Tuesday, June 01, 2010
Gulf Oil Disaster : Day 43 Monday June1st (Clean Up Worker Issues: Dispersant Exposure,BP's Planned Clean Up Camps)
"When one tugs at a single thing in nature,he finds it attached to rest of the world."~John Muir
We all are connected to this Event in the Gulf, as it unfolds I encourage that there is much Media /blog coverage worth seeing : Think Progress, @TheOilDrum, @GOHSEP, @IRBBC,Truthout, LA TImes, NOLA.com and NYT,Mother Jones,Miami Herald, The Guardian and Huffington Post.
As of today after a long weekend, BP is pursuing their new Capping Method, LMRP , which will possibly raise the amount of oil coming from the broken rise by as much as 20%. The Robotic work continues and the spill continues. Yesterday Scientists latest data is that at conservative estimates, 12,000 -19,000 barrels/day, which translates to more than 510,000 gallons a day, atleast. Over the weekend Carol Browner came on Meet The Press and called this our Worst Environmental Disaster ever. But the issue that makes it so much more stressful is that disaster is not over, it is ongoing, on growing.
Over Memorial Day Weekend the reality of watching this gusher livecam all summer hit alot of folks hard, especially the Gulf residents. Many are devastated, and we need to have compassion for what they are facing and recognize they are looking at a grim summer, but also dire situation. I heard people on Blogs and on Twitter saying " well it is not an Apocalypse". It does not matter what those of us in other states feel, it is their Reality we have to comprehend.These are strong people, but these are also people that have been abandoned before. Katrina has left deep scars and many are still recovering from that wretched year. Others who live there have even voiced concern that Katrina PTSD is a real concern.
Sadly if anyone says that this is not a Crisis, please do share these photos with them, NYT posted these nine photos over the weekend. The ones that are disturbing are especially slides 6 and 7 that show the FishKills in Waveland Mississippi of massive amounts of fish on the beaches. I have seen Fishkills in the Northwest, and I have never seen photos like this before. If we look at those photos and think of the impact of this disaster on the FoodChain it is staggering and can not be diminished by BP. Just for reference I did also check NOAA Fishing zones, and that area has already been closed off. On another note as the Oil Slick grows, and is over 29,000 Sq.Miles now, it is hard for some to fathom, a wonderful artists named Andy came up with the Map that is mobile, allowing any of us to visualize the Slick in our own Region , Our Home, just go to the Beowulfe site and type in your address or City and see the full impact of the Spill. People around the world are now using this tool to see how big it really is.@Unclo ( or Larry ) of Twitter deserves so much credit for educating so many with this tool.
I had mentioned in earlier posts that the we need more Science and Marine Scientists there studying this situation. The Costeau family is there doing dives, studying the water and filming. This Video was by JM Costeau and posted to twitter and is a Must See, so do click this link.( Ocean Futures Society is their family organization if you want to support their work). The Costeaus are exploring the damage to the ecosystem and the marine life caused by the oil and dispersants in the water column. They too are worred about the plumes causing damage and lowered oxygen levels, and the effects on the food chain.
@GOHSEP -The Governor's Office of Louisiana issues daily reports on Spill Sitings but also of the expanded NOAA maps. This is Link to May 31 Report on new Oil Spill sightings throughout coastal Louisiana. NOAA and GOHSEP have done an amazing job tracking all of the oil and fishing zones and GOHSEP has been an amazing source of all information related to Louisiana.
For anyone that has not understood the importance of the Maps that NOAA and GOHSEP are issuing. We need to remember that many that fish and Shrimp and maintain the oyster beds are effected by these closures. They face uncertain futures at this point. I have attached this amazing Article here that explains the Shrimping Industry and History of the Gulf. This is a Culture, a way of life, but families that fish and shrimp in region have carried on for generations. So far BP has been more than stingy with what and how they are paying for the damage to the region. To see how contorted this situation is this weekend the LA Times did a post on a Fisherman who tried to file his claim with BP and it is disturbing and raises questions as to how the Fishing men will be reimbursed. More than 40% of All shrimp and fish for North America comes from this fragile region, and that means also thousands of jobs are at stake. As these men face loss of work, it makes sense that they also will pursue working on the BP Clean Up Crews, but this can not be looked at as viable long term work or replacement of their current or past income.
