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Environmental Press


 

Jacqueline Marcus

ForPoetry.com
 

6-28-13


 

 

 

 



 

 


 

 

 

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Three Years after BP’s World’s Worst Oil Spill,
Mass Extermination of Fish & Mammals
Raises Questions: Is It Really Contained?
 

 A critical review of the last three years on the Gulf
By Jacqueline Marcus
 

 


 BP’s Genocidal Fish Kill As Far as the Eye Can See



 

There’s very little signs of life left in the Gulf; the situation is dire.
—University of Southern Florida Marine Biologists

 

When our oceans die, we die. —Captain Paul Watson

 

 

The Gulf of Oil

How lonely it is on this ghostly beach that smells more like car fumes than an ocean. Everyone’s gone.  The mainstream press has long since abandoned these shores.  Very few network reporters left except for a few independent journalists who refuse to walk away three years after BP transformed life on the Gulf into a toxic graveyard.
  

From my home in California, I desperately wanted to believe the fantasy that BP promotes across our TV screens since June 2010, the fantasy of those sparkling blue-watered advertisements with its cheerful Cajon music and delectable images of fresh shrimp, crabs and fish dinners.  But most likely those ads were effectively doctored or taken prior to BP’s genocidal massacre.  I say “genocidal” because there is no word in our vocabulary to describe the mass extermination of marine life and mammals—there’s never been anything like it, historically speaking. 
 

Over the last few years, there have been dozens of articles focused on tracking the oil spill, photos taken from hundreds of feet above showed miles of oil-sheens, but very few photos of the genocide of dolphins, whales, turtles, sea birds, and mountains of fish as far as the eye could see have been reported in the mainstream press.  The topic has always been on how much oil spilled and containing it. 
 

Well now it’s time for the public to see the contrast between BP’s cheerful ads and what really happened to this ocean and is still happening. 
 

The big cover-up is that BP’s unprecedented oil massacre created an endless fish kill at epic proportions. Click HERE to view the censored photos from the mainstream press.  A debt of gratitude to Google for publishing what everyone should see. 
 

Some of my family members on my paternal side grew up in Louisiana.  As a child, I remember my grandfather’s stories about the bayou, about “a sea so clear you could live in its colorful reefs of silence for hours.”  My grandfather spoke in verse, phrases that left a poetic mark on my imagination.  Although he lacked a college education, he was a natural-born marine biologist.  He knew when there were schools of fish, “by scent of the water, by the circling birds, at a certain time of the day when the sun simmered on the horizon.”  I thank G-d that my grandfather was spared from the gravity of grief that would have certainly killed him.  His heart would have sunk from the sheer horror of it. 
  

While BP claims to have completed a three state cleanup of the world’s largest oil spill in history, hundreds of bottlenose dolphins and recently their stillborn babies have been washing up on the Gulf shores for several years with dead turtles, pelicans, whales, a genocide of shrimp and fish—all dead due to BP’s catastrophic oil explosion, which changed life as we knew it off the coast.  As my Louisiana friend said, who prefers to remain anonymous, “No one can bear to see it, no one can talk about it, month after month, year after year, to see these helpless creatures die this way is agonizing.   It’s heartbreaking beyond words—not to mention how we’re all suffering down here from the intolerable toxicity and the fact that our livelihoods for generations, our businesses have perished with these fish.” 
 

Recently the Tampa Bay Times has been reporting on the University of Southern Florida’s studies of the ongoing massive die-off of fish, plant life (killed millions of microscopic creatures: the base of food-chain and coral reefs, essential for regeneration of life). In short, there are little signs of life left in the Gulf.  The full implications of the die-off are yet to be seen. The foraminifera are consumed by clams and other creatures that provide food for the next step in the food chain, including the types of fish found with lesions. Fish, dolphins, turtles, shrimp – are shockingly deformed, mostly without eyes.  It’s as if millions of barrels of the worst decomposing acid were dropped for years into this ocean.
 

Spilled oil is very toxic. It can be lethal to adult animals even in relatively low concentrations. It may also cause physiological or behavioral disruptions of species. Oil spills also cause death through the prevention of normal feeding, respiration and movement functions not only of ocean wildlife, but also of marine life at the sea shore. Particularly dangerous oil spills are for birds. Oil spills lead to the tainting of fish and shellfish. Sometimes one can feel the consequences of the oil spills through the oily taste or smell to the seafood. An oil spill directly damages not only animals, plants, corals, and fisheries, but also affects human activity in the area of fisheries through damaging of fishing boats, fishing gear, floating fishing equipment.   (Oil Pollution and International Marine Law)
 

If killing everything in sight is BP’s idea of cleaning up the Gulf, then mission accomplished.  Unlike the rest of us who painfully despair at the sight of helpless turtles and baby dolphins suffocating from massive poisoning, BP’s executives merely tell their workers, “Get rid of them now—it looks bad for us,” as told by my anonymous friend who had to put up with BP’s rudeness.  “The rotting mammals are trucked to the waste disposal dump like a bunch of trash.” 
 

