning and lesions; short-term memory loss and confusion; liver and kidney damage; central nervous system effects and nervous system damage; hypertension; and miscarriages.
Cleanup workers reported being threatened with termination when they requested respirators, because it would “look bad in media coverage,” or they were told that respirators were not necessary because the chemical dispersant Corexit was “as safe as Dawn dishwashing soap.” Cleanup workers and residents reported being directly sprayed with Corexit, resulting in skin lesions and blurred eyesight. Many noted that when they left the Gulf, their symptoms subsided, only to recur when they returned.
More at the linkOn March 3 Nicole Maurer learned of the proposed settlement between BP and hundreds of... more
The fishermen have never seen anything like this," Dr Jim Cowan told Al Jazeera. "And in my 20 years working on red snapper, looking at somewhere between 20 and 30,000 fish, I've never seen anything like this either."
Dr Cowan, with Louisiana State University's Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences started hearing about fish with sores and lesions from fishermen in November 2010.
Cowan's findings replicate those of others living along vast areas of the Gulf Coast that have been impacted by BP's oil and dispersants.
Gulf of Mexico fishermen, scientists and seafood processors have told Al Jazeera they are finding disturbing numbers of mutated shrimp, crab and fish that they believe are deformed by chemicals released during BP's 2010 oil disaster.
Along with collapsing fisheries, signs of malignant impact on the regional ecosystem are ominous: horribly mutated shrimp, fish with oozing sores, underdeveloped blue crabs lacking claws, eyeless crabs and shrimp - and interviewees' fingers point towards BP's oil pollution disaster as being the cause.
Tracy Kuhns and her husband Mike Roberts, commercial fishers from Barataria, Louisiana, are finding eyeless shrimp.
"At the height of the last white shrimp season, in September, one of our friends caught 400 pounds of these," Kuhns told Al Jazeera while showing a sample of the eyeless shrimp.
According to Kuhns, at least 50 per cent of the shrimp caught in that period in Barataria Bay, a popular shrimping area that was heavily impacted by BP's oil and dispersants, were eyeless. Kuhns added: "Disturbingly, not only do the shrimp lack eyes, they even lack eye sockets."
Eyeless shrimp, from a catch of 400 pounds of eyeless shrimp, said to be caught September 22, 2011, in Barataria Bay, Louisiana [Erika Blumenfeld/Al Jazeera]
"Some shrimpers are catching these out in the open Gulf [of Mexico]," she added, "They are also catching them in Alabama and Mississippi. We are also finding eyeless crabs, crabs with their shells soft instead of hard, full grown crabs that are one-fifth their normal size, clawless crabs, and crabs with shells that don't have their usual spikes … they look like they've been burned off by chemicals."
On April 20, 2010, BP's Deepwater Horizon oilrig exploded, and began the release of at least 4.9 million barrels of oil. BP then used at least 1.9 million gallons of toxic Corexit dispersants to sink the oil.
Keath Ladner, a third generation seafood processor in Hancock County, Mississippi, is also disturbed by what he is seeing.
"I've seen the brown shrimp catch drop by two-thirds, and so far the white shrimp have been wiped out," Ladner told Al Jazeera. "The shrimp are immune compromised. We are finding shrimp with tumors on their heads, and are seeing this everyday."
While on a shrimp boat in Mobile Bay with Sidney Schwartz, the fourth-generation fisherman said that he had seen shrimp with defects on their gills, and "their shells missing around their gills and head".
"We've fished here all our lives and have never seen anything like this," he added.
Ladner has also seen crates of blue crabs, all of which were lacking at least one of their claws.
Darla Rooks, a lifelong fisherperson from Port Sulfur, Louisiana, told Al Jazeera she is finding crabs "with holes in their shells, shells with all the points burned off so all the spikes on their shells and claws are gone, misshapen shells, and crabs that are dying from within … they are still alive, but you open them up and they smell like they've been dead for a week".
Rooks is also finding eyeless shrimp, shrimp with abnormal growths, female shrimp with their babies still attached to them, and shrimp with oiled gills.
"We also seeing eyeless fish, and fish lacking even eye-sockets, and fish with lesions, fish without covers over their gills, and others with large pink masses hanging off their eyes and gills."
Rooks, who grew up fishing with her parents, said she had never seen such things in these waters, and her seafood catch last year was "ten per cent what it normally is".
"I've never seen this," he said, a statement Al Jazeera heard from every scientist, fisherman, and seafood processor we spoke with about the seafood deformities.
Given that the Gulf of Mexico provides more than 40 per cent of all the seafood caught in the continental US, this phenomenon does not bode well for the region, or the country.
