Friday, July 2, 2010

Today in BP Oil Disaster: Day 74

Posted By Google on Fri, Jul 2, 2010 at 5:02 PM

  • Those formaldehyde-infested FEMA trailers are showing up as housing for oil cleanup workers. FEMA and the General Services Administration (GSA) auctioned more than 100,000 trailers earlier this year to Gulf businesses, now cashing in by offering them up to the tons of workers along the coast looking for affordable housing.
    Reps. Charlie Melancon and Ed Markey sent a letter to General Services Administration's Martha Johnson, asking for the GSA to provide the Committee on Energy and Commerce with sales documents for all formaldehyde-contaminated trailers, including warning labels and contracts, and what GSA is going to do to protect the workers' health. From a statement from Melancon's office:

    First hurricane survivors were exposed to hazardous fumes in these FEMA trailers, and now — five years later — oil disaster workers are facing the same threat from the exact same trailers,” said Rep. Melancon. “We want to know why these trailers are still being used as housing, despite the many warnings and safeguards that have been put in place to prevent this situation. Workers along the Gulf Coast face enough dangers in the oil spill clean-up, without unknowingly being exposed to another danger when they come home at night.”

  • Meanwhile, cleanup workers speak out on the "thankless" routine of cleaning, cleaning, cleaning the same beaches every day. The Los Angeles Times says locals aren't liking the results:

    "I understand how some people don't like what they see from afar, but it's not the whole story," said Michael Franklin, 49, who hired onto the crew in May. "We're just worker bees. We don't call the shots. When it is safe to do so, we work our butts off."

  • We're the Volunteers of America. Or are we? More than 20,000 volunteers have signed up to help in Florida, Alabama and Mississippi — fewer than one in six has been called back.

  • Whale sharks have been spotted in the slick, with some about 4 miles from the Deepwater Horizon well, and others in the hundreds spotted in the Gulf. The sharks are giant, filter-feeding ocean vacuums, the largest fish in the sea, and they inhale plankton, larvae and other tiny lifeforms. But:

    The question now is how many of the creatures are dying in the oil, said Eric Hoffmayer of the University of Southern Mississippi's Gulf Coast Research Lab, who has studied whale sharks in the northern Gulf since 2002.

    "Taking mouthfuls of thick oil is not conducive to them surviving," he said.

    Hoffmayer has found that many of the northern Gulf's whale sharks feed off the mouth of the Mississippi River; the Deepwater Horizon site is about 40 miles southeast of the river.

    "That basically confirms our worst fear: these animals do not know to stay away from the oil," Hoffmayer said.

  • A New Orleans-tried chef in Montana, of all places, is sticking with Gulf seafood at his joint. Chef Andy Blanton of Cafe Kandahar has also helped raise $3,000 for the St. Bernard Project from a six-course Gulf Coast-inspired dinner: beignets, gumbo, crawfish etoufee, shrimp and grits, and roasted duck and pepper jelly, with sazeracs and Abita Amber.

  • Mac McClelland sits down with Countdown with Keith Olbermann.

  • Excerpts from BP's "I Hate to Clean Up" Cookbook: blackened prawns, wild duck and sticky rice a la pressure cooker, thick-as-tar chocolate pudding, E-Z Does It crunchy pasta, and, my favorite, Tony's Never Fail Deep Fried Doughnuts... er:

    We’ve received reports that this recipe failed. We recommend that you turn off the lights and leave the kitchen immediately.

    Tony’s Try-and-Try-Again Deep-Fried Doughnuts

    How much masking tape do you have? Keep stirring. If it still looks like that after an hour, continue stirring for four to six months. Can’t you call it gravy? Japanese peanut butter? Swiss cheese has holes in it and nobody complains. Blot well with paper towels.

    Another Thought from Chef Tony: Who wants to slave over a hot stove all day? Call Morty’s Deli. They deliver. Don’t you want your life back?

  • And if you haven't seen the July 5 New Yorker cover, here you go (click for a larger version):
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