Thursday, June 10, 2010

Today in BP Oil Disaster: Day 52

Posted By on Thu, Jun 10, 2010 at 1:21 PM

• President Obama will meet today at the White House with the families of the 11 men killed aboard the Deepwater Horizon, while Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis comes to the Gulf Coast to hear the worries of coastal residents.

• The market is bearish on BP. The company's stock has lost about half its value since the explosion and oil gusher, indicating investors are chary of possible U.S. government sanctions. Said BP in a statement:

"BP notes the fall in its share price in U.S. trading last night. The company is not aware of any reason which justifies this share price movement."

They lie, and they lie, and they lie:

Scuba divers showed U.S. legislators video of the spill which they shot while 20 meters under the sea and 64 kilometers off the U.S. Gulf coast. The oil is so thick below this depth that it blocks out almost all light. "Something I've never seen in diving, in my whole life out here," said diver Al Walker.

Fellow diver Scott Porter says the substance feels like a mixture of clay and wax. He had to scrape it off his hands. Soap had no effect. "I don't know of anything that would be able to live through that," Porter said.

Yet on Wednesday, BP continued to deny any large amount of oil under the surface. "No one has yet found any concentrations that measured higher than the parts per million," said BP's Doug Suttles.

And we're supposed to trust them when they say they're going to make it right, no matter what it takes?

• It's statements like that which have earned BP its own version of the Twitter fail whale:

click to enlarge fail bp

Image by @enderFP

• Oh, and BP's disaster response plans are being raked over the coals, from dead consultants to concerns about nonexistent walruses.

Rolling Stone has an extensive article on the disaster and the Obama administration's response.

• Robyn Bresnehan of the BBC files some audio interviews from affected Louisianans. Incredibly sad.

• You can play all the Wolf Blitzer-ish "on one hand/on the other hand" false equivalency journalistic games you want, but it's clear BP has control over media access to land the company does not own. And that control extends to U.S. senators:

Last week, Senator Bill Nelson, Democrat of Florida, tried to bring a small group of journalists with him on a trip he was taking through the gulf on a Coast Guard vessel. Mr. Nelson’s office said the Coast Guard agreed to accommodate the reporters and camera operators. But at about 10 p.m. on the evening before the trip, someone from the Department of Homeland Security’s legislative affairs office called the senator’s office to tell them that no journalists would be allowed. “They said it was the Department of Homeland Security’s response-wide policy not to allow elected officials and media on the same ‘federal asset,’ ” said Bryan Gulley, a spokesman for the senator. “No further elaboration” was given, Mr. Gulley added.

In a separate incident last week, a reporter and photographer from The Daily News of New York were told by a BP contractor they could not access a public beach on Grand Isle, La., one of the areas most heavily affected by the oil spill. The contractor summoned a local sheriff, who then told the reporter, Matthew Lysiak, that news media had to fill out paperwork and then be escorted by a BP official to get access to the beach. BP did not respond to requests for comment about the incident.

• An organization called Hands Across the Sand plans to protest BP by forming a human chain on American beaches June 26. (But will members have to be "escorted by BP officials"?)

• Finally: that statement up top from BP that the oil below the surface of the Gulf is just "parts per million"? If you want to see just how many parts, it's the AP, not BP, that brings the news. Check out this video of SCUBA diver Al Parker and AP photographer Rich Matthews below the surface of the water, in a place where there were no BP flacks to shoo them away:

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