Make no mistake about the oil oligarchs: These are Godless men. Nothing is sacred to them except profits and power.  And these are the men our politicians work for. 
 

It’s not exactly accurate to claim that life on the Gulf is completely dead.  The oil industry is booming.  But thanks to BP’s massacre, the tourist and fishing industries are struggling to say the least, which is the reason BP was forced to set aside a relief fund of $20 billion dollars for victims of these Gulf businesses; some did well from the settlements, but many are in dire straits.  Moreover, BP is still sitting on most of that relief fund money.

 

Is the Macondo Site a Persistent Oil Seeping Problem?

In my last June 7th 2013 Buzzflash at Truthout.org commentary, Was the Gulf of Mexico Sacrificed for BP’s Billions, I asked if BP’s April 20th 2010 Macondo explosion could have been stopped from the get-go; there were conflicting opinions about how the gushing oil could have been stopped early on, suggesting that the Obama administration and BP possibly chose to sacrifice the Gulf of Mexico to protect the Macondo well reservoir still worth billions of oil dollars.   
 

As I began to dig deeper, however, I learned that there is much more to this story—that the reports of oil surfacing from the Macondo site three miles beneath the seafloor may be coming from irreparable ruptures that should be investigated by the international community of scientists and engineers.  Asking the federal government to evaluate the Deepwater Horizon Mississippi Canyon 252 site is like asking the wolf to check on the henhouse. If oil is escaping, then we’re talking about an unprecedented life-threatening crisis.  Meanwhile, the Obama White House will not allow scientists to inspect the Macondo well and surrounding site that exploded.  Information pertaining to the severity of the damage has remained classified.  The only way to know for sure is if international leaders demand an independent investigation conducted by oceanographers, geologists and engineers who are equipped to carefully inspect the Macondo site within a 50 mile radius of the seafloor.  

 

How Deadly Is Deepwater Drilling?

The Macondo well ruptured three miles beneath the seafloor; the drill punctured the crust of the earth, churning through layers of rock until it hit an ancient graveyard of dinosaurs decomposed into an underground lake of petroleum the size of Delaware.  While BP executives may have cheered about hitting the “mother-load” the Horizon explosion proved to the world that drilling deep beneath the ocean floor is sheer madness, a process known as deepwater drilling that should be called insane drilling driven more by greed than reasonable engineering.  The U.S. government should never have permitted such dangerous drilling in the first place.  But as we all know, the U.S. government is merely a branch of the oil industry, or to put it differently, Big Oil owns the U.S. government.  Ergo, profits are the first priority, above safety, above life, itself. 
 

How dangerous is deepwater drilling? As BP demonstrated, it carelessly led to the worst deadly oil spill in the history of the world.  In my last editorial, I concluded that the Obama White House not only refused to learn any lessons, they shredded those lessons to pieces while escalating deepwater drilling in the Gulf at the same time. BP received even more contracts for deepwater drilling after the explosion and catastrophic spill. 
 

Meanwhile, an alarming confidential crisis could be brewing beneath the seafloor.  If there are far-reaching leaks that are impossible to fix, it would mean that oil is seeping and spreading in the Gulf and out through currents beyond the Gulf. And just as the oil and Corexit poisoned the marine life in the Gulf, it will continue to poison the oceans wherever the current takes it, making it an international problem.
 

No one, other than BP and the White House, really knows how extensive the damage is or was that occurred from the explosion; a comprehensive analysis of the seafloor rupture remains confidential or classified information.  So all we can do is pick through the debris of empirical evidence that BP and the government haven’t been able to censor from the public, facts that have been documented and exposed to the public thanks to investigative journalists and ethical whistleblowers who’ve observed serious problems.
 

 

Experts Claim Several Wellhead Leaks from the Macondo site?

