Friday, May 28, 2010

The BP logo contest

Posted By on Fri, May 28, 2010 at 8:01 PM

The UK chapter of Greenpeace recently had a contest to redesign BP's iconic green-sunflower logo to something a bit more ... appropriate for the times. There are dozens of entries (you can view 'em all here), but here are a few we particularly liked. Turning anger into sardonic art: how New Orleans can you get?

bp pelican

bp hand

bp bs

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Under the Sea Sick

Posted By on Fri, May 28, 2010 at 4:15 PM

BP says its employee illnesses have nothing to do with chemical dispersants. Doctors say otherwise.

Want to know what this stuff can do? When a Cousteau gets involved, it’s serious business. Jacques’ grandson Philippe Cousteau Jr. was on Good Morning America (yikes — “Good morning! Toxic sludge with your coffee?”):

ABC Good Morning America reporter Sam Champion, who was along for the ride, was shocked and appalled at what he found.

"The entire water column is thick with this oil and chemical dispersant mix and it's absolutely disgusting," said Champion, "I think that this has got to be one of the most horrible things I've ever seen underwater."

Here’s the video:

You can clearly see oil forming chemical clouds of oil globules in the water column floating beneath the surface to eventually join the sea floor. (Read this to find out what happens next.) But Nalco, the chemical’s manufacturer, says its product (which contains ingredients that are kept a trade secret) is just "a simple blend of six well-established, safe ingredients that biodegrade, do not bioaccumulate and are commonly found in popular household products" and "do not contain carcinogens or reproductive toxins. All the ingredients have been extensively studied for many years and have been determined safe and effective by the EPA."

Sure, at the recommended doses. I mean, your doctor says pain relivers are safe at the prescribed amount, but I'm not sure what he'd think if you started mainlining at hundreds of times that prescription — which is exactly what BP did: inject thousands of gallons of chemical dispersants not only on the water’s surface but also directly into the leak source, a method that has no previous testing to be proven effective or safe. Per the EPA’s recommendations: "most effectively applied by aircraft, however, application with boat spray booms, boat fire monitors, and by hand held sprayers and back packs has been successfully done on a number of spills and trials" and at a "treatment rate of about 2 to 10 U.S. gallons per acre, or a dispersant to oil ratio of 1:50 to 1:10."

The EPA has demanded BP to scale back its use of the chemicals, but the damage is done.

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Melancon on Maddow

Posted By on Fri, May 28, 2010 at 3:12 PM

After his emotional testimony yesterday before a House subcommittee, Rep. Charlie Melancon was on MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show to explain how dire the situation is on the Gulf Coast. The transcript is here, and this is the video:

(Any cable TV talking head willing to come down to Louisiana, plant a desk and a couple of chairs in front of an oil-covered marsh, and do his or her show from there? Maddow? Cooper? O'Reilly?)

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sea Sick

Posted By on Thu, May 27, 2010 at 11:29 PM

Captain Meredith Austin, Coast Guard deputy incident commander, says the seven Vessels of Opportunity (VO) crewmembers (who were rushed to West Jefferson Memorial Hospital yesterday after experiencing nausea, dizziness, headaches and chest pains while performing offshore oil cleanup operations) were not given any respiratory protection.

Austin says air monitoring was performed in the area, and "We were not putting any vessels in an area where no respiratory protection would be needed. They were given protective equipment for hazards they would face — Tyvek suits to protect against oil exposure on skin, steel toed boots, life jackets, gloves, hard hats, safety glasses."

Who performed the air quality tests?

"I’ll have to get back to you. I’m fairly certain they’re sending the samples out to an accredited lab. I’m not sure who that lab is."

Austin also does not know if the boats were equipped were air monitoring devices, or if crewmembers had any health evaluations before beginning cleanup.

"Our toxicologists have said it’s possible just by being around petroleum, some individuals are sensitive to it and can give them similar symptoms without a chemical exposure.

"It’s important to keep in mind there are other factors which may be potentially cause these symptoms. These factors range from fatigue, working in hot weather, dehydration, and even the smell of petroleum from the spill may affect some individuals. Not saying this to discount what’s happening to our people, and our hearts and thoughts are with them, but I just want to point out there are other factors that cause those sorts of symptoms."

Controlled burns and aerial dispersants were used yesterday, but no dispersants were used within 50 miles of the affected crewmen. Other crews are now receiving "wellness briefing" and "situational awareness training." All vessels working in the area of the affected crewmen — Group One in Breton Sound, consisting of 125 commercial fishing vessels turned oil cleanup crews — were docked and sent to temporary accommodations in Breton Sound. There are now no cleanup crews in the area.

BP and the Coast Guard are performing air sampling, checking food and water, and interviewing crewmembers to find out what caused the symptoms, Austin says.

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BP's Tony Hayward: A month in quotes

Posted By on Thu, May 27, 2010 at 10:32 PM

Was it really only a month ago that few of us knew the name 'Tony Hayward'? The chief executive of BP has become a household name (and face) here on the Gulf Coast, and a quote-worthy one at that. He may not be quite as quotable as Michael "Brownie" Brown yet, but the BP gusher's still gushing...


April 30:

"What the hell did we do to deserve this?"

May 3:

"This is not our accident, but it's our responsibility."

May 14:

"The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume."

May 18:

"I think the environmental impact of this disaster is likely to have been very, very modest. It is impossible to say and we will mount, as part of the aftermath, a very detailed environmental assessment but everything we can see at the moment suggests that the overall environmental impact will be very, very modest."

