Saturday, June 19, 2010


The recent tragic events in the Gulf of Mexico (61 days and counting as of this post) aka the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill have unleashed an environmental maelstrom and disaster that is not only the worst ever in the Americas but obviously the whole world. It has been characterized by many as “history's greatest environmental disaster.” Yes, ladies and gentlemen – that means – never has this happened before in Human History. That Herculean estimation has not even considered the consequences of the huge release of methane (which caused the explosion and death of the Deepwater Horizon) whose consequences may be as bad as the oil.

I watched on MSNBC as Dr. Samantha Joye a professor in the Department of Marine Sciences in the University of Georgia's Franklin College of Arts and Sciences commented that one plume of oil (whose existence is denied by BP) has a concentration of methane between 100 and 10,000 times that normally seen in the Gulf of Mexico — enough to completely deplete the oxygen. Where oil and methane go – death surely follows.

Much of the fishery in Louisiana and in other adjoining states has been closed down with the prospects that the closures will continue to expand as millions of gallons of crude (1.47 million to 2.5 million U.S. gallons) pour into the Gulf - daily. The closure is now approaching one third of Federal Gulf waters. The residents in and around once beautiful Barataria Bay in southeast Louisiana in Jefferson and Plaquemines Parishes now refer to that once rich body of water as the, “Black Sea.” Ironically one of the key figures in the American victory over the British at the Battle of New Orleans, Pirate Jean Lafitte made his home in these same once pristine waters.

BP CEO (I want my life back) Tony Hayward given some of his most recent outrageous statements continues to make BP look as bad as they probably are (swims like a duck, flies like a duck). Not to be outdone by the gaffe producing Hayward, BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg commented this week in a fit of mind numbing arrogance, “We care about the small people.” That characterization predictability angered many Gulf Coast Residents (me too) who see this as a continuing effort by BP to diminish the scope and magnitude of this disaster. One angry resident conjured up memories of the aforementioned Battle of New Orleans and invited the Brits to replay that end battle of the War of 1812 assuring that the result would be the same… All hail Andy Jackson.

The heavy handed (and probably illegal) tactics by some BP employees and contractors as reported by NPR, CNN, AP, CBS, WDSU-TV, the New Orleans Times Picayune and other news media to limit access to damaged areas is alarming and needs the attention of local, state and federal law enforcement. That said, some are now reporting that local, state and Federal law enforcement now appear to be in cahoots with BP. The one criterion that seems to get their attention isn’t the issue of safety, but rather whether any inquiring group (whether on foot, truck, boat or plane) includes a member of the press? That alone appears to be the sole criteria for BP, the Coast Guard and even the FAA to enforce their blockade. There are substantiated reports that BP is not allowing flyovers of the Gulf of Mexico below 3,000 feet.

Might of Right has seen a video clip on YouTube where a crew from New Orleans WDSU-TV was barred access to a public beach on Grand Isle by private security guards who also denied access to clean up workers despite statements to the contrary by BP Chief Operating Officer of BP Exploration and Production Doug Suttles. After Jefferson Parish law enforcement showed up on the scene access was granted though the security guards literally told the workers they did not have to speak to the media and then told them what to say. The obviously intimidated workers then parroted that suggestion. It certainly would appear that already compromised workers afraid to lose their jobs and their only source of livelihood have gone over to the dark side. They have all apparently signed contracts that explicitly state they are not allowed to comment or offer any details about their jobs.

As reported by Jason Linkins of the Huffington Post, Yahoo News contacted BP for comment on these incidents whereupon they were told by BP spokesman Mark Proegler that, "There have been restrictions placed on photography in the wildlife area because we've been told that it could do harm to the animals.” Proegler continued with comments about the Grand Isle incident stating that "We can't force our contractors to work with media if they choose not to." This absolutely ludicrous response with no basis in law or reality and contrary to BP’s public policy points to the ridiculous spin BP has engaged. As far as we can see the real harm will ultimately come to BP should the real scope of this tragedy be known.

So, we ask, under which legal authority BP (a private corporation) or their representatives are being allowed to enforce a blockade and blackout of what are mostly public lands in a sovereign state aka The United States of America? Inquiring minds want to know

We hear chatter on the Internet that BP is closely monitoring Blogs and Chat Forums that are engaging and debating this affair. Some sources have suggested that BP is flooding these same outlets with their own perspectives to the diminishment of all other opinions. They are controlling the free flow of ideas for fear that the truth will out. I might add that the Might of Right certainly welcomes their scrutiny and participation in any public debate they may choose to participate. Hmmm, wonder if BP owns any Yahoo/Google stock?

Many have interpreted BP’s actions as a less than transparent attempt to cover up the negligence that initially prompted the disaster and their stonewalling actions as the suggestion of their utter disdain for the ecological/environmental ramifications of this disaster. It’s all about the bottom line and how happy are those pensioners who are not getting a dividend this year – or next? Some question whether BP will even survive.

On the other side of the coin we salute BP’s ever continuing efforts to shut down the offending out of control well head though we surely question the tactics of folks representing themselves as BP employees or representatives that would limit access to public and private lands in those United States along the Gulf Coast.

Hopefully BP will not be successful in their attempt to forever buy the hearts and minds of those on the Gulf Coast with their promises of payment of damages and even jobs. That accomplished our ain folk will be hoisted by their own petard even as the oil has pushed at least twelve miles into Louisiana’s marshes and estuaries.

And what do the greater majority of us do? We sit complacently watching our TVs or listening to the radio in the comfort of our big plush chairs and sumptuous homes, remote in hand, while this drama plays out like some distant, surreal and cockeyed environmental soap opera/horror show. It is real, however, to those who have been irreparably harmed on the Gulf coast, especially in Louisiana. Indeed, we have all been harmed (if not anesthetized) and well beyond our ability to get a Louisiana oyster. All you have to do is go to New Orleans and then head due southeast. Just follow your nose. I may be in Dallas but sometimes think I can smell the oil…


Ned Buxton

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