Despite BP’s billionaire PR attempt to minimize the crisis, they can’t hide the fact that their methane explosion three miles beneath the seafloor was terrifying.   We were told by BP and the Obama White House that there was only one explosion and one rupture.  That is not exactly the whole truth.  The evidence shows that there were/are several leaking wellheads: BP's Macondo Gulf Oil Spill: The Public Was Misled. There Are THREE – Not One – Leaking Wellheads


Petrochemical expert, long established “insider” of the oil industry and founder of the Ocean Energy Institute, Matthew Simmons, was making some very alarming observations in the early days of the Gulf oil spill disaster. “BP’s claim,” asserted Matt Simmons, “that only 5,000 barrels of oil a day are leaking is preposterous. There is a minimum of 120,000 barrels of oil per leaking into the Gulf.”
 

As it turned out, Simmons was right. 
 

Simmons also said there were leaks 5 to 7 miles away from the damaged Macondo well, and that huge underwater plumes covered 40% of the Gulf of Mexico.  Check out Dylan Ratigan’s MSNBC’s interview with Matthew Simmons.  We now know that Matthew Simmons was not “crazy”.  He was right again.  Both claims were later confirmed by the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).  BP boasted of capping the leaking well, Simmons stood by his earlier statements that the well shown to the public was a fake and that BP has a second disastrous well gushing in the Gulf.  
 

Simmons made it clear to the average person that BP’s explanation defies common sense.  The rupture is much worse than we were led to believe after the blowout: “If what I fear is correct, the Macondo well was so radically destroyed by the methane explosion that it cannot be capped at the wellhead. But to give them the benefit of the doubt, if it could be, BP itself reported that they had found leaks in the well casing, which means that even if they capped the wellhead, it would not stop the oil from seeping out of the shattered well casing and from the vents that have formed in the ocean floor.” 
 

In this CBS report, we learn that new oil sheens and plumes continue to spread off the Louisiana coast. Tests confirmed the oil came from the infamous Macondo well underneath the Deepwater Horizon.
 

Al Jazeera reporter Dahr Jamail also confirmed that the Macondo well is leaking oil. 
 

You add these ongoing oil spills together and a terrifying question emerges that Matt Simmons was trying to warn us about: Is the Macondo well explosion much more serious than we could possibly imagine?  The worst scenario is that the crust beneath the ocean floor has been so dramatically ruptured from the initial 2010 explosion that there is no way to fix, plug, or stop it.  Nevertheless, BP could still be getting oil from the Macondo reservoir still worth billions of dollars. 
 

If so, consider the consequences:  The oil will continue to spread through currents from the Gulf to the Atlantic and will gradually poison the waters wherever the currents take it.  There have been reports about BP secretly using the deadly poisonous Corexit at night to cover up the oil plumes rising from the Macondo well reservoir.  The Obama White House will not allow scientists to investigate or come anywhere near the Macondo well. 
 

Coincidentally Matthew Simmons suddenly died when he was warning the public about this horrific crisis and about BP’s lies.  His untimely death became a subject of inquiry.  Simmons, 67, was found dead in his home in Maine on August 8, 2010.
 

The medical examiner’s office is unclear about whether he had drowned in his tub after suffering a heart attack, or died from a heart attack while drowning.  The confusion surrounding the exact cause of his death has sparked speculative rumors that he was assassinated by either the CIA or BP.
 

One thing is for sure, Matt Simmons was no nutcase, as James Howard Kunstler explained, republished at Truthout.org:  “I am confident, having met the guy and corresponded with him and after reading his books, that he is a straight shooter. I'm sure that he is sincere in proclaiming his extreme discomfort with the position he's taken. (see Simmon's Interview with Eric King

 

 

A Criminal Enterprise: The Reckless Pursuit of Profits 

The government’s reciprocal partnership with the oil industry explains why BP’s top executives were never prosecuted for killing 11 workers on the Horizon when the federal government has witnessed time and again BP’s long history of gross negligence, a history of crude oil pipe and refinery explosions all caused from repeated cases of gross negligence. “Lawyers for the U.S. and oil-spill victims contended in the non-jury trial that BP was over budget and behind schedule on the deepwater Macondo well off the Louisiana coast, prompting the oil company to cut corners and ignore safety tests showing the well was unstable.” (Bloomberg: Still Uncertain over Spill Costs at Third Anniversay)
 

Obama addressed Americans about regulating the oil industry while simultaneously giving BP full control over the world’s worst oil spill. With the exception of banning journalists and protecting BP’s executives, the worst environmental criminals in history, there was no government involvement in capping the Macondo well or its reservoir.
 

In a 2010 interview, Christopher Brownfield, a former nuclear submarine officer and a visiting scholar on explosive policy at Columbia University, weighed in on former President Bill Clinton’s Navy plan to professionally blow up the well and kill it for good:

 

There has been some pressure for BP to simply blow up the well: If we demolish the well using explosives, the investment’s gone. They (BP) lose billions of dollars from the drilling of the well.  So basically, it’s an all-or-nothing thing with BP: They either keep the well alive, or they lose their whole investment and all the oil that they could potentially get from that well.