Health Information : This weekend on Day 42 finally Federal Government,
DHHS did bring forth the first Mobile Unit to assist and meet the Medical Needs of this situation. As Clean Up workers in the Region have been experiencing symptoms and some have been hospitalized, it was time to set up a system to care for them and the residents, hopefully this is the first step. Do click the link to learn more, especially if you live near Venice. ( Please also do see posts below regarding Dispersant and also regarding the Sick workers that BP has tried to blame their illnesses on Heat and also foodpoisoning.)
This Weekend is when Tony Hayward spoke about the Illnesses of the workers and tried to blame it on "Food Poisoning" . It was filmed and CNN posted the video, and it remarkable and worrisome.
LA TIMES has an article up last night regarding Suttles and Haywards plan of "Floating Clean Up Camps" and "Tent Cities", (see post below) it turns out that the Plan is NOW to use Trailers that look like Semi Containers? or Box Cars. They contain bunk beds. and some bathing facilities, although these workers will need FULL Showers if they are working near or around chemicals and oil. Also it is unclear from this article if OSHA has approved this plan as it means the Workers will be working 12 hour shifts and then sleeping in the Contaminated zones which does present Safety issues.
Post from the Weekend with Suttles explaining the BP plan for Floating Worker Camps and "Tent Cities". (We now know Trailers were also part of the plan).
Shrimpers working as Cleanup Workers got sick after Corexit sprayed by low flying planes overhead, this was reported by local Media , but not by MSM. Dr.Gupta will be doing special on CNN Tuesday Night on this Dispersant and it's possible relationship to Workers complaints and hospitalizations. Nine -12 have been hospitalized so far. Wives of the workers are reporting to media worried about their husbands, who are feeling intimidated or harassed to not report problems for fear of loss of work.This just became an issue over weekend, we will see if it improves. BP's Worker Camps we can hope that OSHA makes them set up Medical Care as well.
As a nurse I have concerns for the Workers and residents there regarding the Exposure to the Dispersant COREXIT in such huge volumes, now being pumped in at well site, entering directly to the Water Column.This post I wrote earlier in the Month is regarding this Compound being used. OSHA has issued Precaution fact sheet for workers and residents regarding the Oil, but there is no monitoring or precautions issued regarding the COREXIT.EPA had told BP to cease using it, but for some reason BP is still using it, and now putting it directly at wellsite. The Literature has not information on that usage, it did have information on diluted spray form on limited small spills , early on after a spill. I have tried to write to OSHA, EPA and CDC regarding this chemical and have gotten no response. EPA and OSHA also were not present at the weekend pressers where the Work Camps were discussed by BP.
Another source of discussion that has been ongoing on the Internet and Twitter is the Hurricane concern. I continue to encourage people to check Weather Underground for updates. Scientists and Weather experts are worried as NOAA has predicted up to 23 Storms, with 14 Hurricanes. Please do click this link to learn more. And to answer anyone's questions, the Hurricane with the Oil Slick poses huge risks due to the Surge issue. Another aspect of this is BP plans to set up Flotillas , Floating Clean Up Camps, which also raises questions about their safety in Hurricanes.(please see posts below regarding floating camps).
The Guardian has this excellent post from the weekend exploring Scientists concerns regarding the giant Plumes forming under the sea from the Oil, and the ongoing battle with BP regarding the Damage. BP has continued to argue with Scientists regarding assessing ecological damage , but also the ongoing amounts of oil as well.
Enigma Note: I am still reporting information what I find from the Internet and Twitter and reports from the region. I do raise questions of concern. I think all of us should question what is going on there, but also be trying to employ critical thinking and problem solve. Problemsolving can be done with compassion and vision. To help the Gulf we will need to be creative and supportive.I am not an engineer or a oil person, but I post what I can so we can all learn more. I after all these days will only be checking Gushercam sporadically. Most of my focus will be on Gulf Residents Health ,Wellbeing and also the Clean Up Workers. I will continue to post Science related to the situation from a variety of sources. This blog will continue to document the damage to the region, and chronicle this Disaster, which is what it is, Our Greatest Environmental Ecological Disaster. My main focus, as always for this blog is the Humanitarian Aspect of this Crisis. If you live in the Gulf and want to be interviewed regarding your concerns, I would be happy to post your story or photos here as well.
More Updates Later today......
*** As I continue doing research on COREXIT and dispersants, I learned of a National Academy of Sciences Study of Dispersants in 2005 that supposedly is very illuminating, if anyone has the link I would be grateful.