Thursday, July 8, 2010

Today in BP Oil Disaster: Day 80

Posted By on Thu, Jul 8, 2010 at 4:50 PM

BP introduces us to a new term! Now cleaning crude oil off the sand is known as "polishing the beaches":

BP has high hopes to clean it all eventually. Mark DeVries, BP's deputy incident commander in Mobile, envisions a time when no one can tell what hit the beaches during the summer of oil.

"That's our commitment — to return the beaches to the state they were before," Devries said. "We're referring to it as polishing the beaches."

Unfortunately, "polishing the beaches" doesn't mean going beneath the surface:

Walk to a seemingly pristine patch of sand, plop down in a chair and start digging with your bare feet and chances are you'll walk away with gooey tar between your toes. So far, workers hired by BP to clean oil off beaches have skimmed only the surface, using shovels or sifting machines.

• The New York Times investigates Transocean, the company that owns the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, and finds legal entanglements around the world.

• The federal government has set up a new online one-stop-shop for all things oil-disaster-related, Restore the Gulf. Meanwhile, Florida gets its first oil spill response branch; it's in Pensacola.

More fun with timetables: BP says the oil hemorrhage could be stopped between July 20 and 27. And the Coast Guard says it's possible, but probably not. (Frankly, we've lost track of the number of projections and promises made by both BP and the Coast Guard.)

• WDSU-TV aired a report last night in which Travers Mackel found oil cleanup workers on Grand Isle were spending more time on break than on cleanup duty. The best part involved two construction workers (one of whom was named "Biscuit" Lambert) working across the highway on a private project, who were openly contemptuous of BP's efforts:

After an hour and a half lunch, one group of workers took a 40 minute break, worked for 20 minutes and then took another break. Over the course of an eight-hour work day, it added up to just a few hours of actual work.

The guys working construction across the highway don't get it.

"Sound like a bunch of sissies to me," Lambert said.

More tar balls in Texas, these in Port Arthur. Texas' attorney general is requesting $25 million from BP, immediately.

• And finally: Sharron Angle, the very interesting Nevada GOP senatorial candidate with very interesting views who is running a very interesting campaign against Harry Reid, has now weighed in with some very interesting perspectives on the $20 billion BP escrow fund:

During a radio appearance she labeled the $20 billion BP escrow fund secured by the White House as a "slush fund."

Angle also seemed to agree with a caller who flatly described the fund as extortion, and added: "Government shouldn't be doing that to a private company." For good measure, she said Dems are exploiting the crisis to push energy reform and are following "Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals."

More! More! More!

She said the government is "overreacting," the Environmental Protection Agency is "all about money," and that "the petroleum industry shouldn't be penalized for one bad person's actions. It would be like throwing us all in prison because one person committed murder," she said. She added that the government should avoid "overregulating" oil companies, because they risk having them leave the country. And that the government should instead make sure that oil companies are adhering to a "checklist." (Though it was unclear how it would enforce that without fines and penalties, or what incentive oil companies would have to adherence without them.)

(This all may get overlooked because the increasingly fascinating Angle is also making news for explaining her opposition to abortion even in cases of rape or incest, telling a radio interviewer, "I have been in the situation of counseling young girls, not 13 but 15, who have had very at risk, difficult pregnancies. And my counsel was to look for some alternatives, which they did. And they found that they had made what was really a lemon situation into lemonade.")

It's a warm day out there. Go have some lemonade.

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