 

Environmental lawyer, Mike Papantonio, claims that the oil industry is not required to have one of the most important safety mechanisms available for deepwater drilling known as the “Acoustic Switch” which essentially blows the well and stops the oil from erupting.  The Acoustic Switch is required in Europe, Brazil and elsewhere.  It is not required in the U.S.  Listen to the MSNBC interview here.  I’ve tried contacting the NOAA, EPA., the BOEM (Bureau of Ocean Energy Management), and the MMS (Minerals Management Service) to learn if the Acoustic Switch is now required under the so-called “new regulations” established after the BP Horizon explosion for deepwater drilling and I have yet to receive a reply or answer.  I guess they only speak with oil executives.
 

The truth is BP’s standard practice is cutting corners to raise profits at the expense of preventative safety maintenance.  Actually, it’s pretty standard practice for all oil companies.  Regarding the controversial Keystone Tar Sands Pipeline, HuffPost reported that “TransCanada, the Canadian company leading the proposal to send tar sands oil from Alberta to the Gulf Coast via the Keystone XL pipeline, were sobering:
 

“A culture of noncompliance and coercion, with deeply entrenched business practices that ignored legally required regulations and codes and carries significant public safety risks." 
 

As for BP, “The roots of those decisions lie in BP’s corporate history,” says Robert Bea, a University of California, Berkeley expert in both technological disasters and offshore engineering.  “After the merger with ARCO in 2001, BP forced thousands of older, experienced oil field workers into early retirement.  That decision, which made the company more dependent on contractors for engineering expertise, was a key ingredient in BP’s recipe for disaster.  (National Geographic 2010 Special Report)
 

{Breaking News: June 14th 2013: As I’m writing this piece, another Louisiana petrochemical refinery plant exploded: Louisiana's health department said 73 people were treated at hospitals for injuries ranging from minor to critical following the morning explosion. A body was found by hazardous materials crews going through the aftermath of the blast. The Williams Companies Inc., based in Tulsa, Okla., is in an industrial area of Geismar, a Mississippi River community about 20 miles southeast of Baton Rouge.}   
 

These explosions happen repeatedly because the government doesn’t enforce safety regulations. Unless workers unionize and demand changes they’ll be at risk of either losing their lives or being maimed for the rest of their lives.
 

The federal government has known about BP’s atrociously long history of negligence, their reckless pursuit of profits over safety, as Loren C. Steffy put it, author of BP and the Reckless Pursuit of Profit: Drowning in Oil
 

So why didn’t President Obama tell BP that they lost their drilling pass in the U.S. after BP’s world worst oil spill that turned the Gulf into a lifeless ocean of poison? Instead, the Obama administration gave the green light to BP for more deepwater drilling, to accelerate deepwater drilling, to maximize it—to go crazy with deepwater drilling—do whatever it takes in the name of oil when it’s obvious that the oil industry, especially BP, should not be drilling beneath the seafloor in the first place.
 

In fact, thanks to Obama, BP intends to drill even deeper than the Macondo with a new deepwater well project appropriately called “Mad Dog”.  Why?  The answer is rarely reported in the media: BP is the largest oil contractor for the U.S. military and Pentagon.
 

Check out Jeremy Scahill’s Fueling War with BP’s Oil  and this 2012 article in Bloomberg, BP Wins Most Pentagon Fuel Awards in Year after Gulf Explosion.
 

The U.S. Department of Defense consumes more oil per day than 170 nations. Although the amount of fuel consumed by the military is not published, the quantity is estimated to be between 400,000 and 800,000 barrels a day.  The rising cost of oil from depletion problems explains why the armed services want to invest in alternative energy, including the use of biofuels for ships and planes.  If the military shifts to sustainable energy, it could mean a major reduction of oil dependency and the end of oil wars.  Predictably the oil-soaked Congress, specifically the Senate Armed Services Committee, recently voted to ban the military from spending money on alternative fuels  even though the US military is spending an estimated $12 billion dollars on fuel a year.  We shall see how this power game plays out, if the Pentagon will take its marching orders from the oil industry as well.