May 18:

"I do feel that we have, for the first time, turned the corner in this challenge."

May 25:

"I think this is clearly a major reputational issue for BP."

May 26:

"The operation is proceeding as we planned it."

BONUS QUOTE! From U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad Allen, May 23:

"I trust Tony Hayward. When I talk to him, I get an answer."

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Take It to the Streets

Posted By on Thu, May 27, 2010 at 10:30 PM

Feeling frustrated and helpless about the growing gulf in the Gulf? Since you can’t fly over it or even get to it without the permission of the all-powerful BP Oz, then take to the streets to show your support for lessening our dependence on crude — and perhaps work off some of the anxiety over what the muck from the oil rig disaster is doing to the Gulf and our coastline.

Critical Mass New Orleans, bicyclists promoting alternatives to cars, will meet at Jackson Square at 6 p.m. Friday and ride into Jefferson Parish, ending on the Mississippi River levee. DJ Dontplaydat will provide tunes.

The ride will show cycling as a viable alternative for commuters, but all modes of non-polluting transportation are welcome. (Stinky feet are not considered pollution, so running, skateboarding, etc. are allowed.)

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Tie one on.

Posted By on Thu, May 27, 2010 at 5:46 PM

And now, let's take a moment away from BP coverage and focus on the latest B.T. (bow tie) developments. Since we won't know whether the "top kill" procedure worked until this afternoon, now is the optimum time to put our collective mind elsewhere, perhaps on some meticulous yet satisfying task like mastering the origami-esque maneuvers of knotting a bow tie.

This evening at 6:30 p.m., menswear and etiquette blogger and notorious dandy K. Cooper Ray descends upon Brooks Brothers, (333 Canal St., 522-4200)

in a flurry of summer cocktails to celebrate the launch of a limited edition bow tie collection.

Continue reading »

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Today in BP

Posted By on Thu, May 27, 2010 at 3:55 PM

Recapping: In the last 24 hours, a BP official/witness has refused to testify in a hearing about the explosion that killed 11 men who will never have that same right again; the oil gusher is now officially deemed twice as bad as the Exxon Valdez, and once again estimates of the flow have been found to be lowballed; "Top Kill" may be working, but they're not sure; "commercial fishing vessels recalled from oil recovery operations as a precaution" after 7 9 workers fall ill, and "BP safety officers" (stop laughing) are investigating. And then there's this, from Newsweek:

More than a month into the disaster, a host of anecdotal evidence is emerging from reporters, photographers, and TV crews in which BP and Coast Guard officials explicitly target members of the media, restricting and denying them access to oil-covered beaches, staging areas for clean-up efforts, and even flyovers....

Since the flight restrictions were expanded on May 11, private aircraft must get permission from BP’s command center to fly over a huge portion of the Gulf of Mexico encompassing not just the growing slick in the Gulf, but the entire Louisiana coastline, where oil is washing ashore. If a request is denied, aircraft must stay 3,000 feet above the restricted area, where visibility is minimal.

Read that again: a British corporation is now controlling American airspace. Where's the Tea Party when you need 'em?

Oh, and BP shares are up 5% this morning. We're bullish on BP!

The Facebook pages for this Sunday's protest in Jackson Square (1 p.m.) now have more than 2,000 members, and you can read more about the event at Murdered Gulf.

murdered gulf

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The latest in the Matter of Trust entanglement

Posted By on Thu, May 27, 2010 at 3:53 PM

It looks like Matter of Trust, the organization spearheading the effort to collect hair, fur, nylons and mesh to create oil containment booms, is still soliciting donations. And they're in New Orleans, according to their Facebook page.

According to a report on released a few hours ago, Matter of Trust president Lisa Craig Gautier says salons should keep collecting materials because the booms will be used "somewhere." She also says she hopes BP will change its mind about the hair booms but if not, "Matter of Trust will try outfitting the counties and parishes along the Gulf coast with the booms." And if that doesn't work out, Gautier says they can just save the booms for other oil spills.

The organization initially announced it would not accept any more materials, but began accepting again after securing two additional warehouses.

Hair boom photo from
  • Hair boom photo from

Do you think Matter of Trust should continue collecting materials and making hair booms without knowing if BP will ever use them?

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Grand Isle: The Tour

Posted By on Wed, May 26, 2010 at 11:42 PM

New Orleans filmmaker Phin Percy followed Grand Isle resident Christopher Hernandez to produce this video. From the video description:

One month after the DEEPWATER HORIZON burned and capsized off the coast of Louisiana, the oil continues to gush into the sea. Several attempts to divert and capture the oil have failed. Presently BP has promised to attempt a TOPKILL which would force cement and other materials into the riser pipe and plug it up. This was supposed to have happened over this past weekend, but has been delayed.

Meanwhile, 100 miles to the Northwest the fudgelike mix of oil and dispersant has begun coming into the fragile marshes and estuaries of Grand Isle, Louisiana, devastating the wildlife and wiping out miles and miles of oyster leases.

Chris Hernandez takes us to his families oyster lease, where the oil is coming in with every high tide, leaving behind the poisonous sludge and killing everything it comes in contact with.

This is just the beginning. When the well is capped and the oil stops gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, the spill will continue impacting the coastal shores for up to 45 days.

On our 2 hour ride around the oyster leases, we saw absolutely no attempts being made to boom the oil. This as dozens of containers filled with thousands of feet of boom sit unused on the dock, a 10 minute boat ride away. And its been sitting there for 2 weeks.

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