"The dispersants used in BP's draconian experiment contain solvents, such as petroleum distillates and 2-butoxyethanol. Solvents dissolve oil, grease, and rubber," Dr Riki Ott, a toxicologist, marine biologist and Exxon Valdez survivor told Al Jazeera. "It should be no surprise that solvents are also notoriously toxic to people, something the medical community has long known".
The dispersants are known to be mutagenic, a disturbing fact that could be evidenced in the seafood deformities. Shrimp, for example, have a life-cycle short enough that two to three generations have existed since BP's disaster began, giving the chemicals time to enter the genome.
Pathways of exposure to the dispersants are inhalation, ingestion, skin, and eye contact. Health impacts can include headaches, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pains, chest pains, respiratory system damage, skin sensitisation, hypertension, central nervous system depression, neurotoxic effects, cardiac arrhythmia and cardiovascular damage. They are also teratogenic - able to disturb the growth and development of an embryo or fetus - and carcinogenic.
Cowan believes chemicals named polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), released from BP's submerged oil, are likely to blame for what he is finding, due to the fact that the fish with lesions he is finding are from "a wide spatial distribution that is spatially coordinated with oil from the Deepwater Horizon, both surface oil and subsurface oil. A lot of the oil that impacted Louisiana was also in subsurface plumes, and we think there is a lot of it remaining on the seafloor".
Marine scientist Samantha Joye of the University of Georgia published results of her submarine dives around the source area of BP's oil disaster in the Nature Geoscience journal.
Her evidence showed massive swathes of oil covering the seafloor, including photos of oil-covered bottom dwelling sea creatures.
While showing slides at an American Association for the Advancement of Science annual conference in Washington, Joye said: "This is Macondo oil on the bottom. These are dead organisms because of oil being deposited on their heads."
Dr Wilma Subra, a chemist and Macarthur Fellow, has conducted tests on seafood and sediment samples along the Gulf for chemicals present in BP's crude oil and toxic dispersants.
"Tests have shown significant levels of oil pollution in oysters and crabs along the Louisiana coastline," Subra told Al Jazeera. "We have also found high levels of hydrocarbons in the soil and vegetation."
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, PAHs "are a group of semi-volatile organic compounds that are present in crude oil that has spent time in the ocean and eventually reaches shore, and can be formed when oil is burned".
"The fish are being exposed to PAHs, and I was able to find several references that list the same symptoms in fish after the Exxon Valdez spill, as well as other lab experiments," explained Cowan. "There was also a paper published by some LSU scientists that PAH exposure has effects on the genome."
"What we think is that it's attributable to chronic exposure to PAHs released in the process of weathering of oil on the seafloor," Cowan said. "There's no other thing we can use to explain this phenomenon. We've never seen anything like this before."
More at the linkThe fishermen have never seen anything like this," Dr Jim Cowan told Al Jazeera.... more
It may look like the it’s gone — but oil from the BP spill may be mixing with dispersants and being absorbed into your body.
That’s the disturbing revelation from a USF researcher in a story by Craig Pittman of the Tampa Bay Times.
Photos show that under a blue light, oily spots remain on the skin after bathing on panhandle beaches — even after a shower.
The two-year anniversary of the BP oil spill is later this week.
Pittman’s story also says dolphins are dying at a heightened rate and some fish species are showing DNA damage.
Geologist Rip Kirby examined the skin of a graduate student who swam in the gulf and then showered. Under regular light, his skin seemed clean, but ultraviolet light revealed orange blotches — dispersant-mixed oil.
Oil from Deepwater Horizon spill still causing damage in gulf 2 years later, scientists find
From the Times story:
The oil he found lies in what’s called the swash zone, just below where the waves lap against the sand. When a “plunge step” forms there, small flakes of weathered oil or even large tar patties settle there, mingled with shell debris, he found.
Studies have found that the dispersant used to break up the oil slick, Corexit, can be toxic to the bacteria that would normally gobble up oil in the gulf. That’s why the oil is still showing up two years later, he said. When Corexit bound with the oil, it prevented bacteria from consuming it.
The concentrations of toxic hydrocarbons in the flakes and patties are above the level considered to be dangerous under federal standards, he said. That’s what makes him so concerned about how quickly the dispersant-mixed oil absorbs into human skin.
Oil is affecting sealife too, resulting in low seafood catches. Read more
More at the linkIt may look like the it’s gone — but oil from the BP spill may be mixing... more
Dolphins in Barataria Bay off Louisiana, which was hit hard by the BP oil spill in 2010, are seriously ill, and their ailments are probably related to toxic substances in the petroleum, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration suggested on Friday.