 

Barack LOVES BP and BP LOVES Barack

You may recall President Obama taking a quick photo for the media wading out in the Gulf waters with his daughter Sasha right after the catastrophe?  It was taken at the height of toxicity from oil made worse with tons of the dispersant Corexit , used to conceal the plumes of gushing oil from sight.  As we’ve learned, the deadly combination of crude oil and Corexit poisoned the ocean for endless miles.  Why, then, did President Obama pose for the cameras to tell the public, residents, tourists and their children—that it was safe to swim in the Gulf during the height of toxicity when the beaches and ocean were poisoned with oil and methane chemicals?  
 

President Obama was in a secluded coastal canal off Pensacola, and yet, they reported that he was swimming in the “Gulf of Mexico” when he was actually protected from the toxic waters at that time.   Scroll down from that photo-op and you’ll see the Obama family happily playing at Pirate’s Island golf—as if the mammoth oil spill was nothing more than a slight inconvenience, no harm done.  Like a PR advertisement for BP, the President and his E.P.A. (Environmental Protection Agency) intentionally misled the public about the dangerous health risks of swimming in these highly toxic waters.   The Obama White House had the audacity to claim that 75% of the oil was gone in August 2010.  Instead of warning the public, he encouraged them to swim in the toxic ocean.
 

Would President Obama be interested in taking a photo-op with these dead fish? Check out this 2012 collage of reports video from Pensacola:


 

Mass fish kill contradicts Obama’s claim
that 75% of the oil dissolved in August 2010

 

Why would President Obama mislead the public? Barack Obama received nearly $1 million dollars from BP for campaign funding.  The president spends most of his time at fundraisers.  Congressional members and senators spend six hours a day dialing for dollars so they can stay in office. Strings attached? Of course. One can only assume that when the oil industry tells Barack Obama to jump, he not only asks how high, he does somersaults with a cherry on top. 
 

To add insult to injury, Obama passed a law banning journalists from the Gulf premises; if journalists were caught taking photos of the mass extermination of mammals, fish and residents harmed by the toxic oil and tons of Corexit they would be charged  $40,000 dollars and sentenced to prison for committing a federal crime.  As Mick Jagger put it in “Sympathy for the Devil”, “…every cop is a criminal and all the sinners saints…”  
 

BP killed 11 workers, and turned the largest ocean on the coast of the U.S. into a mass toxic burial ground, but who goes to prison? The journalists and the ethical whistleblowers. This is a familiar story with Barack Obama: The Obama White House has an unconscionable record of prosecuting the good guys (those who expose corporate and governmental crimes) in order to protect the bad guys, such as BP.  Watch this CNN video clip of Anderson Cooper’s anger over Obama’s new law of banning journalists.
 

Anderson Cooper reiterated, “We are not the enemy.  The public has the right to know what’s going on here.”  Not according to Barack Obama and BP executives.  Conversely, BP and oil execs are not bound by laws applied to the rest of us.  They are in fact lawless criminals sanctioned by the U.S. government. Who else could get away with killing 11 men on charges of gross negligence?
 

As for BP’s perpetual use of the dispersant Corexit, the Obama administration has allowed BP to use as much Corexit as they want, a poison that has been banned in Europe and Brazil as mentioned earlier for over a decade.  BP is still secretly using Corexit when oil emerges from the Macondo well. Truthout has reported widespread health risks from Corexit that have warranted evacuations since 2010.

No Government Enforcement to Stop Perpetually Dangerous Oil Spills in the Gulf

Since the 1930s the government and the oil industry have conspired together to turn one of the most beautiful oceans in the world, the Gulf of Mexico, into hundreds of miles of petrochemical oilfields for offshore drilling profits.  Grist has recently reported that “Oil has been gushing from a group of wells south of New Orleans since a platform at the site was wiped out by Hurricane Ivan in 2004, and it appears that nothing is being done to staunch or control the leaking from Taylor Energy Company’s ruptured wells and others.”  As horrible as these ruptured wells are—they can be fixed if the government enforced the executives in charge to seal the wells.  It appears that the U.S. government doesn’t give a damn how much oil spills into the Gulf. 

 

BP’s Macondo Site Is Not a Typical Wellhead Leak

But the Macondo explosion, given its depth and catastrophic rupture straight through the seafloor three miles beneath the earth’s crust, could be the most alarming problem in the Gulf if 1) oil has been seeping from the beginning of the methane explosion, and 2) it can’t be fixed or contained. It appears that the Macondo site is more than a persistent problem: it could very well be an emergency crisis.  If perpetual oil is seeping from the Macondo underground rupture, it threatens marine life wherever the currents take it.  Thus, international leaders have the legal authority to intervene, to investigate and assess the damage for obvious reasons: oil has no borders or limitations; contamination is carried on currents polluting and threatening marine life wherever those currents travel. 

