Thursday, July 1, 2010

Today in BP Oil Disaster: Day 73

Posted by on Thu, Jul 1, 2010 at 2:42 PM

• Hurricane Alex made landfall last night as a Cat 2 on the Mexican Gulf Coast just south of Texas. Those outer bands of rain that made it to Louisiana stopped cleanup activity in Grand Isle, where tar balls "the size of apples" came in with the surf:

"The sad thing is that it's been about three weeks since we had any big oil come in here,'' marine science technician Michael Malone said. ''With this weather, we lost all the progress we made.''

Alex has been downgraded to tropical storm status this morning, but it's still screwing with recovery and cleanup efforts.

• A breathtaking piece of writing by Wright Thompson at espn.com, titled "Paradise Lost":

The greatest tarpon fisherman who ever lived sits in a house on the side of a forgotten bayou, stuck in a blue recliner, watching his world die on live television. Oil gushes out of the well, every lost barrel another line in his obituary.

Though he's only 55, Lance "Coon" Schouest is about to become obsolete. Everything's being taken from him, in living color with a network logo and theme music. His way of life, his job, the marshes he grew up in and possibly even an entire breed of fish that has survived since dinosaurs walked the earth. The tarpon has taken every disaster man and nature could throw at it.

Until now.

This is journalism as literature. Read it all.

The world's largest skimmer has arrived in the Gulf and is ready for duty, but -- according to the Taiwanese company that owns it -- BP and the Coast Guard are awaiting "inspections."

• Just came across this: Florida Gov. Charlie Crist went on CBS' The Early Show earlier this week to tell people it was perfectly safe to swim in the waters off Florida beaches:

"It's much more of a nuisance than anything else at this point, but it is safe." — Charlie Crist

• Those infamous formaldehyde-laced FEMA trailers? They're back as temporary housing for disaster workers on the Gulf Coast. Says the owner of a disaster contracting firm:

“These are perfectly good trailers,” Mr. Mason said, adding that he has leased land in and around Venice for 40 more trailers that are being delivered from Texas in the coming weeks. “Look, you know that new car smell? Well, that’s formaldehyde, too. The stuff is in everything. It’s not a big deal.”

Jonathan Cohn of The New Republic wonders where the nationwide outrage is. Bryan Walsh at Time has a few thoughts.

• CNN's Tom Foreman to President Barack Obama: "Release the hounds!"

• You can now try to repair the Gulf on your Xbox with this $1 game:

click to enlarge gusher

That espn.com story about the tarpon fisherman? It's the best reading you'll have all day. Click here while you're thinking about it.

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