As part of an ongoing assessment of damages caused by the three-month spill, which began with an explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico, NOAA scientists performed comprehensive physicals last summer on 32 dolphins from the bay. They found problems like drastically low weight, low blood sugar and, in some cases, cancer of the liver and lungs.
Yet the most common symptom among the dolphins, found in about half the group, was an abnormally low level of stress hormones like cortisol. Such hormones regulate many functions in the animal, including the immune system and responses to threats. Scientists said the dearth of hormones suggested that the animals were suffering from adrenal insufficiency.
Lori Schwacke, the lead scientist for the health assessment, said the findings were preliminary and could not be conclusively linked to the oil spill at this point. But she said the exams were also conducted on control groups of dolphins that live along the Atlantic coast and in other areas that were not affected by the 2010 spill and that those dolphins did not manifest those symptoms.
“The findings we have are also consistent with other studies that have looked at the effects of oil exposure in other mammals,” Dr. Schwacke added, citing experimental studies of mink that were dosed with oil. Some of those minks developed adrenal insufficiency.
More at the linkDolphins in Barataria Bay off Louisiana, which was hit hard by the BP oil spill in... more
As BP pays billions in settlements, scientists are concerned about a persistent oil seep near the Macondo 252 well.
New Orleans, LA - As BP settles out of court for the first phase of thousands of lawsuits that could cost the company tens of billions of dollars, Al Jazeera has spotted a large oil sheen near the infamous Macondo 252 well.
In September 2011, Al Jazeera spotted a large swath of silvery oil sheen located roughly 19km northeast of the now-capped well.
But now, on February 29, Al Jazeera conducted another over-flight of the area and found a larger area of sea covered in oil sheen in the same location.
Oil trackers with the organisation On Wings of Care, who have been monitoring the new oil since mid-August 2011, have for months found rainbow-tinted slicks and thick silvery globs of oil consistently visible in the area.
"This is the same crescent shaped area of oil and sheen I've been seeing here since the middle of last August," Bonny Schumaker, president and pilot of On Wings of Care, told Al Jazeera while flying over the oil.
Schumaker has logged approximately 500 hours of flight time monitoring the area around the Macondo well, and has flown scientists from NASA, the US Geological Survey (USGS), and oil chemistry scientists to observe conditions resulting from BP's oil disaster that began in April 2010.
When Al Jazeera flew to the area on September 11, 2011, the oil sheen was approximately 25km long and 10 to 50 metres wide, at a location roughly 19km northeast of the Macondo 252 well.
On the recent over flight, the area covered in oil sheen was approximately 35km long, and ranged from 20 to 100 metres wide in approximately the same location. At times, fumes from the oil filled the aircraft, even at an altitude of 350 metres.
Schumaker, a career physicist with NASA who retired in 2011, is deeply concerned because she has spotted oil in the same location now at least 15 times since last August.
Edward Overton, professor emeritus at Louisiana State University's environmental sciences department, examined data from oil samples taken from this area last September and confirmed that the oil is from the Macondo reservoir.
Experts believe the oil is likely to be from a seep in the seabed, but there is debate about what caused the seep, as many believe it may well have been caused by BP's blowout well and the failed attempts to cap it during spring 2010.
Overton, who is also a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) contractor, told Al Jazeera in September, "After examining the data, I think it's a dead ringer for the MC252 [Macondo Well] oil, as good a match as I've seen."
He explained that the samples were analysed and compared to "the known Macondo oil fingerprint, and it was a very, very close match".
While not ruling out the possibility that oil could be seeping out of the giant reservoir, which would be the worst-case scenario, Overton believed the oil currently reaching the surface was probably from oil that was trapped in the damaged rigging on the seafloor.
However, given the fact that the oil sheen has existed in this area since at least as early as August 2010 and is continuing, the likelihood of it being residual oil from the Deepwater Horizon or damaged rigging is now slim.
Other scientists remain concerned that the new oil could be coming from a seep from the same reservoir the Macondo well was drilled into. The oilfield, located 64km off the coast of Louisiana, is believed to hold as much 50 million barrels of producible oil reserves.
Natural oil seepage in the Gulf of Mexico is a common phenomenon and can cause sheens, but the current oil and sheen is suspect due to its size and location near the Macondo well.
"From what I've seen, this new oil and sheen definitely seemed larger than typical natural seepages found in the Gulf of Mexico," Dr Ira Leifer, a University of California scientist who is an expert on natural hydrocarbon oil and gas emissions from the seabed told Al Jazeera. "Because of the size and its location, there is a greater concern that should require a larger public investigation."
By Dahr Jamail
More at the linkAs BP pays billions in settlements, scientists are concerned about a persistent oil... more