According to the Stockholm Declaration of Global Environmental Laws

 

It was stressed in the Principle 7 of the Stockholm Declaration on the Human Environment that states shall take all possible steps to prevent pollution of the seas by substances that create hazards to human health, harm living resources and marine life, damage amenities or interfere with other legitimate uses of the sea (Sokolova, 2005).

 

Principle 22 addresses the issue of liability and compensation for marine pollution damage requiring from states further cooperation in order to develop rules of international law regarding this issue. Action Plan consisting of 109 recommendations proposes to address pollution by means of the environmental assessment, environmental management and supporting measures. 

 

Tragically, since the invasion of Iraq, the United States government has a questionable record of complying with international laws to say the least.  Frankly, for the last twelve years, the U.S. government has earned a reputation around the world for violating or nullifying constitutional and international laws.  So chances are—if European leaders demand to investigate BP’s Macondo site, Obama would more than likely ignore the demand. Who knows? He may even invite BP’s executives to the White House for dinner and entertainment.

 

Don’t Let It Get You Down

If this story depresses you, you’re not alone.  New polls show public demand for action on climate change:
 

87 percent (that includes Republican voters) say President Obama and Congress should make developing sources of clean energy a priority
 

Who doesn’t have a hard time reading or writing about oil atrocities? Most people have enough problems as it is without the emotional stress of seeing thousands of dead baby turtles and dolphins washing up from toxic oil: How many times have you heard this response? “I can’t deal with this—it’s too depressing, I don’t want to hear about it.” But keep in mind that when we shut the door to it, for whatever reasons, it’s a victory for British Petroleum.  That’s exactly the reaction BP is hoping for:  that we’ll turn a blind eye while they go on polluting our oceans.
 

All the more reason why we must stand united in our efforts to stop the drilling madness, to stop Big Polluters from destroying every inch of our beautiful oceans, our monumental national parks, our rivers and forests for oil profits, profits that are never shared with the public in terms of restoring our parks, oceans, forests and eroding infrastructure.  The oil industry earns a trillion dollars a year combined in profits, tax-free.  Worse still, we’re paying the polluters with our tax dollars via subsidies.  In the same poll, 60 percent want to eliminate all fossil fuel subsidies. The U.S. government has sold this great nation out to the highest bidders and now they treat us no differently from third world countries they’ve been raping and polluting for decades. 

 

DEREGULATION Turned the United States into a Third World Country. 70 percent (that includes Republican voters) say President Obama and Congress should strictly enforce pollution laws 

Look at these BP photos HERE of the mass extermination of sea mammals.  That’s what “deregulation” looks like, that’s what happens when the polluters are allowed to pollute as much as they want wherever they want with impunity. Going by this new climate change poll, Americans are fed up with the big polluters and the U.S. government.  Congress began 2013 with the lowest rating in history: 81 percent disapproval rating of Congress, according to the latest Gallup Poll.  Americans want this government to make the necessary transition from industrial polluting sources to clean sustainable energy.  It’s way past time for a major change. 


This is why Obama's June 26th 2013 Climate Change speech was met with skepticism.  It sounds good, but when Obama says that he wants to invest in nuclear energy after Fukushima's May 2011 catastrophic meltdowns, an ongoing radiation disaster, and when he still speaks of "clean coal" when there is no such thing as clean coal, when he refuses to ban pesticides that are killing bees and when he approved of deepwater drilling in tumultuous Artic conditions, you're left with the conclusion that he is better than Mitt Romney for providing $90 billion dollars in subsidies for clean energy, but we cannot "do it all" as Obama claims.  Also, the speech on regulations may be simply tossing out a few bones before he announces approval of the Keystone Tar Sands Pipeline which is so deadly to the planet it would make all clean energy regulations futile. Dirty energy must end or it will end us.

 

The Grand Finale

If you were to dump a quart of oil (don’t do it) accidentally or intentionally into federal U.S. waters, you would be fined thousands of dollars and sentenced to prison for committing a federal crime. But if you’re a BP oil executive (and this applies to all CEOs of major U.S. oil industries), you can release over 5 million barrels of crude oil into an ocean, and turn it into a massive dead zone, you can even kill your manual workers, eleven workers (Horizon), or hundreds of employees (BP Texas refinery) from gross negligent explosions, and all you have to do is hire a cleanup crew and then pay a federal fine that is pocket change compared to overall yearly profits, and what’s more—you will be rewarded with an increase of military contracts worth billions of tax dollars by a President that loves you.
 

