A large patch of oil has now entered the Mississippi Sound — an area of rich marine abundance between the barrier islands and the mainland. Bob Dudley, who has taken over the BP’s Gulf response, said, “For BP, our intent is to restore the Gulf the way it was before it happened.” Oh, really, Bob? BP has Chronos on board and can turn back time?

Meanwhile the federal judge who ruled against the six-month moratorium on deep-water drilling in the Gulf has refused to stay his ruling. The government is appealing. The Deepwater Horizon blowout has demonstrated (most painfully) the appalling lack of preparedness in the event of a disaster. Apparently the only “plan” regarding system failure in a deepwater situation is (drumroll, please) to not let it happen. Can you imagine the public outrage if the members of a school board were asked what their plans were should a school catch on fire and they responded “Well, we plan to not let that happen but beyond that…we have no plans.”

Did the oil companies file contingency plans as per “regulations” (and I use the term loosely)? Yes – but those plans are utterly useless (some actually state that they’ll just call in an expert. Unfortunately the man that they list died some time ago and isn’t available to help them save “the walruses”).

Since the rig exploded on April 20th we have been treated to a veritable opera of lies, fumbling predictions, denials and political noise. On June 8,

BP COO Doug Suttles firmly stated that the oil flow would be a “relative trickle” in less than a week. Right…2.5 million gallons per day (experts best guesstimate) gushing into the Gulf is a bit more than a “trickle”, I’d say.

Yesterday Unified Command reported that 10 million gallons have been burned at sea so far. (It’s your choice whether to believe this one or not. At this point I imagine that they’re simply using the old Magic 8-ball). The burning, too, is contributing to the mass death of marine creatures. A boom is dragged between two boats: the boats then circle and close the area that is then ignited. Once turtles, dolphins etc. are enclosed in that circle they cannot escape and are incinerated.

What is also completely unknown is the extent and nature of the health effects of the oil and dispersants (well over 1 million gallons have been added to the toxic stew thus far) upon humans. Oil consists of complex and unpredictable compounds such as the carcinogen benzene. Of the 400+ tanker spills in the last 50 years, a mere 7 have been studied.

Shorelines that have been “cleaned” are fouled again and again with each tide. “For BP, our intent is to restore the Gulf the way it was before it happened.” I think not, sir, but it’s a nice PR sound-bite.

And now this:  


Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the Obama administration’s point man on the spill, said Friday that federal, state and local governments, working with BP, had a “very robust hurricane contingency plan.”

Let’s hope that it’s more “robust” than the blowout contingency plans (which pretty much consisted of crossing the fingers of their left hands and pointing in blame with their right).

Meanwhile, a 2009 financial disclosure form was released Friday for New Orleans federal judge Martin L.C. Feldman, who issued an injunction earlier in the week halting the Obama administration’s six-month moratorium on deep-water drilling in the gulf. Feldman owned shares in at least 17 oil and gas companies last year, including an unspecified interest in Transocean Ltd., the owner of the rig that exploded in the April 20 accident.”

Of course. Why would we expect anything else? I can just imagine the screenwriters tapping frantically at their keyboards – “Oil, Lies and Videotape” coming soon to a theatre near you.

Alex Kearns

Alex Kearns

Alex writes for a variety of national and international publications. A relative newcomer to the United States, she co-founded her town's first environmental organization (The St. Marys EarthKeepers, Inc.). In turns bemused, confused, entranced, frustrated and delighted, she enjoys unravelling the eternal enigma that is the Deep South.