No surprise that Barack Obama enjoyed imitating Mick Jagger’s “Sympathy for the Devil” during his high school years.  It remains an all-time popular hit for us all, but it seems to have special meaning today for our President, Congress and Big Oil:

 

 
BP’s Toxic Extermination of Dolphins
 

I rode a tank
Held a general's rank
When the blitzkrieg raged
And the bodies stank…

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name…

 

Recommended Books & Films

 

Film: A Must See Documentary on the BP Gulf Oil Spill:
 “
The Big Fix” The Truth Is Deep Beneath the Surface

Truthout.org interview with Josh Tickell, director-writer of “The Big Fix”

 

Books Articles:

National Geographic Special Report THE SPILL: Photos You Haven’t Seen Stories You Haven’t Heard 2010

Drowning in Oil / BP and the Reckless Pursuit of Profit  by Loren C. Steffy

The Tyranny of Oil: The World's Most Powerful Industry--and What We Must Do to Stop It  by Antonia Juhasz

Black Tide: The Devastating Impact of the Gulf Oil Spill by Antonia Juhasz

Eaarth by Bill McKibben

 

Articles: This piece was written Jerry Cope and Charles Hambleton for the Huffington Post August 2010.  The Crime of the Century: What BP and the U.S. Government Don’t Want You to Know  It gives you an idea of how BP and the government collaborated to keep the public in the dark and that BP’s unprecedented oil spill created a mass fish kill unlike anything seen in the history of the world.  Review Google photos that were never shown on mainstream media.  HERE

 

 

Jacqueline Marcus taught philosophy at Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, California. Her book of poems, Close to the Shore, was published by Michigan State University Press. She is the editor of ForPoetry.com at www.EnvironmentalPress.com.  Her book, Man Cannot Live on Oil, Alone is a work in progress.

 

 

 

Jacqueline Marcus, editor of ForPoetry, author of Close to the Shore (poems) by Michigan State University Press.  She is contributing political writer for Buzzflash at Truthout.org

 

ForPoetry


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jacqueline Marcus taught philosophy at Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, California. Her book of poems, Close to the Shore, was published by Michigan State University Press. She is the editor of www.ForPoetry.com Her book, Man Cannot Live on Oil, Alone is a work in progress.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BP's Gulf Oil Spill / Exxon's Prince William Sound, Alaska
The case against off-shore oil drilling
NO XL Keystone Oil Pipeline


Bill Mckibben: Game Over for the Climate

 

For a fourth straight day outside the White House, environmentalists were arrested for peacefully protesting a pipeline that would carry acidic crude oil from Western Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast. Environmentalist and author Bill McKibben, who spent the weekend with fellow demonstrators in a Washington jail, discusses the the success of the protest and the shortcomings of Obama's environmental policy with Keith.

McKibben echoes the warning from NASA's Jim Hansen that if the Tar Sands project goes forward it will be "essentially game over for the climate."

Related Links

EARTHJUSTICE: McKibben, Others, Arrested in Tar Sands Protest
 

via Keith Olbermann

 

 

Thoreau
by Ken Pobo

At the dinner table, Uncle Tim says
“I’d rather buy a car than read him.”
He means Thoreau. He does read—
car manuals, antique car catalogues,
car repair books. Henry David

didn’t see why we needed to go
35 mph. He’d turn down
a spin with my Uncle, a horrified
ghost among oil spills and
clear-cut forests. Yet, when I look

closely at the Gulf, I see him
on tortured wetlands, hear him
speaking from shells of dead
sea turtles. Look even closer
and there he is, writing a poem

on a stump. The mall opens.
Email rushes in. Henry David
keeps still. A pelican tries to stretch
oily wings. He licks off what he can,
blesses the final heartbeat.

 

Kenneth Pobo’s chapbook Contralto Crows is coming out soon from Green Fuse Press and will include the poem published in this issue of Forpoetry.com. Another chapbook, this one of micro-fiction, Tiny Torn Maps, is forthcoming from Deadly Chaps this fall.

 

Exxon Oil Spill Prince William Sound, Alaska
by Jacqueline Marcus


None of it mattered any more—not the rain,
not the sea and its sad reluctance,
not the trees hiding the moon’s drum
or the leaves flashing their ornamental fans,
not the slack mallard, painfully struggling for air,
her wings trapped in a thick ooze,
the reefs bristling with poison,
the otter swirling helplessly down to the bottom of the bay, anchored.

All night the waves layered the black coves with inarticulate matter,
all day the birds circled the skeletal pines.
For years the waves licked their toxic wounds
where egrets used to gather,
a wet sun warmed the backs of whales,
and cool winds handled the shifting tides
of sea-weed and sea-clams that shimmered across the splashing rocks
where once or twice a seal could be seen spying from the choppy waters.


This island is dead now. Not a sign of life
from the poisoned sea where a black sun sinks over the daily wreckage.

The case was made on behalf of Exxon
that the largest profitable oil industry could not be held responsible
for their intoxicated captain who, in a drunken stupor,
steered the cargo straight into the rocks.

The five corporate ghosts veiled in their black robes agreed.
“Exxon,” they repeated, “is not responsible.”

As for the bloated salmon and the years of invisible rain,
as for the sea’s bright and timid blues wrestling the shore’s reluctance,
as for the wind taking its time to lift the leaves—

it all comes down to a body of water not yet spoiled or defiled,

a forest of pines and firs, aspens and birch,
if that’s barely possible to remember?

Full moon, silence of water, winter tree, finding its place inside the sky.

____________________________________________________________________________
Note: March 29, 1989, the Exxon Valdez spilled between 11 and 38 million gallons of crude oil into the fishing waters of Prince William Sound. The spill contaminated more than 1,200 miles of Alaska’s shoreline and killed hundreds of thousands of seabirds and marine animals. It also dealt a staggering blow to the residents of local fishing towns, and the effects of the disaster are still being felt today.

 



The D.C. Earthquake Makes For an Alarming Case against the Keystone Pipeline

Published at CommonDreams.org
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/08/25-4


By Jacqueline Marcus

The August 23rd earthquake that rocked D.C. all the way up to Martha’s Vineyard where the President is vacationing should be an alarming wake up call to President Obama on how easily a crude oil pipeline can rupture from a crushing earthquake.

It’s bad enough that this President gave the thumbs up to Arctic offshore oil drilling.  "The Arctic’s Beaufort Sea is plagued with high seas, shrieking winds, darkness, sea ice, and minimal visibility. Yet, the Obama administration just approved aggressive offshore drilling in these harsh waters—before doing a full environmental review, and without requiring reliable safety equipment or an approved oil spill response plan." (EarthJustice.com)

The President still has a chance to be on the right side of history by saying NO to Arctic drilling and NO to the Keystone pipeline project which threatens to poison our fragile ecology, agricultural land and fresh water aqueducts.  The pipeline is from the oil sands of Alberta and would run from Canada through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. In addition, the consumption of this oil would be the same as setting off a “carbon bomb into the atmosphere,” as environmentalist and activist Bill McKibben put it, by intensifying global warming beyond the tipping point.

As for creating jobs—that certainly is an appealing selling point, but as the Gulf residents who lost their livelihoods in the fishing, real estate and tourism industries worth billions of dollars a year before they were swept away or lost to BP’s black tides of oil will tell you, it’s not worth the risk of employing workers temporarily for Canadian oil that in the end will not make our gas prices cheaper because it will be sold on the international market.  Just ask the Gulf residents who were in the fishing industry what they think about more oil coming their way. Sen. Bernie Sanders is right: we can produce a lot more jobs with the creation of green energy technology.  In fact, solar and wind companies are beginning to boom and they’re doing it without the Federal government.  You can’t stop progress.

Lastly, the public has learned too many times that there’s no way to prevent oil spills. The August 23rd earthquake is an urgent red warning to the President that ruptured pipes from earthquakes and floods are happening with far more frequency and violent velocity under climate change conditions than ever before.  The rising floods that left thousands of people homeless is the reason ExxonMobile’s pipeline ruptured into Montana’s Yellowstone River July 3rd 2011.  By approving these dirty energy projects, Obama will be  making climate change conditions worse knowing full well that  there is no efficient way to prevent or to clean oil spills, especially in the Arctic’s turbulent and icy dark seas.  Did this President learn anything about the message of climate change when he stood in front of the tornado damaged homes in the mid-west?

Will President Obama have the good conscience or moral fortitude to do the right thing?  We’re waiting to see. 

 

Recommended reading:

D.C. Protest against XL Keystone Pipeline: Bill McKibben:
This Is Getting Exciting

The D.C. Earthquake Makes for an Alarming Case against XL Keystone Pipeline http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/08/25-4

Tar Sands 'Energy Security' Campaign is Big Oil Ruse
http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=104861

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/08/11-6

Why Did Obama Choose Oil Money Over Struggling Polar Bears Facing Extinction?
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/08/11-6

 

Jacqueline Marcus is the author of Close to the Shore (Michigan State University Press). She taught philosophy at Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, and is the editor of ForPoetry.com.

 

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